All posts filed under: Side Story


2022 Festival Season: Latter Half

The first half of the festival season will often set trends (see the first part published on the blog site). Some of the movies featured at festivals early in the year will filter their way through various events held in the second half. Meanwhile, Japanese filmmakers will also be seeking entry into the late year festivals which are also searching to premiere yet undiscovered works, particularly many key domestic events as well as ones throughout Asia. There was a distinct celebratory air at many of the festivals which were putting their best foot forward toward a return to pre-COVID pageantry.

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2022 Year-in-Review

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; …

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2021 Year-in-Review

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. 2021 was also the year I broke …

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Serving Up Horror: Nakanishi Mai shares the backstory of her sophomore short Swallow

In Swallow a striving actress is invited to a private, gourmet club only to discover her competition has prepared a horrifying banquet which devours her. Writer-director Nakanishi Mai follows up her haunting and atmospheric short Hana with a tale of the horrific depths to which human rivalries will go. Though she has worked for large companies such as Kadokawa, the bonafide genre fan has also dedicated time abroad collaborating with international genre stalwarts particularly in the realm of horror movies. Additionally, she founded the Scream Queen FilmFest Tokyo in 2013, a female-driven genre festival dedicated to sharing the unique and diverse visions that female artists bring to genre movies. With Hana, her directorial debut, she herself has become an exciting new voice in horror. And as with any sophomore effort, building upon the success of the first while continuing to creatively evolve took Nakanishi on a journey of opportunities and interesting turns. The seeds of Swallow first germinated in a short movie script which was scheduled to be shot in Korea that was cancelled. A Taiwanese producer told Nakanishi about a short …

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2020 Belated News

2020 has been a year for the books. Aside from the political and social elephants in the room, this year will go down in memory as completely unique, full of unexpected developments which have not been experienced in the past. As this pertains to Indievisual, the impact of the pandemic were twofold. First, the outset of COVID-19 put a stop to the entertainment industry, from film festivals to theatrical releases. With productions as well grinding to a halt, the very lifeblood of Indievisual also came to a standstill. Second, the circumstances removed the need for translation services causing –much like the rest of the world at the time–substantial professional insecurity. In mid-April, the Japan central government itself declared a state of emergency in lieu of a lockdown which it lacked the authority to impose as per its constitution. Anxiety deepened over whether the Japanese film industry would recover, and accordingly whether there would be any translation work for the remainder of the year. Then an odd thing happened. A month later, the state of emergency …

Indie Forum 2020 OAFF Poster

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 …