Awarding winning short film Waking Up directed by Yuta Okamura is a about a man who works an a crematorium and recognizes one of the bodies as a professor he once knew which opens up a rediscovery of himself. The script was written by Kimberly Hwang and stars Tadamori Yagi
Director Yuta Okamura and Lead Actor Tadamori Yagi talk about their short film WAKING UP,” that will be screening at the Asians On Film Festival February 16, 2013 @ 9:00PM.
Scott: Where is this story come from?
Yuta: First of all, Kimberly wrote the script, and my producer Vanessa and I chose it because we thought it has very strong universal message. Film is about regret of this artist, and I found sympathy with the character. After graduation, I often talked about our friends like “What we do? Are you gonna still do filmmaking?”. Some of my friends went back home. There are unclear fear around us to face to our own life after the graduation. I think everyone passes this kind of time, and even this discussion focuses on graduated student, but it’s very universal because I believe everyone wonder their own future. That’s why I thought it could be an universal film with my personal experiences.
Scott: How did you meet this man (pointing to Tad, the lead actor)?
Yuta: I met him at audition. We called a lot of actors for this role, Jake, and met great actors. But you know, if you meet many actors, you start to feel everyone is same. I found most actors have great skill and talent, but couldn’t find unique speciality from them. But when Tad enters the room, he has something different- something unique. He can bring his personality into the character and make it real. Tad brought us so many things we had not be able to find from the script. That’s what we are finding- someone who can make the character three dimensional. So after the audition, we didn’t discuss anything about this role. We all knew Tad is the best choice.
Scott: What do you think about the ending of the film? What did you try to do with it?
Yuta: As you know, it is very simple story. It’s obvious that you cannot make this story into a feature film, but that’s the greatest thing about making short film. Audience can fill spaces after watching it. In the ending, Jake starts to change his life, but not dramatically. We don’t know what he will do after the moment. You can imagine a lot of different ways. Actually, it much better to blight each of them’s choice. My biggest work of this film was to express this strong feeling of courage and decision. If you could feel its transformation, this film works. Once you get the first step, the rest of steps follow you.
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