|Koreeda with translator and Shields.|
I attended the second and final screening of After the Storm on May 20 at which Koreeda was accompanied by a translator and SIFF programming director Stan Shields. The roof-raising volume of the applause that greeted Shields' introduction appeared to truly humble the soft-spoken filmmaker.
During the Q&A, Koreeda says he drew from his own family--in addition to their typhoon-plagued Kiyose hometown--which surprised some audience members, since he's a successful film director, while the divorced father in the film, a gambling-addicted novelist struggling to maintain a relationship with his son, can't quite get his shit together, but there may be elements of Koreeda in Abe's character, Ryôta, that we don't know about, whereas Kiki's character, Yoshiko, was explicitly inspired by his widowed mother.
|McIntyre, Giraldo, Grainger, Solomon, and Lipitz.|
I was initially skeptical of Step, because it received funding from Paul Allen's Vulcan Productions, so it's been getting a disproportionate amount of local attention. Like many midsize cities, Seattle tends to overpraise anything with ties to the local economy, but sincere praise from audience members and critics, like Mike Ward, encouraged me to leave work early to catch the final screening on May 22. It was a wise decision, not just because it's a fine film, but because director Amanda Lipitz was joined by Gari "Coach G" McIntyre and the Baltimore high school seniors featured in the film: Blessin Giraldo, Cori Grainger, and Tayla Solomon.
Endnote: Click here for my first dispatch, a write-up of Jeffrey Schwarz's The Fabulous Allan Carr. SIFF '17 runs through Sunday, June 11.