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TOKYO – Keiichi Kobayashi’s quirky debut feature About the Pink Sky has headed to Sundance on the back of winning the Japanese Eyes section at Tokyo International Film Festival (TIFF) at the end of last year.
The story of a high school girl’s moral dilemma after finding a wallet stuffed full of money belonging to a local rich kid, shot in black and white with no soundtrack, grabbed the attention of the jury at TIFF and then the Sundance selectors.
“I used black and white because I wanted the images to stand out. A high school girl in color is not particularly noteworthy, but I thought in black and white it would have more impact,” says Kobayashi.
“From when I wrote the script, I wanted the film to have a sort of documentary feel about it and for the focus to be only on the character, that’s one of the reasons there’s no music in there,” he adds.
The young actors are relative newcomers and add to the raw documentary feel of the film.
“I wanted inexperienced actors that weren’t on tight schedules, that I could use for as long as I needed, would give their all in the film and listen to the directions I gave them,” says Kobayashi.
However, Kobayashi had international inspirations for the film from the outset, though partly because he knew it would be a hard sell at home.
“With no stars, an unknown director, no real genre, no music and not being based on something, it’s very hard to get people interested in the film in Japan,” says Kobayashi. “So we always had international audiences and film festivals in mind.”
Kobayashi is currently working on the script for his next project, a tail of an otaku (game and anime nerd) couple that he hopes to film this year.
“I can only see myself working with my own original scripts; I can’t really imagine adapting someone else’s work. I don’t think I’d be very good at it,” he says with a laugh.
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