Photojournalist Eugene Smith’s battle to expose the Chisso Corporation’s poisoning of a city for years is told in Minamata.

Samuel Goldwyn Films has released an official U.S. trailer for the film Minamata, starring Johnny Depp (Pirates of the Caribbean), Tadanobu Asano (Thor), Jun Kunimura (Kill Bill Vol. 1 & 2), Hiroyuki Sanada (Avengers: Endgame), and Bill Nighy (Emma).

Three-time Academy Award nominee Johnny Depp plays celebrated war photographer W. Eugene Smith in a real-life David vs. Goliath story, pitting Smith against a powerful corporation responsible for poisoning the people of Minamata, Japan, in 1971.

The official synopsis reads: “Inspired by a true story, Minamata stars Johnny Depp playing celebrated photojournalist Eugene Smith. The film takes place in 1971 when we find Smith as a hermit and disconnected from the world he once shot.

After receiving one final assignment from Life Magazine editor Robert Hayes (Bill Nighy), Eugene must travel to the Japanese coastal city of Minamata, which has been ravaged by mercury poisoning.

Ushered by an impassioned Japanese translator, Aileen (Minami), and encouraged by local villagers (Hiroyuki Sanada), Eugene’s powerful images expose decades of gross negligence by the country’s Chisso Corporation.”

Iervolino & Lady Bacardi Entertainment (“ILBE”), Andrea Iervolino and Monika Bacardi’s public entertainment company listed on the AIM Italia market of the Italian Stock Exchange, announced the company has acquired North American distribution rights to director Andrew Levitas’ inspirational and timely drama Minamata starring Johnny Depp.

From Hanway Films, Minamata was written by David K. Kessler, Stephen Reuters, Andrew Levitas, and Jason Forman. The film received its World Premiere as a Berlinale Special Gala as part of the Berlin International Film Festival 2020.

The movie has opened internationally and has been warmly received, most notably in Japan where the film has been lauded by audiences and critics alike and has already garnered awards nominations.

Andrea Iervolino said: “Anchored by standout performances and stunning direction and craft artistry, Minamata is the kind of purposeful storytelling that sinks in with audiences and a movie they will appreciate seeing.

We’re thrilled to be able to orchestrate a release campaign alongside Samuel Goldwyn that will invite audiences into this story.”

“I am thrilled that North American audiences will finally be able to learn about what happened and continues to happen in Minamata and around the world,” Andrew Levitas told Deadline.

“The silencing of marginalized voices and those left behind (as well artists) by large corporate behemoths have to end, and with new like-minded partners this story will finally come to light in North America and hopefully offer some peace to the victims and their families who have been put through far too much.”

Minamata also stars Ryo Kase, Katherine Jenkins, Lily Robinson and Akiko Iwase. The film is produced by Levitas for Metalwork Pictures and Depp for Infinitum Nihil, as well as producers Sam Sarkar, Bill Johnson, and Kevan Van Thompson.

The distribution partnership was brokered by Andrea Iervolino for ILBE and Peter Goldwyn for Samuel Goldwyn Films. ILBE and Samuel Goldwyn previously teamed to release Waiting for the Barbarians, the critically acclaimed film adaptation of J.M. Coetzee’s prize-winning novel, starring Johnny Depp, Mark Rylance, Robert Pattinson, and Greta Scacchi.

Minamata will hit theaters beginning December 15.
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