We had the honor to have Director Ueda participating today’s master class seminar held at Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Photography, in the framework of “SSFF & ASIA Special Fall Screening.”
Audience had the privilege of hearing director Ueda’s career, from his junior high school student films
to the mega success of “One Cut of the Dead” which is still showing in more than 200 theaters across the country. Since this June, it is said that approximately 1 million 800 thousand people watched the film in Japan.
Before the introduction of director Ueda, the seminar commenced by showing one his short films, “Confession Ranking of Girlfriend”, which was nominated in the Japan Competition at SSFF & ASIA 2014. After the film, the director was introduced with big applause, and he was asked about what he thought about the film. “It’s been a while since I last saw this film, and I can say that I’m making the film obnoxiously!”
Ueda also mentioned that “a short film is usually made with one big idea and the passion to make the film all the way you want. “One Cut of the Dead” is also made this way. so these two films have something in common.”
When Ueda was asked about how he got into films in the first place, he said, “I am from the country side of Shiga Prefecture, and it took 1 hour to go to the movie theater. So, I used to watch many VHS tapes from the rental store or the VHS collection of my friend’s father. Then, my father bought me a video camera, and after that, I used to film my friends at school every day.
So, for my student film, when I wrote script, I had certain friends in mind for certain characters, and I did the same for “One Cut of the Dead”.
The seminar went on to screen the making of one of his student short films “Time Travel”, a film about a bunch of high school students time-travelled to the past, during World War II.
When asked about how he cast his heroine, he said, “Well, usually you ask a girl you like! That motivation is important in filmmaking!”
After the trailer of “One Cut of the Dead,” Ueda jokingly said, “Now, I am
completely determined to talk about the film!”.
When he was asked if he had the big budget to make this film (the film is said to be made with 3 million Japanese yen), would it have been a different film? Ueda said, “it would have been very different.
Because the film was made with low budget, like I wouldn’t have costumes drenched in blood and hang them outside the veranda of my apartment.
These little things that we all did together made the film as is.”
When he was asked about his future filmmaking, he said, “Well, if I are to ameliorate
myself even better than right now, it is difficult. I think I can make another blockbuster, but I don’t think I will ever have the kind of experience I have now. My life has been very intense since last three
At the end of the seminar, we asked him to make the “zombie” pause and took a group photo with the audience. “I just made “One Cut of the Dead” the way I wanted, simply and purely for audience to enjoy… nothing else, ” commented Ueda lastly.