The director and female lead actress of the surprise indie hit “Littlerock” showed their film at COC during the Friday Night Film Festival.
Director of the film Mike Ott was a former COC film instructor and Atsuko Okatsuka was one of his students. In fact, parts of the film were shot at COC and the majority of the main cast were former COC students.
Littlerock first premiered in the San Francisco Film Festival and since then, Littlerock has been screened at over 40 different film festivals.
The film Littlerock is a film based on a brother and a sister who get stranded in Littlerock, Calif. during a road trip to Manzanar.
Atsuko in the film would communicate with her dad through letters and like most teenagers Atsuko would not always be honest.
After developing a relationship with the towns people, the main characters in the film, Atsuko and Rintaro Sakamoto decide to stay in Littlerock.
Unlike most films, Asian characters make up the “Littlerock” cast.
“It was something we brought up and we [Mike Ott and Atsuko Okatsuka] wanted to make these Asian characters that were the coolest people in the movie, ” said Ott.
“[We wanted to make] like people you would want to hang out with and not make fun of, like what they were doing and what they were saying. I actually think Rintaro in the movie is the coolest guy in the film.”
The way Atsuko communicated with the town people was based on Ott’s life experiences while traveling abroad. Atsuko’s romantic relationships was drawn from a romantic relationship Ott had with an Argentinian woman, and like Atsuko, Ott used mostly hand gestures and facial expressions.
Okatsuka was a co-writer of Littlerock and used her own life-experiences for the film. Much of the film drew upon Okatsuka’s life experiences after moving to the United States from Japan.
“The story that I tell in Littlerock is really similar to when I first came to the [United] States. I did not know English. My dad stayed in Japan, I was seperated from him and we would correspond with letters”, said Okatsuka.
Ott estimated the film budget around $10,000 of his own money.
The film has grossed an estimated four times the original budget.
Ott’s next film Pearblossom Highway is somewhat of a sequel to Littlerock and is premiering in this month.