Rina Naganuma is a film director in Sapporo, was born in 1981 in Sapporo. She started filming in her first year of high school, and now is working for advertising agencies and filming with students in workshops. Besides that, she organizes “Eizoko” (Picture+Fridge – mintage), a group that puts together an independent film event. Today she talks about her new film “Bright Lie” and its roots.

Rina Naganuma
Photo: Minaco Satou

Did you always like a film?

Yes. But I am not a kind of person who goes to movies every day. Like just enjoy some movies on TV at night. Jackie Chan, My neighbor Totoro (Hayao Miyazaki), Spielberg are still my basic favorites. I think I’ve seen movies less than others who shoot film in my age.

Rina Naganuma
Photo: Satoshi Momma

How did you become a film director?

It is little different from because I like a film. I’ve liked to lead others like as a class officer since grade school. And “film director” would be the best career for me, I thought.

When I was a freshman in high school, I started filming for the first time. One of my classmates became the cast. Since then, she has been in all my works, but that time, the shooting was done by only two of us; me as a director and her as an actor. We didn’t have scripts and words, just shot with a theme of “feeling”.

I wanted to have a small screening within the school, only with my friends, but we actually held a screening event of independent films “Eizoko” in a public space. This is joined by a lot of folks and became opportunities to get to know wide range of people. That is how it is.

Rina Naganuma
Photo: Satoshi Momma

How did you determine the course to be taken after high school graduation?

I didn’t think of “learning a film” in the university or a special school that time. This might be because I was shooting “feeling”. I just had a strong desire to shoot the moment, rather than “how to make a film” in a technical way. I might be feeling a kind of “limit” to the sensuous part in each case and shooting rapidly too much. I thought that it would be ok to lean the technical part little later. I wanted to keep the impulse that time.

Time passed rapidly while I had screened my works at various venues because of the “Eizoko” event, experienced as an assistant film director, and been doing workshops at the university. I could have many encounters and opportunities because it might be uncommon that the teenage girl was shooting a film belonging nowhere. I continued drawing “feelings” in my films and screened those at “Eizoko” event. The style has been established around the time.

There is a film titled “Devoted Garden” (2002), the work which became my turning point. This was when I was 20 years old, and I could shoot it with many other collaborators’ supports. The film became splendid in both technically and quality, participated by a lot of experienced professionals. The “Devoted Garden” was also screened in a film festival in South France. I could meet my teammates too.

I could learn a lot from making “Devoted Garden” including my possibility in the large-scale film field, deficiency of myself, etc. The importance of communication was also what I leaned the time. I needed time to think about those things and that is why it took me a while to get down to the next original work.

I felt like doing something in a different field, and threw an event called “Mixer” in 2004. This was something visitors could enjoy while I was showing my old films and pictures besides live music. It was my first time to have a concrete theme in making films. It became also an experiment for the communication with the staff and the audience.

Rina Naganuma, Bright Lie
“Bright Lie”

Tell us about making of the new film “Bright Lie”.

The film starring Syuntaro Iizuka, and Ayumi Narita who is my old partner and has been featured since my first film. I met Syuntaro Iizuka for the first time at Yubari Film Festival. Even though we were still in high school that time, he listened really well about our offer, and appeared in the film we took that year, titled “Record Of Schoolgirl War” (2000). He told me “Let’s make a film together someday again when we grew up each other, and give me a main role”. I am still green, but I thought that now is the time and offered him to be in this “Bright Lie”. He is usually make people laugh as a comedian, but I wanted to shoot him as a cool and matured actor this time. We started making the film in 2005, carrying out one month shooting in Hokkaido. It is a love story between a lonely painter who left colors and a lady who is losing her sight.

Rina Naganuma, Bright Lie
“Bright Lie”

Why love story this time?

I spent a long time thinking about the new film. I read the past questionnaire that we have asked the audience to write at every screening. Of course there were both for and against, but most of opinions were about superficial “feelings” such as “beautiful visual”, etc. All my works don’t have the script or story, which might be difficult to understand. The strong impressions are all in the optical expressions, and I fond that my “feeling” had not got through.

I wanted to draw “feeling” again. I had been shooting from my impulsive feeling, but I wanted to try shooting feeling from the characters in the film this time. And I wanted to know how the feeling of the audience would move by watching it. It might be proper thing, but to me, who had been shooting for only myself, it was a big difference. Therefore, I chose a love story. Everybody has fallen love with somebody. With this very simple entrance, I wanted to take them to my world. I wrote a script for the first time at the 8th work.

At last, tell us about your future plan?

“Bright Lie” is my first film in 5 years. It was also an experiment of communication in making film, and finding the answer to what I’ve been thinking about, feeling inside of myself, and what I want to express in the film. Therefore, making a film means to me very personal thing yet.

I read the questionnaire from the audience who watched the “Bright Lie”. What they were writing about was clearly different. I was saved once again in this way. I even think that I could finally make a film for the first time. There are still many answers to find, but I would like to continue showing my films to my fans and visitors, as well as the film making. It is very exciting to see the feeling of the audience moving more than anything else.

After the interview

“Bright Lie” is an apparently standard work comparing to previous “Devoted Garden” that shows unusual days between a restricted woman in apartment and visitor. Nevertheless, more closely detailed cinematography, phone conversations between two, the scene that brings the painter to mind colors, are all impressive. The stillness at last is just superb. Check her next show on their website. You bet.

“Bright Lie” Preview

Bright Lie
Cast: Shuntaro Iizuka, Ayumi Narita, and others
Director/Writer: Rina Naganuma
Released in 2007 / 66 min. / Japan

Text: Shinichi Ishikawa (Numero Deux)
Translation: Yoshitaka Futakawa

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