How important are short films in the career of a filmmaker?
To me, they were very important because when I first started out, I didn't have the same financial backing as I do today. It would have been difficult for me to access a big enough budget to make a feature film straight away. Short films were therefore a way to still be able to make movies. This format was also an important step in my career. Obviously, short films enable a young director to practise their craft, but also to be evaluated, and hopefully recognised.
How do they prepare you for your first feature film?
Suzaku, my first feature film, was about family, a theme that I also addressed in my last short film, which I had just finished making. There was a definite sense of continuity between the two films, which is why I feel that, on the whole, short films are an important precursor to a first feature-length film.
Do you think attending film school is essential?
I spent two years at film school and I do feel it's an important step, because you get to meet people who have the same goals as you, who aspire to achieve the same dream. Of course, there will be people who support and advise you, but there will also be rivals, who may try to derail your plans.
How important is it to be a film lover when making a first film?
I had hardly seen any films when I started out, and yet I was capable of making one! The danger of being a real film buff, is that you'll end up imitating too much, and lose the originality that you have in you. I think it's important for a first film not to address too many things that have already been explored.