YIDFF 2017 Perspectives Japan
An Interview with Maeda Shinjiro (Producer), Oki Hiroyuki, Ikeda Yasunori, Takashi Toshiko (Directors)

The Potential of Uncertainty

Q: A collection of BETWEEN YESTERDAY & TOMORROW (BYT) films was invited to YIDFF 2011. Why did you think of doing the project anew in 2016 with the same filmmakers from 2011?

Maeda Shinjiro (MS): In 2011, the project was designed as an exercise limited to a one-year period starting March, where filmmakers made films following a set of instructions. After that limited time frame, the filmmakers went on uploading their individual films to the web but with no formal incentive from my side. In 2016, five years from the previous screening, I was offered the chance to screen the series again. Obviously, I could have just chosen some films from the 2011 batch to present them once more, but it occurred to me that this was a new opportunity. I could ask filmmakers to make new films for 2016 and show them as an omnibus collection in conjunction with the 2011 films.

Q: What was the intention behind providing a set of instructions in making the films?

MS: You may think that the project aims to highlight differences among the filmmakers by forcing a shared format. But my intention was not to line up something formulaic. The filmmaker declares “I’m going to xxx tomorrow and will film there,” and actually goes there to shoot the following day, according to the instructions. But if there were no instructions, she/he might not actually go there. I am fascinated how the rules create an inversion of cause-and-effects on reality and see how the set of instructions has potential.

Q: I’d like to ask each of you what it was like to film in 2011 and again in 2016.

Oki Hiroyuki: I usually want to make films spontaneously in the moment, so I’m not sure how the flow of time differs between 2011 and 2016. But I guess it’s thanks to this project that I am able to look back and discover how a reflection of myself has been retained in an objective way. I’m grateful for that.

Takashi Toshiko: I’ve made four films in the BYT series so far, and until this edition, always filming one shot one cut. But after the first three, I felt intuitively that there was a break. This time, when I was again invited to the project after five years, I thought of doing something different. I decided to film without moving the camera, unlike my other films, and thought hard how I should make it work.

Ikeda Yasunori: I’ve made three films so far. The first was of my brother in 2011, but I had no intention of making a series of my family members then. Later, when I was invited again, the idea of a trilogy with my brother, father, and mother came to mind. I filmed my father in 2012 and my mother in 2016. I tried to make this newest film look like fiction. Taking the set of instructions as a stage, I lit the location and determined the framing. My mother who agreed to be in it was very nervous, but I think that made it all the better.

MS: When we began the series, I never dreamed that we would do it again five years later. I’m astonished that it stands strong against the passing of time. In a good sense, you could say the BYT project has not reached closure. Newcomers can use the set of instructions to make new films, and years from now other filmmakers could see this collection and be inspired to do something original and different. Five years ago, I was unable to explain the project as this uncertain state of flux, but thanks to this YIDFF screening, I am now convinced of it.

(Compiled by Okuyama Shinichiro)

Interviewers: Okuyama Shinichiro, Toba Rio / Translator: Fujioka Asako
Photography: Nahata Fu / Video: Kusunose Kaori / 2017-10-09