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The Empty Mirror

In 1958, a tall, brown-eyed European, Janwillem van de Wetering, arrives in Kyoto, Japan, where he spends time in a Zen monastery seeking to discover the meaning of life.

“What is the purpose of life?” he asks. The Master replies without hesitation, “Life is a joke.”

The work is a film adaptation based on an autobiographical book of the same name, published in 12 languages throughout Europe and the United States. The main character, Janwillem, is on a journey of self-discovery, unfolding through rigorous training, hardships, and highly unusual encounters that change his perspective forever. This experience transforms every aspect of Janwillem’s real life and provides the foundation for his successful career as a writer.

“The empty mirror,” he said. “If you could really understand that, there would be nothing left here for you to look for.”

The coronavirus era has changed our lives forever. Working from home and social restrictions have become commonplace. Fear of contracting the disease forced people to learn to live a “new normal.”

Before the pandemic, many stayed busy with work to avoid spending time alone. Corona forced people to slow down and “think.” and have more conversations with the ‘self.’ As a result, many changed their lives. Some quit their jobs and searched for new careers. Others got married, had children, and some got divorced. This predicament forced people to make decisions they would likely have avoided forever. In the same way, Janwillem, removed from his comfort zone, finds himself discovering previously unknown elements of his character and takes a new direction he would never have considered before.

In an exotic setting, with language barriers and cultural clashes, through failures and sometimes humorous mistakes, Janwillem invites audiences to reveal answers to questions they would never think to ask.

Audiences are also fascinated by the journey of an outsider who chooses to enter a different culture. Watching Janwillem’s experience, they learn about the life of monks from a completely different perspective. With its simple and passionate narrative, the film will make you smile as you renew life’s magical moments.

Production Information

Amerigo Japan Co, Ltd. has completed a portion of the initial funding, and the production team is aiming for international co-production and seeking additional capital from Japanese companies and individual investors.


Luca Costa


Amerigo Japan Co. Ltd


HD, color,
~110 minutes


Arun Kumar
Edward Robin
Luca Costa


Spring 2023 
(4 weeks)


End of 2023

Director’s Bio

Luca Costa has been a director, a writer, a producer, and an actor in Los Angeles since 2000. Currently residing in Tokyo, Japan, he is the President of Amerigo Film, Inc. in Los Angeles and CEO of Amerigo Japan Co., Ltd. in Tokyo.

As a director and producer, he has worked on over 1000 projects, including commercials, industrials, short films, documentaries, and feature films. And as an actor, his credits include the musical “Nine,” directed by Rob Marshall, and Columbia Pictures film “Angels and Demons,” directed by Ron Howard, starring Tom Hanks.

He is currently co-producing the 20th Century Studios feature film “Chippendales,” starring Dev Patel, Seth Rogen, and Elle Fanning, directed by Craig Gillespie.