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"Carol Burnett and Dolly Parton's Revival Gives New Life to 1988 Film"

"Tokyo Pop," starring Carrie Hamilton, daughter of comedian Carol Burnett, has been restored after falling into obscurity.

"Tokyo Pop," a film starring Carrie Hamilton, daughter of comedian Carol Burnett, had a successful release in 1988 but eventually faded into obscurity. However, thanks to the efforts of preservation organization IndieCollect and support from backers like Burnett and Dolly Parton, the film has been restored and is now being rereleased. The restoration of "Tokyo Pop" was prompted by a screening at the Japan Society, where Sandra Schulberg of IndieCollect expressed her desire to restore and rerelease the film during a post-screening Q&A session. After a lengthy search for the original elements and financial support, the restoration is finally complete.

Fran Rubel Kuzui, the director of "Tokyo Pop," had not seen the film in three decades and knew little about its fate after its initial release. However, she expressed her excitement at the opportunity to look back on her work, thanks to digital and streaming platforms. Kuzui, who was raised in New York and is married to a Japanese film producer, drew inspiration from her own experiences as a foreigner in Japan for the fish-out-of-water story of "Tokyo Pop." The film follows Wendy, played by Hamilton, a backup singer from New York who travels to Japan and becomes a pop star. Kuzui wanted to avoid portraying Wendy as a gaijin, or foreigner, who relies on Japan for success. She believed that her own success as a director should not be based on any advantages she had as a foreigner.

"Tokyo Pop" was made with a mostly Japanese crew, which was unusual for an American director at the time. Kuzui faced challenges as a woman in a male-dominated industry, with even her calls of "Action!" being perceived as unfeminine shouting. Despite these obstacles, Kuzui persisted and went on to direct another well-known film, "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" (1992). She believes that both "Tokyo Pop" and "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" may receive re-evaluation as audiences revisit films from the 1980s and '90s.

The restoration of "Tokyo Pop" was also driven by the desire to give recognition to Kuzui, who IndieCollect's Sandra Schulberg believed deserved more opportunities and attention as a director. Carol Burnett, Hamilton's mother, recalled the challenges her daughter faced during the filming of "Tokyo Pop," including hair issues caused by the products used in Japan. Despite these difficulties, Burnett is thrilled that her daughter's work will be rediscovered by audiences.

Overall, the restoration of "Tokyo Pop" brings new life to a critically acclaimed film that had fallen into obscurity. The efforts of IndieCollect, along with the support of Burnett and Parton, have ensured that this hidden gem can be enjoyed by audiences once again.

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