Ryuhei Kitamura is a Japanese filmmaker. After dropping out of high school at age 17, Kitamura was accepted to the Australian School of Visual Arts to study filmmaking. While at school he made the highly acclaimed short film EXIT. After graduation, he returned to Japan and established the independent film production company Napalm Films.
In 1997 Kitamura made his big Japanese theater debut with the film noir Heat after Dark. The film Versus (2000) got Kitamura mainstream attention for itâ€™s intense horror-comedy-martial arts action plot, eventually earning a cult following. Versus also received an award for Best Direction at the 2001 Fantafestival.
He then directed Alive in 2002, a slow paced sci-fi horror film about a prisoner who is subjected to bizarre experiments in order to avoid execution. Some of Kitamuraâ€™s other works include a segment of the omnibus film Jam Films (2002), the television series Sukai hai (2003), the samurai movie Aragami (2003), the comic book based Azumi (2003). The 2004 Godzilla 50th anniversary project Godzilla Final Wars was Kitamuraâ€™s first film to premiere in Hollywood. That same year he directed the music documentary Sakurajima (2004) and the action short Longinus (2004). He then helmed the comic-based action film LoveDeath and the television romance movie Romance Novel, both in 2006.
Kitamura made his American film directing debut in 2008 with Midnight Meat Train, based on a short horror story by Clive Barker. The film, starring Vinnie Jones, Bradley Cooper and Leslie Bibb, told the story of a New York photographer who hunts down a serial killer.