Following on from our interview last week with New York based director Takeshi Fukunaga and the week before about the Terracotta Film Festival in London, it seems fitting to feature a third article about a movie being made called When Night Turns to Day. This film has a high cultural value as it is set in the world of Kendo, the famous Japanese martial art of swordplay.
Kendo is a very popular martial art amongst Japanese enthusiasts, for some it’s an opportunity to become like a samurai! Not surprisingly Kendo was developed from samurai who had to practise with their swords, several centuries ago it became a more formal kind of training and it was during the Shotoku Era (1711-1715) that the bamboo sword and Bogu armour were introduced. In the years that followed this martial art was further refined and in 1895 the Dai Nippon Butoku Kai was created to promote the idea of bushido, in 1920 this organisation changed the name of this sword training from Gekiken to Kendo.
The writer/director for this movie, Amy Guggenheim has been practising kendo for many years and is now a 3rd Dan. Her concept for this film is that it is a story about an irresistible attraction between a young American woman and a young Japanese man, and how Kendo helps them to face everything that stands in the way of their dreams. She states that “This film builds on the work I’ve done in short films and multimedia theater about desire, and especially why people who love each other, both hurt, and also free each other. In this film, I’m fascinated by the challenge of capturing the beauty, physicality and mind of Kendo through the intense emotions of these two young people, as a cinematic journey that is also moving for the audience.”
This film will be on location at the Ken Zen Institute, New York City with New York City Kendo Club Players, Actor Doubles Marianne Newhard, Koji Nishiyama, and Sword Master Kataoka Noboru, Kendo Doubles, Takahiro Ohde and Takefumi Mitsuda, Cinematographer Jason Beasely, and in Brooklyn with Tanroh Ishida.
Kataoka Noboru is a 20th generation Master of Muso Jikiden Eishin Ryu which dates back to the 16th century, he is the Independent Kendo Coach of the Intramural Sports Club Program at the University of Florida and also he is the Kendo instructor at Columbia University in New York City. As a young man he started studying Kendo in Kochi prefecture and in 1972 he was chosen to be a member of the Kochi team which participated in the All Japan Kendo Tournament and gained 2nd place. Internationally he has won a number of tournaments including in London, Paris, Los Angeles and Toronto. He is currently a 7th Dan.
Tanroh Ishida is a Japanese actor based in London, as a child he trained in Noh and Kyogen theatre and at the age of 15 he moved to the UK in order to study at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama. Recently he starred in the British-Australian movie The Railway Man which also featured major stars Colin Firth and Nicole Kidman. Ishida played the younger version of a Japanese soldier, Takashi Nagase, while the older version was played by the internationally famous Hiroyuki Sanada.
Amy Guggenheim is currently fundraising to put together a full, fleshed out test reel shot in New York and Japan, you can contribute to her campaign here https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/when-night-turns-to-day–2 and see the movie’s website here http://www.whennightturnstoday.com/