Erik Shirai modestly describes himself as a Japanese American, born and raised in the US with current residence in Brooklyn. He began working on film sets as a lighting technician, patiently working his work up to becoming a cinematographer, eventually working on the Emmy award-winning series No Reservations with Anthony Bourdain. He spent his formative years immersed in painting and photography. “I learn from working with my peers on films sets and surround myself with people I respect,” he says. Erik’s food films, “Eye What You Eat”, were featured at the TED conference in New York in 2012. He most recently received The Best Documentary Director Special Jury Mention at Tribeca Film Festival for his feature film ‘The Birth of Saké’, which is currently showing on Netflix. The film also won Best Documentary Film at the 2016 Palm Springs International Film Festival and was also an Official Selection at the San Sebastian Film Festival.
Erik says he wants to explore lifestyle campaigns that feature humans imparting their knowledge and sacrifice to making a superior product. He likes branding that highlights artisans and their craft, be it building cars or baking bread.