It was a huge honour to hold the World Premier of my new short documentary “The Father’s Love Begotten”「父なる愛生せば」 at the Harlem International Film Festival on Saturday (STORY).
For filmmakers, festivals are of course about attending screenings but they are also about making connections and meeting new friends and potential collaborators. On opening night, I met Angela Atwood, director/ writer/ costar of Lady Hunters, a poignant black comedy about women, rape and revenge. Not only is her film wickedly funny, but she is a blast to hang out with as well.
The level of films here was outstanding and the curation/ programming was diverse, challenging and broad, and it was a privilege to be able to watch so many amazing films in such a short amount of time.
At the World Premier, the festival in Holland programmed “The Father’s Love Begotten”「父なる愛生せば」last in a series of short films (INFO), while here in Harlem it was screened prior to "Where Theo Lives" (WEBSITE) a powerful feature film by director Dariun Robinson about two sisters who were sexually abused by their uncle.
To be honest, I had been a little concerned about how my film would be received in America. The story in “The Father’s Love Begotten”「父なる愛生せば」is unsettling, for sure, but it was not just that; the film is not constructed in the way a film typically is, so I worried if the audience here would be as open as they had been in Europe to enter the dark world the film depicts without many of the tools cinema viewers have come to expect.
But during the screening, I could feel the audience hanging onto every word of the story- sometimes even audibly reacting to it. And when the post-screening discussion began, I was so humbled by the reaction, support and praise from fellow panelists director Dariun Robinson and music composer David Durrah (both from "Where Theo Lives") as well as the audience members. As I did in Holland, I recorded a few reactions from people who saw “The Father’s Love Begotten”「父なる愛生せば」and I hope to be able to edit them together sometime soon.
I am now at JFK airport, getting ready to board the plane home to Tokyo. But it will only be for two days as I leave again on Friday to head to Germany for the World Premier of my new feature documentary 「おみおくり〜Sending Off〜」(INFO).
Much Peace and Gratitude,
Ian Thomas Ash