Ergh, it's been a tad too long since I've blogged anything on good ol' Red Room, so I'm crawling out from under my termite-infested floorboards to ring my own bell. Well, not really just my bell, but the communal bell that belongs to Peter I. Chang, John Convertino, and me--and which goes collectively by the name of TOKYO IS DREAMING.
Between ragged stops and starts during my last novel (a book which was begun in Tokyo in 2007 and finished in Los Angeles on Halloween Day 2009), I had the great honor to work as both producer and cameraman on Peter I. Chang's second full-length documentary TOKYO IS DREAMING. What had started out as an attempt to shoot random city scenes around Tokyo soon blossomed into something truly enjoyable and unique, especially since it actually got me outside and beyond the shadowy little corners where I often write the days away. Chang and I had originally envisioned a non-narrative short film, more about perspective than opinion, in which we simply wanted the city where we were living to speak for itself. It didn't take much filming, however, before we realized a short documentary just wouldn't cut it, and once Calexico's John Convertino became involved in supplying us with a soundtrack, the film took on a rather strange life, rhythm, and low-level energy all its own.
Adding to the experimental, no-budget nature of the whole project was how we went about shooting it: one tiny consumer-grade digital camera, something we could smuggle under our jackets and point in various directions like covert flashers. Filming this way gave us an incredible amount of freedom to capture people when otherwise, with a much more obvious camera, we would have had them running or turning the other way. In hindsight, we must have looked a bit like annoying tourists instead of filmmakers, and as the documentary is, in its on way, a kind of travelogue that description might be accurate to some degree. In any case, I'm very proud of the film; it stands as a curious visual post card for the viewer, and for me it remains a solid reminder of my time in Japan. Plus, I feel very fortunate to have had a chance to collaborate with such talented guys as Chang and Convertino, something sequestered novelists don't often get a chance to do.
Last September, TOKYO IS DREAMING had its premier at the Berwick Film & Media Arts Festival in the U.K., and in May it will be screened at the Phoenix Art Museum in Arizona. And as of today, the film is now available on DVD from Film Baby at: http://www.filmbaby.com/films/4753
So there ya go.
Causes Mitch Cullin Supports
Amnesty International, Gilda’s Club, International Lesbian and Gay Association, Moveon.org, National Film Preservation Foundation, People For The American...