Kusama: Infinity

Documentary Film and Director Q&A
Sponsored by JM Family Enterprises

A film by Heather Lenz

Run Time:  80 min.

Release Date  2018

Rating: Not Rated

Kusama – Infinity explores artist Yayoi Kusama’s journey from a conservative upbringing in Japan to her brush with fame in America during the 1960s (where she rivaled Andy Warhol for press attention) and concludes with the international fame she has finally achieved within the art world.  Now in her 90s, Kusama has spent the last 30 years living in a mental institution in Japan.

Artist Yayoi Kusama next to her “Dot Car” (1965) in KUSAMA – INFINITY. Photo credit: Harrie Verstappen. Photo courtesy of Magnolia Pictures.

Kusama – Infinity is a feature documentary about Yayoi Kusama. The film explores Kusama’s fierce determination to become a world-renowned artist. Kusama was born into a conservative family in rural Japan and she made her way to America on the heels of WWII. There, without connections and speaking only broken English, she devoted herself to her one true love, making art.

On her first day in New York, Kusama has stated that she climbed to the top of the Empire State Building, looked down upon the city below, and made a decision to stand out from everyone she saw below and become a star.

Photo by Amanda Majors

Director, Writer, and Producer Heather Lenz is passionate about documentaries and biography films. She is particularly drawn to stories about people with creative minds who have not walked the beaten path. Her first short documentary, about a bicycle inventor, Back to Back, was nominated for a student Academy Award and screened in film festivals worldwide.

Her first feature film, KUSAMA: INFINITY, premiered at Sundance in January of 2018. KUSAMA-INFINITY explores the obstacles that artist Yayoi Kusama had to overcome (including sexism, racism, and mental illness) on her path to becoming the top selling, living female artist in the world.

Director Heather Lenz and artist Yayoi Kusama in KUSAMA – INFINITY, directed by Heather Lenz. © Tokyo Lee Productions, Inc. Courtesy of Magnolia Pictures.

Lenz was nominated for a Critics’ Choice Award for best first time director for her work on the KUSAMA-INFINITY. Magnolia acquired the US rights and released the film theatrically.

The film also has world-wide distribution. Details at: www.kusamainfinity.com. Lenz earned her MFA in Cinema and Television Production from USC. She also has undergraduate degrees in Art History and Fine Arts and completed a certificate program in Permaculture (sustainable agriculture) at The Ecology Center. Recently, Lenz began programming documentary films by women for The Secret Movie Club and will moderate Q&As with the directors after the screenings.

Artist Yayoi Kusama in the Orez Gallery in the Hague, Netherlands (1965) in KUSAMA – INFINITY. Photo credit: Harrie Verstappen. Photo courtesy of Magnolia Pictures.

Portrait of Yayoi Kusama in her studio. Image © Yayoi Kusama. Courtesy of David Zwirner, New York; Ota Fine Arts, Tokyo/Singapore/Shanghai; Victoria Miro, London; YAYOI KUSAMA Inc.

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