Archive for the ‘Karakara Movie’ category

Karakara – the first week

November 13, 2011

Despite lots of rain throughout the week in Okinawa (and an earthquake on Tuesday!) the first week of shooting of the film Karakara was completed successfully and everyone involved seems to be in good spirits.  Here are some photos taken during the week’s shooting.

Filming in Naha with Claude Gagnon and director of photography Michel St-Martin

Megumi Tomita (who plays Akemi) and Youki Kudoh (who plays Junko)

Getting ready to shoot

Karakara co-stars Gabriel Arcand and Youki Kudoh

Karakara – the shooting starts

November 7, 2011

A gathering took place yesterday morning at Izumo Taisha, a shrine in Furujima, to commemorate the start of the new Japan-Canada co-production Karakara.  The priest conducted a ceremony first asking for good fortune in the making of the film and this was followed by a get-together with food and drinks. I attended along with the rest of the cast and staff of the film.

The shooting starts. Director Claude Gagnon this morning.

Shooting of the movie began early today with the film crew setting off at 5 a.m. for Hyakuna on the south-east coast of Okinawa where they shot the sunrise scene which opens the film.

Karakara – a new film set in Okinawa

November 3, 2011

A press conference was held in Naha on Tuesday to announce the production of a new movie to be set in Okinawa. The film is called Karakara and is a joint Japan-Canada project. Karakara is written and directed by French-Canadian Claude Gagnon whose other films include Keiko, Kenny and Kamataki and it will be produced by Okinawa’s Takako Miyahira. Most of the action is set on the main island of Okinawa but there will also be scenes on the small outlying islands of Izena and Gushikawa. Claude Gagnon says: “I always wanted to make a film in Okinawa and I’m very happy to be able to make one this time.”

Karakara press conference (l to r): Takako Miyahira (producer), Claude Gagnon (director), Gabriel Arcand, Youki Kudoh (actors), Daichi Hirata (Okinawa government)

The protagonists of the film are the experienced Canadian film and stage actor Gabriel Arcand and Japanese actress Youki Kudoh (Mystery Train, Snow Falling On Cedars, Memoirs Of A Geisha). Karakara is a kind of road movie in which people at a crossroads in their life run away to discover themselves. For Montreal native Gabriel Arcand it’s the first time that he has visited Okinawa – or indeed Asia – though he has worked before with director Gagnon. His co-star Youki Kudoh said at the conference: “Finding what you have lost through encounters with people, rediscovering what you think you have but can no longer see, and learning to enjoy life once again – such themes knocked my socks off. Claude’s screenplay is never didactic but very poetic. I’m looking forward to seeing how these themes will be interwoven in the beautiful background of Okinawa.”

Several months ago I was contacted out of the blue by Claude Gagnon. He had read my book The Power of Okinawa and was interested in my giving him some advice and ideas about the inclusion of Okinawan music in his new film. We met up a few times to discuss this and other things. Then he mentioned that there was also a small role in the film for a foreigner for which it might be fun for me to audition. Not having any previous experience of acting in a film, I did not expect this to come to anything but I went along for the audition anyway and was surprised to be chosen for the part a day or two later. Filming of Karakara starts next week and the movie is planned for eventual release in Autumn 2012.  Now I just have to make sure I learn my lines!