The production process of films from a relational perspective: A case study of independent films about Parkinson's disease in Japan
Authors: Shun Coney, Yasunobu Ito
Abstract: The purpose of this paper is to clarify how creativity is produced in filmmaking from a relational perspective. Creativity here refers to the fact that films that contain original ideas and evoke sympathy in the audience are not produced solely through the internal mechanisms of individuals, but rather as a result of the collective actions and activities of various people.In recent years, movies have moved beyond the confines of theaters, and infrastructures such as Amazon Prime and Netflix are rapidly expanding. Against this backdrop, independent Japanese films have been receiving high acclaim overseas. The so-called independent films are not films that come out with huge budgets and a fixed release destination like the major film systems, but films that are planned and produced by the filmmakers themselves without any financial resources. Independent films can have an impact on people despite the risk of completion and release, but their reputation is focused on the director and producer. For this reason, the relationship between actors other than the director and producer in filmmaking is not fully clarified.Filmmaking is a multi-layered and contingent creativity that is created through the long-term interaction of not only the director, producer, and cast, but also various other actors such as equipment, script, and location. While independent films allow for a greater degree of freedom in planning, they are also subject to complexities and volatility, such as difficulties in obtaining financing and differences in the image of the film among the staff, which can prevent the project from proceeding as planned at the outset.The subject of the study is Parkinson's disease (PD) patients and movies about it. PD is an intractable disease for which there is currently no curative treatment, and which causes progressive symptoms such as tremors in the limbs and stiffness in the muscles that interfere with daily life. In order to control the progression of the disease, it is said that regular exercise therapy and rehabilitation are essential, along with daily medication. The film will be produced with the cooperation of the PD Patients Association, which has 8,000 members, and will consist of two parts: a drama about the life of the main character who was diagnosed with PD in his 40s, and a documentary about several PD patients in their 30s to 60s. The research was conducted by one of the authors (a filmmaker) using ethnography: from December 2020 to November 2021, he conducted participant observation of the relationships between the actors involved in the project and the living conditions of the PD parties, and interviewed them. Based on these observations, we conducted a series of interviews. The PD parties who would become the informants and the filmmakers had numerous dialogues. As a result, their social and living environments were unraveled.
Keywords: filmmaking, ethnography, relational creativity, actor network theory, perkinson’s desease
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