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10/23(Wed) Japanese Cinema Splash: “SAD TEA” Q&A Session: Notes & Quotes


©2013 TIFF

Q&A session was held for the Japanese Cinema Splash section, SAD TEA as follows:
■ Time & Location
October 23rd (Wednesday), from 15:00 @TOHO Cinemas Roppongi Hills Screen 3
■ Appearance
Rikiya Imaizumi (Director/Screenplay/Editor), Koji Ichihashi (Producer), Fumiko Aoyagi (Actress), Chika Uchida (Actress)
SAD TEA was born from an actor’s and director’s school called ENBU Seminar established in 1998. As a part of their Cinema Project scheme, it is their second feature film directed by two up and coming directors.
Producer Koji Ichihashi started the session by explaining how this movie came to be. “This film is part of a project called Cinema Project which started last year. The purpose of this project is to support new directors and new actors through workshops to create films that’ll be screened in theaters. SAD TEA is our second film. With the two directors of this film, we gathered 18 other members and Mr. Imaizumi selected nine to work with. Once the numbers were narrowed down, He began writing the script.”
It was a surprise to the audience that Director Imaizumi was a former employee at ENBU Seminar doing clerical work for three years. He mused over the years about how he’d “…secretly sit in classes taught by various directors to learn their techniques. I soon began directing films and that’s how I got involved with the Cinema Project.” ENBU Seminar’s first Cinema Project film was a success, making it to the big screens as well as DVDs going on sale. “I really felt pressured to make a film just as good.” admitted the Director.
Imaizumi has a unique approach when writing scripts and deciding on a film title. “I don’t have a particular theme I pursue—I decide on the story and the lines after I meet all the actors and get a feel of what kind of person they are.” Imaizumi puts a lot of thoughts into all his movie titles. As for SAD TEA, he shared the following episode. “I had a half-finished script called, Sabicha using the Japanese characters ‘lonely’ and ‘tea’. I know tea isn’t central in this film, but I liked how the word ‘sabicha’ sounded. In fact, I had about 10 titles in mind, one which was Nothing to do and Bored. I personally liked it, but who’d want to sit in a theater to watch a movie called Nothing to do and Bored!” To this, Producer Ichihashi added that the Director wasn’t sure about the title even as they were editing the film, “…and even after we were selected to screen it at the Tokyo International Film Festival!”

©2013 TIFF

Imaizumi fans might assume that a lot of improvisation made up the dialogue in the film, as the conversations are natural but fresh and humorous. To which the Director replied, “There was hardly any improvisation this time. The actors followed the script. But I did let the actors casually continue with a scene, and used some of their conversations. Like where Junya goes on about how Yuko is a nice name. I like scripts that have a very natural and realistic flow to the conversation. That’s why there are a lot of gap fillers such as ‘Oh, I see’, or ‘you mean…’”
Actress Chika Uchida who played Natsu has worked with Imaizumi in a drama series. “He was more lenient with trying out different things and not that caught up in efficiency. But with this film, he was more focused on the script and the filming process.” She also commented on Imaizumi’s indecisiveness with the film title. “The script was reprinted many times and some of them had a different title on it!”
“I like the natural conversation in Mr. Imaizumi’s scripts. The first script I got had a longer scene in the end where I got to say, “You bastard!” to Kashiwagi, but it was too bad it was deleted.” said Fumiko Aoyagi who played Tanako. Ms. Aoyagi has previously worked with the Director in two short films. She portrayed the same kind of character and personality in both films and says, “I actually had the exact same lines in those movies and SAD TEA!” Imaizumi couldn’t help explaining. “The scene where Tanako impulsively declares her feelings to the shop manager is the same in both of my short films. So yes, I call it Ms. Aoyagi’s ‘impulsive declaration of love’ series!”
Mr. Imaizumi is editing his next film, Natsukaze as he speaks. It is a 30-minute silent film scheduled to be screened on October 27th at Shinjuku K’s Cinema.
Japanese Cinema Splash section

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)