All posts tagged: indie production

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Sapphire

Action and genre movies are the bread and butter of low-budget/indie filmmaking. So, it’s absence from many indie movies in Japan is rather pecuiliar. Horror movies certainly are represented, but action movies, from martial arts to swordplay movies, are quite few and far between. Even more rare are gun-action movies and the ones that do exist are usually not very convincing. This is due to the unavailability of guns which act like their real counterparts; stunt guns. Even studio movies suffer from weaponry with little to no recoil, no casing ejection, and only the barest of muzzle flash in addition to the lack of squibs which accurately portray the mayhem of a gunfight. However, a veteran Japanese prop master has devised a way to upgrade model guns to act like real guns for a fraction of the cost it takes to downgrade real guns to perform as stunt guns perhaps signalling a possible renaissance in Japanese gunplay movies, especially in independent movie circles. Yonishi Toshinari’s Sapphire is a girls-with-guns movie taken to the next level. …

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The Measure of Success – 100 Meter Films

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 …

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The Osaka Asian Film Festival: Beacon in the West

East and West, two directions on a compass which have often taken on much more significance than their navigational meanings. On a macro-scale, the differences between the two play out on an entirely different stage, becoming equally representative of global ideologies. On a micro level, the terms can be more innocuous. Take for example, Los Angeles and New York; representative cities of the east and west coasts of the United States. One could travel from one city to the other in a few hours, but the cultural distance between the two is likely far wider. New York’s high-rise, hustle-and-bustle metropolis is a far cry from the laid back, urban expanse stitched together by miles of congested freeways that is Los Angeles. New York is the capital of theatre. Los Angeles is the home of Hollywood. New York is a melting pot of ethnicities, while it could be argued Los Angeles is more a fusion of cultures. The rivalry and differences between Japan’s Kanto (East) region and Kansai (West) regions, particularly between the cities of Osaka …

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An Indie Filmmaker in Cannes

Selected as one person who has contributed to and influenced local films in the article by the prominent newspaper, Nikkei Entertainment, titled, ‘100 People Shaking Up Japanese Cinema,’ Tsujioka Masato was motivated to make movies by observing Tsukamoto Shinya’s film making while on Tsukamoto’s set as an actor. He attracted attention in 2003 at the age of 23 with his debut film, Lost by Dead which depicted teens on a self-destructive rampage. His second film Divide was decorated at the Toronto ReelHeART Film Festival in 2006. The film’s opening in Tokyo set a new record for attendance, and with numerous mass media exposure, resulted in the rare theatrical nationwide release for an independent movie. In 2014, Tsujioka took his completely self-produced 7th movie, Black Room, to the Cannes Film Festival’s Marche du Film and booked a screening room in order to generate awareness for it at an international level. He has written his impressions of being at the world’s most prestigious film festival as an independent Japanese filmmaker. Original Japanese Text by Tsujioka Masato Arriving …