Side Story

A Look Back

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Indievisual went live in April of 2017. It’s been ten months since then and the journey has been amazing. It began with being invited to the Osaka Asian Film Festival as a member the press. The invitation was an incredible honor given Indievisual had yet to go live, but made me feel legitimate and therefore only elevated my motivation to forge ahead with my, then, “crazy idea.”

I attended the festival and once again felt that creative energy from a smaller, more intimate event like the Osaka Asian Film Festival where you’re able to directly interact with the guest filmmakers. I had the distinct pleasure of meeting and speaking with Indie Forum directors Tanaka Jun, Sato Yoshinori, Ronan Girre, Segawa Koji, Matsumura Shingo, Taniguchi Kohei, Kimura Asagi, Igarashi Akiko, and Tanaka Yoichi as well as reuniting with Miyazaki Daisuke after having not seen him for a while. Furthermore, as it pertains to Indievidual specifically, I made friends with other journalists such as Asia In Cinema’s Kevin Ma, Easternkicks’ Andy Heskins, and Kato Kenta whose work and encouragement continue to influence what I do. Then there were the actors, staff, and producers in attendance such as Harakiri Films’ Imai Taro, who I’d known online, but met only for the first time during the festival. These encounters reinforced for me the importance of what Indievisual aims to accomplish: to put a human face to an all too often title-oriented industry, and help these filmmakers connect with people around the world.

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Scenes from and people met at the 2017 OAFF, ©Indievisual

To that effect, I was able to publish five interviews starting with 100 Meter Film principal directors, John Williams and Shiozaki Shohei. Williams is currently putting the finishing touches on his latest, The Proceedings. Miyazaki Daisuke has since directed a video installation piece called Specters and Tourists for the ArtScience Museum in conjunction with the Singapore International Film Festival while Yamato (California) continues to be screened at festivals across the globe. The filmmaking team at Supersaurus, producer Ochiai Atsuko and director Sakaguchi Katsumi are hard at work on upcoming projects. I have been told about these, but I will need to be given an official green light to publicize the information. Nishikawa Fumie was incredibly generous with her time for her feature image photo shoot considering she is a working mother of two. Her enthusiasm for filmmaking was very evident then and I am confident it will only be a matter of time before she will write and direct a new movie. Ogata Takaomi was the final interview published in 2017, timed (somewhat) to coincide with the world premiere of The Hungry Lion at the Tokyo International Film Festival. The film was invited to the International Film Festival Rotterdam for its international premiere. Ogata already has follow-up projects in motion and I’ll be sure to cover them when he is ready to promote them.

Aside from interviews, I published three features. The centerpiece was a massive write-up on the Osaka Asian Film Festival, covering its history, development, the increasing role it plays in the local independent film industry including its association with the Cineaste Osaka Organization (CO2), plus an overview of the movies I watched in the Indie Forum section. Though a long read, the article is meant to be referred to in subsequent write-ups about the Indie Forum which can just focus on the movies themselves now that all the information about the festival has already been established. Another feature is the first and-so-far-only contribution from a guest writer, director Tsujioka Masato’s recollection of his experiences at the Cannes Film Market. The third feature was a profile on SKIP City D-Cinema International Film Festival Programming Director, Hasegawa Toshiyuki. I’m hoping to write more profiles on other professionals in various functions across the independent film industry as well as having guests contribute articles on topics of their choosing.

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Posters and Stills of the movies covered in Caught Our Eye

Finally, there were 15 movies featured in the Caught Our Eye section. At the end of the year, this averaged out to less than two per month. Considering the long list of titles I have yet to write about, the figure is somewhat disappointing. However, I am relatively pleased with the variety of titles introduced. There was even one occasion in which I was able to publish them as a group under a theme which would be something I’d like to do more often. I will need to work on creating a better balance of genres, specifically where documentaries are concerned, and adding older works presented for the purpose of rediscovery. As that list of movies is constantly growing there is certainly no shortage of content, but developing a disciplined schedule of researching and writing these articles will be required to prevent the list from becoming too unmanageable.

Moving forward, one immediate goal is to renovate the Backstory blog in order to bring its aesthetic closer to that of the main site. [It’s done! Go have a look] There are a few chores involving HTML which also need to be done, but do not need to be spelled out here. Another goal is to familiarize myself with and realize the delivery of email newsletters so readers can receive regular updates on when new content is available on the site and blog. My goal is to have this up and running in the first half of 2018. Of course, the heart and soul of Indievisual remain the interviews and articles. There are several ideas for feature articles I have been considering along with the possible guest contributors who could write them or alternatively, about whom these could be about. Scheduling and working out a timeline are the priorities at the moment. Lastly, I have four interviews in various states of completion which are the remaining stock of interviews I did when the project was going to be a magazine app. Though I may be spoiling the surprise, from a marketing standpoint I am excited to reveal Nakano Ryota is among one of the upcoming interviews. With these slowly approaching a publishable status, I have begun reaching out to filmmakers for the next set of interviews (the first new ones I’ll be doing since 2016) and I’m eager to apply what I’d been learning about writing and interviewing over the course of 2017.

They say you have to learn to crawl before you walk. Like a toddler who’s just begun to stand and shakily start taking his first steps, each foot put forward builds up my sense of confidence. I grow increasingly excited with the prospects of reaching new “frontiers.” More than anything, I truly appreciate you coming along with me for this second leg of my adventure.

Thank you.