Behind the Scenes at the Cannes Film Festival

Suu et Uchikawa tells the story of an elderly Japanese man and his young Burmese partner finding their union at threat when the immigration services discover that she resides in Japan illegally. It is told in the form of a long interview across their home, blurring the line between fiction and documentary, and brings about the intrusive nature of an investigation into a very intimate setting.

You also have the editor’s credit on your short film. How do these two artistic approaches work together?

I tried to wear very different hats by staying away from the footage for about two months from the moment I got it back from the lab. Going back to it with fresh eyes helped me look at it objectively and see what we shot as opposed to what I wanted to shoot.

What was the production like for the film? How long did it take you, how did you fund it, etc?

Seven 12-hour days of shooting. The movie was shot in a three-storey-house, in the centre of Tokyo. It was rented empty, for ten days. This left us enough time to dress it for the first three days (from wallpaper to furniture and props). Myself and my cinematographer then slept on the premises during the shoot, and would pre-light for the  next day each night. Our crew from NYU Tisch School of the Arts Asia got help from Japanese producers and local students interested in the project, all working for free, which helped us keep the budget under 7,000 dollars.

What do you expect from the Cannes Film Festival?

To gain access to professionals potentially interested in my first feature project, to be shot in Paris and Tokyo. But also to get my short film distributed, meet future collaborators, and watch great films in a great setting.

What are your plans for the future?

To keep directing narrative and documentary films, ideally for projects involving France and Japan since my roots are very much anchored in both countries.

Find more interviews and articles about the World of Shorts in our Cannes 2011 Special Edition!