Documentary specialist Submarine Entertainment is aboard to co-produce and co-finance feature doc Kusama: A Life In Polka Dots about the titular Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama. The company will partner with Dogwoof on international sales. Heather Lenz is writing, directing and producing the story of Kusama’s turbulent quest to become a world famous artist. In the 1960s, she rivaled Warhol for press attention but hallucinations of polka dots and struggles against sexism and racism eventually led her to the Tokyo mental institution she has called home for over 30 years. After decades of working in obscurity she eventually became the first woman to represent Japan in the Venice Biennale in 1993. In 2008, her work broke an auction record at Christie’s for a living female artist, and in 2012, her Louis Vuitton clothing line launched. At Kusuma’s most recent show in Mexico City, it’s estimated 2.5M people attended and the museum had to remain open 36 hours straight during the final weekend to accommodate the crowds.
Submarine’s credits include Oscar-nominated docs Citizenfour and Finding Vivian Maier. With Dogwoof, they have previously partnered on such films as Marina Abramovic The Artist Is Present, Blackfish, Dior & I, and Bill Cunningham New York. Submarine’s David Koh and Dan Braun and Karen Johnson will also serve as producers of A Life In Polka Dots with Lenz. Delivery is expected by the 4th quarter of this year.