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SXSW Pre-Production: AFTER THE APOCALYPSE Director Yasuaki Nakajima

by Scott Weinberg

THE 'AFTER THE APOCALYPSE' PITCH: After The Apocalypse is a futuristic drama about five survivors trying to make sense of a New World after a devastating urban catastrophe challenges all their human needs.

"A futuristic drama of survivors after WWIII."

Will this be your first time at South By Southwest? Any other film festival experience?
This is my first time below Virginia. This is my very first film festival experience, with my own film.

When you were 14 years old, if someone asked you what you wanted to be when you grew up, what would your answer have been?
Detective, stuntman, policeman or painter.

How did you get started in filmmaking?
I started filmmaking in my apartment in Tokyo, right after I left my home town, Hokkaido. I worked as a window cleaner by day and made claymation at night in my room, using a super 8 camera. I learned how to use cameras from the camera store. The claymation short film got into the Tokyo Image Film Forum. Since then I made many narrative and experimental short films, but they were part of practice in order to make After the Apocalypse.

How have things changed for you since your film was accepted into the festival?
If my film didn't get in any film festival in USA, I could have given up my stay here. I have been in the U.S. for 7 years as a foreigner, but I didn't have any success. I came here to go school, but I still haven't got any degree in this country. It is not easy to live in America as a foreigner. But now I really want to stay longer and show this film to American audience and study more.

When you were shooting the film, did you have SXSW (or other festivals) in mind?
My mind was occupied with the daily struggle of shooting and had a very vague idea of what to do after the shooting. I realized that I had to show it at festivals toward the end of post-production.

What's the single most important lesson you learned while making this film?
I've learned that there is film because there is life.

When you were in preproduction, did you find yourself watching other great movies in preparation?
Yes, any movie I see throughout my life influences my filmmaking. Mike Leigh is my favorite filmmaker.

If a studio said ‘we love this, we love you, you can remake anything in our back catalogue for $40m’ – what film, if any, would you remake?
I'd like to remake Slacker with New York slackers. But $40m is too much...

Two-parter: Which actor would you cut off an arm to work with, and which relatively unknown actor in your own film do you want the world to start recognizing sooner rather than later?
Jackie Chan is my hero. I'd like to work with him. Jacqueline Bowman, the female lead of After the Apocalypse, is an excellent actor. Our DP, Carolyn is an amazing DP.

The festival circuit: what could be improved, and what couldn't be?
It would be nice if festivals could pay for airfare.

Have you ‘made it’ yet? If not, at what point will you be able to say ‘yes’?
I'm a foreign student in the U.S. If I graduate from college in the U.S., I can say "I made it".

A movie is made by a lot of people in addition to the director, but often films will open with a credit that says “a film by…” – Did you use that credit in your film? If so, defend yourself! If not, what do you think of those who do?
I thought I might do it just for my self-promotion sake. But realisticaly this film was filmed by our cinematogapher, Carolyn, and performed by actors. I produced, wrote, directed and edited, but I didn't do it all. I think this is one of the smallest scale films, but it was created from many people's hard work and genuine ideas. I'm afraid to call it "a film by me". I would use it if I was big like Kurosawa. It would help to sell the film. But since my name
is unknown it doesn't really help. so I prefer not to use " a film by".

After the Apocalypse, written and directed by Yasuaki Nakajima, starring Jacqueline Bowman, Velina Georgi, Zorikh LaQuidre, Oscar Lowe, Moises Morales and Yasuaki Nakajima, premieres at the 2004 South By Southwest Film Fesitval. Click here and here for more info, and click here for my own review of the film!

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originally posted: 03/09/04 13:29:35
last updated: 03/09/04 13:38:47
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