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AKT Pictures Unveils A-List Cast for Second Funding Round of ‘When I Was a Human’ Film

Danny Trejo and Rebecca De Mornay Among Notable Talent Attached, Blending Hollywood Iconism and Dog-Centric Appeal for Wefunder Campaign

LOS ANGELES, July 19, 2023 /PRNewswire/ — AKT Pictures is announcing newly attached A-list talent, including Danny Trejo and Rebecca De Mornay, for today’s launch of the second funding round for their film When I Was a Human, based on the critically acclaimed short film of the same title, written, and directed by Akemi Kozu Tosto. The Wefunder campaign is now open and accepting stakeholder investor contributions. A growing trend, filmmakers are finding enthusiastic partners around the globe interested in this model, different from traditional crowdfunding. Investors purchase a stake in the funding of the project to receive a share of the company’s profits, rather than a traditional return on their investment. This format is in response to the desire for fresh, original entertainment with substance – a void many feel in contemporary movie offerings. A study based on 3,000 titles shows the most profitable family films feature uplifting stories with dogs.

Building on the successful first round on Wefunder, the production now features name talent including Hollywood icon & rescue dog activist Danny Trejo (Machete, Spy Kids, Desperado), Rebecca De Mornay (Risky Business, Backdraft, The Hand That Rocks the Cradle), Molly Quinn (We’re The Millers), Adam Hagenbuch (Fuller House), Alex MacNicoll (Transparent), and Ken’ichi Endo (voice of Groot, Guardians of the Galaxy in Japan). 

The short film version of When I Was a Human, also written and directed by Akemi, is currently available worldwide through Shorts International, the official short film distributor of the Academy of Motion Pictures and Sciences. Akemi is the first female filmmaker from Japan to have an original short film distributed by Shorts and is dedicated to continuing the pursuit of more diverse talent both in front of and behind the camera.

Akemi shares, “Investing in this project means supporting the importance of equality and inclusion in the world of production. This truly original independent film has built-in universal appeal and a dedicated fan base. Dogs are staples of family films, and it has been proven time and time again that movies with dogs in leading roles are not only successful but also enjoy popularity for a very long time.” 

Akemi has been involved in over 100 films and TV productions for over 20+ years since moving to the US. She’s also the first filmmaker from Japan to successfully raise capital on Wefunder for a film project.

In a similar vein to box office successes including Big, Freaky Friday, The Peanut Butter Falcon, 13 Going on 30, and Yesterday, classic examples of the “fish out of water” trope, and dog-centric films such as Air Bud, My Dog Skip, and A Dog’s Journey, When I Was a Human is the story of an adopted pup that magically turns into a young man and discovers himself and his love for his owner along the way.

A joint Hollywood/Japan production with existing distribution relationships, Akemi is partnered with Tyler Condon, founder of CinemaWays, with a career spanning work for Discovery, Nat Geo, Animal Planet, and Comedy Central. He joined Sneak Preview Entertainment, known for 500 Days of Summer, as Director of Development, co-producing films like the Valley Girl remake and The Prank. Maho Morita is Akemi’s trusted right-hand person and a producing partner in Japan. Maho had an early introduction to the film industry growing up as a favorite niece of world-renowned film director, the late Nagisa Oshima. Her networking skills and the work as a film journalist and critic are also essential to the film’s success. 

To learn more and get involved please visit:

Media Contact:
Andrea McKinnon
[email protected] 


Originally published at
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