(San Francisco, CA) — Jiro Dreams of Sushi, directed by David Gelb, is the story of 85- year-old Jiro Ono, considered by many to be the world’s greatest sushi chef. He is the proprietor of Sukiyabashi Jiro, a 10-seat restaurant inauspiciously located in a Tokyo subway station. Despite its humble appearances, it is the first restaurant of its kind to be awarded a prestigious three-star Michelin Guide rating, and sushi lovers from around the globe make repeated pilgrimages, calling months in advance and shelling out top dollar for a coveted seat at Jiro’s sushi bar. A thoughtful and elegant meditation on work, family, and the art of perfection, Jiro Dreams of Sushi premieres on Independent Lens, hosted by Stanley Tucci, on Monday, December 23, 2013, 10:00 to 11:30pm ET on PBS (check local listings).
For most of his life, Jiro has been mastering the art of making sushi, but even at his advanced age he still strives for perfection, working from sunrise to well beyond sunset to taste every piece of fish, meticulously train his employees, and carefully mold and finesse the impeccable presentation of each sushi creation. At the heart of this story is Jiro’s relationship with his eldest son Yoshikazu, the worthy heir to Jiro’s legacy, who is unable to live up to his full potential in his father’s shadow.
Filmmaker Gelb’s frequent family trips to Japan while growing up led to his fascination and admiration for the art of making sushi. Once he met chef Jiro and ate the most delicious sushi of his life, he knew that Jiro would be a fine subject for a film. But Gelb saw more in Jiro than his culinary technique; his admiration extended to the chef’s philosophy, which elevated him to another level of greatness. “I want to show people that sushi is so much more than putting fish on rice,” said Gelb. “Jiro has created an art form, and his philosophy is to always improve your craft, to always look ahead to the future. That is something anyone can relate to.”
Visit the Jiro Dreams of Sushi companion website (http://www.pbs.org/independentlens/jiro-dreams-of-sushi/) which features information about the film, including an interview with Gelb and links and resources pertaining to the film’s subject matter. The site also features a Talkback section for viewers to share their ideas and opinions, preview clips of the film and more.
About the Filmmaker
David Gelb (Director/Producer), originally from New York City, now works and lives in Los Angeles. After graduating from USC’s film production program, Gelb worked on various music videos, short films, and documentaries. Jiro Dreams of Sushi is his first full-length feature film. Most recently he completed his debut narrative feature film, a sci-fi horror film currently titled Reawakening, starring Olivia Wilde and Mark Duplass. The film was produced by Jason Blum and will be released by Lionsgate.
Director and Producer: David Gelb
Executive Producer: Matthew Weaver
Producer: Kevin Iwashima & Tom Pellegrini
Executive Producers: Joey Carey & Stefan Nowecki
Executive Producers: Chris Kelly & Jennifer Kelly
Editor: Brandon Driscoll-Luttringer
Co-Executive Producers: Ross Dinerstein Jeremy Umland & Ed Odjana
About Independent Lens
Independent Lens is an Emmy® Award-winning weekly series airing on PBS. The acclaimed anthology series features documentaries united by the creative freedom, artistic achievement, and unflinching visions of independent filmmakers. Presented by Independent Television Service (ITVS), the series is funded by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB), a private corporation funded by the American people, with additional funding from PBS and the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. The senior series producer is Lois Vossen. More information at www.pbs.org/independentlens. Join Independent Lens on Facebook at www.facebook.com/independentlens.