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Meet the 2011 Sundance Filmmakers | “Vampire” Director Iwai Shunji

Meet the 2011 Sundance Filmmakers | "Vampire" Director Iwai Shunji

Not all of those amongst us who crave blood are vampires, and not all vampires crave blood. For those of you expecting anything remotely resembling “Twilight,” “Nosferatu,” or Bela Lugosi, “Vampire” may not be your cup of the red elixir of life. . . . Simply put, “Vampire” gives new meaning to the word “vampire.”

Simon seems like a fairly normal, average young man who’s devoted to his teaching job and ailing mother. Underneath the surface, however, things are not what they seem. Simon hunts through online chat rooms and message boards, searching for the perfect girl: beautiful, shy, and suicidal. Simon has a particular condition: he is compelled to drink blood.

Acclaimed Japanese director Iwai Shunji demonstrates that he is a master of cinematic storytelling in any language. Breathtaking, lyrical camera movement and unconventional framing capture beautifully macabre images while the evocative music and sound design complete the sensory tour de force. The terrific ensemble cast stretches out of its comfort zone and syncs up perfectly with Iwai’s dark vision, which explores the essence of existence and what drives some to end it. [Synopsis courtesy of the Sundance Film Festival]

World Cinema Dramatic Competition
Director: Iwai Shunji
Screenwriter: Iwai Shunji
Cast: Kevin Zegers, Keisha Castle-Hughes, Rachel Leigh Cook, Kristin Kreuk, Aoi Yu, and Adelaide Clemens.
Producer: Iwai Shunji, Tim Kwok
Composer: Iwai Shunji
Cinematographer: Iwai Shunji
Casting director: Brad Gilmore
Production designer: Alexandra Rojek
Costume designer: Tanya Lipke

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Responses courtesy of “Vampire” director/writer Iwai Shunji.

A young film fan…

I have always been a fan of classic films such as “Godzilla” and “Mary Poppins.” I remember these film were so popular and huge on the screen when I was young, around two or three years old. I decided that I too wanted to create films that have a lasting impact for movie lovers like me.

The central question that inspired a different take on the vampire tale…

I had the idea that if the victims are working with the killer in helping kill themselves, would it be considered murder or aided suicide? That was the original question/idea I had, which then I developed into a story.

A hands on approach…

I always like to hand draw the film’s storyboard before I start writing – it’s very different and unique from other filmmakers; it’s kind of a hobby of mine. I also composed the score from the story board. After I finished everything form the storyboard to the script, six months had passed before I started shooting. And the most important approach for any filmmaker: you must enjoy yourself and keep loving your film.

Biggest decision made in crafting the film…

Titling the film “Vampire.”

A vampire story to relate to…

I hope they love this film as much as I loved making it for them. And I hope the audience also will be able to relate and see a little of themselves in each of the different characters in the film.

Biggest inspiration on set…

I don’t know why but, Francis Ford Coppola’s “Conversation” was always in my mind.

Changing it up…

I’m currently working on a novel, that I would like to make into a film one day as well.

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