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Winning an honorary award at the Sancha Cinema Carnival!
Living always with the spirit of a “film-loving boy”

Kiyoki Uchida

SF, B-movie horror, superhero, kung fu action.... The movies of Kiyoki Uchida, enrolled in the Kawaguchi Art School of Waseda University, are inlaid with the essence of a variety of movie genres. His film MAD☆VOGUE ~kyofu no judenchi-ningen~ won an honorary award, an award for excellence (passion and technology category), best leading male award, and best leading female award at the Sancha Cinema Carnival. Shot in 8 mm, it is an ambitious film fully ensconced in Uchida’s world. The film has analog treatments applied throughout, including purposeful film damage to add in laser beams and coloring in red using permanent marker. Why did Uchida focus on doing things by hand in this digital age?

A fight breaks out between the “judenchi-ningen” (rechargeable human), a cyborg designed to fight global warming; an alien; and scientists. A scene from MAD☆VOGUE.

“Since high school I’ve really enjoyed filming things with my friends, even though we didn’t have any sophisticated technology. Lately, however, I’ve been filming with the purpose of making films, and moviemaking felt like an obligation.” That is when it occurred to Uchida to film on 8 mm and do all developing, compositing and editing by hand to return to his roots. “We did almost no preparation beforehand and let the camera roll, placing importance on the mood of the moment.” The finished piece combined a new and free style for Uchida with the analog feeling of an 8 mm movie, receiving a number of awards as noted above.

Uchida first became interested in movies in junior high school. Due to his grandfather, who ran a camera store, Uchida had spent much time in a dark room since childhood. Before long, his interest shifted from photographs to movies, and he began to harbor a yearning for science fiction films such as Star Wars and Back to the Future. Once he moved on to high school, Uchida established a movie club, and began immersing himself in the world of making his own movies together with friends. At first, Uchida’s films referenced French New Wave cinema, which focused on low budgets and quick filming, but as his club aimed to make more and more professional films, the flaws in their filming technology and acting began to show through. That’s when Uchida began modeling his films after early SF and B-movie horror films, which were also low budget movies.

“I decided to not take the main road and instead win this way.” The result was films winning awards two years in a row at the Eiga Koushien festival.

Uchida is currently in his fourth year at Kawaguchi Art School. It has been decided that Kawaguchi Art School will close with the graduation of Uchida’s class. “It’s sad that it will be no more, but the school focused on hands-on learning in small groups, and I learned a lot. I was really close to my classmates and being able to meet many friends with whom I can talk to about anything without hesitation was a real asset.”

After graduation, Uchida hopes to enter the movie industry. What sort of films will he show us going forward? “There is no small number of independent films which find it acceptable to only be understood by a small number of people. That’s why I’d like to make entertaining movies which anyone who comes to the theater can enjoy, without becoming self-satisfied and conceited.” His dreams are big: to film a Hollywood SF blockbuster. Uchida has regained the spirit of a boy in love with movies; he will continue pushing forward towards his dream.

A scene from Dangerous NEET. Uchida himself appears in the movie.

The poster design from Da ga, shikashi...! Nanairo no kosen!!, giving homage to idol movies from the 80’s.

A special effects scene from Mu-okoku VS Machine-teikoku.

(Offered By:WASEDA WEEKLY)

Kiyoki Uchida
Fourth Year, Department of Visual Communication and Media, Kawaguchi Art School of Waseda University

Originally from Tokyo, Kiyoki Uchida graduated from Tokyo Metropolitan Roppongi High School. Uchida began making his own films in high school and has won four awards at the Sancha Cinema Carnival for MAD☆VOGUE ~kyofu no judenchi-ningen~ in 2011, including an honorary award.