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Kazuhiro Soda

Kazuhiro Soda

Kazuhiro Soda is a Peabody Award winning filmmaker. He practices an observational method of documentary filmmaking based on his own "Ten Commandments" which prohibits him from doing pre-shoot research or writing a synopsis before filming. He imposes these rules on himself in order to minimize preconceptions and to be able to make unexpected discoveries while filming and editing.

His debut feature documentary “Campaign” (2007) was screened at many prestigious festivals including Berlinale, aired in nearly 200 countries and territories and won the Peabody Award in the United States. “Mental” (2008) won the Best Documentary Award at the Busan International Film Festival and the Dubai International Film Festival. “Peace” (2010), the opening film of DMZ Documentary Festival, won the Best Documentary Award at the Hong Kong International Film Festival and the Audience Award at the Tokyo Filmex. “Theatre 1 and 2” (2012) won the Young Juries Prize at the Festival des 3 Continents. “Campaign 2” (2013) has been invited to such festivals as Cinéma du Réel, Hong Kong International Film Festival, and MoMA Documentary Fortnight.

He is currently working on "Second Life" and is the author of seven books published in Japan. He taught at the University of Michigan as a visiting professor from 2016 - 2017.

"Soda has developed into one of the discipline’s most interesting, and freest, artists." —Robert Koehler, Film Comment

"Some other documentary filmmakers equal Soda in keenness, intelligence, and wit, but few come off as so genuinely caring and kind, able to shift from observer to assuager with such beguiling grace." —Max Nelson, Cinema Scope

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Kazuhiro Soda
  • Campaign (Observational Film #1)

    Directed by Kazuhiro Soda • Documentary • With Seiko Hashimoto, Nobuteru Ishihara, Yoriko Kawaguchi • 2007 • 120 minutes

    Can a candidate with no political experience and no charisma win an election if he is backed by the political giant Prime Minister Koizumi and his Liberal Democratic Party? Th...

  • Mental (Observational Film #2)

    Directed by Kazuhiro Soda • Documentary • 2008 • 135 minutes

    MENTAL is a documentary that observes the complex world of an outpatient mental health clinic Chorale Okayama in Japan, interwoven with patients, doctors, staff, volunteers, and home-helpers.

    "To draw the curtain between normality and...

  • Theatre 1 (Observational Film #3)

    Directed by Kazuhiro Soda • Documentary • With Kôji Fukada, Kanji Furutachi, Oriza Hirata • 2012 • 172 minutes

    What is the essence of theatre? 

    Theatre 1 is a feature length documentary which closely depicts the world of Oriza Hirata, Japan’s leading playwright and director, and his theatrical ...

  • Theatre 2 (Observational Film #4)

    Directed by Kazuhiro Soda • Documentary • With Kanji Furutachi, Koichiro Genba, Oriza Hirata • 2012 • 170 minutes

    Can the theatre arts survive in the 21st century?

    If Theatre 1 is about the world of Hirata, Theatre 2 is a feature documentary, which depicts the relationship between Hirata and th...

  • Campaign 2 (Observational Film #5)

    Directed by Kazuhiro Soda • Documentary • With Kazuhiko Yamauchi, Sayuri Yamauchi, Yuki Yamauchi • 2013 • 145 minutes

    In response to the Fukushima disaster, Yama-san is running an election campaign with an anti-nuclear message. But unlike last time, he hasno money, no machine, no nothing. Does h...

  • Peace (Observational Film Extra)

    Directed by Kazuhiro Soda • Documentary • With Shiro Hashimoto, Hiroko Kashiwagi, Toshio Kashiwagi • 2010 • 75 minutes

    What is peace? What is coexistence? And what are the bases for them? PEACE is a visual-essay-like observational documentary, which contemplates these questions by observing the ...