All posts filed under: Side Story

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Introducing the Indievisual Bookshop

Indievisual was started as a medium for supporting and crusading Japanese indie filmmakers and their movies. At the very foundation of these efforts is a strong, fundamental belief in and affinity for the unsung artist or small business. Purchasing directly from artists such as musicians and the patronage of local businesses whenever possible remains an integral aspect of daily life. Setting aside the marginal opportunities for indie films to be seen for the moment, one industry continues struggling to hold back the encroachment made to physical retailing by a single, dominant player. Publishing and book sellers are attempting to survive and remain essential in the age of Amazon. Bookshop.org has come on to the scene to give local brick and mortar bookstores the online reach of their Goliath rival. Details behind the creation, intent, and business model of Bookshop.org can be read Here or Here. Bookshop’s platform provides participating booksellers, publishers, artists, or online media with a virtual “shop” where books can be listed for visitors to purchase in direct support of small, independent booksellers as …

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Indie Forum 2020

The 2020 Osaka Asian Film Festival took place under the shadow of COVID-19. Though at the time of this writing (April 7th, 2020) the Japanese central government is preparing a state of emergency in seven prefectures, Osaka itself had already been dealing with rising cluster infections and stricter protocols since early March. The organizers made the difficult choice of holding the festival due to immutable commitments, but cancelled scheduled symposiums, social events, and most importantly post-screening Q&A’s. Concerns about COVID-19 aside, scheduling once again prevented personal attendance this year, but thanks to the festival’s press relations representative and with the cooperation of the filmmakers, the 2020 Indie Forum lineup could be evaluated through remote viewing. The 2020 Indie Forum offered a lineup with common themes of self-identity, broken families, and social anxiety. Whether or not the programming staff intentionally chose to select movies around these themes or this year’s entrants were primarily focused on such issues, it is clear filmmakers are reflecting a contemporary Japan being affected by divorce, social media, economic inequality, and uncertainty …

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2019: Quality v. Quantity

The third full year of Indievisual brought much improvement in many areas and exciting developments personally for my writing career. No longer bound to comic book work, my first full year of being a dedicated film translator and writer was quite exciting. Though paid work still took precedence over this side project, with my comic career behind me I no longer had to make the mental switch from being visually creative to clearly communicating through language and vocabulary; writing is more right-brained than one might think. The ability to focus specifically on the research and practice of composing articles meant content on Indievisual took a qualitative step forward though in terms of specific figures the results for 2019 were mixed overall. Interviews Only a single interview was published last year, a further drop from the two in 2018. However, there were mitigating circumstances. In addition to my own work schedule, scheduling a follow-up with Yamamoto Hyoe (pictured above) took up quite a bit of time. A busy filmmaker working on a new documentary with changing …

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Andrew Kirkham: Journey to the East

If life is a journey, then the road which has led Andrew Kirkham from his native United Kingdom to Japan has certainly been an interesting path indeed. Though it is often said the destination is less important than the journey itself, for Andrew his physical and professional journey has literally brought him both to Japanese cinema and the sleepy seaside town of Zushi where he has settled. Along the way he has had to reinvent himself as the industry has evolved over his 39 year career, but he has also met and befriended many people who shared in his journey, some short-term, others life long. And the polestar which has guided him continues to be cinema. “My infatuation with all things world cinema funnily enough grew out of my love of music. I was not a Beatles type person and was always looking for the next interesting musical sound. So began my eclectic tastes in life.” And thanks to the BBC’s late night programming he was exposed early to world cinema through which he first …

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Indie Forum 2019

The 2019 Indie Forum section at the Osaka Asian Film Festival presented 10 movies this year, four fewer than 2018 due to fewer short movies in the program. Though the official description touts 7 features and three shorts, one of the features is technically a “mid-length”–again depending on whose standards one subscribes. There were four world premieres and two Japan premieres including the first domestic screening of Demolition Girl which first bowed at the Slamdance Film Festival held simultaneously as Sundance. The enticing lineup certainly beckoned, but an unexpected personal commitment prevented a journey to the festival itself this year. While this negated a firsthand experience, the yearly Indie Forum coverage, a definite fixture on Indievisual, need not be interrupted. With the assistance of OAFF staff, online screeners were requested from the individual filmmakers or their sales agent. At the time of this writing only Okinawan Blue had yet not responded. If and when the filmmakers return a reply, this article will be updated. UPDATED: The Okinawan Blue filmmakers have been in touch and provided …

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2018: Looking Back & Forward

Indievisual’s first full calendar year (it went live in April of 2017 with a Year-in-Review posted 8 months later) set new milestones and solidly built upon the momentum of its launch. The number of interviews published approached a respectable pace of one every two months. Caught My Eye write-ups also saw an increase following the new guiding principle for how they would be written as detailed in this blog entry. And with some good fortune, the number of Side Stories remained unchanged. 2018 was a landmark year for writing articles and interviewing filmmakers. Or…that is what could have been written. Sadly, the reality is quite different. 2018 was a good year certainly for paid work with many opportunities received from long time collaborators. This was also the first year translation work needed to be juggled with a job in the other realm in which I have a foot still planted. For more on this, please follow this link as I do not wish to dedicate space for it here. Suffice it to say, simultaneously working …

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Indie Forum 2018

The 2018 Osaka Asian Film Festival once again beckoned with its Indie Forum section offering a mix of surprising, delightful, thoughtful, and once in a while challenging movies thus preserving its position as an important showcase of independent Japanese cinema. Read about the twelve films viewed.