“Ben-Joe”
Undercover Report on Filming & Production (3)
【Report by Taku Inagaki

3rd day of coverage

【Shooting while appreciating the community】

Wearing water himself for a movie shoot

When I woke up in a panic, the film crew was nowhere to be found at the training camp. When I headed to the set, Ms. Iwai, the special makeup artist, greeted me cheerfully. Naturally, he said he had been preparing for the bloodstains without sleeping. I am truly amazed at the stamina of the Mikawa Eiga staff. Mr. Shindo, the actor playing the heroine's father, arrived on the set from Tokyo on the first bullet train of the morning. He was taken to the set for the first time by casting director Mr. Kurahashi, who was constantly impressed by the "amazing place you are filming in. When Mr. Shindo changes into his costume for the shoot, his feet get dirty with mud and he is suddenly covered with water from his head. It is said that this is because she came to the set in the rain without an umbrella, but it is a little depressing to see her covered with water every time the camera cuts to the scene, but she seems to be in high spirits as she willingly takes on the water herself. The enthusiasm of the staff must have been felt.

Collect whatever red liquid you can!

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The first shoot of the morning is finally the actual shooting of the cut for which the blood glue test was conducted. Since there was only enough material for one shot of the bloodstarch, the decision had to be made in the first shot. Once again, the shoot was tense, with no room for error. The director called for the start of the production. Two staff members tipped a huge jar of blood glue from a hose attached to the actor's body, and the blood glue poured out. When the director calls "cut," the film crew begins to discuss the situation around the monitor. Apparently, the director is not satisfied and wants to reshoot the scene, but Ms. Iwai seems to be having a hard time coming up with enough blood starch.

Even so, they are willing to comply with the director's request to reshoot the film. One senses the spirit of the Mikawa Eiga staff. Ms. Iwai immediately calls Ms. Sugita, the production chief, who is at the training camp. He asked, "Do you have any red wine, tomato juice, or any other red liquid? If you don't have enough, could you go to a liquor store or supermarket?" Ms. Iwai, who is usually very calm, is shaking her head violently while making the call. He seemed to be under a lot of stress. Soon Ms. Sugita appears on the set, wine and juice are brought in, and a large supply of sweet-smelling blood is prepared. Ms. Iwai sits there in a state of weakness. Finally, his usual smile appears as he says, "Oh, thank God!"

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Elementary school field trip held on a movie set

As soon as the blood-glue filming was over, the crew began to prepare for the next stage of filming, such as carrying a large monitor to the site and putting down blue sheets on the floor near the entrance and exit. This was apparently the end of today's filming, but an hour later, children from the local Tsugu Elementary School were coming to visit the site for a field trip. The principal of Tsugu Elementary School had personally asked the students to come and observe the filming of a Mikawa Eiga, saying, "I want them to see firsthand how real manufacturing is done. Reporters from a local newspaper appeared before the children and began interviewing the director and staff. While the interviews and preparations for the social tour are going on simultaneously, lively voices can be heard coming from outside the set. It was all the children, staff, and parents of Tsugu Elementary School who had chartered two buses and arrived.

Once the children entered the largest room on the set, the hands-on filming session began. The meeting was led by Director Iwamatsu, a former teacher, and Ms. Sugita, the production chief, a current nursery school teacher. The children were well acquainted with the event, which proceeded with laughter. First, as a filming experience, the teachers and children acted as actors and staff, filming a scene from "Ben-Joe" on the set. When the camera rolled, the entire school was quiet. When the teacher acting as director calls out, "Cut! the children applaud loudly. After the filming, the video was immediately played back on a monitor. Seeing the images on the big screen, the children exclaimed, "Wow! The children cheered. The Mikawa Film staff and actors were happy to see the children enjoying the fun of filmmaking and being so animated.

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Can you cry easily?

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After the children and their teacher finish their filming experience, the Mikawa Film staff and actors then shoot the exact same scene that was just filmed. The children's eyes literally light up as they watch the Mikawa Film team filming. When director Iwamatsu calls "cut," the children and teachers burst into applause. They must have been moved by the actors' performances. When the video shot by the Mikawa Film Team was shown on the monitor, there was another round of groans and applause. They must have been surprised by the beauty of the images created by the lighting and *gimbals added to the actors' performances.

After the filming experience, the children asked questions to the actors. After the filming, the children asked the actors simple questions such as, "When did you decide to become an actor? The actors answered each question politely, but their appearance was calm and excited, a far cry from the tension they felt during the filming. 

 The expressions on their faces were as innocent as those of the children, which was very impressive. "Even the adults have returned to their childhood memories, and everyone is a child. It was an enjoyable time, and I had the feeling that "the adults were also returning to their childhood memories and becoming children.

Giving Back to Children

After the children had left, Director Iwamatsu was still interviewed by newspaper reporters. His answer to the question, "Was it not difficult for you to accept the social tours during the busy shooting period? The construction of the Tsugu set had been underway for six months prior to the filming, and during that period, local children came to the set on Sundays with potato chips and juice to bring in. Seeing these children saying "good luck with the filming" with these gifts in their hands, which they had probably bought with their pocket money, he wondered if there was anything he could do to repay these children. In addition to these gifts, the local people also helped the parents and children clean and paint the set. 4Tomorrow is a day off, and the Mikawa Eiga members are planning to go to a reading session held once a year by the local people of Tsugu. The members of Mikawa Eiga must really enjoy not only making films but also interacting with the local people. There was not the slightest hint of an atmosphere of "as long as we can make our films well, that's all that matters. 

Thus ended my "hot three days" of coverage. All members of the Mikawa Film staff and cast participated in the project without pay. Only motivated people exist at the site. There was no difference in temperature, which is typical of any organization. What I saw in front of my eyes during the three days of interviews were people who were earnestly devoted to filmmaking and who were growing while confronting difficulties. As I sit at my laptop and write this text, I realize that my body is unusually hot due to excitement, even though I am in an air-conditioned room with a gun to my head. Had I caught the fever of Ms. Ishikawa, who plays the heroine in the film, during the three days of the festival? Did the heat of the Mikawa film spread to me? It is a fever that is always burning and contagious.

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Later Talks
I could not forget the enthusiasm of the Mikawa Eiga team and decided to join the filming as a staff member of Mikawa Film the week after the interview. I continued to participate in the filming as an assistant cameraman and making-of cameraman until the film was cranked up six months later.

*gimbal Gimbals are equipment used to shoot video with smooth motion and minimize blurring.

Reporter / Taku Inagaki

Born in 1987. He is a photographer who loves Leica. In addition to taking photos and shooting videos, he is also involved in multiple activities, such as planning and composing projects, being in charge of events, and placing decorative items in certain facilities. After learning about the production of the movie "Ben-Joe" on the Internet, he was intrigued by the passion for the production and applied for an interview. After the interview, he continued to visit the shooting site and became the making-of cameraman and assistant cameraman. Before he knew it, he was a member of the crew and participated in the film until it was cranked up.

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