Shunji IwaiBe honest and create with sincerity
Date: 18 & 20 October 2023
Location: Hong Kong (Béthanie Theatre – The Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts, Premiere Elements)
Topic: Be honest and create with sincerity
Guest: Shunji Iwai
Moderator: Ka Ming & Mandrew Kwan (University Session), Chi Chung Wong (Public Session)
Partners: Hong Kong Asian Film Festival, The Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts
The Film Craft Workshop, a collaborative effort between the Asian Film Awards Academy and the Hong Kong Asian Film Festival, financially supported by Create Hong Kong and Film Development Fund, and supported by the School of Film & Television, Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts, featuring the renowned Japanese director, Shunji Iwai, has successfully concluded. During the workshop, Director Iwai shared with the public and aspiring film students his invaluable insights and experiences gained over his illustrious 30-year filmmaking career. He delved into the captivating world of film production, revealing intriguing behind-the-scenes stories.
Graduated from Yokohama National University, Director Iwai is best known for his visual style and delicate depiction of sentiments since the 1995 box-office hit Love Letter, which as well made a great impact on Asian cinema. His latest film continued to get inspiration from the profound impact of the 311 earthquake in Japan and its aftermath, subsequent to his previous works around the same theme. Director Iwai expressed that this unforgettable event motivated him to create a film as a tribute and reflection.
When asked about his perspective on “life and death, fate and love,” he emphasised the significance of these motifs in his works. However, rather than spiraling into infinite contemplation, he chooses to create honest and heartfelt works based on his sincere observations and personal experiences.
Director’s latest film Kyrie features elements of street music and busking culture. This is also a reunion between him and composer Takeshi Kobayashi, 22 years since their last collaboration in All About Lily Chou-Chou. As for the casting of the leading actress, it was a serendipitous encounter. Director Iwai stumbled upon a video of singer AiNA The END online and was deeply amazed. Before that, the director was already interested in the topic of street music, so he wrote a story and invited AiNA to play the main character.
Beyond his reputation as a distinguished director and screenwriter, Shunji Iwai has also ventured into film music composing, editing, and producing. When imparting advice to film students, he emphasised the importance of experimentation and exploration, highlighting that there is no single method that suits everyone. He also shared his fondness for late-night recording sessions with his assistant, indulging in the ambient sound captured on the street with his iPhone. He jested that the first task for passionate young filmmakers joining his team would be making audio recordings on street.
Asian Film Awards Academy
The Asian Films Awards Academy, a non-profit organisation, was founded by Busan, Hong Kong and Tokyo International Film Festivals with the shared goal of celebrating excellence in Asian cinema. Aiming to promote and recognize Asian films and its talents, AFAA highlights, strengthens and develops Asian film industry through the annual Asian Film Awards and several year-round initiatives.
The Asian Film Awards was inaugurated in 2007, where members of AFAA are drawn from its past nominees and winners. The category of awards includes Best Film, Best Director, Best Actor and Best Actress. Members vote for the Asian Film Awards and participate in various AFAA activities involving film professionals and audiences in Asia and around the world.