Recent, Side Story

2021 Year-in-Review

2021 Year-In-Review Main Image

Instead of publishing a year-in-review article at the outset of 2021, I wrote an article compiling together information which had gone neglected over the previous year, but were still worthy of attention. My workload in 2020 necessitated putting Indievisual on the back burner so often the article was warranted. The only interview published then was for Nakano Ryota which has now graced the “Latest Interview” splash at the top of the site for two years!

Unfortunately, with 2021 being similarly busy (a little less than 2020) no new interviews were published last year though one had been scheduled before the director had to cancel for personal reasons. I still do hope to interview this director sometime in the future. I did, however, manage speak with director Nakanishi Mai and write a feature about her experience shooting her latest horror short movie, Swallow. Ms. Nakanishi’s ability to speak English negated the necessity to translate our dialogue thus allowing for a quick production of the article which went live in October.

Year-in-Review Swallo Still
Vera Chen in Swallow | © SWALLOW Film Partners

2021 was also the year I broke my three year streak of reporting on the Osaka Asian Film Festival’s Indie Forum section. Despite online screening availability to the press, there was no way to work into my schedule viewing and writing my impressions on the program’s ten titles without a loss of quality. Therefore I decided to not to cover the section in 2021. In lieu of the usual coverage I thought an article just providing an overview of the titles would be at least be better than nothing at all, but by the time I could entertain the possibility of writing it, months had already gone by and thus became a moot point. I hope I will be able to do one or the other this year now that the festival’s March 9th thru 20th dates are approaching.

Year-in-Review OAFF 2022 Poster Image
2022 Osaka Asian Film Festival Poster

The Eye On section increased by 12 movies in 2021 aided by a focus on themes such as International Women’s Day (published on time to coincide with the actual day for the first time), as well as the interesting representations of disability in Japanese movies. On Backstory, five new posts were added, mostly trailers and links to other articles, while one was the second part on the story behind the Indievisual masthead. Though statistically content creation plummeted in 2021, I am incredibly proud of the massive special report canvassing 25 filmmakers for their views on the impact COVID-19 had on them in 2020 and their filmmaking moving forward. Conceived in mid-January and finally published on July 4th, the article took a great deal of effort–both text and graphics, much appreciated cooperation from the filmmakers, and assistance from director Fujimura Akiyo who helped me round out the roster of female directors. Perhaps around two-thirds of the participants were either filmmakers with whom I’d been in contact previously and hoped to write about in the future, or filmmakers to whom I had been introduced for the first time. Communicating with them for this article established a personal rapport which I hope will make “breaking the ice” less awkward some time down the road when I offer to interview them.

Year-in-Review Theater Marquee Still
Photo by Edwin Hooper via Unsplash

However, that road has veered toward a new course. 2021 was also a year of succumbing to stress-related health issues necessitating a rethink of my personal well-being. I certainly appreciated the work, but 22 years of navigating the pitfalls of being a freelancer finally took their toll. As a result, I decided to grab an opportunity to shift from doing freelance writing/translation to taking on full-time employment–a return to my roots as a graphic artist. With a 40 hour per week schedule, the time I have to devote to Indievisual content is going to be further truncated–most likely restricted to free time on weekends only after “life stuff.” 

Let me be clear, Indievisual will continue, but new content is going to be far less frequent, a trend which has already been happening in recent years. But 2022 is also the 5th anniversary of Indievisual and therefore I want to do something special, even if there may be less, for the site. Following are some of my creative resolutions for Indievisual in 2022:

  1. A refresh of the design, something I’ve been thinking about since 2019.
  2. Publish the full versions of the interviews currently on the site. Creating and selling PDF magazines is no longer necessary so I want the complete interviews to be online. Moving forward, interviews will feature all 25 questions I ask the filmmakers.
  3. Publish one interview (maybe two), preferably with a very well-known filmmaker. One per year will likely be the established pace from now on.
  4. Publish Eye On posts for International Women’s Day and one other themed update.

Like any other “New Year Resolutions,” the point of making them, and putting them out for the public to see, is to set the challenge for myself on how many will I actually realize in the next twelve months. At the beginning of 2023, I will either be proud of accomplishing my goals, or consoling myself by claiming that making the effort was just as important. I hope you will follow along until then to find out which will be the case.

Best wishes to you all for a fruitful and fulfilling 2022.