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River of Exploding Durians - Trailer 【榴梿忘返】 预告片

《榴槤忘返》主要讲述一群中六生面对即将袭来的稀土厂一阵慌乱,人生产生了变化之余,在反对稀土厂的过程中,这群学生产生革命情感和一些单纯的爱慕情怀。A coastal town is turned upside down by the construction of a radioactive rare earth plant. An idealistic teacher and a group of high school students find themselves battling for the soul of their hometown. Based on real-life events, River of Exploding Durians is a sweeping tale of Malaysian history and its youth, where people are enveloped by politics and sadness while searching for love. #riverofexplodingduriansStarring: Zhu Zhi-Ying 朱芷瑩, Koe Shern 高圣, Daphne Low, Joey 梁祖仪Written, directed and edited by Edmund YeoProduced by Woo Ming Jin and Edmund Yeo Executive producer: Eric YeoDirector of Photography: Kong PahurakProduction designer: Edward Yu Chee BoonMake-up and wardrobe: Kay WongSound: Minimal Yossy PrapapanMusic: Woan Foong Wong

Posted by River of Exploding Durians 榴莲忘返 on Saturday, October 18, 2014

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Yakitori is yummy

On Saturday night I went to a Yakitori restaurant at Shin-Okubu with Eric (my friend, not my dad).

With Eric at Shinjuku Station East Exit
(Eric and I at the Shinjuku Station East Exit, before making our way to Shin-Okubo)

And dammit, the food's so bloody good!

Skewered beef at Yakitori restaurant

Yakitori is yummy

Chcken wings at Yakitori restaurant

We ate much more than this. But I was so busy eating that I didn't bother to take any more photos.

There were three desserts available, we tried all, the best one's strawberry with cream.

Strawberry (with cream) desert at Yakitori restaurant

The restaurant has some cute waitresses too (BTW: testing out the video feature in Flickr).

... now if only I can remember the name of the restaurant.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

TRANSFORMERS 2 will be the biggest film in Malaysia

On a lighter note, Sebastian had been pretty depressed about the unanimous love my beloved home country had for TRANSFORMERS 2.

When I saw it on Monday, I immediately predicted that TRANSFORMERS 2 will be the top-grossing film of all-time in Malaysia. It's not that difficult, considering that the current record holder is the first TRANSFORMERS film.

With all these major explosions, tiny Decepticons dry-humping Megan Fox's leg, funny jokes, what is not to love? Here's a Facebook exchange that occurred just now.

Films should only be about entertainment. To have it any other way would be a travesty.

You know what's worthless? Films without explosions.

I shuddered and knew immediately that the following short film had no explosions and scenes of Megan Fox being dry-humped by a tiny Decepticon when I read its synopsis on the Paris Cinema Film Fest website:

Love Suicides brings out one of the unknown faces of Malaysia. Edmund Yeo chose to film silence and frozen time – symptom of a worrying torpor – in a deserted region, spared from industrialization. Inspired by a short story written by Yasunari Kawabata, the film reflects a state of paralysis relayed thanks to a minimalist account given by the two actresses and underlines the dangers of one’s attachment to the past, which is a source of deadly incommunicability. Well-crafted from the point of view of form, Love Suicides is a violent and delicate fantastical short film about the haunted spaces of a world cannibalized by memories.

That Edmund Yeo guy... what a waste of time making films without explosions!

Friday, June 26, 2009

Reflecting on Michael Jackson (1958-2009)

michael jacksonWhen I woke up this morning and saw the news of Michael Jackson's death, I was quite affected by it. I grew up as a fan. As a child I listened to all the cassette tapes I had with me then, OFF THE WALL, THRILLER and BAD. I didn't know how it all started, I can't remember. The King of Pop then was at the pinnacle of his popularity, television was often dominated by his electrifying performances, or the music videos.

In kindergarten I drew pictures of men grabbing their crotches because that's the pose I remember most from Michael Jackson's dances, to the consternation of teachers.

Watching his Black and White music video in Las Vegas when I was 7, during my very first magical trip to the States with my parents, was a vivid moment of my childhood memory. We were in the hotel room and my dad switched on the TV.

"Look, it's the boy from Home Alone!" Mom said.

That got me glued. After the dad got blasted all the way to Africa by Macauley Culkin's power guitar, I was exhilarated to discover that it was a Michael Jackson music video. And what a music video it was!

The aforementioned trip was magical because I would later visit Disneyland for the very first time, and watched my very first 3D movie, Captain EO.

The Dangerous album came along, and that was the defining MJ album of my childhood. I listened to it over and over again. But most times I tried finding a particular song to listen to since each one gained more significance during different moments. First there was Black And White. Then the awesome Do You Remember The Time music video came along and I listened to that more.

Then came Heal The World. I've been watching the NBA highlights on local TV since as long as I can remember but it was the Bulls vs Suns 1993 Finals that turned me into a fan, especially a Michael Jordan one. So JAM became significant.

I also saw Free Willy that year, I began to listen to Will You Be There more as well.

I guess I'm old enough to live in a time when Michael Jackson was still considered 'great', and that you could say without irony that you were a fan.

I remember attending his concert in Singapore for his DANGEROUS WORLD TOUR. What year was it? 1998? 1999? Growing up with my parents in the music industry, attending concerts was a common part of childhood, I also had the privilege to meet the performers on backstage either before or after the concert. Yet Michael Jackson was a different case, the ticket was a hard-fought one. My parents didn't go, but I went with my father's colleague and his family, I could still remember how festive it was, even though I sat so far from the stage that he was a tiny speck, and I could only look at the big screen. Because I was only look at the big screen, it was an occasionally surreal experience where I wondered whether he was REALLY there. Until I was handed the binoculars, but only for a while, because we took turns using it.

As years went by, with all these accusations of child molestation, and his increasingly bizarre public appearances, a personal life seemingly spiraling out of control, and I, like most people, occasionally followed with morbid curiosity because, well, it was impossible to keep him out of the news, I secretly still wanted to see a comeback from him. A late-career renaissance, some sort artistic redemption, all these allegations meant nothing to me, for me, Michael Jackson was more about the music, that will always be his legacy.

1995. HIStory's release was an exciting moment of my life, when Scream or You Are Not Alone started playing on the radio, I would turn the volume up.

The attachment to him always lingered. In 2001, when I was already finishing secondary school, I still turned on the TV and waited for the local premiere of YOU ROCK MY WORLD. The parents (and I think the sister) watched too.

We decided it wasn't as good as his old classics, but then, what is?

News of Farah Fawcett's death was the last night I read before I slept. Then I woke up to news of Michael Jackson's death from Twitter and RSS feeds I subscribe to. Not entirely a cheery day.

The news jolted away whatever lingering effects of the sleep, and I tweeted/ posted on my Facebook status before heading off for breakfast.

I don't deify people, so I have made my share of Michael Jackson jokes, and laughed at even more of them. His personal life was more a cautionary tale than anything, and I do think that his decline was mostly consequences of his own actions. Sebastian's contrarian attempts to celebrate Michael Jackson's death was initially deemed classless by me, but ultimately, as I quote from a blog "It's not wrong to reflect on someone's mistakes or misjudgments at the time of their death. That's the way we reinforce our own mortality and reinvigorate lost ambitions."

Yet when someone who had such an immense presence in your life dies suddenly. it's hard not to feel a slight numbness and melancholy.

Today was the last day of the basic cinematography classes I've been attending that were taught by Kenji Takama (cinematographer for the DEATH NOTE films, WELCOME BACK, MR MCDONALD'S etc.). I presented my newest short film 3PM to him, and then KINGYO, the former he enjoyed, the latter he was genuinely impressed with, telling me that it belonged to an international stage.

To be praised by such a respected individual in the industry was a joyous moment, but it was fleeting. As the class ended and my friends dispersed, I found myself overwhelmed by thoughts of mortality again, of 'the one shot in this silly little exercise called life', of its impermanence, of the possibilities of never fulfilling one's own potential, of creating a legacy, and so forth.

Yes. Sitting alone in my room now, I think I feel a little melancholic.

We're on a mission
In the everlasting light that shines
A revelation
Of the truth in chapters of our minds

So long, bad times
We're gonna shake it up and break it up
We're sharing light brighter than the sun
Hello , good times
We're here to simulate, eliminate
An' congregate, illuminate

- "We are here to change the world" Michael Jackson

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Short interview with me on BMW Shorties website

Did a quick email interview with the peeps at BMW Shorties two days ago, and the interview was immediately up on their page yesterday. Good job using the cast and crew photo from 3PM too!

An excerpt.

Filmmaking has been around for decades, how do you innovate and make your film different?

Actually, I don’t self-consciously try to be ‘innovative’ and do things ‘people had never done before’. Normally I just find a story I really like to do, and hope that my personal filmmaking sensibilities can do justice to the story, enough to make it unique. I’m not sure whether I am original, it’s really up to my audiences to decide that.

Read the rest here.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

100 HARIJADI on Youtube

100 harijadi
Photo taken from Dira Abu Zahar's blog

100 HARIJADI (translation: 100 Birthdays) is the latest TV movie from Greenlight Pictures for Astro Ria.

It was aired on the 12th of June, to a somewhat positive reception (message board's in Bahasa Malaysia only).

Aside from the brainstorming and story development sessions I went through with Ming Jin shortly before I returned to Tokyo in April, I was uninvolved in the project.

Of course, I haven't watched the film either.

So it was more than a little surreal to catch it on Youtube this morning. Someone had liked it enough to upload the entire thing. It's definitely not everyday that you watch a production from your own company in such a manner.

100 HARIJADI stars Dira Abu Zahar (she posted some production photos here), Zahiril Adzim, Radhi Khalid, Tony Eusoff. With the band Hujan making a cameo appearance.

(UPDATED: 23rd of August, 2011)
The videos have been taken down from Youtube.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

A very sweet gesture from the 3PM cast and crew

So I've wrapped up the shoot for my newest Japanese short film, 3PM last Friday. And had am now editing it.

Here's a photo of the cast and crew sent to me by main actress Yumiko Kitazawa (you can also read about the shoot from her blog, but it's only in Japanese).

The Cast and Crew of 3PM
From left to right: Yumiko the lead actress, Ko the sound guy, Kabayama the camera assistant turned lead actor, me, Erika the cinematographer and Yuiko the producer/ assistant director

Like I said, I've immediately started work on editing the film the night when I finished the shoot, and things seem encouraging thus far.

It was cool to receive a thank you note from Yumiko over the weekend, and then Yuiko, who told me that she had left some Black Thunder (my favourite chocolate bar that I often have for lunch) in the fridge at the editing lab.

So this morning went I went to the lab to continue my editing, I found the Black Thunders.

Yuiko the producer/ assistant director left some Black Thunders in my fridge

Black Thunder is... life

Thanks. It was a very fun shoot.

Black Thunder is not just a chocolate bar. It is a way of life.

As a bonus, I'm sharing the video of the June 12th line-reading session we had with you guys (I mentioned the session here).

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Happy Father's Day, dad

As I look out through my window right now, the world is absolutely grey, and obscured by the rain. Perhaps I'm going to be stuck in my room the whole day. On the other hand, I checked the weather forecast in Kuala Lumpur and it seems cloudy, and there will be rain too in the afternoon, but the rains of tropical Malaysia are ferocious, but fleeting, often ending in mere hours, while the rain of Tokyo often drag on for days. So rain or not, I doubt it will do much to affect Father's Day for dad.

The Dubai Film Fest bus stop outside Jumeirah Beach Hotel

Yup, that's dad.

By now my cute fat-faced little sister had flown back to Malaysia from Perth as a surprise trip for dad. Good work, cute fat-faced little sister!

Dad is celebrating the day with mom and my deceptively pedolicious (deceptive because she is much older than her child-like appearance) little sister at home, and probably also with a film, just the way he likes it.

I hope they all have fun.

Happy Father's Day, dad.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Completed the shoot of my new short, 3PM, edited a rough cut too

Just got back from the editing lab moments ago. Managed to wrap up the shoot for my new Japanese short film, 3PM. It was a fun shoot, exhausting it was. It's been a while since I've actually made a comedy (though many argued that CHICKEN RICE MYSTERY is just some some film with some comedic moments, and not really a comedy), I needed to do once since I've been making three consecutive depressing films (four, if you count my little-seen experimental video, FLEETING IMAGES).

Like I said, 3PM is a zero-budget film much smaller in scale than KINGYO, and set mostly in one location. I only had a skeleton crew (Me, Kou-san the sound guy, Erika the director of photography, Yuiko the producer/assistant director) , but just as I've always believed, as long as everyone's passionate, things can run pretty smoothly. That was the case of the 3PM shoot.

Even though we had some cute Waseda University cheerleaders briefly interrupting the shoot with their practice session at our location, but that lasted barely more than half an hour, and although they did their best to distract me, I managed to valiantly relocate the shoot to somewhere nearby.

Spirits were still so high that I immediately started work on putting together a rough cut of the short film in the evening, and worked on it til just now. Things look quite promising, I managed to try some stuff I never tried in previous works, yet I'm a little surprised by its length. The whole thing is nearly 16 minutes. I thought it'll be 10 to 12 minutes. Whoa. I might have some snipping to do.

Here are some stills.

I was shooting this particular scene when I noticed that it looked so silly that I had to take a photo.

[3PM] Mika hiding from Terada

[3PM] Mika hiding from Terada 2

Now, here's a proper one of my main actress Yumiko Kitazawa.

[3PM] Mika (Yumiko Kitazawa) listens to music

Thursday, June 18, 2009

LOVE SUICIDES in competition at the Paris Cinema International Film Festival

[Love Suicides] The girl (Arika Lee) looks at the sea
Love Suicides

I have mentioned this briefly back in April, but I'll mention it again since I've gotten more details now that the official line-up of next month's Paris Cinema International Film Festival is out. So yup, LOVE SUICIDES, my first ever Yasunari Kawabata adaptation before I made KINGYO, is one of the 17 short films around the world selected for competition at the Paris Cinema International Film Fest.

With all the attention that KINGYO's been getting lately, I have to say that poor LOVE SUICIDES is starting to get overlooked. But I'm very happy, nay, totally stunned, that my little film is making its premiere at such a prestigious event. I hope KINGYO will follow its footsteps. If I'm not wrong, LOVE SUICIDES is one of the only two Asian shorts in the line-up, the other being guest-of-honour Tsai Ming Liang's Madame Butterfly.

The very awesome Paris Cinema Film Fest website had put up excerpts for all 17 films.

So you can see a few seconds of LOVE SUICIDES as well.

(If you are looking at this from Facebook, you won't see the embedded video unless you click the original blog post)

The girl sits by the sea

I've uploaded another scene onto Youtube long ago. This is it.

The mother force feeds the girl

My film won't be the only Malaysian presence at the film festival. Yeo Joon Han's (no relation) SELLOUT! is in competition at the feature film category, while Tan Chui Mui's upcoming THE YEAR WITHOUT A SUMMER is one of the projects selected by the Paris Project.

Not to neglect my current adopted home, Japan, Naomi Kawase's AND PROTECT, PROTECTED (MAMORI, MAMORETE) and Sabu's first planned English feature, ARRESTED MEMORIES, are also in the Paris Project as well.

Check out some production photos of LOVE SUICIDES. Or you can read Part 1, Part 2, Part 3 and Part 4 of my production diary.

Roppongi Hills at Night

After finishing dinner yesterday evening, I was gripped by a sudden urge to catch a film. I thought of seeing Ahn Hung Tran's I COME WITH THE RAIN, starring Josh Harnett, Lee Byung-hun, Takuya Kimura and Shawn Yue.

I rushed off to take the train to Roppongi, but despite my best efforts, the film had already started when I reached Roppongi Hills. Even though I told the lady that I didn't mind about missing the first 5 minutes of the film, she told me that only the first two rows of seats were available. I didn't want to subject myself to such exertion of effort when seeing a film, thus I decided not to bother in the end.

Left in Roppongi without anything to do, I decided to take some photos instead.

From Roppongi Hills you can get a decent view of the Tokyo Tower.

Tokyo Tower at night

Watching Tokyo Tower from Roppongi Hills

Tokyo Tower behind a Roppongi Hills shop

That's the huge spider statue in front of the building entrance. I don't know why they want a spider though.

The huge spider statue in front of Roppongi Hills

Roppongi Hills entrance

This is the escalator from the Roppongi metro station to the shopping mall.

Escalators to Roppongi Hills

That large escalator to Roppongi Hills

Just like how I like to slow down the shutter speed when shooting night scenes in a film, I like to do the same with still photography as well.

Roppongi at night

Roppongi at night 2

Roppongi at night 3

Night streets of Roppongi

After I was done with it, I just went to hang out at the Aomori bookshop. Was thinking of buying Akutagawa's short story collection, or Gabriel Garcia Marquez's Memories of My Melancholy Whores as both were around the same price (1100 yen), but ended up not buying either. I still have David Mitchell's Cloud Atlas to read anyway.

Also checked out some photography books for ideas I can use when I resume the shoot of my new short film '3PM' on Friday.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Street musicians of Shinjuku on Friday night

I went out to Shinjuku last Friday night because I thought it's depressing to stay at home on Friday nights. I had managed to shoot some inserts for my new short film, 3PM, and had an encouraging line-reading session with my new actress Yumiko (read more about the production here) Some self-celebration was a welcome.

So bringing my new and beloved camera, I ran off to Shinjuku to snap photos of its night scenery.

Beside Kinokuniya

Shinjuku at night

Shinjuku South West Exit

Cars passing by in Shinjuku

People crossing the road in Shinjuku

But what truly drew my attention then were the street musicians. A decent-sized group was gathered around this guy, Shotaro, some of them were even swaying and dancing when he was singing his mid-tempo and somewhat catchy songs. I managed to shoot three of his songs, but I'll post only his last one.

Yes, I know it's kinda dark and he's only a silhouette, but I liked the shot because of the cars passing by in the background and occasionally flooding everyone with light.

Shotaro singing

Then, there was also this jazz band performing in front of the Shinjuku Station South Exit. A couple of other musicians were also gathered there to watch. I think the band's name is Wing Five, but I might be wrong.

Jazz band in Shinjuku

I have a much longer performance of them, where they went off for a 7-8 minute improvisatory jazz piece, but the file was too big for me to upload on Youtube. Maybe I'll do some resizing in the near future.

The first musician I filmed that night was actually Yuri, who performs in a tunnel and has a really nice voice.

Yuri performing

I actually met her twice exactly a week earlier.

It was the 5th of June and there was the Kingyo test screening at the Fuyajo Cinema Festival in Shinjuku Wald 9. I walked through the tunnel and saw her performing then, and thought she picked a pretty cool place for her performance.

I would meet her again hours later, when Maiko the Producer introduced me to her at the Kingyo test screening as one of her friends. But that night, it never occurred to me that Maiko's friend who so nicely attended the screening would be the exact same singer I walked past in a tunnel earlier.

So after Yuri finished singing and I switched off my camera, she came over and spoke to me, asking me whether I was filming her and I said yes, and then she laughed in surprise. Then she told me she really loved Kingyo and I realized immediately that she was Maiko's friend. I made a suggestion that we would swap, a Kingyo DVD (when I'm done with the film) for her CD.

She gave me a CD of hers that she performed with her band Soraai. You can check out their website here.

I'm actually quite fascinated with street musicians in Japan, and it feels good to see them occasionally drawing an appreciative crowd. Last year I would sometimes pay for an album that I like, I guess my interest in them is one of the reasons why I put them in Kingyo.

CHICKEN RICE MYSTERY airing on Astro Citra tonight

Kimmy Kiew in Chicken Rice Mystery

Was more than a little surprised when Nico of Fleishman-Hillard (organizer of BMW Shorties) told me yesterday that CHICKEN RICE MYSTERY will be airing on Astro Citra tonight at 8:30pm.

Happy, of course, that my short film will be on TV. But more than a little mortified because the version that's being aired will be the cut I submitted to BMW Shorties last year, and not the final version that went to the Dubai and Naoussa International Film Festivals.

Nonetheless, if you are still interested, you can catch Chicken Rice Mystery tonight (17th of June, Wednesday!!). Once again, it's at 8.30pm on Astro Citra.

On the other hand, if you are curious about the difference between the BMW Shorties version and the final one. Here are the changes I made:

1) Final version begins and ends with Debussy music

2) Mom's (Kimmy Kiew) cooking disasters were shown as cutaway sequences peppered between a conversation between Dad (Chye Yang) and The Boy (Lim Ming Wei) while they were playing video games. In BMW Shorties, the disasters were played out in one continuous sequence.

3) In some scenes, different takes were used because there were some slight directing, acting and camera mistakes. It was my first non-student short film, so I made some silly mistakes, and wasn't anal enough to notice some other stuff either. Most people told me it's unnoticeable, but they made me cringe, hence I made those changes.

Other than that, I hope you'll enjoy the film.

Here's the CHICKEN RICE MYSTERY trailer.

Abura Soba is a dangerous addiction

Hello. My name is Edmund Yeo and I think I'm addicted to Abura Soba.

Abura Soba, which means "oil noodles", is essentially ramen and toppings served without the soup, but with a small quantity of oily soy-based sauce instead.

There is a bloody awesome Abura Soba shop near the place I'm staying (it's on the way to Edogawabashi station) that's open until 3AM.

Even when it's hours after midnight, people tend to line up outside the place. Fellow addicts.

People lining up outside Abura Soba after midnight

This deceptively peaceful looking shop is the root of my problem.

Outside the ramen shop

My Japanese dorm mate Kawabe goes there every night, and he invites my Hong Kong dorm mate Jason, who in returns invites me too.

I always look at my bowl of noodles with a mixture of fear and bliss. Fear for becoming fat and ugly again thus shallow women who care more about looks than the beauty of my delicate soul and the joy of my comedic wit will turn away from me.

Abura soba

Yet my newfound addiction had been too strong. There was no way to stop.

In mere moments I find myself staring at a half-finished bowl of noodles. I have turned into something that I myself can barely even comprehend.

Half-finished Abura soba

It's just so bloody good that I can't quit you, damn it!

I am happy with the Abura soba
Behind me is Kawaba-san, the one covering his face is Jason, who went nuts when he knew I took the photo and told me to remove him from it, and I said "don't be an idiot, removing you means that I'm removing two thirds of the picture, suck it up!"

I now try to limit my visits to once a week. Maybe I can handle it. I dare not imagine what will happen if I can't.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Shooting another Japanese short film, "3PM"

No, it's unlikely that I'll pull off what Tan Chui Mui did last year by making 7 short films in 7 months, but I'm trying to shoot at least one short film every 2-3 months. January I shot KINGYO (which you should know by now, is a Japanese production), April I shot AFTERNOON RIVER (Malaysian), and now, in June, I shoot my newest short film called 3PM at Waseda University.

This is supposed to be coursework for the basic cinematography class I've been attending that's taught by Kenji Takama (director of photography for the DEATH NOTE films, WELCOME BACK, MR MCDONALD'S or SUMMER VACATION 1999, the latter I wrote about last month) We were divided into three groups and each of us given a simple 2-3 page long script to work upon.

Of course, we were all given the creative freedom to expand upon the script however we want to. So I just decided to use this opportunity to shoot a new short film by completely revamping the script, and adding more than 7-8 pages to it. It's a light-hearted romantic comedy set in Waseda University.

Being a zero-budget film, and having only a skeleton student crew, of course I don't have the privilege I had with Kingyo by hiring AND PAYING pro actors (.. and crew members) But then, this is a much simpler film in terms of logistics and scale. It's good to go back to basics.

Yet because I had so little time for pre-production, I had some difficulties securing actresses. I was supposed to shoot the film last Friday, but we couldn't get anyone on Thursday, so I brought the entire group (which includes Yuichi the Producer-in-training, Erika the Cinematographer, Kabayama the assistant cameraman turned main actor, and Koh-san the sound dude) around the campus of Waseda University, asking attractive young women to act for us. Some actually said yes and gave us their email addresses.

But in the end rationality prevailed, I sifted through my memory banks to find possibilities of actresses. I thought of a student film called Sketchbook I saw last year. And remembered one of its main actresses.

DVD cover of the short film, Sketchbook, by Taka Kageyama
Yumiko Kitazawa's the chick in the cover

I mentioned her. Erika the Cinematographer immediately said that the actress, Yumiko Kitazawa, is her friend. She made a phone call and asked for help. Yumiko said yes. I met her the following day for some line-readings as the protagonist Mika. Kabayama, the supposed assistant cameraman is cursed with pretty boy looks, I relieved him of his crew duties so he could act for the film as Terada the love interest, which he accepted happily. Then I got lab mate An-chan, who was a production assistant for KINGYO, to take the role as Mako, the protagonist's best friend.

An-chan, Yumiko and Kabayama doing line-reading for short film 3PM
(from left to right) An-chan, Yumiko and Kabayama at the one and only line-reading session of the short film 3PM)

Often before working with an actor or actress, I do my homework by studying their previous performances. In SKETCHBOOK she played a meek and introverted high school girl with long flowing hair. In this Youtube clip (she appears from the 0:06 to 0:15 mark) she looks very angstful too.

I always want to give them a look different from their previous works. thus I decided to have her dress up like a guy, to increase more comedic value as a tomboy.

The shoot finally started today. Last night and this morning, I was in a state of simmering anger because I can't believe that weather forecast said it was going to rain again. The raining season had started in Japan, and I realize that I had been fighting against the rain in 4 out of my 5 short films, including this one. LOVE SUICIDES was the only exception. Most of the time I incorporate the rain into the script, like I did with CHICKEN RICE MYSTERY and AFTERNOON RIVER, and often they make things much better. Then there was also KINGYO, where there was a rare winter rain I was forced to endure, and delayed the shoot for half a day. Thankfully the wet surface increased the beauty of the night sceneries.

Rain, my eternal enemy, all the time I elude its grasp.

I wonder what I had to do this time. Find a new place? Incorporate it into the script?

Yet by the time the shoot began, the rain had yet to start. So I just shot the bloody film.

Shooting a scene from '3PM'

Shooting a scene from '3PM' 2

An-chan was only available for one day. So my first priority was to complete all her scenes today. There was so much desperation that sometimes I even operated the camera myself, something most people who had worked with me on film had never seen before. (... because I'm actually kinda technically incompetent)

Setting up the camera as DP Erika watches

Preparing a scene from '3PM'

After making three depressingly heavy films in a row, LOVE SUICIDES, KINGYO and AFTERNOON RIVER, I was relieved to do something comedic again.

I even tossed in a climatic catfight scene.

Catfight between Mika (Yumiko Kitazawa) and Mako (Annu Shimizu)

Filming the climatic catfight of "3pm"

Still filming the catfight in "3PM"

Poor Yumiko had to stay on the ground a lot.

The joy about shooting comedies is that people usually have a lot of fun doing it. At the same time, I have to go through much more takes than usual because the cast members sometimes burst into laughter.

Filming on the roof of Waseda building number 10

Well, it WAS hard to keep a straight face when they were subjected to all kinds of crazy stuff I asked them to do.

Despite numerous delays, filming ended at 5pm, just as planned.

Just when I announced that we were done for the day, a few raindrops trickled upon me.
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