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Sunday, June 15, 2008

The Chinese Program at the Short Shorts Film Festival & Asia 2008

Fruit Chan's A+B=C a short film

Just as I've mentioned in my previous post, I returned to the Short Shorts Film Festival & Asia 2008, this time for the Chinese Program that my friend, Cara Yuan (she organizes the mobile film festival in China) was curating.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Attending the Short Shorts Film Festival & Asia 2008

I first heard about SHORT SHORTS FILM FESTIVAL from Cara Yuan, organizer of the mobile phone film festival in China (I met her when I was at the Hong Kong International Film Festival back in March). She has came over to Tokyo to curate the Chinese program for the Short Shorts Film Fest, which will be featuring short films by Wong Kar Wai ('THERE'S ONLY ONE SUN', I've seen it on Youtube before) and Fruit Chan. I'm attending that a few hours from now, after I wake up (it's 3:42am while I'm writing this).

But wanting to familiarize myself with the way to the film fest, I decided to attend another one of the programs yesterday afternoon, right after I finish classes. Each program is 110 minutes long and is a compilation of short films for a particular competitive category. The one I went to was a screening of short films for the ASIA and JAPAN Competition, along with one entry for the STOP! Global Warming Competition. Then there's also a special screening of Tadanobu Asano's 224466, a 25-minute long short film he directed and starred in. Since I've just watched Mongol yesterday, it marks the second consecutive day I saw an Asano film.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

"I came to Japan to make porn."

Haruka Ayase

Since moving to Tokyo two months ago, the most often-repeated line I hear from male friends is:

"You should make porn in Japan."

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Haunted by the interview of Akihabara knifeman's parents

The past few nights had been a non-stop coverage of the Akihabara Massacre and the killer, Tomohiro Kato. Not exactly the most uplifting stuff for a guy like me to watch when sick.

There was a TV interview with the parents of the killer last night. Their faces were obscured to protect their identities, only the father spoke during the 4-minute interview, the mother stood behind him, sobbing quietly, unable to manage a single word.

The father apologized for their son's actions, but it was the image of the mother collapsing onto the ground at the end of the interview that haunts me.

She was literally crawling back to the front door of her house where her husband was standing and waiting. I seriously thought it was heartbreaking.

I cannot imagine what is this like. To live with this for the rest of their lives. I think they are victims of their son's actions as well.

Monday, June 09, 2008

My First Experience In Pitching My Film In Japan

PITCH (filmmaking)
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

A pitch is a concise verbal (and sometimes visual) presentation of an idea for a film, generally made by a screenwriter or director to a producer or studio executive in the hope of attracting development finance to pay for a screenplay to be written. Pitches are usually made in person, although they can be made over the phone or, occasionally, pre-recorded on audio or videotape.

A good pitch is generally between five and ten minutes long and lays out the premise, hook and essential beats of the story, along with thumbnail sketches of the principal characters (often including the names of actors who might play the roles), and a clear idea of the genre, tone, likely audience, and budget level.

If an executive is interested in a pitch they may ask to see a treatment. If not, they will often follow up with "What else have you got?".

For this reason, a wise supplicant will be prepared to pitch a second and possibly third idea without hesitation.

I've been gripped by this vaguely familiar feeling of melancholy in the past few days. I wondered whether it had anything to do with the ELEPHANT AND THE SEA trailer I was editing, or the fact that my laptop adapter had gone crazy (laptop abruptly switches off by itself when it's plugged in, no problems when using batteries), or the awareness that I was going to get sick, or because I was stuck in limbo between productions, maybe none of them, maybe a little bit of all of them.

Sunday, June 08, 2008

The 3 phone calls I received after the Akihabara (Tokyo) stabbing rampage

Assailant Tomohiro Kato held by police

The horrible stabbing spree at Akihabara this afternoon has already made international news. When that happened, I was actually at the MOS Burger near my dorm, having a production meeting with Maiko.

I didn't know anything until after the meeting ended and I was on my way to the Takadanobaba Station to catch a train. As I was on my way there, I got a phone call from Jason, my Hong Kong friend.

"Hey, where are you?" He asked.

"Taking a train to Shibuya." I said.

"Oh, then you're not at Akihabara then. There was a loony who went around stabbing at people with a knife. You better be careful." He said.

"Hm. I see." I continued walking, not aware of casualties then, just a little bothered that something crazy had happened at a place I visited just last Saturday.

Why Filmmakers Need to Know the History of Cinema

Tim Sharp, a classmate of mine during filmmaking classes in Perth sent me a really good article of his where he emphasized why a filmmaker should know his cinema history, and lamented that the lack of this awareness contributed to the sad state of affairs seen in the current Perth filmmaking scene. When reading his article, I felt that the issues he discussed are pretty universal. So I definitely recommend this to anyone who has anything to do with the film industry, or wants to do something with it.

Here are some nice quotes that I agree with: