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The Adventuress Spirit

My interview with director and mother of two, Nishikawa Fumie, went live last Friday. If you’re staying tuned to Indievisual updates through the blog, apologies for the delay. You can go directly to the interview by clicking here.

This was also the first time I went to photograph the interviewee for the feature image. I used only an iPhone 7 with lenses by Moment. There was a bit of a learning curve with their app, but I was satisfied with the results, not to mention doing this was a great way to become more acquainted with Ms. Nishikawa. Moving forward, I look forward to mastering both the technical and human interaction aspects of portrait photography.

Kitamura Ryuhei Returns

Kitamura Ryuhei, director of the indie zombie-action movie, Versus, is following-up his lukewarmly received live-action adaptation of the Lupin III anime series for Japan with two U.S. productions. First up is Downrange, a riff of the slasher movie which is world premiering at the Toronto International Film Festival’s Midnight Madness section. Described as a return-to-basics, but with a twist (the “slasher” in question is a sniper in this case), the setup plays into Kitamura’s resourceful and austere filmmaking utilized in Versus which garnered him world-wide attention. Kojima Hideo, who saw a preview screening of Downrange lauded it as potentially genre redefining. High praise indeed, but should be taken with a grain of salt as the two have been good friends since they collaborated on CG cut-scenes for Kojima’s Metal Gear Solid game.

Variety also has exclusively broken the story of Kitamura’s next project, Doorman,  which has cast none other than Katie Holmes and Jean Reno in the lead roles. Again, exciting sounding news for this Japanese indie director who has been courted by Hollywood before, but has yet to “break out” in the same fashion as say, Gareth Edwards or Neill Blomkamp. Whether this is a result of incompatibility with the system or a vision which ironically becomes more muddled as the budget increases is unknown. Suffice it to say, Kitamura has the stature to attract producers abroad, but the hit or miss nature of the final products so far is the reason for the “grain of salt” comment previously. We’ll just have to wait and see.

The Other 00’s

From Daring Fireball’s John Gruber–a bond fan:

I’ve been saying for years that they should do a spin-off movie starring Jeffrey Wright as Felix Leiter. Also ripe for spin-offs: the exploits of the other agents in the 00 sector. With Bond, you know he’s going to win in the end. Make some movies or a serious HBO-style limited series about the other agents in the 00 sector and you’d never know who was going to die when. There is a ton of untapped potential in this franchise.

One has to wonder why other than Sean Bean’s 006 in Goldeneye, the other agents of the 00 section of Her Majesty’s Secret Service have not been fictionalized at all. The Broccoli’s could have used short movies about the other 00’s as a platform to test potential new Bond directors.  Somewhere, someone is missing the boat on great stories in and around Bond (like Rogue One is a “Star Wars Story”). Will Apple or Amazon tap in to this potential?? Gruber at least throws the idea out there for all of us to consider.

Hal Hartley on independent movies in the digital age

In an interview with Emily Buder on on the site, No Film School, indie filmmaking pioneer Hal Hartley spoke frankly about the state of independent film in the 21st century. Surprisingly not railing against the present state of the industry, he had this to say:

From the beginning of cinema, models of production and distribution have changed almost every 10 years. I mean, filmmakers thought the end of the world was happening when sound was invented because there had been this whole silent movie thing, which made a lot of people millionaires and certainly famous. And then sound came along and this whole silent thing just fell off the edge of the earth. I remember, in my youth, when VHS tape and home video became a reality, everybody thought, “Oh my God, movies are finished.” But it didn’t really happen.

Things change. The internet and computers changed everything. As I continue to make work, I’m just trying to adjust my creative and business aims to this technological reality that keeps changing.

The interview also allowed Hartley to promote a Kickstarter campaign (now ended) to fund an HD restored, handsomely presented box-set of his Henry Fool trilogy (some of you might recall he made indie filmmaking waves by successfully funding the third in the trilogy, Ned Rifle, through Kickstarter). Since this was successful, Hartley will do the same with other movies in his catalog. As he reported in an update to his backers, “Reaching my existing audience as well as expanding that audience—reaching new audiences directly—that’s the aim. And with the success of this Kickstarter campaign I think we can lay the foundations for a small but effective business that will look after and distribute my films going forward.”

Much like his 1989 Sundance alum, Steven Soderbergh, who has been rolling and adapting with the times, Hartley seems to be conscious of the effort (and that is key) to utilize new technologies to their advantage; to stay creatively independent.

Side note: Hartley’s wife is actress Nikaido Miho who starred in the adaptation of Murakami Ryu’s Tokyo Decadence as well as Hartley’s own Kimono, Chain, and Henry Fool.