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10/20 (Sun) Japanese Cinema Splash: “ “A Band Rabbit” and a boy” Q&A Session: Notes & Quotes

"A Band Rabbit" and a boy

©2013 TIFF

Q&A session was held for the Japanese Cinema Splash section, “A Band Rabbit” and a boy as follows:
Date & Location:
October 20th (Sunday), @TOHO Cinemas Roppongi Hills Screen 6
Takuji Suzuki (Director), Kenichiro Isoda (Music Director), Michio Koshikawa (Planning/Produce)
“A Band Rabbit” and a boy is based on a novel written by Kei Nakazawa. On making her novel into a film, Producer Koshikawa explained that the film, Sketches of Kaitan City previously screened at the Tokyo International Film Festival was his source of inspiration. “This film was planned by a small theater in Hamamatsu City and was later distributed to theaters all over Japan. The three of us here are from Hamamatsu so we were inspired to do something similar.” Michiko Oishi, the Screenplay joined Koshikawa and that’s how this movie came to be. “We decided to shoot in Hamamatsu, not only because it’s our hometown, but it is a city of music and instrument workshops.” added Koshikawa.
The actors in the film were all 13 to 14 years old at the time of filming which limited the time for shooting. Nevertheless, Director Suzuki felt that this limitation wasn’t an issue. “We started with a five-day shooting in the summer of 2012 during the summer holidays, and another seven days during the holidays this May. We’d get together in Hamamatsu on long weekends, and winter and spring break to practice the music and rehearse lines. So in a sense, the students’ improvement in the film is in fact, reality.”
"A Band Rabbit" and a boy

©2013 TIFF

Music Director, Kenichiro Isoda shared his crucial part in the making of the film. “Basically, we had to make a new school club with students from different schools who were non-trained actors. So we didn’t have a clear blueprint of what sort of brass band this was going to become.” He further explained that directing movie music is primarily about the background music, but that it’s a different story when it comes to directing a movie about music. Close attention is given to handling the instruments, rehearsals, and the actors learning the music.
Isoda described his role as creating a real brass band, “…which was more a choreographing process.” In particular, the story is not only about music but about personal growth and taking initiative, which is why Isoda changed a lot of the pieces he’d written as filming progressed. “In a sense, the students were showing me what to write, which was the most enjoyable moment. Actually, the music piece, ‘Flowering Tree’ was written after I’d spent time with the actors.”
The Rabbit played by Maho Yamada is a unique character in the story. “In the book, Rabbit lives in Katsuhisa’s mind where it starts dancing as Katsuhisa becomes immersed in the music. But we wanted Rabbit to be a human being in our film so there was a lot of discussion about what exactly Rabbit is. We felt that the Rabbit is someone who’s always lived in the music room, and has looked over all the children who’ve joined the brass band club throughout the years. Therefore, maybe the Rabbit isn’t only inside Katsuhisa but other students as well.”
The author of the book, Kei Nakazawa also played an important role in making the film, says Suzuki. “Authors commonly come to the shooting scene but Ms. Nakazawa came to the rehearsals to talk to the young actors. There was a lot of interaction between her and the children so she definitely was a member of the crew.”
Nakazawa describes her novel as a story of dignity and discovery. Suzuki carefully selected scenes from the book which conveyed her message. “The audience might not find their favorite scenes in the movie but I think I was able to portray what lies at the core of the timpanist, Katsuhisa. I can say it is a jewel of a movie.”
“A Band Rabbit” and a boy will be on screens nationwide in December 2013.
Japanese Cinema Splash
“A Band Rabbit” and a boy

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)