2015 ASEAN Cultural Exchange / Cooperation Project (Animation, Film) Filmmaking Lighting and Camera Workshop / Coordinating Report


The “Filmmaking Lighting and Camera Workshop / Master Class” within ASEAN Cultural Exchange / Cooperation Project (Animation, Film) took place in Pinewood Iskandar Malaysia Studios (PIMS), where IMAGICA South East Asia (ISEA) resides, on November 25th and 26th, 2015, where ISEA coordinated and supported the project locally.

The purpose of the project is for cultural exchange among ASEAN countries and to enliven the imaging field within Asia. It was planned and conducted by the non-profit organization UNIJAPAN and the Graduate School of Film and New Media, Tokyo University of the Arts (TUA). We welcomed professors Katsumi Yanagijima from TUA to host a workshop that consisted of going through the workflow from filming to color grading from a constructed open set, lecture by Mr. Yanagijima, and participants joining on set.

The participants included 30 students from Multimedia University in Malaysia, 14 members of the Malaysian Society of Cinematographers and eight students from Singapore. The lively two-day workshop was filled with filming on the set built within the studio with cooperation from professor Toshihiro Isomi (TUA), the work that follows, lectures and question-and-answer sessions.

Scenes from the workshop

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We interviewed the professors who were invited to do the workshop.

Professor Katsumi Yanagijima, Graduate School of Film and New Media, Tokyo University of the Arts


Katsumi Yanagijima

Born in Gifu prefecture. Graduate of Tokyo Visual Arts.
Built his career as an Assistant Cameraman and is now a Director of Photography of many feature films. Worked on most films of director Takeshi Kitano as well. Awarded the Outstanding Achievement in Cinematography from Japan Academy Prize Association in 2002 for “GO” and in 2004 for “Zatoichi.”

Question: What is your impression of the Malaysian students after the two-day workshop?

Yanagijima: We also have workshops like this in Japan but my impression of the students here is that they are very enthusiastic. I could feel their passion for wanting to learn cinematography. It’s an aspect that seems to be lacking in the Japanese students.
I felt this passion is strong in outside Japan, especially in Asia.

Question: What was your impression of the equipment you used and preparations that were made within Malaysia for this workshop?

Yanagijima: I don’t know how to comment on the equipment since we haven’t used much on this workshop, but the staff here responded well to our requests and worked very hard. Not so different from how we work in Japan.
The people who were involved were very reliable.

Question: What was your impression of the members from the Malaysian Society of Cinematographers who joined the workshop?

Yanagijima: There weren’t any differences from how we work in Japan and I was very comfortable. Actually, they asked me to join the Malaysian Society of Cinematographers. [laughing]

Question: What is your impression of guiding a workshop abroad?

Yanagijima: I wasn’t sure what to do in the beginning and also had trouble with what to aim the workshop for. But as mentioned earlier, the students there were very passionate and sincere. I’m glad I was involved.
It was reassuring to have a Japanese company support us in the reaches of Asia. Things were made easy by having IMAGICA as the local coordinator.
They helped us prepare for the workshop, execute and understand what was requested of us from the participants.
I believe we had a very good workshop as a result of this Japanese teamwork.

Professor Toshihiro Isomi, Graduate School of Film and New Media, Tokyo University of the Arts


Toshihiro Isomi

Born in Kyoto prefecture. Graduate of Ritsumeikan University, College of Social Sciences. Became independent after working at a fashion manufacturer and as an editor at Japan Lumber Reports. He is now a Film Art Director and also produces films after experiencing building the Sennnen-Theater in Kyoto and meeting the stage group Ishinha.

Question: What was your impression of the workshop in Malaysia?

Isomi: Perhaps it has to do with the time of the year, but I thought it’d be hotter in Malaysia. It was calmer than Japanese summer though.
I was impressed with the Iskandar area that’s still in the development phase and though we may not be able to call it a big city yet, the studio was really nice in that you can build an open set there. You can finish a film within the studio and, of course, have preview screenings. I always find studios like these interesting.
In fact, there aren’t that many studios in Japan where you can build an open set [there is one in Kyoto], so it was intriguing to me for that reason.
The plants here are different from those in Japan, but as long as you keep that in mind you can still create Japanese style films. Really nice environment.

Question: Anything you noticed about the local staff?

Isomi: I thought the staff was excellent. We didn’t have a script for the set or didn’t know what material they had, but the set was built accurately to the set blueprint and the set carpenter’s attitude toward the job was very positive.

Question: What did you think of the workshop from an educational point of view?

Isomi: I envy this facility. So, as much as learning through internship is important, I want the students to utilize their school facilities. It might also be interesting to have the students work on their projects in this kind of environment.

Question: How was it having a workshop abroad?

Isomi: In short, it was very easy to work. The environment including the facility and the staff’s attitude was very good.
It was also helpful to have IMAGICA coordinate the workshop since they understand the process taken in Japan. We didn’t know what to expect in Malaysia and they helped us tremendously.

Thoughts from coordinating the workshop

The year 2016 will be the third year of ISEA operating in Malaysia. Since 2014, as our first foreign base, one of the goals of the establishment has been to provide practical training services in post-production and to train high level skills and creativity in Southeast Asia. We believe cooperating with these workshops aimed for cultural exchange, between Japan and the rest of Asia, was very meaningful and we have made contributions to education and development for the post-production industry around the world.
We hope to be involved in more projects such as these and contribute to the cultural exchange and development of film industry of Japan and Asia as a whole.

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