SSFF & ASIA 2022_Daily Report #2
We’re back! Our “2nd home” in Space O at Omotesando Hills started today, Friday, June 10th & we’ll be here ‘til Sunday June 12th.
We started the day with the Animation Program 1. This program featured 8 shorts
from the Czech Republic, Spain, Poland, Mexico, USA & Japan. This program includes our “Global Spotlight Award” nominated short “The Vandal,” directed by Eddie Alcazar & produced by Darren Aronofsky.
For this program of the day, Director Yusuke Gunji came out o talk about his 10-months in the making “Goodness.” The film’s hero parkours to get to his date on time and the mayhem begins. Yusuke told us that he studied live action footage of various parkour athletes to properly render it into his animated character. Basically a 1-man production, he now works for an animation production company polishing his skills & I’m sure we’re going to be seeing a lot more from this talented young filmmaker.
Our 2nd program of the day, Asia International & Japan Program 2 featured shorts from S. Korea, Myanmar the & Japan. We had 3 sets of guests for the post-screening Q&A.
Director Taishi Shiode brought along his 2 lead actors, producer & actor Sari Tachibana & Meiry Mochizuki for his hilarious “ghost/horror” story “Exorcism Master.” The near full house crowd was laughing when director Shiode told us that producer & lead actor Risa told him that she wanted him to direct a film so everyone would like her! An absolutely delightful short that’s sure to be festival audience favorite.
Next up was director Tetsuya Uesugi who brought 1 of the lead characters, actor Kaho Ito. This wonderful, quiet, short film about 2 friends in Sapporo, one of whom will go to Tokyo to seek a career in the “big city.” He told us that they shot this in Sapporo, the capital city of Hokkaido, the northern most prefecture of Japan, in November, so the weather was big factor. Kaho was a trooper during the all night shoot on the streets downtown especially since director Tetsuya missed the perfect light just before dawn & she had to go through it again the next night in the cold!
The final Q&A guest was the delightful Karin Miyagi, director of the heartful short film about family & culture set in the lovely Okinawa Islands. A big point for her in making this film was the slow loss of the rich, abundant cultural heritage of Okinawa as depicted through the life & eyes of the lead character’s (played by Karin) Grandmother. Karin also told us that the director/actor double-duty was a huge learning experience & she’ll never take it for granted. Looking forward to more great filmmaking from Karin.
Today’s 3rd program was International – 2. We hooked up via zoom to talk with director Benoit Monney in Switzerland for his shirt film about short filmmaking “Action!” A one-take short that show all the perils a director has to go through in a day’s shoot. Everything goes wrong & she goes nuclear. Benoit told us his experiences as a 1st AD was the seed for this comedy of errors. He had 2 days to shoot this; 1 day for rehearsals & I day to shoot. It took 29 takes to get it… all in 1 day! Amazing. He’s back at work on a feature being shot in Switzerland & is already looking forward to making his next film.
The final program of the day was Asia International & Japan, Program 3.
Once again we had 3 sets of guests for the post-screening Q&A.
1st up for the film “Layers” was Exec Producer Megumi who is a star actor herself & she brought her director, Takuya Uchiyama & music creator PES. An absolutely intriguing short about 2 “kids” who get married, have a family & grow old together while physically still being children except for their faces & hair which through skilled make-up & VFX work looks quite amazing. Megumi told the audience that her 1st experience as producer was a huge learning experience & praised her director for his attention to detail & music creator for creating the perfect songs to fit particular scenes & moments. The shoot took 3 days but 6 months was spent in preparation.
Next for the film “Water & Fish,” director Hina Murata brought her 2 lead actors, Kotaro Kishimizu & Shunpei Hosoi who play 2 junior high school best friends who soon will have to part ways. She felt that a woman’s view would be the right touch
To tell the story of two young boys who reach an early turning point in their lives & it shows in the depiction of the 2 friends that’s done with a subtle but very emotional touch. Hina told the us that this was a school graduation project & it was all shot on location in the Kyoto area. All 3 are in their early 20’s, Hina just turned 20, & if the film is any indication, we’ll have a lot more to look forward to from her.
Finally, 2 producers from major satellite & cable TV station WOWOW talked about their film “Communication To Be Understood.” Their Actor’s Short Film Project is in it’s 2nd edition & once again they gathered some of the hottest young actors to give them an opportunity to direct a film with the support of WOWOW. Just a couple of basic rules: 2days only to shoot, they must appear in the film themselves, & they all have the same budget to work with. A great project that’s produced some stunning short films. This one was directed by Atsuko Maeda, who had reached her 1st peak as one of the lead members of the prominent J-pop girl idol group AKB48 before “retiring” to break into the entertainment world as actress & “talento.” Her film is an over-the-top comedy that drew energetic performances from her 2 leads, Elisa Yanagai & Takahiko Miura. The producers praised Atsuko’s vision & her uncompromising style in getting the performance that she wanted form her actors.
A great day at our 1st day here at Omotesando Hills right next to Harajuku with great turnouts & very interesting Q&A’s.
Back here again tomorrow for another day of screening.
SSFF & ASIA 2022 Official Competition Sponsor
Japan Visualmedia Translation Academy