by Chris MaGee
One of the most exciting aspects of the Shinsedai Cinema Festival, not just for guests but for us organizers as well, is the opportunity to highlight filmmakers and artists whose work may not immediately pop into the public's mind when "Japanese cinema" is mentioned. A perfect example is 30-year-old video artist and composer Takagi Masakatsu. Right from the very beginning of programming the fest with Midnight Eye's Jasper Sharp I knew I wanted to include the work of this gentle, enigmatic man. During this past decade Masakatsu has redefined what "video art" is capable of, producing lush, colourful and just plain joyful short videos as opposed to the dry, theoretical work that most people associate with contemporary video art. As a preface to the screening of four of Masakatsu's short films and the North American Premiere of his brand new concert documentary Aruongaku (screening at 6:00PM on Saturday, August 22nd as part of the fest) I chatted with Masakatsu about his background, living in Kyoto, meeting David Sylvian, and how travel deeply influences his work. Check out the full interview by heading to the Shinsedai Cinema Festival website here.