27 February 2014

KurzSchluss #677: Berlinale Special – Mirai Mizue

Mirai Mizue (MM) was interviewed by ARTE as part of the KurzSchluss short film programme at the Berlinale earlier this month with his CaRTe bLaNChe producer Tamaki Okamoto (TO) acting as his interpreter.  You can currently watch the six-minute interview at Zoom – Die Kurzfilme der Berlinale Shorts.  But, as television stations have a habit of deleting the online content after a certain period of time, I have written up an English transcript of the interview. I  have omitted Okamoto's interpretation and done my own translation of Mizue's answers (with assistance, as ever, from my fluently trilingual husband)   I have also eliminated “ums” and other non-essential expressions to cut to the essence of the answers.

The highlights of this interview for me are Mirai Mizue’s kimono featuring a print of images from WONDER and Tamaki Okamoto’s stunning hairstyle.  The questions are rather pedestrian – they seem to be a list of questions to be asked of all the animators – but Mizue’s answers are fascinating.  I love how his face transforms into an expression of mischievous delight at the end when he is asked to draw something for them and he whips out a handful of markers from the sleeves of his kimono.  Priceless. 

ARTE: Are you living animation?
MM:  I think that everything I do in my daily life is related to animation.  I feel animation all the time, whatever I do.

ARTE:  What was the first image of your film?
MM:  It is just a simple black point.  It signifies the starting point of drawing. 

ARTE:  How much did your film cost?
TO:  20,000 - 25,000€

ARTE: Who are you inspired by?
MM:  For classic animation, I admire animators like Oskar Fischinger and Norman McLaren.  I also like animators like Georges Schwizgebel for the way they use music in their work. 

ARTE: What’s the story?
MM:  The story does not necessarily have to come from me.  The audience can make the stories themselves after seeing my films.  I just want to make animation with colour, form, and music in order to make people feel happiness or some other emotion.  The story will be different for each audience member because they will each react uniquely to their experience of the film.

ARTE:  Do you draw every day?
MM:  Yes, WONDER, was a project where I actually had to draw every day for 365 days.  Initially, I had to force myself to draw every day for the project.  At the beginning, the goal was just to complete the daily task for the animation film, but after a while - and this was a new experience for me - the situation changed.  I was no longer drawing just for the film but I was overcome with a sensation of taking great pleasure from drawing and I wanted to feel that sensation every day.    

ARTE: Can you make a drawing for us?
[MM pulls markers out of his kimono sleeves and sets about drawing on a sheet of plain white paper]

Interview ©2014 ARTE /Berlinale

Transcription and additional text by Catherine Munroe Hotes 2014