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harakiri films

Moving to a new crib

I moved to an area in Osaka called Chidoribashi a few days ago. The reason why I moved is that the rent is free as the landlord is supporting my activity in filmmaking. I was paying USD 1,300 a month for the previous place and had to work longer hours to pay for the rent. Now, I think I need more time than money to continue filmmaking, so I chose to spend less money to concentrate more on filmmaking.

However, it is not that easy. The rent is free because... the place is like shit! There was nothing in the room when I moved in, but it is like this right now.

my work space.

my work space.

A problem is that I didn't have curtain, so I hang this cloth I got from Indonesian party at Busan Film Festival last year. I didn't know what to do with this cloth, but now I know. Thank you, Indonesian filmmakers.

Here is my bedroom. The same problem here. Because of no curtain, I keep waking up at 5am, and the room becomes too hot at 7am. Here, I put a piece of Indian organic cotton cloth I got from my friend Mani Chinnaswamy from India several years ago.

This clothes has a tag with a picture of a guy who wove this cloth.

Thank you, Mr K. Srinivasan and Mr P. Annadurai for letting me sleep.

Thank you, Mr K. Srinivasan and Mr P. Annadurai for letting me sleep.

But here comes the real problem. Because of rain water leaking in the room, the tatami is rotten. I'm thinking about putting some plants or flowers here...

I'm afraid of the rainy season...

I'm afraid of the rainy season...

Another problem is the toilet, traditional Japanese style toilet. I grew up with this traditional style but haven't used it for ages. I want to renovate this toilet to more artistic Japanese style toilet, but I can't find any Japanese style designers' toilet. All the designers' toilets are Western style somehow.

These toilets are disappearing in Japan.

These toilets are disappearing in Japan.

The bathroom is a problem too. There is no hot water nor shower. And why is this bathtub so small?

I'm not brave enough to take bath here...

I'm not brave enough to take bath here...

I heard there are a few old school public baths called Sento in this area, so my solution is to go there everyday...

Here is the view from the kitchen.

So here is my room, but there are 4 more rooms like this in this building. I want to utilize the rooms somehow to make the building a filmmakers' hub in Osaka.

room 404

room 404

I want to make these rooms above an editing suite and a screening room for independent filmmakers.

super high speed internet

super high speed internet

The room below stinks because of toilet problem. This room will be a storage for equipments and wardrobe.

room 403

room 403

This is the most scary room. What is that in the middle of tatami? It looks like a shape of human. The landlord told me that someone living here died at a hospital, and I hope so. You can shoot real creepy films here.

room 402

room 402

Seems like someone was living here at least until 2009...

Seems like someone was living here at least until 2009...

I'm using this room below for the space everyone can come and relax...

room 401

room 401

Nice rooftop, isn't it? You can shoot a scene of someone trying to jump off the building here.

rooftop

rooftop

The CM below for the rat trap was shot here.

Moreover, there is a huge garage on the ground floor.

garage

garage

I think there are so many things we can do in this building. Let me know if anyone has any idea to utilize these spaces especially for filmmakers.

A few years ago, we shot this creepy film called Yamamoto Eri becomes Recoverability Zero in this building. Now the film is available at Vimeo On Demand, and you can watch it for free if you enter promo code "yamamoto" now!

Starting a blog

I'm Taro Imai, a micro budget independent film producer from Osaka, Japan.

This is my first blog posting in my life, and I'm going to blog about how far I can go as a micro budget independent film producer from Osaka. Let me start from introducing who I am.

I was born in 1979 and grew up in Kobe. Dragon Ball and video games such as Super Mario, Dragon Quest, and Final Fantasy were big among kids in 80's and 90's, but I was away from the scene as my parents prohibited watching TV and playing video games.

I started to watch many movies in VHS when I was 13 as my parents allowed me to watch video somehow. I remember that Hollywood action stars such as Stallone, Schwarzenegger, and Bruce Willis were very popular at that time.

When I was 14, I visited a town in Washington State which looked like a town in Western movies and stayed at the local family's home for a week. That experience influenced me a lot as I decided to go back to the States in the future.

Two life changing events happened when I was 15. I watched Pulp Fiction at a theatre and had a different feeling from watching other films after watching it although I didn't understand well at that time. That was the first time I thought I wanted to be a filmmaker in the future. Before watching Pulp Fiction, I was just enjoying the movies without thinking much. After watching Pulp Fiction, I started to think more about films. A massive earthquake attacked Kobe killing more than 6,000 people a few months after that.

After graduating from high school, I went to LA and studied film production at Los Angeles City College. I made some short films in Super 8 and worked as a boom operator for some independent films such as A Ribbon of Dreams directed by Philip W. Chung and Uneatable Harold directed by Ari Palitz. Since my parents were not rich, I worked very hard as a sushi chef too in order to pay for the tuition and rent.

I came back to Kobe when I was 25 and started to work for a car company Daihatsu Motor as an exporter of the car parts all over the world as I couldn't find any job in film industry. Actually, there was an offer from Toei Studio in Kyoto to work as a production assistant, but I turned down the offer as I couldn't pay for my debt with their small salary. That was my biggest mistake in my life, and I still regret that I didn't take that offer.

I started to work for Mitsubishi Corporation as a yarn trader when I was 28. Then I started to think what I'm doing and started to go to a screenwriting class in Osaka around that time. I made some short films such as Not Boiled Enough directed by myself and Smell, But I Love You directed by Kazuo Nagai with the classmates and left the company last year to concentrate on filmmaking.

I produced feature film Yamamoto Eri becomes Recoverability Zero directed by Yuki Kuwazuru in 2015 and won the second prize at the New Directors Film Festival 2015. Then I produced feature film Eriko, Pretended directed by Akiyo Fujimura in 2016.  It was premiered at Osaka Asian Film Festival 2016 and won SKIP City Award at SKIP City International D-Cinema Festival 2016.

I hope you understand a little about who I am. I'm gonna organize this bio and put somewhere in the homepage.