Toho Gakuen Film Techniques Training College (東放学園映画専門学校) , located in Takadanobaba (高田馬場), Tokyo, was where I took a 2 year filmmaking course while under the NAC Takashimaya scholarship program. The school was established by TBS (Tokyo Broadcasting System) in 1969 to nurture able talent for the Japanese film, animation and music industries, and has continued to produce skilled professionals for the media industry till this day. Well, so the website says. :p
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With the bulk of work for Freedom 3 completed there is finally some time to catch my breath before the rush sets in again when Freedom’s TV commercial postpro starts, and not till that is finished may I, there are rumours abound, get a week off work. I think I’m just going to sprout wings and fly straight out of the studio when that actually happens.
Anyway. I was fairly thrilled yesterday to recieve Abe-san’s signature on my Jinroh Boxset ( see pic below ) ; its always been one of my favourite animation films since watching it a full 8 years ago at the Singapore Film Festival. Abe-san, who was previously from IG and had also worked on GITS SAC, commented she too was a newbie when she joined Jinroh’s production. ( she’s now the colour designer for Freedom project. )
Outside work I also finished my 2 year film school at Toho Gakuen, here’s a photo at the graduation ceremony with my classmate from Shanghai, ( he tells me the animation studio that made Monkey God and Nezha is just right behind his house, s**t. ) we had quite a time shooting our graduation film together. See this post.
That’s all the updates for now I think. Its spring in Tokyo. I need a break !
Some screengrabs off my recently completed graduation film project “Umi no Namida” ( Tears of the Sea ), where I tripled as cameraman/cinematography, storyboard artist, as well as editor. For any filmmaker there’s always the indescribable rush of excitment and pleasure as one watches the film take shape slowly during the editing stage, so I guess those all-nighters hadn’t gone to waste.
Some production photos from the locations of my final year film project. More updates coming soon.
On location in Minami-Sunamachi. Principle photography has wrapped and editing is in the works for a short film about 2 ladies who start a cat fight over a cheesecake. As the cameraman for the shoot I also got a humble cameo ( actually almost everyone else in the team did a cameo )as an english teacher ( in a TV advertisement within the film )who tries unsuccesfully to instruct proper pronounciation for the word Cheesecake ( read as chee-su-ke-ki in Japanese ). Now that was great fun.
Its a memorable day at this year’s Toho Video Festival (TVF), a film festival with works from all the different faculties of my film school. Chosen from a hundred pieces of film submission by a panel of judges, notably Yukisada Isao ( director of Shouting Out Love, ), my short film Robot Dreams ( a renaissance piece built from a culmination of unfinished work including Memento Mori, Do Robots Dream and recently shot video footage. ) managed to enter the grand finals, one of the top 10 films screened today at the festival vying for the grand prize of a Apple G5 FCP editing suite worth about 5K. Regrettably, I eventually lost out to my classmate from Shanghai ( we were the only two year one students in the top ten; the rest were graduation students ), whose impressive CG piece created to the likeness of Chinese watercolour paintings awed the judges, and deservedly won the best film award. Well, better luck next year with my graduation work ! :]
Just a week into term 2 and three film production shoots are cramped back to back, I’m thinking about dropping a module lest I die a painful, undeserving death : ” film student dies of fatique during shoot, hand still clasping zoom servo. ” Meanwhile, time for watching films become harder to come by but I was glad I finally got around to see Majo no Takyubin ( Kiki’s Delivery Service ), fantastic, as per Ghibli animation.
On a sadder note, I wish the school would inform us earlier when “erai” characters such as the cinematographer for the film Shall We Dance ? visits the school for a talk, I would’ve prepped my copy of the dvd, screaming hysterically for a signature like a rabid F4 fan. Just wait till Iwai Shunji shows up.
Two production stills from a short film production “Hanako to Taiichi” that just wrapped last Sunday. The story entails a girl set on suicide that receives some pretty stylized divine intervention. I was covering lighting on set and will also be doing a cut of the film soon. Shooting on location the view and backdrop from the rooftop was simply fantastic, and very…well, Japanese. If you’ve seen the film Tokyo Sora, you’ll know what I mean.
Film school enters the 2nd week as lesson proper starts, trial classes are expected for another week before we decide on the modules we want to take. I would have personally preferred more lesson time on the ARRI 16mm film camera but with so many students in the film module I doubt that can be helped. On a much more exciting note I am without a doubt the most linguistically challenged student on campus, but gratifyingly enough that also means there’s no other place to go but up.
Dokorode today on film appreciation class our lecturer shares with us his conversation with a friend who was working as film crew for director Iwai Shunji. *quote* “(Iwai) Madness !!! 3 days on set without sleep ! We start eating our meals without the foggiest idea if its breakfast, lunch or dinner. ”
Perhaps the Japanese were once again exercising their usual diffidence and propriety but me and my friends just could not for cat’s sake control our uproarious laughter yesterday while watching Pixar’s latest outing The Incredibles. Coupled with Pixar’s now reliably excellent plot and visual delivery is Brad Bird’s unique direction, a style ringing close to the underrated Iron Giant. There’s a hint of mischievious nature seemingly missing from Pixar’s past works that is beautifully integrated here, the Warner Bro’s animation touch if you will.
Highlight today however must go to the receipt of Toho Gakuen’s letter of acceptance, my film school starting next April. Kojima-chan was noticably more estatic than me when told the news, chotto bikkurishita. *laughs*