EXHALATION (and MAGIC AND LOSS) begins theatrical run in Cinema Rosa, Ikebukuro

Tokyo Film Festival 2011 ended exactly a week ago, but I continued promoting EXHALATION with Kiki.

Just two days after Tokyo Film Fest's closing ceremony, on the evening of November 1st, Kiki and I presented EXHALATION to a group of students at a class in Waseda University taught by WINDS OF ASIA director Kenji Ishizaka. (a year ago, I presented LOVE SUICIDES and INHALATION to the same class).

It was fun!



Kiki and I, after EXHALATION screening and Q&A session
(looks like a presidential candidate photo, no?)


A few hours after that, I got sick. Struck down by a bad cold while I was swiftly editing a video message for my high school's 10th anniversary reunion dinner that I myself wasn't attending. I guess the non-stop activities at TIFF had taken its toll.

Luckily, I recovered yesterday, just in time for the first day of EXHALATION's limited theatrical run at Cinema Rosa in Ikebukuro. (Actually, EXHALATION, being a 21-minute short film, is merely opening for the feature film MAGIC AND LOSS by Lim Kah Wai, but please, allow me to indulge myself for a while!)

MAGIC AND LOSS (and EXHALATION) begins theatrical run


MAGIC AND LOSS trailer


((For the schedule of post-screening Q and A sessions, please check the Cinema Rosa website (Japanese only). Kiki and/or director Lim Kah Wai will appear on the 9th, 12th and 18th of November.))

So, there I was, before the very first screening of EXHALATION (and MAGIC AND LOSS), with Kiki, greeting the audiences. Shin Hayasaka the cinematographer was there, and I made sure everyone knew that because my film would never had worked without his cinematography.

Kiki and I saying hi to audiences before screening

Kiki and I saying hi to audiences before screening 2


When it ended, I sneaked into the last row of the theater to watch a little bit of my own film on the big screen. The experience was just like a film festival screening, but without the clapping when the end credits started rolling.

I left and walked back to my place alone. It was raining a little, and I listened to the melancholic songs of Lisa Ekdahl's SINGS SALVADORE POE album on my iPhone. I couldn't help but feel a little wistful, when the realization that a short film that I directed was actually having a limited theatrical run in Japan. It was a little surreal. The first time that something I myself directed would actually play in the cinemas.

The EXHALATION shoot felt so long ago, as if it was from another lifetime. It was December 2009, the last few days of the year. (production photos here, here and here) It was shot before 2010's TIGER FACTORY, before my other shorts INHALATION and NOW (the 1-minute short film I made for Prada), before this year's LAST FRAGMENTS OF WINTER, before GIRL IN THE WATER (the Danish-Malaysian co-production I produced and edited in June, which is actually premiering at the Copenhagen International Documentary Film Festival 2011 in a few hours).

The film was left in the can for more than a year before it finally made its world premiere at the Dubai Film Festival last December. Since then, I felt as if I've been talking quite a bit about this little short film of mine, isn't it? With this theatrical run in Ikebukuro, and later in Osaka, I know that its festival run is coming to an end, what a journey EXHALATION has had. Rotterdam, Jeonju, Shanghai, Hong Kong, Curtas Vila Du Conde... I was in every single festival screening aside from the one in Curtas Vila Du Conde (in Portugal), even the famous film critic Jean-Michel Frodon, former editor-in-chief of Cahiers Du Cinema, had screened the short film at a Parisian Cafe. What more can I ask for?

(Considering that just a year ago, I was fretting over whether EXHALATION would ever see the light of the day.)

I think this post will be the last I speak of EXHALATION. Time for me to move on, time for me to share my subsequent works with all of you. At this very moment that I'm writing this blog post, I am in my editing room, editing some new project. At the end of the month, I will be going to Taipei for the Golden Horse project market to shop my feature film project around. By next month, a new short film of mine will be making its world premiere at a film festival. You don't want to hear about EXHALATION anymore, I don't want to talk about EXHALATION any more either.

I never believe in clinging on to past glories, to be self-congratulatory over something that happened in the distant past. That would be much to sad to comprehend.

The joy of filmmaking is mostly in the process for me, of connecting with a group of like-minded people, and also this great sense of accomplishment upon the film's completion, then there's slight relief and comfort that audiences were able to connect emotionally with my little efforts of artistic self-expression. Just ten years ago, I was this fat weirdo nerd boy who went around in my high school, asking people to read pages of my (never-finished) fantasy novel, usually in vain. Just five years ago, I was a fat weirdo student going around the university student village in Perth, asking people to watch birthday party videos that I shot and edited with my camcorder, usually in vain. The rejections, which were usually the majority, had always been stinging, despite being understandable (people have better things to do). I rather just move on, and continue creating more. If my works can stand the test of time, I will be happy, but I rather believe that my next film will always be my best, therefore that is why I keep on creating. Just to learn from my mistakes and continue improving.

Therefore, this is all I have to say about EXHALATION on this blog.

Thank you very much to the cast and crew of the film for being part of this wonderful journey.


EXHALATION trailer 1


EXHALATION trailer 2