by Chris MaGee
You don't know how happy I am to hear this news from the UK. The 17th Annual Raindance Film Festival wrapped up yesterday in London and from all accounts it was a phenomenal hit. According to programmer Jasper Sharp the 12-day fest had more guest filmmakers from Japan than ever and one of them went home with a great honour.
Tokachi Tsuchiya's documentary "A Normal Life Please!" screened this past Spring in Frankfurt as part of the Nippon Connection 2009 line-up, It's chronicle of the life of Nobukazu Kaikura, a truck driver forced to work obscene hours without sick days or benefits would be compelling enough viewing, but the footage that Tsuchiya captured of yakuza thugs threatening him after he tried to join a union is jaw-dropping.
I was lucky enough to see "A Normal Life Please!" with Jasper Sharp in Frankfurt and it didn't surprise me at all that it was one of his choices for Raindance this year. It was a very pleasant surprise though that the Raindance audiences voted Tsuchiya's film Best Documetary. What makes the win even more exciting is that Tsuchiya (above) was in London to accept the award.
Congratulations to Tsuchiya-san for his win, as well as to the entire Raindance crew for doing a fantastic job on another year.