SSFF & Asia 2023, the 25th Edition. We are now back at Space O in the Omotesando Hills shopping & dining complex right next to Harajuku. We always feel like this is our 2nd home and it’s both exciting to be back here but also kind of sad as it’s our last venue with 4 days of screenings left in the festival.
We began with the International Program 4 followed by Non-Fiction Program 2 with 2 sets of guests who came to Japan to participate in the post-screening Q&A.
Director Lorenzo Squarcia & his editor Serena Valletta were on hand to talk about their wonderful film “Blue Dots,” the true story of Biagio who sits in Washington Square Park and talks to anyone who’ll listen about Sabine, his one & only true love. It’s a love story for the ages & Lorenzo told us that he just happened to be In Washington Square Park & struck up a conversation with Biagio, got drawn in, & decided on the spot to make a documentary about his story. Although they shoot took only a few days, Serena told us that with all the materials that Biagio had in the form of photos, newspaper clippings, & letters combined with footage of the appropriate time perioeds in the story, the editing took around 2 ½ months to put the film together. A lovely, lovely film about true love.
Next up was director George Yamazawa, a hip-hop artist, who came out for the hip-hop doc about his family’s Japanese restaurant in Durham, North Carolina. The story of his family & the restaurant was very well documented by his father who video-taped everything so he could send the footage back to japan for his family to see. All the trials & tribulations are told in George’s own hip-hop style & he told the audience that his experience making his 1st film opened up a whole new world of creativity.
3 sets of guests were here to represent their films.
Ye-Ram Kim, the director of “School Uniform.” Director Tomoichiro Setsuda brought his 3 actors; Sae Kawakubo, Rina Kamei, & Mutsumi Sato for his film “My Wings Became My Legs.” The 3rd was executive producer Yoshi Iba of WOWOW Actor’s Project to represent Mansai Nomura’s “Tiger Torment.” Mansai is a kyogen (a form of Japanese traditional theater much like kabuki) artist & actor. The film starts hot actor Masataka Kubota & is a stunning piece of work with elements of art, experimental & horror.
You can check out these Q&A’s on our Youtube channel.
Another full day of screenings tomorrow!