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Take 5 with “Tokyo = Fukushima”

We’ve asked the filmmakers for the 11th annual Oxford Film Festival the same five questions. Meet Jordan Baseman, director of Tokyo = Fukushima. This film will be screening Saturday, Feb. 8 at 11:30 a.m. and Sunday, Feb. 9 at 2 p.m..

#1: In 140 characters or less, describe your movie and why someone should see it.

Tokyo = Fukushima is a time-lapse, stop-frame animation film of the city of Tokyo, six months after the nuclear meltdown at Fukushima. The film depicts Tokyo as throbbing with life and (nuclear) electricity despite the crisis and constant radioactive threat. Recorded over a two-month period, using a Bolex Super 16mm wind-up camera on the streets of Tokyo, the film acts as a love letter to an anxious friend. The city is trying to return to normal, although paranoia and anxiety are found everywhere due to minor earthquakes, aftershocks and government untruths. This beautiful and dark film is propelled by electronic music recorded by the filmmaker in Tokyo.

#2: Biggest lesson learned in getting the film made? Best part in getting the film made?

I learned to be patient, not always my strength!

#3: Tell us about you. What is your movie making background?

Primarily, I am an artist. My background is within Fine Art so my films are mainly shown in art galleries, often as installations. But I recently, within the past few years, I have also been trying to present my work in film festivals. So, I have no formal movie making background - I am entirely self-taught in that regard. Previously, I made sculpture and installations but decided in about 1999 that I had had enough of that and started to make films. It was a major change in my life. Eventually, I taught myself how to use cameras (analog and digital) computers and software programs. Then I started to record people, events and things…

#4 What do you want the Oxford Film Festival audience to know about your film that isn’t obvious from its title or description?

Tokyo = Fukushima was made over two months. I spent every night on the streets of Tokyo, walking around with my camera. The film itself contains less than half of the material that I actually recorded. The music is made from fragments of sound that I recorded on Tokyo combined with electronic music that I composed. The final shot of the film, from where the film takes it title, was the first image that I recorded in Tokyo and set the entire tone of the work.

#5: What does the future hold in store for your film and for you?

Ah! Life is an adventure that is laden with surprise, called the future. So, I have no idea.

I hope that I am able to continue to make films that are beautifully dark, subtle, layered with meaning and sometime frivolous.

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