X Japan Documentary ‘WE ARE X’ from the producers of ‘Searching for Sugar Man’ celebrates its selection to the 60th BFI London Film Festival


Passion Pictures is delighted to announce that their critically acclaimed documentary ‘We Are X’, a new film about Japan’s most iconic rock band X JAPAN, will celebrate its UK Premiere at the 60th BFI London Film Festival on the 8th & 9th October 2016.

‘We Are X’ was produced by the team behind the Academy Award-winning film, ‘Searching For Sugar Man’, and ‘Listen To Me Marlon’, producer John Battsek (Passion Pictures) alongside renowned director, Stephen Kijak (‘Stones In Exile’, ‘Scott Walker: 30 Century Man’, ‘Backstreet Boys: Show ’em What You’re Made Of’).

‘We Are X’ explores the evolution, groundbreaking history and hopeful future of the Land of the Rising Sun’s most legendary rock group. X JAPAN have sold 30 million singles and albums combined and continue to tour the world performing sold-out shows to massive arenas in 16 countries throughout the US and Europe.

“It’s overwhelming to see the full documentary We Are X, says the band’s co-founder Yoshiki. “Stephen Kijak and John Battsek opened doors, which I shut and never intended to re-open. I didn’t realize that on the other side, dark memories could co-exist with a meaningful future. Audiences will be a witness to our history and future.”

Director Stephen Kijak said:

“To borrow a phrase from my hero (and Yoshiki’s) David Bowie – this film gave me “the gift of sound and vision.” And I’m talking Vision with a capital “V”. Visual Kei. Psychedelic Violence Crimes of Visual Shock. This band has a cinematic universe hardwired into their DNA and the only way to properly explain them or to express the scope of their musical, cultural (and visual) achievements was though the medium of the movies and it has been a supreme honour to be charged with bringing that story to the screen.”

Producer John Battsek added:

“Working with Stephen to enable Yoshiki to reveal his deepest truths was creatively challenging and ultimately deeply rewarding. The trust Yoshiki placed in us is hugely appreciated by us both and we now look forward to watching audiences witness his emotional and dramatic story and that of his band X Japan.”

From X JAPAN’s massive success (over 30 million albums, singles and videos sold) and sold-out tours worldwide, We Are X chronicles the triumphs and tragedies of this legendary quintet who will never give up.”

X JAPAN is: Yoshiki (drums/piano/composer), Toshi (vocals), Pata (guitar), Heath (bass), Sugizo(violin/guitar) alongside their fallen brothers Hide (guitars, 1987-1997) and Taiji (1986-1992).


We Are X will premiere at the 60th BFI London Film Festival on the following dates and will be released in cinemas in 2017:

  • Saturday 8th October 21:00 – Prince Charles Cinema, Leicester Square
  • Sunday 9th October 18:00 – Vue West End Cinema, Screen 7

Tickets for X Japan World Tour 2017 at Wembley on Saturday 4 March are now on sale while tickets for Yoshiki Classical Special featuring Tokyo Philharmonic Orchestra at Carnegie Hall on Thursday 12 January 2017 7.30pm are also on sale.

Passion Pictures films division is a dual Academy Award winning independent production company. They are one of the most successful and prolific producers of feature documentary films in the international marketplace.

Stephen Kijak has been directing both fiction and non-fiction films for close to 20 years. His credits include the critically acclaimed BAFTA-nominated feature documentary, ‘Scott Walker – 30 Century Man’, which was executively produced by David Bowie, as well as the celebrated cult documentary, ‘Cinemania’, and the platinum-selling ‘Stones In Exile, a documentary commissioned by The Rolling Stones and produced by Oscar-winning producer, John Battsek. The film revolved around the making of the Stones’ classic 1972 album, ‘Exile On Main Street’, and premiered as a special screening during the 2010 Directors Fortnight, in Cannes.

In 2012, he teamed with Passion Pictures again and Rob Trujillo from Metallica (making his debut as a film producer) on a feature doc about the late, great legend of bass, Jaco Pastorius.

January 2015 saw the release of a feature documentary Stephen directed for PULSE Films about the biggest-selling boy band of all time, called ‘Backstreet Boys: Show ‘Em What You’re Made Of’.The film broke iTunes’ pre-sale records and was a massive world-wide fan-favourite.

‘We Are X’, is Kijak’s third collaboration with producer John Battsek. The film had its world premiere in the World Documentary Competition of the 2016 Sundance Film Festival where it was awarded a Special Jury Award for Editing.

Kijak is a graduate of Boston University’s College of Communication. He is a lapsed drummer who currently resides in Los Angeles.

John Battsek is the man behind Passion Pictures and is one of the most successful and prolific independent documentary producers in the international marketplace. In 1999 he conceived and produced ‘One Day In September’, about the murder of 11 Israeli athletes at the 1972 Summer Olympics in Munich, which went on to win an Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature, in 2000. He has since been involved in over forty feature documentaries, including ‘Restrepo’; ‘The Tillman Story’; ‘Manhunt’; ‘The Imposter’; and ‘Searching For Sugar Man’.

His most recent productions have been ‘Listen To Me Marlon’, and ‘Winter On Fire’. Battsek has been nominated three times for a PGA Award, and won the prestigious Grierson Trustees Award for Outstanding Contribution to Documentary, in 2013.

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