SxSW 2018 Interview: FROM ALL CORNERS producer Yuko Shiomaki

“One man’s trash is another man’s treasure. This is a story of an artist who thinks dumped cardboard is precious and making wallets from them.” Producer Yuko Shiomaki, a SxSW regular whose new movie FROM ALL CORNERS is showing at SxSW 2018 Conference & Festivals.

I hear you are back at SxSW this year! Tell me about what you have had here in the past, and your favorite aspects of the city.

I had my film Sake-Bomb selected in 2013 version of SXSW. I was here as a executive producer and it was my first time to visit Austin. I quickly fell in love with the festival and the city. It is so energetic with a lot of new ideas and it is “the” place to share everyone’s future.  Since 2013, I’m coming back every year as a participant from film industry. Everything is so exciting during the festival week, I even felt sad and lonely when I stayed one day after the festival ends.

How did this project come together for you? Give me a rundown from the preparation, to shooting, to post-production to now!

I had met Fuyuki Shimazu 4 years ago when we were working together for the film I have distributed. He was a designer of the key artwork and at that time he was working for one of the biggest advertisement company in Japan. One day he came to me and said he was going to quit company and will live by picking up damped cardboard. I was answering, “What?” And then he said he wants to make a movie about cardboard.

I did not know what to do with his idea, so I asked him to shoot by himself every time he picks up cardboards.  I thought I might find some story someday. One day, he went to Philippines to find his favorite cardboard box of bananas. In Japan, Philippines are known as popular origin of bananas. But, after a week wandering in the country, he did not find any banana cardboard, which we usually find everywhere in Japan.

I thought this is interesting story. From cardboard, we can trace the journey of bananas, and I thought this story applies to any kinds of logistics around the world.

That was the beginning of me thinking seriously about this project. So, I brought the director, Ryusuke Okajima who I work with the other projects before, because I knew he was the right one to tell the story.

After Ryusuke joined our team, we started our own journey with Fuyuki and his cardboard. And luckily we found very sweet and lovely story behind this particular cardboard he happened to meet at Tokyo market.

Fascinating story. So what keeps you going while making a movie? What drives you?

I did not have any stress during our production, it has always been a process of charming and heartful filmmaking. I think it is because of Fuyuki and the director’s personality. And as Fuyuki described, cardboard is warm itself.

What was your biggest challenge with this project, and the moment that was the most rewarding to you?

At very last stage of shooting, we finally found the main theme of the film, “up-cycling” , then we met Ryan Bukstein from Ace Hotel and he liked the idea of up-cycling, because it also matches their business philosophy. At the same time he had an offer from this big up -cycling event in Shanghai, so our shooting became international and his workshop was the biggest ever, it was a big challenge for both Fuyuki and the director.

I would love to get tech with you and ask about the the visual design of the movie; what camera did you film with, your relationship to the director of photography and how the movie was photographed.

The director mostly used Canon 5D. The director Ryusuke is the DP and he edited, so from the first place, he knew what he wanted.  I always liked Ryuske’s cinematography and I thought it was good to depict the artist love for what he really likes, a cardboard.

What are you looking forward to the most about showing FROM ALL CORNERS here in Austin?

Making films is stating what you believe. So, I want the audience here in Austin to feel the passion of Fuyuki and if it becomes the trigger to think a little bit serious about what your own possibility is, then I am fulfilled.

After the film screens at SxSW, where is the film going to show next? Theatrical, online, more festivals?

The film will be released theatrical in Japan, then videogram, TV and VOD under Pictures Dept. distribution. We are trying to find a distributor for the rest of the world.

If you could show your movie in any theater outside of Austin, where would you screen it and why?

We have distributor attached for Japan, so we’ll show the film throughout Japan.

What would you say to someone who was being disruptive during a movie, even if was your own screening?

I think it is a filmmaker’s responsibility if the audience are not concentrated to the movie in theater. That means our storytelling failed to drag them in.

We have a lot of readers on our site looking to make movies or get into the industry somehow. What is the ONE THING you would say to someone who is wanting to get into the filmmaking business?

Filmmaking is telling what you want to say. If you have something to say, there is a way to say it on screen.

And final question: what is the greatest movie you have ever seen at a film festival?

SHORT TERM 12 by Destin Daniel Cretton at SXSW 2013.


FROM ALL CORNERS is screening at SxSW 2018. For more information on the movie be sure to visit!

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