In an interview for the film, former champion Nie Weiping 9p referred to China, Korea, and Japan as “the three worlds” of Go. Last fall we were able to visit the first two of these worlds, but as many of you know, without Japan – the birthplace of so much of the culture and history of the game – our picture of Go would be fundamentally incomplete.
We weren’t sure whether our budget would allow us to actually go there, but now, thanks to the work of a generous supporter, we have the chance to go back to Asia with our travel costs covered.
Thus I am overjoyed to announce that this summer, the Surrounding Game film crew will make one final filming trip: to Japan, the heart and soul of Go!
Our 3-man filming team will arrive in Tokyo on June 25 and shoot for about a week; then we’ll take the overnight bus to Osaka at the beginning of July, where we will stay until July 6. We are in communication with several people at the Nihon Kiin in Tokyo and the Kansai Kiin in Osaka, and we are now starting to secure interviews and line things up to film. Right now we are looking for people to stay with, interpreters, and other filming ideas that visually illustrate the rich cultural legacy of the game. So if you have any contacts in Japan, please let us know!
This will be our last big filming operation, and I am confident it will lead to some of our very best material. But after this trip, aside from a few interviews here and there, and various smaller things (choreographed game play, archival footage, etc), we will essentially be finished collecting the material for the film. With the footage in hand, we will have our palette of colors; so now it’s time to start painting.
So Where Are We Now?
I will resume working on the film full-time starting June 1. As soon as I return we will begin interviewing for an editor to join our team. This is a major, major step. An editor will bring a level of experience and expertise we do not have, and may be the single most important person we collaborate with. Together with Cole and myself, he/she will start to lay out the basic skeleton of the film, and give shape to the story. When we return from Asia we will hopefully be in the thick of the editing process, a seemingly endless forest of possibilities in which we have to ultimately figure out how we can best communicate what we want to say with the material we have.
As editing begins in full, two other key positions, music and animation, will also be at the top of the list.
The next 3-5 months will be the most productive, vibrant, and ultimately important time in the course of making this film. By the end of this period we probably won’t be out of the woods yet, so to speak, but if all goes well we will be planted firmly on a path with a good sense of which direction we’re headed, and a rough-cut of the film in sight.