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Film Screening and Discussion of Boys for Sale (売買ボーイズ)

November 12, 2019 @ 5:00 pm - 7:00 pm

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Weatherhead East Asian Institute Event


Please join us for a film screening of Boys for Sale (売買ボーイズ)  and discussion with:


Ian Thomas Ash, filmmaker and producer

Moderated by: 

Kim Brandt, Research Scholar, Weatherhead East Asian Institute

Columbia University


The event will focus on the screening of the 2017 documentary film Boys for Sale (売買ボーイズ) followed by remarks by the producer, Ian Thomas Ash.

About the film: In the Tokyo district of Shinjuku 2-chome there are bars that specialize in “Urisen”, young guys who have sex with men. Featuring candid interviews and interspersed with animation detailing the awkward, sweet, and sometimes horrific situations these young sex workers experience, the boys for sale boldly tell their stories of life in the Tokyo underground. This documentary is an illuminating look into a rarely seen world that tantalizingly shows the humanity of sex work.

About the speaker:

Born in America, Ian Thomas Ash earned an MA in Film and Television Production at the University of Bristol, UK, in 2005. His first feature documentary, ‘the ballad of vicki and jake’ (2006), received the Prix du Canton Vaud prize at the 2006 Visions du Reél International Documentary Film Festival in Nyon, Switzerland. Ian’s two feature documentaries about children living in areas of Fukushima contaminated by the 2011 nuclear meltdown, ‘In the Grey Zone‘ (2012) and ‘A2-B-C‘ (2013), have screened at festivals around the world where they have also received multiple awards.

His documentaries that followed also dealt with themes surrounding health and medicine in Japan, starting with ‘-1287‘ (2014) which received numerous awards, including the Audience Award for Best Feature at the 2015 Nippon Connection Film Festival in Germany and the First Prize in the Asian Competition at the 2015 DMZ Docs Film Festival in Korea.  “Dying at Home” (2016) and “Suturing Cultures” (2017), both commissions from NHK World, are on opposite end of the spectrum: one is about end-of-life care, while the other is about the future doctors of Japan.

“Boys for Sale” (2017, dir. Itako), a documentary about male sex workers in Tokyo on which Ian served as Executive Producer, screened in 40 film festivals across the world, receiving six awards for Best Feature Documentary.

Ian has lived in Japan for a total of 16 years and has recently completed two documentaries: the feature-length version of his film about end-of-life care in a small village in rural Japan called “おみおくり〜Sending Off〜“, which received the Audience Award at its World Premier in Germany in May 2019, and a short called “The Father’s Love Begotten” about the sexual abuse of a young boy which also received the Audience Award at its World Premier in Holland in April 2019.


This is a Weatherhead East Asian Arts and Cultures event.


No registration required.


November 12, 2019

5:00 PM – 7:00 PM



International Affairs Building, Room 918

420 West 118th Street


For press inquiries, please contact Ariana King ak4364@columbia.edu.


November 12, 2019
5:00 pm - 7:00 pm
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