IFC to Have Exclusive Theatrical Premiere of “The Birth of Saké”


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The Birth of Saké ©Cebu Osani Creative & Imakoko Media

The Birth of Saké

Beginning Friday, March 18 at 12:35 p.m.

IFC Center – 323 Sixth Avenue at West Third Street

Tickets: $14/$10 seniors and children/$10 IFC members

In a world where most mass-produced goods are heavily automated, a small group of artisans must brave unusual working conditions to preserve a 2,000-year-old tradition that we have come to know as sake.

Directed by New York-based filmmaker Erik Shirai, The Birth of Saké is a cinematic documentary that reveals the story of passionate sake makers and what it takes to make world-class sake at Yoshida Brewery, a 144-year-old family-owned small brewery in northern Japan. The workers at Yoshida Brewery are an eclectic cast of characters, ranging from 20 to 70 years old. As a vital part of this cast that must live and work for a six-month period through the brutal winter, charismatic veteran brewmaster Yamamoto (65) and the brewery’s sixth-generation heir, Yasuyuki Yoshida (27), are keepers of this tradition, and are the main characters who bring the narrative forward. Currently, stiff competition and the eventual retirement of experienced workers intensify the pressure of preserving quality of taste, tradition and brand reputation for Yoshida Brewery. As craftsmen who must dedicate their whole lives to the making of this world-class sake, their private sacrifices are often sizable and unseen.


The Birth of Saké received a Special Jury Mention, Best New Documentary Director at the Tribeca Film Festival and the John Schlesinger Award for Debut Documentary at the Palm Springs International Film Festival.

The filmmakers will appear for Q&A sessions for the 8:05 shows on Friday and Saturday.

For screen times and to purchase tickets, please visit IFC Center’s website.