Moviemaking sector, state seeking to foster young talent

by Keiko Kimura

Film production and distribution companies are reviving efforts to foster young directors and other moviemaking professionals.

The industry is reaching out to foster talent and getting help along the way from the government.

The Pia Film Festival, with a 25-year history as a gateway for amateur directors, tied up with Waseda University this year.

PFF prize winners get a scholarship and become Waseda graduate students in international information and communication research.

This year, three PFF prize winners were able to join the course, which includes access to advanced facilities to make films, and two are producing their own movies at the school’s Honjo campus in Saitama Prefecture with cooperation from locals.

“I wanted an opportunity to meet those who wish to enter the movie world,” one of the three students said.

Kohei Ando, a professor at the graduate school and a movie director, is guiding the three students.

“I want to foster filmmakers who have wide vision as creators,” he said.

The Cultural Affairs Agency has been supporting such projects since last year by having students work on movie sets and subsidizing production firms that accept them.

One film that took advantage of the agency’s support system is “Kamyu-Nante Shiranai” (“I Don’t Know Camus”), directed by Mitsuo Yanagimachi. The movie, shot at Rikkyo University in Toshima Ward, Tokyo, will be released in mid-January.

Yanagimachi said having many inexperienced young people brought a positive effect to his film.

“About 40 students participated. (They) had a strong sense of rivalry with each other. I think youthfulness and liveliness (from the rivalry) were reflected on the film,” Yanagimachi said.

The Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry began an internship program this year to nurture those who want to produce movies.

Under the program, university and vocational college students take part in TV or music video production. Currently about 40 students are in the program.

Other film directors are also eager to have inexperienced young people join in their productions.

“I want to open the door for young people,” said Kaizo Hayashi, who produces private detective movies, referring to his project on the Internet.

Hayashi is using the Internet to distribute short movies produced by young people. Viewing the short films is free. The themes must be related to Hayashi’s “Tanntei Jimusho 5/5 — Number de Yobareru Tanteitachi no Monogatari” (“Private Detective Office 5/5 — A Story About Detectives Called by Number”).

“People with skills can take a strong position in filmmaking,” Hayashi said. “It is good for young people to meet (talented peers) and cultivate their minds by working hard.”