Minamata, directed by Andrew Levitas and starring three-time Academy Award nominee Johnny Depp as celebrated war photographer W. Eugene Smith, alongside Minami, Hiroyuki Sanada, Ryo Kase, Jun Kunimura, Bill Nighy and Katherine Jenkins, will be released by Vertigo Releasing in the UK and Ireland on 13 August 2021.
New York, 1971. Following his celebrated days as one of the most revered photojournalists of World War II, W. Eugene Smith (Johnny Depp) has become a recluse, disconnected from society and his career. But a secret commission from Life magazine editor Robert Hayes (Bill Nighy) sends him to the Japanese coastal city of Minamata, which has been ravaged by mercury poisoning; the result of decades of gross industrial negligence by the country’s Chisso Corporation.
There, Smith immerses himself in the community, documenting their efforts to live with Minamata Disease and their passionate campaign to achieve recognition from Chisso and the Japanese government. Armed with only his trusted camera, Smith’s images from the toxic village give the disaster a heartbreaking human dimension, and his initial assignment turns into a life-changing experience.
Based on the shocking true story, Minamata is a redemptive and emotional tale of triumph over adversity, and of how all of us have it within ourselves to make a difference.
The victims’ case against the corporation responsible for this environmental disaster represents one of the biggest payouts of all time, with present day sufferers of Minamata disease still in court today seeking compensation. Production spent time in Minamata meeting some of the victims and their families and the film was made with their support.
Minamata was developed by Infinitum Nihil and produced by Sam Sarkar, Johnny Depp together with Andrew Levitas through Metalwork Pictures. The film had its world premiere at the 70th Berlin International Film Festival, 2020.
Producers are Sam Sarkar, Bill Johnson, Gabrielle Tana, Kevan Van Thompson, David K Kessler, Zach Avery, Andrew Levitas and Johnny Depp. Executive Producers are Jason Forman, Stephen Deuters, Peter Touche, Stephen Spence, Peter Watson, Marie-Gabrielle Stewart, Phil Hunt, Compton Ross, Nobu Hasegawa and Joe Hasegawa.
Minamata will be released in the UK and Ireland on 13 August 2021. Watch the trailer below: