YIDFF 2017 New Asian Currents
Of Cats, Dogs, Farm Animals and Sashimi
An Interview with Perry Dizon (Director)

Seeking Something

Q: I really related with Dondon, who falls in love, and worries about the future just as fellow members of this younger generation do. Please tell us how you came to make this film, the first that you have directed.

PD: I’ve worked with film directors for a long time as an actor, and I’ve been involved with films in different capacities, such as through art, or as an assistant director. One summer day—I think it was on a film set—I borrowed my friend’s camera, and did a bunch of experiments with it. And I thought, “Maybe I could try making a film.” I’m very shy, so I was very reticent about the fact that I’d even made a film, but I’d gone through the trouble of making it, so I submitted it to this film festival.

Q: Why did you choose Dondon among all the children in Mindanao?

PD: I met him by chance when I was doing interviews in Mindanao, and even among so many children, he really stood out. When I looked at him through the camera, I saw something mysterious shining in his eyes, and wondering what that was, I began to film. However, filming didn’t go so well at first. That was because I was an outsider, and the people of the village kept their distance. Noticing this, I tried to get closer to the people around me, by helping out with the farm, or just talking to them. It was only when I had become this person who lived in the village, one who also happened to carry a camera, that filming started to go well. After that, I spent 30 days filming on the island.

I’ve been rolling my camera thinking that I just wanted to film beautiful things, but as I chased after those beautiful things, a sense of mystery and sadness welled up in me. Even I don’t know why. Life on the island is, in a way, rich indeed, but there is also a sense of fervently seeking something. I don’t know if that’s sympathy, love, my desire to learn more, or something that I’m projecting myself.

Q: I think the title Of Cats, Dogs, Farm Animals and Sashimi is unique and funny. How did you come up with such a title?

PD: When I re-watched the film to choose the title, there were cats, dogs, and other farm animals. These were all linked to Dondon’s hard labor, so I thought they would be good. In turn, I put “Sashimi” in the title because this film itself is very raw. That is, this is the first film that I’ve directed, I am an amateur with the camera, and there were various other things that were so new to me.

Q: Do you have any plans for your next film?

PD: I think I’d like to film Dondon after this as well. When I went back to Mindanao last year, I heard that he had moved to a town under some conflict. I was worried that he’d be dragged into the conflict, but I’ve learned that he’s now working in a factory in another town. It’s been more than 2 years since I made this film, so I’m sure he’s changed, but I’d like to set out on a journey looking for him.

(Compiled by Nagayama Momo)

Interviewers: Nagayama Momo, Kusunose Kaori / Interpreter: Tomita Kaori / Translator: Joelle Tapas
Photography: Toba Rio / Video: Kano Haruna / 2017-10-06