Yosuke Fujita (ふじた ようすけ), a Japanese film director with a style of his own attended the UK Premiere of his latest film ‘Fuku Chan of Fukufuku Flats’ (福福荘の福ちゃん) in the 22nd Raindance Film Festival 2014 in London. His first film ‘Fine, Totally Fine’ (全然大丈夫) also had its UK Premiere in London in the same film festival back in 2008. Here I sat with Director Yosuke Fujita, a man with such pensive looks as if he’s constantly thinking of making his next masterpiece.

Yosuke Fujita as being a writer, I had to very humbly ask him:

The London Tree: Please tell me. Being a writer, how did you come up with such a funny story?

Yosuke Fujita: Actually the main role which is of a male character in reality is done by a female actress Miyuki Oshima. Keeping her in mind I brought out a character with a story that revolved around it. So I converted Miyuki Oshima into a man who has a manual labour job. Coming up with such a story was not that difficult because I had made up my mind about casting Miyuki Oshima in the lead role and that is how it all began.

Courtesy of Third Window Films

Courtesy of Third Window Films

The London TreeOther than comedy, ‘Fuku Chan of Fukufuku Flats’ (福福荘の福ちゃん) has an element of Drama along with Romance. How did you manage to merge them all in the film?

Yosuke Fujita: I did not try to divide the film into Drama, Romance and Comedy, and separate it in these three genres. I look at my own life and through my own conscience I find out that there are some comedic elements which I can bring out into the film. Also, I look at other people’s lives very seriously and look at it in such a way that I find out that they have a funny side too, which without them knowing comes out very naturally.

The London TreeThe film has a very nostalgic feel to it. Does it in anyway show some parts of your own life?

Yosuke Fujita: I don’t watch the latest films that come out nowadays, and to be honest I don’t even follow the latest trends and have completely no knowledge of what is happening around the world at the moment. I can give you an example of my mobile phone; I bought my first mobile phone last year, so you now have an idea of how behind I am from the rest of the world in terms of technology and trends. Plus, I love watching old movies so that is probably why my film has a very nostalgic feel to it.

The London TreeSo is there any influence of the 1970s in your films?

Yosuke Fujita: I probably have an influence of the year 1975 because in that year I was in the first year of my secondary school and through the years 1974 to 1976 I was so much into watching movies that no matter they were good or bad I was still watching them. That is where my main inspiration comes from. Also, while writing ‘Fuku Chan of Fukufuku Flats’ there was one specific film which inspired me that most. It was ‘Harry and Tonto’ which won an Academy Award in 1975, and while working on this film I was watching this film over and over again. Do you

Courtesy of Third Window Films

Courtesy of Third Window Films

know about it?

(This was a question hurled at me to which I said ‘No’)

While giggling a little form the inside Yosuke said: ‘Maybe you are too young to know about it.’

The London TreeWhat inspired you to bring out the characters of Chiho and Fuku Chan?

Yosuke Fujita: I had never met Miyuki Oshima, who played ‘Fuku Chan’ in my movie before I offered this role to her, but in Japan she is a very famous comedian and I only knew her through TV because you can see her nearly every day. In japan when you see a comedian performing infront of the camera, and especially on TV, you can see their true personality because they are not actually acting but they are representing themselves and through that they are able to bring out their comical elements. Therefore I already knew about her abilities and what kind of character she herself holds. Thus keeping that in mind, it was not that difficult to come up with the character of ‘Fuku Chan’.

As far as the character of ‘Chiho’ is concerned, I had to bring out a dramatic relationship between ‘Fuku Chan’ and her so that the element of Drama could be put into the film. Therefore based on this idea, I came up with this character which suited the story.

The London TreeIn your previous films, there is always a character holding a camera. Is there a reason behind it?

Courtesy of Third Window Films

Courtesy of Third Window Films

Yosuke Fujita: As far as the characters holding a camera is concerned, I don’t really do it intentionally. I actually like painting and I would actually prefer to make paintings than direct films and make a living out of it. Thus making a character hold a camera is something I do subconsciously.

The London TreeLast question, is writing more challenging or directing a film?

Yosuke Fujita: I think it’s writing, because I am sometimes not satisfied with what I write so I write again and again.

So after that directing becomes easy?

No. Filming an independent film is a lot of fun on 8mm, but when you have to make a full length commercial feature film on 8mm then you have to be involved with a lot of staff and crew which makes it difficult, therefore I think being a director is also very challenging.

‘Fuku Chan of Fukufuku Flats’ has been shown in different film festivals and has also scored an award for the Best Actress which went to Miyuki Oshima in the 18th Fantasia Film Festival 2014. The UK DVD will be released in 2015 by Third Window Films.


All Rights Reserved for the Title Picture to ‘The London Tree.’

Images used within the page are Courtesy of Third Window Films.

Special thanks to Sayaka Smith for interpreting and Adam Torel of Third Window Films.


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