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The Lovers


Set in present day New York, THE LOVERS is the story of a Chinese American woman and Japanese man whose passion for each other forces them to confront the dark legacy of their families in Nanking during the Japanese invasion in 1937. 

Screenings and Festivals

Cast Biographies

Yasu Ikeda (The Man)

A native of Japan, Yasu has performed in numerous off-broadway shows, including the cult hit MONO for two years and NYC independent films. His television credits include SEX AND THE CITY. He has spent his last few months in Thailand, working in film production, in front of, and behind, the camera. Yasu is a graduate of the Lee Strasberg Institute in New York City. 

Connie Teng (The Woman)

Connie started out studying classical dance, moving from ballet into jazz, modern, theater dance and hip hop. This led to performances in musicals, both in school and professionally. Since performing in “Miss Saigon” at the Northshore Music Theatre, she has devoted herself to straight theater as well as  television, film and commercials.  Connie starred in the TV series “Undressed” and has shot over two dozen regional and national commercials.  She is a proud member of the First Look Theater Company NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts and can be seen in the feature film “Brooklyn Lobster” starring Danny Aiello and Jane Curtin set to be released this fall. 

Key Crew Biographies

John Eung Soo Kim (Co-Producer)

Actor turned filmmaker, John has directed, produced, shot and edited over 30 films and video shorts as well as numerous television commercials, industrials and cable programs for such clients as The Korea Society, The Arthritis Institute, Planned Parenthood and A&E. A graduate of NYU’s film program, John started his own production company, JESK, in July 2001. 

Todd Liebler (Director of Photography)

Todd Liebler is an award winning cinematographer who is inspired by the collaborative spirit and a compelling story. THE LOVERS is Todd’s second project with Myra and he is excited to continue as part of her team to help realize her vision in her powerful and arresting stories.  Todd studied fine arts/art history before transferring to NYU’s film program in 1982. During those two and a half years, he shot over 20 short films. After graduation, Todd trained as a lens and camera technician at a NYC rental house. in 1986, Todd began freelancing, shooting music videos, commercials, documentaries, shorts and features. He is also a successful still photographer and works extensively with digital and analog video and print. 

Keiko Deguchi (Editor)

Keiko Deguchi came to the U.S. from Japan to study cinema studies at NYU graduate school. After receiving a MA,she started working as an assistant editor on feature films such as Brian de Palma’s Carlito’s Way, Robert Altman’s Kansas City, Nora Ephron’s Michael, among many others. Some of the films  that she edited are Tom DiCillo’s The Real Blonde,  Patrick Stettener’s The Business of Strangers,  and Susan Seidelman’s The Boynton Beach Bereavement Club. She is currently editing Steven Shainberg’s Fur. 

Michael Montes (Composer)

A graduate of Bard College, Michael Montes opened his own commercial music company, Sacred Noise, and is considered to be one of the top composers in the field. Several of his pieces are included in the permanent collection of New York’s Museum of Modern Art. Since that time, he has been able to compose scores for numerous films including Joan Stein’s One Day Crossing which was nominated for an Academy Award in 2001.  In the 21st century, Michael has begun a series of “new music” works. Recently performed by ETHEL, New York’s premiere string quarter, his String Quarter No. 2 was called “An experiment in intensity… a forceful wave of sound” by Allan Kozin of The New York Times.   Michael lives in New York City with his wife Jane Wulf and their son Mario. 

Director’s Statement

THE LOVERS was borne out of two main forces: my abhorrence of any form of violence against another human being and my deep connection to Japan, where I was born and raised.

Although I am not of Japanese descent, my psyche and consciousness are deeply enmeshed with the country: it is my home. Unfortunately, the country that I love so well has yet to truly address and take responsibility for the massive suffering and destruction it caused during the war. The Japanese themselves were victims of their own war machine: 3 million dead by war’s end and hundreds of thousand left stranded and starving by their own leaders. However many young Japanese remain disturbingly ignorant about the war, especially that of their people’s aggressions. To this day, the government continues to censor the truth of the nation’s war past.

THE LOVERS is a story of transformation. My hope is that the film will offer an opportunity to address the unspeakable and create a safe space to begin the discussion so necessary for healing.

Myra Sito Velasquez
– December 2005

The Lovers Press Kit

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