Monday, November 30, 2009

"Merry Christmas, Mr. Lawrence" in Wakeijuku

A few things had happened. I completed my new short film, THE WHITE FLOWER, I saw a few films at TOKYO FILMeX too (will try to write about them), parents + sister had also arrived in Tokyo for a visit (and also to attend the Eibunren Awards Ceremony on the 2nd of December).

I also intend to throw myself into my 7th short film of the year. I just need to conjure myself a script. More about that later, I hope.

I live in Wakeijuku dorm, that's the dorm Haruki Murakami lived in. The place had prided itself as the place where Norwegian Woods was based on. My feelings towards the place is a stormy one. But then, it IS situated at a pretty good location, and food and electricity are included in my not-too-unreasonable monthly rental fees.

Two nights ago, at the lounge of my building, there was this performance.

Too bad I don't get that everyday.

Thursday, November 26, 2009


25th to 26th of November. That was the deadline I gave myself to finish my latest film THE WHITE FLOWER. Since KINGYO, I haven't had a film that had such a long post-production, and to think that KINGYO was only 6 months ago. So I've reached the final stages of tweaking the film before doing my first batch of preview screeners for the film.

Monday, November 23, 2009

TOKYO FILMeX 2009, Tsai Ming Liang and the opening film 'Visage'

I had a lot of fun in last year's TOKYO FILMeX film festival. (can read about all my blog posts here, til this very day, my review of Sono Sion's LOVE EXPOSURE is still one of the most-read posts in this blog), so I definitely had to come this year. And this time, I even have a pass!

So yup, the opening ceremony was held yesterday evening, at 5:30pm (it's currently 3:20am as I'm writing this). Here are this year's jury members.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Me, kingyo, Eibunren Awards wins, mentioned in Uni Press newsletter

I have blamed my recent sleeping problems on work (the heavily intense post-production of my short film THE WHITE FLOWER), I've even constantly tweeted (+facebook status update) about it. But moments ago, a guzheng-playing Twitter friend Seren Koo replied to me by suggesting that writing down my ideas and what I want to do would liberate thoughts from my mind, and thus making it easier to sleep.

I realized that my lack of sleep seems to correlate with my lack of blog updates. Many times, writing a blog post at night for me can be quite (mentally) exhausting (despite said post being deceptively mindless!), and I can just drift off to sleep after that. Thus I will start writing something long, and insightful and mentally taxing just so I can exhaust myself enough to sleep.

Alas, the blog post you're reading now is probably not one of them.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Wrapping up my Pusan Film Festival 2009 experience (part 2)

Oh, it seems that I only have 3 photos and two videos that I haven't uploaded from last month's Pusan Film Fest, so I'll do it now.

12th of October, 2009. Last night in Busan (I realized that I've been making a mistake by repeatedly referring to the place as 'Pusan' instead of 'Busan' when the city's official name has long been changed to the latter). There was a Wide Angle party. The Wide Angle program of the Pusan Film Festival includes the documentary and short film competitions.

This is Kirsten Tan, Singaporean filmmaker currently based in New York. She had a short film in competition.

Wrapping up my Pusan Film Festival 2009 experience (part 1)

The post-production of THE WHITE FLOWER had seriously made me insomniac (or gave me messed up sleep patterns), so aside from being able to catch a nap from 1 to 3am, I've been widely awake since then.

So I decided to try to unload the remainder of photos from last month's trip at the Pusan Film Festival. I think I'll finish everything in two posts.

PIFF Center during evening

Outside the PIFF Center

After the screening of WOMAN ON FIRE LOOKS FOR WATER, the rest of my days in Pusan were spent on attending functions, parties, meeting people, looking around the Asian Film Market, trying to see a film but missing it in the end (I ended up only seeing MUNDANE HISTORY at the festival, just one film in a festival! A personal low).

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

17th of November. Mom's Birthday.

It's 5am now. I'm supposed to wake up in 2 hours to go for an early (press?) screening of ZERO FOCUS at Shinjuku Wald 9.

But then, it's my mom's birthday, and for two consecutive years, I've always made an issue out of it on this blog (read my 2007 and 2008 blog post). This year will not be an exception, since I won't be able to dig out some lost videos of my mom floating around on the Internet like I did last year, I'll share some anecdotes with you all.

Deciding upon the music for THE WHITE FLOWER

Today's my mom's birthday. Happy birthday, mom. But I'll get to that later.

I am still knee deep in the post-production of my new film THE WHITE FLOWER, which I'm trying to complete by end of this month.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

KINGYO receives two awards at Eibunren Awards

[kingyo] A nocturnal conversation at the carpark

I actually knew about this back in September, when I was in Singapore for the Singapore Short Film Festival. Maiko the Producer called me then to tell about the good news, but since the awards ceremony is in December, I didn't think there was any need to announce this earlier.

But since I've already announced about FLEETING IMAGES winning the Grand Prix at the CON-CAN Movie Festival, I'll make a mention of this as well.

So yes, my Japanese short film KINGYO had picked up two awards from Japan's Eibunren Awards: The Semi-Grand Prix (or Silver Grand Prix) and Best New Creator (also occasionally referred to as the Best New Director award) awards.

Organized by the Japanese Ministry of Culture and the Japanese Association of Audiovisual Producers, I was told that this is the first time an independent narrative short film had ever received a major award from the association. And in order to commemorate this, I became their first ever recipient of the Best New Creator award.

Definitely very honoured by this.

The awards ceremony will be on the 2nd of December. Parents and sister are attending.

Trailer of KINGYO (click here if you cannot see embedded video)

Wayne Wang's film adaptation of Yiyun Li's A THOUSAND YEARS OF GOOD PRAYERS

A Thousand Years Of Good Prayers

Caught a free screening of A THOUSAND YEAR OF GOOD PRAYERS in uni yesterday evening (a day before it opens in Japanese theaters, check out Kaori Shoji's review on Japan Times). Went because I read Yiyun Li's anthology of short stories of the same name just a couple of weeks earlier (which I really enjoyed).

Friday, November 13, 2009

Waseda Weekly Magazine (12th of November, 2009)

There's a profile of Maiko the Producer and I on Waseda Weekly magazine that came out today (actually, yesterday, since it's 2am now).

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

My short film FLEETING IMAGES wins Grand Prix at Japan's CON-CAN Movie Festival

I received a phone call yesterday morning from the CON-CAN Movie Festival. They told me that my experimental short, FLEETING IMAGES, had won the Grand Prix.

Waseda Festival 2009

I realized that last year, around this time, I was in Malaysia (for a brief trip to Rome and the Rome Film Festival), so I missed out the Waseda Festival.

I didn't even know about the Waseda Festival, which was held last weekend until I saw people setting up on Friday (as I was on my way to my lab to record Zhu Dan's guzheng performance).

Monday, November 09, 2009

Sunday, November 08, 2009

Zhu Dan touches her... Guzheng

It's strange how quickly a week had just flown by like that. It happens all the time when I'm in post-production for a film. Each day just goes by in a blur, and I myself lose the concept of day and night, for the past few nights I had spent sleepless nights in the editing lab for my new short film THE WHITE FLOWER. I usually go home around 6am, sometimes I get to eat breakfast, and then sleep at around 8am, then waking up at 12pm, and then going back to work again.

THE WHITE FLOWER is a challenging film because, aside from it being constructed almost entirely with still photos (which is a nightmare to edit by itself), I myself still have to various sound jobs. Recording voiceover narrations from the three main characters, recording sound effects, downloading sound effects, discussing with my two primary collaborators, Niklas (the cinematographer) and Woan Foong (the composer) about what I need for the film through the net (Niklas is in Finland, Woan Foong is in US), because I'm a crazy nocturnal, the time difference doesn't affect me much.

I always believe that you learning something new whenever you make a film, and for me, making short films is a constant learning experience for filmmaking, that's why I've been so prolific this year (shot 6 short films this year, though only four will be in my official record this year, since I've merged two into one, and another was just a practice for a cinematographer course I took) For THE WHITE FLOWER, I can say that I learn the most when it came to sound, having to teach myself how to do sound mixing and all after recording.

Two days ago I had to record some guzheng music for the film. So I enlisted the only guzheng player I know in Japan, my good friend Zhu Dan, who is also the unfortunate main actress of THE WHITE FLOWER.

This is me carrying her guzheng into my lab.

Sunday, November 01, 2009

Zhu Dan touches herself... er, wait....

Zhu Dan touches herself (but ends up touching some guy's butt)

Sorry, I just couldn't resist the blog post title.

Last night was Halloween. I remained rooted in the editing lab, editing my new film THE WHITE FLOWER. Which, in case you don't know, starred my friends Zhu Dan and Kong.