Worn out from reading too much into different situations, and unable to get along well with people, that’s Asperger’s syndrome Ma-chan. Having the appearance of understanding, but filled with agony inside, that’s me, the film director. From some petty misunderstandings, our relationship becomes strained, but, is it because of her Asperger’s? Or is it a problem with me? We have to try to understand each other...I have to try to be a good person...Ah, but! In order to stay friends with Ma-chan, I turned the camera on us, and began filming, but the answer I arrived at was, I quit being “friends”.

Four years after the film director, Ayako Imamura, who was born deaf, thoroughly exposed her own difficulties with communication barriors in the film “Start Line”, she now faces further complications. Can two different people really understand each other? What does it mean to be a “friend”? What does “normal” mean? Throwing out the troublesome and limiting concept of “common sense”, she tries to act more freely and lightly to connect her heart to someone else. There is pain and frustration, but this is a story of the peace of mind that results from the “differences” between her and Ma-chan.

Directing/Filming/Editing Ayako Imamura

Until now, I have always thought of myself as being in the “non-hearing” minority,
and have lived my life by looking at everything from that perspective.
But from Asperger’s syndrome Ma-chan’s point of view, I have a “normal brain”,
and am in the majority.
I’ve hardly ever had the experience of being in the “majority”.
By being friends with Ma-chan,
I became confused about how I should behave.
At that time, I was troubled and conflicted, so I decided to “film” Ma-chan.
This was so I could figure out how we could continue to be friends and get along.
I thought I could film us and watch our interaction as a film, edit it,
and look at our relationship objectively.
This was how “I quit, being “friends”” was born.

Many people think that they want to be
a good _________ (friend, family member, partner, etc.).
But aren’t too many people trying too hard to play their part.
In fact, I thought I had to do whatever I could to be a good friend,
but I was trying too hard and finally exploded...
This film shows how I untied the bonds of “I have to be a very good _________”
that I had tied myself up with, and I would be very happy if this film will help those
who see it re-examine their own personal relationships with others.
Ayako Imamura

Born: Nagoya, Japan
President of Studio AYA
Graduated from: Toyohashi School for the Deaf
Graduated from: Aichi University of Education
Studied: the Film Industry, American Sign Language and Deaf Culture at California State University, Northridge while attending Aichi University.

Presently: Teaching Sign Language at Aichi Gakuin University, and making documentary movies, not only in Japan, but also filming in the USA, Canada, and Korea. Currently showing her movies and giving lectures all over Japan.

“Coffee and Pencil” Official Website
“The Connecting Bridge” Official Website
“Start Line” Official Website