August at Akiko's is a mystical film that lives in the seams between dream, reality, and memory with a time-signature all its own. Armed with just his suitcase and a sax, cosmopolitan musician Alex Zhang Hungtai (Dirty Beaches, Last Lizard) returns home to the Big Island of Hawai‘i having been away for nearly a decade. Amidst possessed sax solos and brooding strolls, Alex stumbles upon a Buddhist bed & breakfast run by a woman named Akiko (Akiko Masuda). Hungtai’s wild sax and Akiko’s Buddhist bells form the base for a rich soundtrack that wraps around the audience like a sonic web surrounding the unexpected new friendship.
Though Yogi took a very visceral and intuitive approach to the production of August at Akiko’s, the film is deeply informed by his sustained meditations on cinema as cultural memory and the Hollywood erasure of the local Hawaiian voice. However, as an intervention into cinematic experience, August at Akiko’s does not set itself in opposition, but rather sets itself apart. There is a quest for healing love, a quest to make sense of losses and transitions, big and small, manmade and earth-made, that courses through the film. August at Akiko’s offers up not just a visual product but a porous skin through which we may, if we allow ourselves to, get a tingly feeling as we experience the expansive flow of Big Island time.
Official Selection at International Film Festival Rotterdam 2018 and Winner of Special Jury Award for Cinematography at LA Asian Pacific Film Festival 2018
“Best Movies of 2019” – The New York Times
“Cool and calming as a summer sea breeze, Christopher Makoto Yogi's gentle paean to Hawaii, jazz and inner peace should be a festival-circuit charmer.” – Variety
"‘August at Akiko’s’ is a Whimsical, Hawaii-Set Tale of Belonging" - The Film Stage
About the filmmaker
Christopher Makoto Yogi is from Honolulu, Hawai‘i. His debut feature film, "August at Akiko's", had its World Premiere at the International Film Festival of Rotterdam in 2018 to critical acclaim. Richard Brody in The New Yorker put it on his list of “Best Films of 2019”. His next feature film, "I Was a Simple Man", participated in the Sundance Screenwriters and Directors Labs, IFP Film Week, Film Independent's Fast Track, received a Jerome Foundation grant and a Cinereach grant. Chris' short films include the documentaries "Occasionally, I Saw Glimpses of Hawai‘i" and "Makoto: or, Honesty," and the fiction film "Obake (Ghosts)." His 2009 film "Layover, on the Shore" was awarded Best Hawaiian Short at the Big Island Film Festival.
Chris also has extensive experience editing documentaries for film and television. His work has been broadcast on PBS, MTV, Bravo, and has been nominated for a Daytime Emmy, a GLAAD award, and been awarded a Student Academy Award.
Chris is a graduate of the USC School of Cinematic Arts MFA program. In 2019, Chris participated in New York Film Festival’s Artists Academy and Berlinale Talent Campus. In 2013, he participated in Visual Communications' Armed with a Camera Fellowship. In 2009, he was a fellow in the Kyoto Filmmakers Lab, sponsored by Toei and Shochiku Studios and the Museum of Kyoto.