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10/22(Tue)Asian Future: “The Tale of Iya”Q&A Session: Notes & Quotes


©2013 TIFF

Q&A session was held for the Asian Future section, “The Tale of Iya” as follows:
Time & Location: 
October 22nd (Tuesday), from 16:54 @TOHO Cinemas Roppongi Hills Screen 1
Tetsuichiro Tsuta (Director/Producer/Screenplay/Editor), Rina Takeda (Actress)

©2013 TIFF

Director Tetsuichiro Tsuta is from Tokushima whose grandfather was a renowned baseball coach. Having grown up in a nature-rich surrounding, he has a deep love for his hometown, where The Tale of Iya was filmed.
Diector Tsuta and Actress Rina Takeda both agreed that shooting midst the mountains in Tokushima wasn’t easy. Tsuta described it as “…very tiring having to carry all the filming equipment up the mountain. Digital equipment is small and light but we took a 35mm camera!” Takeda recalls having to climb two hours in the snow to the shooting site. “There was hardly any flat ground and on top of that, we were surrounded by snowy mountains. Of course it was very cold but the scariest part was having to run through the snow, not knowing what was under my feet… And I only had one chance to film that scene because of the footsteps in the snow. It was such hard work that we went on a 1-day strike when we got back in town!” she jokingly said.
The Tale of Iya unfolds around a young girl’s growth and the passing of seasons. Takeda explained that filming started from the fall part followed by winter, spring, and finally summer. “I spent about two weeks each season in Iya. In the spring scene, Haruna starts working in Tokyo, dyes her hair and is much slimmer. But, after the spring was the summer part, that is, the very beginning of the story. I only had a month or two to gain weight to look rounder and more childlike.”

©2013 TIFF

Actress Naomi Kawase as Doctor Amamiya and Actor Min Tanaka as Grandpa add breadth and depth to the story. Tsuta has been a long-time fan of both of them and shared the casting process respectively. “I admire how Ms. Kawase films most of her movies in Nara because I’ve always hoped to shoot films in Tokushima. So I contacted her office and offered her to be in this film. Ms. Kawase’s role reflects how Haruna will become in the future. Haruna clearly sees no hope in pursuing a career at her company and her dismay is also a reflection of myself.” As for Mr. Tanaka, Tsuta had seen him in The Twilight Samurai and La Maison de Himiko so assumed he was a martial arts actor. “I was surprised when I found out he had his own farm and grew vegetables. When I was writing the script, I didn’t have a particular actor in mind for Grandpa’s role, but I was recommended Mr. Tanaka by some people. So I contacted him in London, where he was filming a movie.”
When Tsuta saw Takeda acting in a ninja movie, he knew he found Haruna. “Other actresses came in to audition but they were all too ‘metropolitan’ and was sure none of them had the stamina to go through the mountain scenes.” To which Takeda protested, “I have stamina, but you never told me I’d have to roll down a steep hill!”
Another underlying theme of the film is the coexistence of nature and people. It seemed rather ironic that the foreigners were protesting against the property developers while the Japanese advocated the plan. Tsuta shared his intentions. “The reality in Iya is that foreign environmental activists are more active than the locals. Yet, the other reality in Iya is that the locals need roads and secure farming land to make a living, which is why they need to stamp out wild deer. Having said so, I’d always wished the nature in Iya would be protected. As an outsider, I understand Michael’s claims in the demonstration scene, which is probably a city-person mentality. This reminds me of the dolphin controversy in Taiji, Wakayama.” Tsuta is all too aware of the environmental issues that face Iya. “Iya has the problem of illegal waste-dumping and water contamination. I mean, where there’s human dwelling, pollution is apt to occur. An extreme case is the nuclear pollution in Fukushima. I believe it is the responsibility of the young generation to sieve all that waste and filth for future generations to come.”
Tsuta wrapped up the session with the following comment. “I’d like to see my film screened all over the country. I’d appreciate it if all of you here will go home and tweet about my film! I hope you’ll be inspired to visit Iya!”

Asian Future section
The Tale of Iya

KEIRIN.JPThe 25th Tokyo International Film Festival will be held with funds provided by Japan Keirin Association.TIFF History
25th Tokyo International Film Festival(2012)