This was my very first film festival experience and truly, what a way to experience it. The Academy-qualifying Short Shorts Film Festival and Asia is the Asian chapter of the prestigious film festival from LA. Mahen and I travelled to Tokyo with The Apprentice, which was selected for Official Competition under the Asia International category. This was despite our earlier disqualification from the competition due to our film being shown on the Internet, but thankfully they reconsidered and gave us a pass after we took it down.
Met so many interesting personalities at the film festival. Among the filmmakers we hung out with were Shawn Christensen (who went on to win the Audience Award at Short Shorts Tokyo, and more importantly, the Academy Award in 2013 for his short film, Curfew), Aygul Bakanova (who later that year became a filmmaker-in-residence with Cannes) and Michael Rittmannsberger (who is in the longlist for the 2014 Academy Award). What a talented group. It was also a super bonus that I got to hang out with some old close acquaintances from university days – Masato, Alex, Serina, Yawara and Gaku.
The experience was so special. I wish my wife could have shared it with me.