by Chris MaGee
At the beginning of the year I had the pleasure of sitting down with Marty Gross, the man the Criterion Collection goes to to help put together those famous extras for their releases of Japanese films. I knew that Gross did more than just help assembly supplementary materials for the folks at Criterion, much, much more: he's an artists, a potter, and a filmmaker. All of his talents came together in his 1976 30-minute documentary "Potters at Work" that cpatures generations old pottery techniques in the workshops of Shigeki Sakamoto in the village of Onda and Kumao Ohta in the village of Koshibara, both located in Kyushu. It was through the production and then exhibition of this film that Gross would first meet and become friends with some of the most legendary names of Japanese cinema: longtime Akira Kurosawa associate Teruyo Nogami, composer Toru Takemitsu, author and film scholar Donald Richie, even screen icon Tatsuya Nakadai. It makes sense because "Potters at Work" is a remarkable film, meditative, focused and informative, and now Torontonians will be given a chance to see the film at The Japan Foundation on Thursday, August 13th at 7:00 PM. What's best is that the screening, part of The Japan Foundation's Summer Movie Screenings Series is absolutely free! All you have to do is RSVP at the Japan Foundation's website here to save yourself a seat.
In anticipation of the screening make sure to check out our interview with Gross that we posted at the beginning of the year.