Kyoto's Historical Period Dramas Draw World's AttentionMost Workshop Applications, Coming from 42 Countries2 November 2016 - Business/Company
Kyoto Filmmakers Lab was held until November 3 in Kyoto City. At this workshop, young filmmakers from Japan and overseas could experience the making of historical period dramas utilizing Kyoto's traditional filmmaking know-how. This time, there were 247 applications, which was the most ever. The secretariat was pleased, saying, "New projects and spreading by word of mouth have worked successfully."
Kyoto Filmmakers Lab was launched in 2008 by the Kyoto Prefectural Government, Toei Studios Kyoto, Shochiku Kyoto Studio, and others. The number of participants is limited to 20, half of which are from overseas. Participants mainly use English during the roughly-one-week training camp to make a short historical period film under the guidance and cooperation of staff and the two studios.
This year, applications were submitted from 42 countries, mainly from Asia, Europe and America, as well as from Japan. The number of applicants surged by about 1.8 times over last year, when there were 140. The number was much larger than the 147 applications in 2014, which had been the previous record high.
Behind that surge were various measures undertaken by the head office. Previously, applicants had been required to send a DVD containing a self-made film, but from this time, it became possible to apply by sending the film data via the Internet. The secretariat assumes that "as this saved the trouble of mailing, applicants may have been able to devote themselves to filmmaking until the last minutes before the deadline."
Additionally, since last year, as Kyoto Filmmakers Lab has been linked up with Tokyo International Film Festival which is simultaneously held, a talk session with some film festival jury members and guest cineastes has been incorporated into the associated events. It is said that the session received favorable comments because it provided a practical lecture in winning film festival competitions, and because it served as an opportunity for building up a network of connections. Participants' word of mouth has also had a big influence. Many mention "introduction from a former participant" as a reason for applying. The number of applicants from the Philippines was 9 last year, whereas it increased dramatically to 54 this year.
There have also been breakthrough participants, like a graduate from Kyoto Filmmakers Lab who has become a film director and shot a commercial movie set in Kyoto. Kiyotaka Moriwaki, who is in charge of the Museum of Kyoto's Kyoto Film Archive and supervises the lab, said, "We would like to create a cycle, in which talented people trained through the lab come back to Kyoto to make films. If they make historical period dramas, we will be even more pleased."(translated by Galileo, Inc.)