Work: Twin Brains Films

Hometown: Montréal, Canada; Ville-Marie, Canada

Arrived: 2016

The co-founders of production house Twin Brain Films find plenty of work opportunities in Tokyo – and hope the 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games will bring more.

Freelance producer Janie Chartier and portrait photographer Xavier Tera have lived in Los Angeles, Paris, London and New York, and travel the world for work. In 2015 they went to Tokyo on holiday and Chartier fell in love with the city. “I told Xavier, ‘I could live here,’” she says. “He said, ‘Let’s do it!’” A year later they made their move.
They were pleasantly surprised by what they discovered. For such a densely populated metropolis, Tokyo turned out to be a lot quieter and less hectic than they had imagined. “It’s clean, calm and organised,” says Tera. They had also expected Tokyo to be expensive. “We thought the cost of living was going to be similar to New York or London but, surprisingly, it’s much cheaper,” says Chartier. The same can be said about the city’s restaurants. “The quality of the food for the price is unheard of,” Chartier says.
As co-founders of production house Twin Brains Films, Chartier and Tera quickly built up an impressive roster of clients – even though they don’t speak much Japanese. “Most of our clients are foreign companies wanting to produce content in Japan but we have also worked for some Japanese magazines and brands, which was the ultimate goal in coming here,” says Tera. With the Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games coming to the city in 2020, he is optimistic about the future: “We see more and more opportunities in the market.”