Browsing through a dvd shop in Shinjuku this evening I was pleasantly surprised to see Freedom Previsited soldout only a day after its release; I suspect the same to happen for Series one , slated for a late November release. Order yours today from Amazon Japan ! Haha. I was thinking wishfully that perhaps I might be entitled to a free copy when I start work but I ordered one anyway to boost Freedom Committee’s sales. What’s left to do is just the anxious wait for Otomo to pop by the studio…

Oct 29th 2006

Blue Skies.

Oct 18th 2006

The year was 1989. I was on a usual weekend family visit to my grandparents place. It was totally mundane and largely routine; we would always arrive in the mid afternoon, have dinner prepared by my grandmother, and then head home around 9 or 10 o’clock. But something that would transpire that evening made it an unforgettable day etched forever in my memory. My youngest uncle, whom me and my brother liked immensely because of his huge collection of Japanese comics and cartoons, was once again poised to impress us with his latest acquisitions. Popping the laserdisc ( I still remember vividly those huge and cumbersome laserdiscs, awkward by today’s standards but state of the art then ) into the player as the film started, the television screen was filled by the image of a huge and hulking crater, as a bold red title appeared.

The film was Akira. Neither me nor my brother had ever seen anything as devastatingly powerful and at once shocking; indeed, few animation films past and present can challenge the sheer awe and depth of this groundbreaking animation masterpiece. I was immediately hooked; I must have lived and breathed Akira for years to come, watching the film countless times and poring over the comics, its imaginative and detail artwork the stuff I wish I could one day, if even just a tiny percentage of that beauty, recreate.

Fast forward 17 years into the future, I am now 27 and on a film scholarship here in Tokyo, Japan. Its a cold October evening and I’m rushing around like a madman in Ogikubo, searching frantically for the studio where I was supposed to attend an interview for a job that should have started 30 minutes ago.

“Where the hell have you been ? Get the f**k outta here, we do not entertain late comers.” These nightmarish thoughts, soon to become reality I figure, flashed over and over again in my mind.

* * *

One hour later. I emerged from the studio, bowing profusely. The director said he liked the work he saw on my website, hopes for me to begin work with them soon.

The name of the studio, stuck nonchalantly on the door, read Steamboy Studios; the name of the assignment that I am soon to embark on : Project Freedom; character designer; Katsuhiro Otomo.

I’m greatly honoured to join the Project Freedom committee, standing on the shoulder of giants. To me, the chance of working on a Otomo Katsuhiro film is nothing short of a dream come true. I live a blessed life, I think.

Here are the 300kbs, 500kbs, and 1Mbs previews of Freedom.

Oct 14th 2006

In an era when most folks are eagerly abandoning those mouldy film cameras for their sparkling, high tech digital counterparts I seem to be taking a journey in the opposite direction, shooting on my 2nd hand Mamiya 645 medium format camera. Been an absolute sucker for rich, intense tones and that inexplicable warmth of celluloid my Mamiya delivers, and then some. Certainly, digital is here to stay and I adore my Nikon D70s, but for that classy age old look that is film, I’ll still put my trust in those spiffy silver halides. Big thanks to Takeshi for scanning the negs.



Oct 8th 2006

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.




Sep 23rd 2006

Kyoto/Osaka/Nara trip – Quite simply in two words; beauty and tranquilty. Think breathtaking shrines and temples, and then some.




Sep 5th 2006

Some production photos from the locations of my final year film project. More updates coming soon.

Aug 9th 2006

A recent 16mm film shoot filling up 2 weekends have had me appreciate the value of sleep in a way I had not since the army days; let’s hope at least the rushes turn out decent. As we wrap up things on this shoot preproduction starts for my final year project, in between a serious and earnest lookout for a job opening here in Tokyo. Amidst these hustling events just as I am about to lose sense of all time and purpose an appropriately timed present from my Korean sharemate ushers me back to one of my most cherished creative inspiration; a book procured from a 2nd hand book store; a Iwai Shunji’s Love Letter photobook, for less than 1.50 singapore dollars. To me, its true worth can hardly ever be calculated.

Jun 20th 2006

On planet Tokyo, people travel to work in elevators. I mean lifts. No I mean cars damn it. But cars are elevators. So are lifts cars too ? Or are elevators lifts ? I’m confused !!!!

May 23rd 2006

I could have just died of esctacy right there in Shinkiba’s club Ageha on Friday when Paul Van Dyk finished up his dizzying 3 hour set with the mind blowing tunes from his magnum opus track “For An Angel”. PVD me anytime, anywhere.

May 7th 2006

The annual retreat back into wilderness and the embrace of everything natural continues this year with a 5 day travel itinerary to Takasaki in the Gunma Perfecture, hometown of my very good friend Takeshi. Here ample thanks and gratitude must be appropriated to my hosts Takeshi+Kojima whom without them this trip would never have been possible. We travelled far and wide for hours to distant mountains and waterfalls, cabbage farms so huge and wide it was like standing in the middle of the world; quiet, undiscovered villages that could only have appeared in quaint old Japanese films. One night a miraculously timed, passing glance into the starry skies had us catching a beautiful, long tailed shooting star. What are the odds.

Takeshi’s father is a farmer so every trip back to Takasaki is like a dietary detox session; an astonishing variety of homegrown vegetables are eaten and meat consumption drops to a virtual zero.

Kojima attempts a Kodak moment.

The Ito residence.



No, I didn’t digitally enhanced the colours on these flowers; they were of the very same intensity I saw with my own eyes, but Takeshi quickly informs : “Erm..these are actually the flowers of…weeds.” Killjoy.

May 7th 2006

Takeshi+Kojima+loadsa’cactus.

Apr 23rd 2006
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