The past 15 years has seen some truly innovative work coming from the indie film scene in Japan, films that form a series of street level snapshots of a country dealing with serious social and economic decline. One things about these fearless visions is that many of their creators, first time directors and screenwriters, come and go, leaving us with wonderful individual films, but without satisfying bodies of work. One independent filmmaker who has bucked this trend is Go Shibata. Born in 1975 in Kanagawa Prefecture, Shibata was one of many of this generation of filmmakers who studied at Osaka University of the Arts Film Program. He brought to of his major artistic themes, damaged outsider characters and ear-splitting music and sound design, to his 1999 feature debut "NN-891102", the story of a young man trying to recreate the sound of the August 1945 bombing of Nagasaki. It would be several years before Shibata would bring audiences his best known film, 2004's "Late Bloomer", but this portrait of a serial killer afflicted with cerebral palsy has ensured Shibata a place in the top tier of contemporary Japanese filmmakers. In 2008 Shibata flirted with the mainstream when he directed "Punch the Blue Sky", the story of an indie rock band's attempt to make it big, but he returned to his roots with the astoundingly creative and confounding supernatural comedy/ drama "Doman Seman". Premiering at the 2010 Tokyo Filmex "Doman Seman" went on to win the Nippon Visions Award at this year's Nippon Connection Japanese Film Festival in Frankfurt, Germany. We were honoured to have Go Shibata answer our Six Questions for... survey. CM
1. What movie inspired you to become a film-maker? What was it about the movie that was inspiring?
“Eraserhead”. There is a foreboding feeling of “something” throughout the film. It is filled with this sense of the unknown. I am inspired by any of the scenes. It not only describes fear and anxiety, but it is also very dreamlike; the delusions are linked directly to the image. The way the film expresses itself goes beyond reality. The film is like a prose poem.
2. Is there someone you always wanted to work with on a project, but have never had the chance?
Mike Patton [lead singer of Faith No More, Mr. Bungle]
3. Please finish this statement: If I had not become a film-maker I would probably be a ________.
4. Which three people (besides film-makers) have had the biggest influence on you?
Musician Ai Yamatsuka Photographer Oliviero Toscani Takeshi Kitano
5. What is your favorite book? Why is it your favorite?
“The Wheel Of Time: The Shamans Of Mexico Their Thoughts About Life Death And The Universe” by Carlos Castaneda. I have read this book so many times… well actually, I just look through the pages. It was like tarot cards. I think that I just look through pages when I need it. It was very helpful for my image training. I do not have a copy any more, but I will buy it again when I need it.
6. What moment in your career has made you most proud so far?
When I shot and edited Osoi Hito (Late Bloomer), including meeting Masakiyo Sumida. And also, when I received the dream digital award at the Hawaii Festival. This is a great memory in 2005.