The LA Eiga Fest

Yesterday, I went to a few screenings at the Los Angeles Eiga (映画 / Film) Festival in Hollywood at the Egyptian Theater.

Flyer pic
Inspiration to keep moving forward with this film.

I watched the new Toei anime “アシュラ” (Ashura) and the Short film, “Mo Ikkai” before that. “Mo Ikkai” was very calm and cerebral while “Ashura” was very violent and gorey but yet, thought provoking and beautiful in the end.

Afterwards I stuck around for the shorts competition and had no idea I’d be participating in the audience award selection. I enjoyed all six films. “Sacrifice” was very thought provoking and eye opening about the seemingly forgotten victims of the Fukushima radiation fall out while “Battle on the Underground” and “Edo of the Dead” were both fun films to enjoy a sillier side of everything. “Yukuharu” and “Nuku Nuku” (love the cast and cinematography in this film) were very strong and well done dramas but the audience award and competition winner is definitely “Famiry“.

Famiry is just a stand out fun short film that is full of twists, turns, and surprises. The lead actress is brilliant along with the director’s choice of shots and editing. There are some predictable story elements but the director still plays with them enough that I didn’t really care. I don’t want to sound too much like a critic but I really enjoyed this film and look forward to seeing what the director and cast do next.

I enjoyed myself for the most part but everything seemed a little disorganized. I was under the impression that the LA Eiga Fest had been around for years but it turned out this was their second year. So with that, I expect great things to happen in the coming years.

Watching every film inspired me to keep going with my own (American Hikikomori) so that I, too, can showcase a story that has meaning to me, and possibly, other people around the globe.

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Production Blog #6: Have a Tenugui on us!

This week started out slow and then, suddenly became very busy.

So in trying to plan our upcoming fundraising campaign. I’ve been racking my brain inorder to come up with what ONE of the gifts would be that we will give to our donors to say, “Thank you for believing in our film”.

One item I thought of is a Tenugui.

History of TENUGUI

In the Heian period (AD 794 – 1192) TENUGUI was used as accessories for Shinto rituals. Cloth was such a precious item that the use of the item was not widespread among the people during the Nara period (710 – 794). From the Kamakura period (1192 – 1333) on, it gradually became popular. In the Edo period (1592 – 1868) cotton began to be cultivated in various parts of Japan and TENUGUI became a necessary item for living. It was around this time that people started to regard it as a valuable item not only in terms of its functions but in terms of its artistic value. Then a contest called “TENUGUI-AWASE” became a widespread event among a certain type of people who tried to win with their original designs on TENUGUI. Such competition contributed to the development of new dyeing techniques. In the Meiji era (1868 – 1912) a dyeing technique called “Chusen” was devised and it extensively revolutionized the industry. In or around the Showa period (1926 – 1989), a variety of associations were formed by people who love TENUGUI and such associations spread throughout the country with TENUGUI as an item which is no longer within the realm of daily necessities. Today there are many different colors and patterns of TENUGUI and people have free minds of how to use TENUGUI.

-http://www.kamawanu.co.jp

I have several and I love them all. Some were gifts, others I bought myself but they all get used. I use them mainly as a handkerchief but have used them as a head scarf, face mask, and hand towel when necessary.

Tenugui pic
Pretty and practical, I love my tenugui.

So it’s practical and looks cool. Good idea, right?

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Production Blog #5: Teaching an Old Pup New Tricks

Well, it’s time to get back to work!

We’ve added a new member to our team and have cast our first actress.

Meet Nova!

Nova Pic
This old pup is about to learn some new tricks!

Nova’s parents were very gracious in volunteering their time and patience in order to start training Nova for a small scene in our film.

As for her human co-stars, we’re still flipping through our submissions to find our leads and supporting cast.

Things are looking up as we continue on this journey and our challenges are just beginning!

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Production Blog #4: Still Casting

The weeks and days are just flying by, aren’t they?

The holiday has really slowed my progress in casting. I’m trying to push through but stuffing my face and chillin’ with my wife just seems to be more attractive for the moment.

Holidays are for work breaks…, right?

In my cave trying to get through over 300 submissions…

If you celebrate Thanksgiving, what are you grateful for? If you don’t celebrate Thanksgiving you could still tell me what you’re grateful for.

I can remember in those confusing and frustating days as a teenager thinking, “I have nothing to be grateful for, life is sh*t.” My mother would always rebuff my teenage rant with, “You have clothes on your back, food in your stomach, and a family who loves you. There are millions of people who have none of that.” Of course, my response was typically a deep sigh before rolling my eyes but the older I grew and the more life experiences I acquired, the more I realized what I really took for granted and should be grateful for.

I realized before I ever lock myself in my room and begin to feel sorry for myself. I should take a step back and look at how other people are living. Look at other people’s lives and compare my life to theirs. Not to say mine is better or worse but to say,  “This is where I am in the world with my life and I am grateful to be where I am.” Why? Because my life is unique to me and my experiences and my dreams and there is always potential for it get better and possibly improve someone else’s.

“It could always be worse,” is what I try to tell myself. I try to tell myself that because there is always someone else who has it worse but yet they still persevere and THEY are grateful.

Don’t get me wrong. Every once in a while I, too, still occasionally regress to my teenage mentality, “life is sh*t.”  The difference now is that I automatically trigger my mother’s rebuff once I’ve calmed myself down.

Once I’ve calmed myself down and have cleared my head, I try to move on.

And for that ability, I’m the most grateful.

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Production Blog #3: Now Casting

Another week has flown by and I just took a sneak peak at some submissions that were made through our postings on Actors Access, Now Casting, and Casting Networks. We’ve received over 300 submissions for a few of our English speaking roles and fraction of that for our Japanese speaking roles.

Where are all the Los Angeles Japanese speaking actors? I’ve managed to get some casting flyers out to the local Los Angeles area Japanese markets while I post ads on sites like Vivinavi and Craigslist. I’ve also sent in casting ads to Rafu Shimpo and Nikkan San as well but numbers are low.

Looks like casting for my leads is going to continue.

There’s an overwhelming amount of work I may have under estimated and I’m realizing I really need to get some help organizing and executing the next steps I have to make.

Volunteers, anyone?

I could pay you with gratitude and really bad haikus…

No? Thought I’d ask anyway…

I’ve also realized that in spending time to research my film, search for a cast, look up ways to find my audience, and everything else…, I’ve become some what of a hikikomori myself.

Now, mind you, I was never a social butterfly to start with. I can count my closest friends on one hand and still have space left over. But, maybe that’s the way it’s supposed to be. Some one once told me, “The older you get, the fewer friends you have.” Maybe I saw it in a movie or tv show… Either way, I don’t doubt that. Time is a great way to measure your relationship to people around you and directly involved with you.

Maybe that’s why family is so important.

If the internet had been what it is now when I was in middle school, I may have grown up to be a completely different person. Middle school was a complete and total nightmare for me so I stayed inside watching movies and cartoons when I wasn’t in school. They were my sanctuary; my escape.

I felt as though if someone wasn’t picking on me they were thinking of ways to pick on me. I was one of the smallest guys in class and I felt like my biggest fault was that I was too trusting or nice to my peers. It wasn’t that I was grossly naive, I actually believed (and still do) what my father once told me, “Treat people how you want to be treated.” Apparently no one else’s parents (I thought) was telling their kids that. Or if they were, the he/she was not listening.

I dunno’… I shouldn’t ramble on.

I’ve got head shots and resumes to look through.

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Production Blog #2: The Beginning Part II

So…

We have the website up (www.americanhikikomori.com) , the weekly blog is sorta runnin’, and the Facebook page (www.facebook.com/americanhikikomorifilm) exists for the film. 

Image

 

Essentially, we’re starting from scratch. We have a script, a small team, and some casting notices up on several sites for the Los Angeles area. Because we’re looking for native speaking Japanese actors, casting has proven to be a little more complicated than we originally anticipated.

Should be fun! It has begun…

Production Blog #1: The Beginning

Welcome to our production blog for our independent short film, American Hikikomori!

Here, we will post pictures and notes about our upcoming production. You’re invited to a behind the scenes look at our journey in bringing this short film to life!