Hollywood stars often do double duty as producers — Tom Cruise has a producer’s credit for all the “Mission Impossible” films going back to the first in 1996 — but it’s not so common for a 27-year-old Japanese actress to produce a film in which she also stars. That's unless you're talking about Urara Matsubayashi, who played a teenage victim of social media in Takaomi Ogata’s 2017 drama “The Hungry Lion” and is now the producer and star of “Kamata Prelude,” an omnibus by four directors that will open in cinemas on Sept. 25.
Informed by Matsubayashi’s own experiences, “Kamata Prelude” is a film of the #MeToo era, making sexual harassment a central theme while exploring the dreams, anxieties and ambitions of its protagonist, Machiko (Matsubayashi). In the final segment, directed by Hirobumi Watanabe, Machiko is present only in the mind of 10-year-old Riko, an aspiring actress who innocently looks up to her but knows nothing of her struggles.
The film, Matsubayashi says in an interview at the Gotanda office of acting school Enbu Seminar, emerged from discussions she had with Kosuke Ono, CEO of independent production company Wa Entertainment, which backed “Kamata Prelude.”