Tuesday, May 14, 2019

More screenings of “The Father’s Love Begotten”, "Sending Off" and "Boys for Sale"

I have only just returned home to Japan today from an amazing experience in Holland where my short documentary “The Father’s Love Begotten”「父なる愛生せば」 received the Audience Award at the Leiden International Short Film Experience (STORY), but I am already preparing to fly out again.

In two days, I will travel to New York City to attend the North American Premier of “The Father’s Love Begotten”「父なる愛生せば」in the Harlem International Film Festival (fest website HERE).  The screening is on Saturday, May 18 at 10PM (!) and is in a block with a feature film called "Where Theo Lives", which is also about abuse. I will be participating in the post-screening Q&A, and tickets are available HERE.


After I return from New York, I will be in Japan for a few days before flying off yet again- this time to Germany for the World Premier of my new feature documentary 「おみおくり〜Sending Off〜」in the Nippon Connection, which I announced a last week (STORY), on May 31 in Frankfurt (INFO).

Meanwhile, "Boys for Sale"「売買ボーイズ」, the documentary about male sex workers in Tokyo that I produced (WEBSITE), is still enjoying limited screenings.  It will next be playing in Trier, Germany on May 27 where I will be in attendance and take part in a Q&A (INFO); it will also be playing in the The San Francisco Bay Area Sex Worker Film & Arts Festival on May 25 (details TBA).

While this is a really busy time of travel and promotion, I am especially extremely grateful for so many opportunities to screen my work.  Thank you all so very much for your support.

Monday, May 13, 2019

“The Father’s Love Begotten” awarded at World Premier in Holland

I was extremely humbled to receive the Audience Award last night at the closing event of Leiden International Short Film Experience (LISFE) for my documentary “The Father’s Love Begotten”「父なる愛生せば」. Awards bestowed by juries are an absolute honour, but an award by the viewing public left me nearly speechless and bumbling.

The World Premier of the film, (film website HERE), took place on Thursday (May 9) with an encore screening on Sunday (May 12) in a strand the festival called Camera Obscura (INFO).  A description of this program is below.

“In this session, we seek to lay bare the influence of images on our construction of self and reality. By heightening the ambivalences between the visible and invisible, these four films hope to direct attention to what we cannot see; that which is hidden from view and that which is simply unfathomable. When neither imagination nor representation can be trusted in the digital age, where does that position us as spectators? If a picture is worth a thousand words, what is the price of darkness?”

Director of The Father’s Love Begotten present + Q&A by Erik Daams, savvy projectionist, film programmer and lecturer for film history based in The Hague.
I have only ever seen “The Father’s Love Begotten” 「父なる愛生せば」in a proper theatre with an audience twice (during two test audience screenings held last year) so I must admit that I was concerned about how a festival audience would react. My concern was not only because of the subject matter of Chris’s story, but also because of how the film is constructed. It is difficult to explain in more detail without “giving it away”, but watching the film in a cinema with an audience that has no idea what is about to happen was absolutely nerve-wracking.

The two Q&A’s (which I recorded and hope to share parts of soon) were amazing, and I was grateful to the festival for scheduling an extra amount of time for them so that a deep and thoughtful discussion could take place with the audience.  That, paired with the programmers’ decision to screen the film last in the block and to ask film expert Eric Daams to lead the discussion which would be solely about “The Father’s Love Begotten”「父なる愛生せば」, meant there was the opportunity for an extended and focused time to spend on story documented in the film and the way in which it was told.

Following every screening block during the festival, audience members exiting the cinemas were presented with iPads on which they could vote for their favorite film in the session.  Unbeknownst to me, the four films that had received the highest numbers of votes during the festival would be screened again at the closing night Audience Award session after which the viewers would vote again- ultimately deciding the audience favourite for the 2019 edition of the festival.

When I showed up at the cinema, I learned how the Audience Award would be decided and was told that “The Father’s Love Begotten”「父なる愛生せば」was in the top four. 

While I was extremely honoured by this recognition, I also became immediately concerned: this time, the audience would have no idea what films were going to be screened or what they were about.  There would be no introduction of my film by a festival programmer, no Q&A to help viewers process what they had seen. With no tools to help guide them, my film (as every film must do) had to stand on its own or stumble and fall.

The first film screened in the Audience Award block was an uproariously dark black comedy which had the audience in stitches, the second was a fascinating look at hip hop culture in China by a Dutch director, and the third was a beautiful and abstract look at a cruise ship. 

As The Father’s Love Begotten”「父なる愛生せば」began, I held my breath...

At first you could hear a pin drop.  And then, about a minute in, you could hear some people shifting in their seats, unsure of what was happening.  But soon, any restlessness had settled down as the audience was drawn into Chris’s story.  What happened next in the theatre may not happen every time the film screens or with every audience, but it was absolutely electric... and it solidified my understanding of the power of cinema, of a coming together to collectively experience film. And it was in that moment that I truly understood the name of the festival: Leiden International Short Film Experience. It was indeed an experience, and one that can not happen in isolation while watching on a computer at home.

I am extremely grateful to the programmers of LISFE for believing in “The Father’s Love Begotten”「父なる愛生せば」and for selecting it, to the members of the viewing public for voting for it from among the nearly 130 amazing films screened at the festival, and to Chris for his courageousness in sharing his story.

I am also humbled to be reminded of an extremely important lesson when filmmaking: trust your audience.



Wednesday, May 08, 2019

Announcing TWO World Premiers!

Now that the press embargo has finally been lifted, I am greatly honoured to be able to announce the World Premier of my new feature documentary 「おみおくり〜Sending Off〜」(WEBSITE) in the 2019 Nippon Connection Film Festival in Frankfurt, Germany. The screening will take place on Friday, May 31 at 16:30 in the Naxoshalle Kino (INFO).

Screening in Nippon Connection is like a kind of homecoming for me; I have had the honour of attending the festival in 2013 with my documentary "A2-B-C", in 2015 with my film "-1287" and in 2017 with "Boys for Sale" which I produced. 

I am so very much looking forward to sharing this story with the audience in Frankfurt!

But before I leave for Germany, I will be making a quick trip to Holland (leaving tomorrow morning) where I will have the honour of attending the World Premier of my other new film "The Father's Love Begotten" 「父なる愛生せば」. This short documentary, which I first wrote about HERE, is about the story of a young man who was sexually abused by a Catholic priest when he was 12 (film website HERE).

The World Premier will take place in the Leiden International Short Film Experience on Thursday, May 9 at 20.45 in the Kijkhuis Zaal I with an encore screening on Sunday, May 12 at 15.45 in the Kijkhuis Zaal II (INFO).  A description from the program is below as is a link to the trailer.

In this session, we seek to lay bare the influence of images on our construction of self and reality. By heightening the ambivalences between the visible and invisible, these four films hope to direct attention to what we cannot see; that which is hidden from view and that which is simply unfathomable. When neither imagination nor representation can be trusted in the digital age, where does that position us as spectators? If a picture is worth a thousand words, what is the price of darkness?
Duration: 58 min. (4 films)

Director of The Father’s Love Begotten present + Q&A by Erik Daams, savvy projectionist, film programmer and lecturer for film history based in The Hague.

Thank you all so very much for your support and encouragement.
 
Much Peace,
Ian
Tokyo, Japan
 

Monday, April 29, 2019

Guest lecturing and Screening at Stanford

I was extremely honored to begin my week of screenings and lectures on Monday (April 22) at Stanford University Medical School’s Li Ka Shing Learning and Knowledge Center for a group of medical students. The first public screening was of the rough cut of my new documentary "Sending Off" the following day (April 23) INFO.



The event was sponsored by Stanford University's Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures (EALC), the Center for East Asian Studies (CEAS), Medicine and the Muse, and Camera as Witness. Pictured below with Dr. Audrey Shafer (professor, medical doctor and director of Medicine and Muse), Dr. Matsumoto Yoshiko (professor of East Asian Languages, Cultures and Linguistics) and Jasmina Bojic (director of Camera as Witness and the United Nations Association Film Festival.

 
 

I was extremely honoured to be invited to lecture at classes on Wednesday and Thursday including “Japanese Through Film” with Professor Matsumoto Yasuko, “Growing Up and Older in Japan” with Professor Matsumoto Yoshiko, and “Medical Humanities and the Arts” with Dr. Audrey Shafer. On Thursday evening, the East Asian Studies Workshop held a screening of my film “A2-B-C” (2013).


A wonderful close to the week at Stanford, was a screening on Friday of my 2014 documentary “-1287” INFO.

I am so grateful for the opportunity to have presented so many screenings and guest lectures this week and for the support of Stanford University‘s Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures (EALC), the Center for East Asian Studies (CEAS), Medicine and the Muse, and Camera as Witness. 


 
(adapted from the Facebook entries I posted during the week) 

Friday, April 19, 2019

Screenings and Lectures at Stanford University

It has been a while since I have posted to my blog.  Following a brief period of quiet reflection, I have been working away on preparations for several upcoming screenings (both in Japan and abroad) along with the World Premiers of two (!) new documentaries (more on those very soon).

And now, tonight I will be flying to California where I have the honour of having been invited to Standford University to present a week of screenings and lectures.  In addition two public screenings (details below) and two private departmental screenings, I will be giving guest lectures to several classes, including "Japanese Through Film", "Joys and Pains of Growing Up and Older in Japan", and "Medical Humanities and the Arts".  The focus of my lectures will be different for each class, but all will be based on my work documenting health and medical themes in Japan and include clips of my films.

I am extremely honoured for this opportunity to share my work at this prestigious institution and grateful for the support of several departments, including The Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures (EALC), the Center for East Asian Studies (CEAS), Medicine and the Muse, and Camera as Witness.

The first public screening will be on Tuesday, April 23rd, at 16:30 and will feature a rough cut of my new feature documentary 「おみおくり〜Sending Off〜」ahead of the World Premier next month (details of which I am extremely excited to publish once the press embargo is lifted in early May).  Details about the screening at Stanford are HERE, while more on the film (including a link to the trailer) is HERE.



The second public event will take place on Friday, April 26, at 15:30, and will be a screening of my film "-1287" (2015). More on that film, including the trailer, is on the website HERE, while details of the screening event at Standford are HERE.
There is much more news about upcoming screenings, premiers and announcements coming very soon!  Thank you all so much for your continued support and encouragement.

Peace,
Ian
Tokyo, Japan

Sunday, October 14, 2018

Boys and Fathers

After premiering "Boys for Sale" (WEBSITE) nearly a year and a half ago in Germany (STORY), the film has had an amazing run on the film festival circuit.  While we thought screenings might be over this past the summer, we have had a last minute surge in interest in the film and have just confirmed screenings this month in Germany and Slovakia.  Next month "Boys for Sale" will be screening in the Philippines and Switzerland, and in December it will be in Taipei.  More information about the screening can be found on the film's website (HERE). 

These screenings now bring the grand total to 40 festivals, and on behalf of our entire team, we are so grateful for all of the support we have received over these many years we have been in research, production and post!
Back in July, I wrote about two new documentaries I am working on (STORY).  The first is called "Sending Off" (WEBSITE), which is the feature-version of my television documentary "Dying at Home" (INFO), and the other is a short documentary called "The Father's Love Begotten" (WEBSITE), which is about a young man who was sexually molested by a Catholic priest when he was a little boy. 

While I am still putting the finishing touches on both of these films, I have already begun sending them out to film festivals.  Soon I will be announcing some exciting news regarding "The Father's Love Begotten" and an opportunity I have been given to hold a special private test audience screening of it at a film school near Detroit early next month for which both the film's subject and I will be in attendance.


When I began working on "The Father's Love Begotten" nearly two years ago, I could not have imagined how timely its release would be and how the issue of sexual abuse in the Catholic church would be back in the news so prominently.

Although many people will have heard about the priest sexual abuse scandal, the film contains detailed descriptions of not only the rape, but of how this boy was groomed by the priest to believe that sex with the priest was his "duty" to God and how this continues to affect him in his sexual relationships as an adult. These are parts of this horrible tragedy that I believe most people have not heard before and are not being covered in the news. 

My hope is that the story of the young man in "The Father's Love Begotten" will be heard by people across the world and that it will be one of the lights shed on the trauma these victims continue to suffer.  May their voices no longer be silenced by the Church.

Saturday, September 22, 2018

Hard drives and fun drives

Although I have been mostly quiet on social media these past few months, much has been going on in the background, including editing on several projects and lots of submissions to film festivals.  And also a little fun, like driving these gorgeous ladies to a concert.  Ages 81, 90 and 93, they are great story tellers, funny, smart and seem to have more energy than me!
More news on the film front soon...