Monday, June 08, 2009

Kanikosen: The Big Day

Yesterday I was finally able to see the fruits of my one Saturday of labor. I believe the entire movie was filmed in Ashikaga, and as such the town was treated to an advance screening at a town hall sort of place. As far I as know, Ashikaga, population of about 150,000, has not one operating movie theater.

For months now I've been thinking about this little project. A good number of students and teachers at my school knew I had done some work on the movie, and I wasn't looking forward to telling the whole lot of them that I had been edited out of everything. So when movie day finally came, I was a bit nervous about how it would all turn out.

Kawada Sensei, one of my coworkers who was especially excited about the whole thing actually bought his own tickets to the show. I mentioned that it was too bad there wouldn't be subtitles and I might not understand anything, so he went out and bought this little manga of the Kanikosen story for me. What a nice guy.

Here's a couple of pages that tell my part of the story, in which the pitiful Japanese crab guys get to see how well the Russian fishermen live. It definitely helped me to get a better grasp of the story, but it also worried me a bit. This book of a couple hundred pages had only about 6 that featured the Russians. That not a lot of time for my unshaven face to charm audiences, now is it?

The makeshift theater was fully packed when Shaun and I arrived. We lined up more folding chairs in the back of the room and squeezed in. After the obligatory overpolite speech, the room went dark and the film began.

Well, I'm no film critic, and I couldn't understand most of the lines being spoken, but I will say the film was interesting despite the language barrier. Unfortunately I don't have a clip of the movie to show or anything, but I got a definite look at myself in our scene, so I'm happy with that. Joe turned out to be winner overall. He was probably on screen longer than the real Russians

The cherry on top was the credits at the end, where all of our names were listed in English. That's a nice little consolation to the guys who didn't get any face time.

Then the lights came on to the sound of the audience's applause. I was very surprised to see Sabu the director himself take the stage and answer a few softball questions from the other two sharing the stage. I guess he said something like everything went so smoothly that he will consider Ashikaga for his next projects. We'll see about that.

And then that was it. I couldn't imagine leaving without some sort of movie memorabilia, and Shaun's Japanese lady friend was nice enough to bargain a movie poster out of the guys who had been selling tickets at the door.

As you can see, it seems that the movie will be available to the public on the 4th of July. I will keep a look out for releases in the US. I'll definitely be needing the DVD to show to my family and friends back home. I'm sure they will be amused.

One of my friends alerted me that I was now on the IMDb page for the movie. Thanks to whoever put that up there for me. Very cool.

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