Cutie and The Boxer

: Documentary
GENRE: Comedy
STATUS: Post-Production


A reflection on love, sacrifice, and the creative spirit, this candid New York tale explores the chaotic forty year marriage of famed boxing painter Ushio Shinohara and artist Noriko Shinohara.



At 80, Ushio continues to pursue the art he crafted 50 years ago. After his Tribeca show flops and no work is sold, he becomes increasingly desperate to establish his legacy in the final years of his life. Meanwhile, his wife Noriko emerges from the shadow of her over-bearing husband and blossoms as an independent artist in her own right.



Five years ago, I began shooting this film as a meditation on love and the creative spirit set in New York City. I was immediately engrossed in Ushio and Noriko’s colorful world, where the lines between art and life are often blurred. I took an observational approach, allowing the complexities and subtleties of their relationship and history to unfold naturally. The rich, textured cinematography and sound design embodies the purposeful way in which they live, and brings the dynamism of their work to the screen. The force of Ushio’s dedication to his own artistic legacy and Noriko's struggle to free herself from her husband's needs, is endlessly complicated, at times painful, yet ultimately inspirational. This film frames their story within animated versions of Noriko’s comic-style drawings documenting her challenging past with Ushio. The unique structure quietly echoes Noriko’s use of her art to cope with and understand her own past. My goal is to absorb the audience in the raw spirit and beauty that emanates from my subjects, to open a door onto the creative and very private world where the rhythms of the Shinoharas’ lives play out.



Zachary Heinzerling - Director

Zachary Heinzerling has worked on several documentaries for HBO, including three Emmy-Award winners, as a Field Producer and DP. Other DP credits include films for MTV, Pitchfork, and PBS.

Lydia Dean - Executive Producer

 Lydia Dean Pilcher has produced over 27 feature films, most recently The Reluctant Fundamentalist, based on the highly acclaimed novel by Mohsin Hamid, directed by Mira Nair.

Sierra Pettengill - Producer

 Sierra Pettengill has worked on several films for PBS as an Associate Producer, including the Emmy-nominated Walt Whitman, as well as Triangle Fire and Buffalo Bill.

David Teague - Editor

David Teague edited Cynthia Wade’s 2008 Academy Award Winning documentary Freeheld. He also edited Jennifer Redfearn’s Sun Come Up which was nominated for an Academy Award in 2010. 


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UPDATE - January 09, 2013

 We are excited to announce that we recently received support from the Jerome Foundation.

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