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Top>People>Planning and Producing Hito no Sabaku. An Omnibus Film Now Showing Nationwide


Yuki Eguchi

Yuki Eguchi [Profile]

Planning and Producing Hito no Sabaku. An Omnibus Film Now Showing Nationwide

Ms. Yuki Eguchi
Student in the 4th group of students majoring in film production of Department of Film Production, Graduate School of Film and New Media, Tokyo University of the Arts

Bringing to the screen the works of Mr. Kotaro Sawaki in his 20s

Hito no Sabaku (The People's Desert), a production by mainly those in the 4th group of students majoring in film production of Department of Film Production, Graduate School of Film and New Media, Tokyo University of the Arts, has become a bit of a talking point among film buffs, especially baby-boomers. Not surprisingly, the original piece was Hito no Sabaku (Shinchosha Publishing), written by baby-boomer non-fiction author Mr. Kotaro Sawaki when he was in his 20s. Behind the planning and production of this omnibus film was 2007 alumnus of the Faculty of Policy Studies, Yuki Eguchi.

While visiting Myanmar in 2004 with her cousin, Eguchi met volunteer medical service doctor Hideto Yoshioka. Moved by his activities, Eguchi returned twice to Myanmar, with film equipment, to film the documentary video on Doctor Yoshioka's work titled Inochi Kagayaku Toki-Rekishi ni Ikiru Nihonjin Ishi (When Life Sparkles-A Japanese Doctor Living in History). The documentary snared three awards, including the excellence award, at the Tokyo Video Festival.

With Eguchi being this way, it was only natural that she would head into the video production industry after graduation. But Eguchi wasn't to be totally satisfied working in the visual division of a major celebrity agency.
“Management was in charge of most business matters, so most of the work at the visual division was subcontracted and there was no need to devise plans. AD work was also demanding and I thought that if I wanted a leading role in making something with my sensibility of early 20s, I had to change my surroundings.”

Under these conditions Eguchi left the company in less than half a year on the job. Eguchi adds, “I became a NEET (Not in Employment, Education or Training) six months after graduating.”

Entering graduate school to gain strength after quitting work

After leaving her job, she went to Okinawa to film documentaries while doing part-time work.
“I even toyed with the idea of becoming a freelance documentary maker. But I soon realized that I lacked strength as an expressionist.”

This realization changed Eguchi over the next three years. She was convinced to enter graduate school after talking to her university mentor, Professor Ryoichi Matsuno (Media Studies), which led her to enroll at Tokyo University of the Arts Graduate School of Film and New Media. For Eguchi, who thought, “To stand on the front line, an environment to cultivate expressionism is important, as well as building networks,” the graduate school offered her a golden opportunity.

“I was in the production course, but it was divided into seven other areas such as directing, screenplay, camera work and editing. Even with this being the case, everyone had to cooperate with each other when producing a work.”

Immediately after entering the school, Eguchi's work was selected for the summer production scenario contest with Miyako Wasure, a 30 minute production captured on a 16mm camera about an unbelievable bond formed between an old lady and a conman who tried to swindle her. “That was the result of cooperation from students in various fields.” (Eguchi)

A stomachache on opening day and a theater overflowing with people

Finally, two years ago, a program took place where all film operations, including planning and development, scenario production, fundraising, photography, editing, casting, advertising and distribution, were undertaken by the students. In October, five students from the production course, including Eguchi, entered their plans, and Eguchi's Hito no Sabaku was chosen as the competition winner.
“I came across this book of Mr. Sawaki's when I was 19 years old. Despite being unable to fit into society well, the character's lived their lives with splendor. The form of the strong, weak and human-like characters is expressed magnificently and I remember it having a huge impact on me.”

When presenting the plan, you can easily picture that Hito no Sabaku came straight to Eguchi's mind. Hito no Sabaku is a collection of four stories. Kuzu no Sekai (Junk World) (starring Renji Ishibashi), about a stubborn junk dealer, Kagami no Chosho (Evidence in the Mirror) (starring Mari Natsuki), a slapstick story about the appearance of a cunning conman in a country town, Obaasan ga Shinda (Grandma's Dead) (starring Shigeru Muroi), depicting half a lifetime of a hoarder trying to avoid his neighbors, and Suterareta Onnatachi no Yuutopia (Utopia of Discarded Women) (starring Eiko Koike), full of the love and turmoil of former prostitutes unwanted by their families and men. Students from the scriptwriting course wrote the screenplay and four students from the directing course directed a story each, filming in June and July of last year. After that, editing of the film was completed in November.
“With more than 30 people involved as main staff, the responsibility for me to put everything in order was great. Honestly speaking, it was a tough time.”

With spasms in her stomach, opening day came around on February 27 at Shinjuku Wald 9. What caught Eguchi's eye was the scene of filmgoers being turned away from the theater. The same happened on the second day and the movie was virtually sold out over the first week.
“Now in our 20s, we have loaded and expressed, in our own way, the opening Mr. Sawaki gave us in his 20s. So we hope that not only young people, but also those in their 50s and 60s from Mr. Sawaki's generation come to see it. Actually, I am really pleased that 80% of viewers are from that generation.”

In April, Eguchi started work at a television station. She says she would like to make films or documentaries if possible. When asked what she would do if told to produce a variety show she replied, “I would've hated it three years ago, but now I think I can enjoy making any kind of program.”

It has been three years since she quit her first job after a mere six months. Eguchi has definitely matured in a big way.

Hito no Sabaku Official SitenewWindow

(Offered by: Chuo Daigaku Gakuin Jiho No. 462)

Yuki Eguchi
Graduated from Faculty of Policy Studies, Chuo University in 2007. Entered a major production company on graduation but quit after just six months. She then entered Department of Film Production, Graduate School of Film and New Media, Tokyo University of the Arts as a film major. Last year, under the guidance of director Kiyoshi Kurosawa, as a producer in her 20s, she brought Mr. Kotaro Sawaki's Hito no Sabaku to the big screen. She has been working at Nippon Television Network Corporation since April 2010.