Looking back at the year that was 2022 now three months into 2023 feels somewhat akin to returning home after going on holiday for a few weeks. Nothing has really changed. Everything is right where they had been prior to departing. A review of the “creative resolutions” made in the 2021 Year In Review is all one needs to corroborate this fact.
1) A refresh of the design, something I’ve been thinking about since 2019.
There have been no improvements to the site’s design, not even a fresh coat of paint. The backend platform which allowed the current site to remain live at the same time changes were being made on a “test” site mandated an upgrade in current services at a substantial increase to current costs. All things considered, a design refresh is still possible without the upgrade, but that would mean taking the site offline while changes are being made. Therefore, in order to prevent an extended downtime of the site, a significant time investment needs to be dedicated to the redesign work; this has–as of late–been easier to say than do.
2) Publishing 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.
Editorially speaking, this should have been the priority before any considerations for cosmetic changes. The content of Indievisual should be first and foremost. Translating the directors’ remaining responses and updating their interviews does not require any downtime to the site. The work could have been done in piecemeal over the course of the year, but as the recurring theme of 2021 had been, and now 2022 as well, dedicating the time to do so has been a challenge.
3) Publishing one interview (maybe two), preferably with a well-known filmmaker. One per year will likely be the established pace from now on.
Not a single interview was published nor even performed. The only interview planned was postponed late in the year while the schedule was still being arranged. No other filmmaker had even been considered as a contingency so 2022 came to end with Nakano Ryota’s interview gracing the top of the site for a third consecutive year. Thankfully, the filmmaker who had to postpone has reached out to express their availability therefore it is possible the interview will go in to production this year. This time there is a backup filmmaker in mind and all that remains is dedicating the time to conduct either interview.
4) Maintain the current pace of Backstory and Eye On posts.
Six new entries focusing on women filmmakers for International Women’s Day were published to the Eye On section. On Backstory, a rundown of Japanese movies making appearances at international and local film festivals, plus an impression of Nakanishi Mai’s Swallow were published. Though just the bare minimum, at least this one resolution was fulfilled. The irony that this article is being written on International Women’s Day 2023 while this year’s line up has yet to be decided is certainly not lost on this author. Moreover, research for the follow-up to the article highlighting the first half of the 2022 festival season has finally been completed even as the 2023 season has begun in full-swing. These new entires will be published. It’s a matter of “when”.
Other highlights for 2022 include Plan 75 director, Hayakawa Chie, and local distributor Happinet Phantom Studios allowing me to screen the movie shortly after its debut in Cannes. My thoughts on it were published only recently, therefore I am immensely grateful for their patience. The movie will eventually be released in more English speaking markets and perhaps the article, belated as it may have been, will still serve a purpose.
I was also finally able to meet Nakanishi Mai. We had made numerous attempts to schedule a casual meet-up since the release of Hana, but the opportunities never materialized. Meeting filmmakers in person in order to “break the ice” as the saying goes and get acquainted with them is certainly preferable–and most likely the norm for most–but often difficult to achieve in the case of yours truly. Ms. Nakanishi was friendly and open as we conversed about movie and non-movie related topics. Additionally, since she is often abroad developing, pitching, or shooting projects, our inaugural meeting also served as a photo session for her eventual interview (spoiler alert).
Finally, there was one script translation job completed at a special request for a friend. Obviously, details can not be divulged at this time, but it is always an honor to be asked to translate the latest script by the particular filmmaker. How the project develops from written page to released movie is going to be fascinating to observe.
So, what’s ahead for Indievisual in 2023? Frankly, there is no answer to that question; nor will the notion of setting specific goals be entertained. Articles will be written as often as they can be written. One may have noticed the running theme for the preceding paragraphs has been “time.” There are more life changes in the offing which will certainly consume a large majority of said commodity. However, the desire to write, and the yearning to trumpet Japanese indie filmmakers and their work are once again spurring the willingness to make time for writing. As a writer that is probably the only reason to create content; having a passion for communicating with the audience, not guilting oneself into attracting their attention.