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Creating Gems on Screen - Interview with The Star

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Just a few hours from flying to Rome. Taking the midnight flight. Will stop by at Dubai. Going for dinner after posting this. I was interviewed by Nicole last week while I was in Tokyo, and her column, CREATING GEMS ON SCREEN, came out on the Metro section of The Star yesterday. Unfortunately, she didn't have enough space to squeeze in my answer to her last question, so I'll put it here instead.

HOPELANDER at the Tokyo Project Gathering 2008

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I've just returned from Tokyo a few hours ago. Haven't been able to update the blog during the past few days because I've been busy with the Tokyo Project Gathering, a co-production market held in conjunction with the Tokyo International Film Fest and TIFFCOM.

[Tokyo International Film Festival] Kill 斬, an omnibus film by Takanori Tsujimoto, Kenta Fukasaku, Minoru Tahara and Mamoru Oshii

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poster of KILL I saw two films at the TOKYO INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL today, the much-anticipated KILL ( official site ), and THE CLONE RETURNS TO THE HOMELAND, both Japanese films having their world premieres, I couldn't resist. Normally, I have a personal rule NOT to review films from film festivals I'm invited to (that's why I didn't review a single thing I saw at the SANTIAGO or HONG KONG film fests). I don't want to diss films that my own production is competing against because it'll make me look classless.

Two reviews of DAYS OF THE TURQUOISE SKY (KURUS)

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KURUS, or DAYS OF THE TURQUOISE SKY, continues its festival run. Here are two recent reviews of the film from our Southeast Asian neighbours.

The Girl With A Melancholic Face

Maybe it was the booth girls , or the cosplayers. But when I went back to bed after breakfast this morning, I dreamed of a girl with a melancholic face.

Babes of Tokyo Game Show 2008

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[WARNING: Lots of photos in this entry, may take some time to load.] I went to the Tokyo Game Show 2008 today. Although I don't mention it much in this blog, but I'm an avid gamer ever since I was a child. While film will always be my one and greatest love, video games and literature might tie for second. In fact, when I'm in Malaysia, during down periods (no film shoots), I actually spend more time playing the PS2 (I'm always in some RPG marathon, I've completed all the Final Fantasy games except the first 3) than reading a book.

Trying to resurrect a short film project

It's already the second week of classes. This semester is shaping up to be much less stressful compared to the previous one. There's no hardcore 13-session intensive Japanese courses where I have to wake up at 8 in the morning to attend. Just four sessions of what I think is important to me (one oral class, one listening class, two grammar classes) It's not stress that I cannot handle, but the repetition. By being so wrapped up with my Japanese classes then, I was in a slight lull. I felt that the world had been passing me by in Malaysia while I was sitting in a classroom learning Japanese. Hence my desperation in trying to do something, well, anything. Anything just to connect myself with filmmaking again. That's why I tried to develop a short film back in May (tentatively titled YUKI) . A Japanese-language film based loosely on a Yasunari Kawabata short story I read (like my latest, LOVE SUICIDES). Unfortunately, things hadn't progressed much since then.

Paco and the Magic Book パコと魔法の絵本 and its 'maximalistic' filmmaking)

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I was first exposed to Tetsuya Nakashima's filmmaking not through the internationally-acclaimed MEMORIES OF MATSUKO (which I was absolutely in awe of ), but through a brilliant short film by him done quite a few years ago (could be 2004 or 2005, not sure), ROLLING BOMBER SPECIAL, which starred SMAP's Katori Shingo and totally makes fun of the Super Sentai (Power Rangers, Masked Riders etc.) genre. This short film is a MUST-WATCH.

CHICKEN RICE MYSTERY selected for competition at Dubai International Film Fest 2008

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I actually received the email a few nights ago and chose to keep it mum until it's a certainty. So yes, it's confirmed, CHICKEN RICE MYSTERY had been selected for competition at the Dubai International Film Fest 2008 this December. It will be featured in the short section of the Muhr Awards for Excellence in AsiaAfrica Cinema programme. A tremendous honour, and I'm truly elated about this.

I like Satomi Ishihara, but I don't really get Flying Rabbits フライングラビッツ

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As I watch Satomi Ishihara on TV right now, interviewing the singer and voice actress Aoi Teshima (known for voicing Therru in Ghibli's TALES FROM EARTHSEA, she has a fantastic fantastic singing voice!), repressed memories of two weeks ago came back to me and filled my heart with sorrow.

Impromptu Paul Newman tribute. Thoughts on BUTCH CASSIDY AND THE SUNDANCE KID

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Frankly, up until he recently passed away, my impression of Paul Newman had always been vague. I remember more of the old Paul Newman than the young Paul Newman who was at the height of his fame. I remember him best in the awesome ROAD TO PERDITION. (And also for the Newman's Own food products I used to see at Perth supermarkets).