All posts filed under: Side Story

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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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Not So Breaking 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 …

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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 …