All posts tagged: Children/Youth

Nishikawa-Fumie-Feature-Image

The Adventuress Spirit

The poster for Nishikawa Fumie’s The Azemichi Road depicts a young girl in school uniform captured ecstatically jumping mid-air on a country dirt road. It’s a pastoral image processed to resemble a painting that invites the viewer to speculate the story within. Though a poster is no means representative of the movie itself, in this case, the image does give insight into the Tokyo native. Nishikawa loved to draw manga and write stories in elementary school. She was studying to pursue that path when her eyes were opened to the wonder of movies during high school. Her ambition shifted from illustrating a picture to telling the story within it; to bring that image to life. It’s a fundamental component of her craft apparent in her graduate thesis at London College of Communication where she went after high school to study film & video production. Nishikawa wrote, shot, and produced While You Sleep. With its evocative title and simple premise of a teen awakening to family realities when her mother falls into a deep coma, the …

Eye-On-Blanka

Blanka

There is the phrase, “appearances can be deceiving,” and this may best describe many people’s perception of poverty, especially when it may define the image of a particular place or country. Having been born and raised for a few years in the Philippines, I was never aware of my country as being a “less fortunate” one. But even as I grew up and I became aware the Philippines did have economic and political instabilities which kept many living in poverty, return trips to visit family never impressed upon me the woeful image many abroad held for the people living in makeshift shacks on squatted land; to this day I see commercials by non-profit organizations asking for support in the aid of children earning their living rummaging through trash on a once smoldering pile of refuse known locally as “Smokey Mountain.” No matter what the world may see when they gazed at those intentionally heart-rending (read: manipulative) depictions, I knew the Filipino spirit was more vibrant, indomitable, and selfless than in many countries to which those …

Eye-On_Lilous-Adventure

LiLOU’s adventure

The movies of Kumasaka Izuru have always seemed to gravitate toward stories about the relationships between unlikely people. In his triple 2005 Pia Award winning debut short film, Coffee and Milk, a 6th grader falls in love with and tries to help a deaf woman 12 years his senior through his photography…and fails. The wins granted him the opportunity to make his debut feature through the Pia Scholarship Program, Asyl: Park and Love Hotel. In it, women from various walks of life form bonds as they find solace at a Japanese love hotel which strangely features a park at its rooftop where residents of the surrounding community have always visited to find respite from urban, Tokyo life–hence the word “asyl” in the title which is German for “sanctuary” or “oasis”. Kumasaka’s handling of these character dynamics garnered him the Best First Feature Award at the 2010 Berlin International Film Festival instantly marking him as “one to watch.” He answered those expectations with LiLOU’s adventure, his second independent feature. The story seems like classic Kumasaka. Set on Okinawa, Lilou, …

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The Measure of Success

Synchrony is defined as “simultaneous action, development, or occurrence.” What better word to describe the connection between John Williams (no, not that one) and Shiozaki Shohei, the two principles of production company, 100 Meter Films. From an early age, both men had become enamored with movies. The Welsh raised Williams began making 16mm experimental movies with a used Bolex at the age of fourteen after a viewing of Werner Herzog’s Aguirre: The Wrath of God kindled a desire to pick up a camera. Similarly, Shiozaki’s interest in filmmaking was first kindled when he began watching movies at the theater while a high school student in Nara Prefecture. He realized then how the moving image could emotionally influence the viewer. Both also eventually uprooted themselves from their homeland. Williams went to teach English in Japan. Intending on tapping Japan’s Bubble Era prosperity to save for film school, he ended up shooting independent shorts instead. Likewise, Shiozaki crossed the Pacific Ocean to attend San Jose State University as a film student. Then in 2001 the parallel trajectories …