Magazine article Screen International

TIFFCOM: Japanese Filmmakers Start to Venture Overseas

Magazine article Screen International

TIFFCOM: Japanese Filmmakers Start to Venture Overseas

Article excerpt

Japanese directors Koji Fukada, Isshin Inudo and Daishi Matsunaga share experiences of shooting outside Japan on Screen-moderated TIFFCOM panel.

Although Japan’s film industry is not renowned for its levels of co-production activity, three Japanese directors shared their recent experiences of shooting overseas at a panel on the opening day of TIFFCOM (October 24).

Koji Fukada (pictured), who recently filmed The Man From The Sea entirely in Indonesia, said he was inspired to make the film following a visit to Banda Aceh. “I knew this project had to be filmed in Indonesia using a mix of English, Indonesian, Japanese and local dialect - it couldn’t be done just by Japanese staff,” explained Fukada, who won the Un Certain Regard prize at Cannes 2016 for Harmonium.

His new project, about a man who is found washed up on a beach suffering from amnesia, was set up as a co-production between Japan’s Nikkatsu Corp, Indonesia’s Kaninga Pictures and France’s Commes des Cinemas. Post-production is currently taking place in Paris.

Fukada said he found that Japan and Indonesia have hugely different working methods - Japanese productions tend to be more strictly scheduled and spend longer in pre-production - but he appreciated the professionalism and laid-back attitude of the Indonesian crews.

Koji Fukada

“We think our way of doing things is just common sense, but when you work with foreign crews, you realise there are alternatives to pursuing the Japanese method,” said Fukada. “In Japan, we’re always worried about time management, but in Indonesia the crew didn’t try to rush things despite the limited schedule.”

Isshin Inudo, known for films such as Josee, The Tiger And The Fish and The Floating Castle, said he had a slightly more chaotic experience when he was drafted in as a director for hire on a Chinese production. Although some of the cast and crew impressed him, he said China’s film industry is growing so fast that not all of the team had a huge amount of experience. “Some of the Chinese crew, including line producers, are very young - so you lose time in a lot of cases.”

But he also found an upside to China’s way of working when he suggested major script changes and a completely different ending to the story in the middle of the shoot. …

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