SciFi Japan

    HOWL FROM BEYOND THE FOG Interview with Daisuke Sato

    Daisuke Sato’s new short film HOWL FROM BEYOND THE FOG was made using classic special effects techniques. Photo courtesy of Daisuke Sato. ©LosGatos Works

    Author: Benjamin Chaffins
    Official Site: sagirinokuni.com (Japan)
    Official Twitter: @Howlfromthefog
    Special Thanks to Avery Guerra

    Japanese theatrical poster. Image courtesy of Daisuke Sato. ©LosGatos Works

    HOWL FROM BEYOND THE FOG (狭霧の國, Sagiri no Kuni) is a 35-minute monster short film that combines a puppet drama, a costume drama and miniatures. This film was made using classic analog special effects and has attracted attention from monster fans, not only in Japan, but also around the world. An incomplete rough cut was shown at the 2019 G-Fest. On February 21, 2020 the finished film began a one-week roadshow at the Kyoto Minami Kaikan, a mini theater in Kyoto.

    HOWL FROM BEYOND THE FOG is set in the year Meiji 42 (1909). A boy named Eiji returns to a mountain town in Kyushu, and meets a blind girl named Takiri. On a foggy night, Eiji witnesses a giant monster [Amanosagiri (Nebula)] living in a mountain lake. The secret existence of Takiri and Nebula becomes known to the people of the town…

    Daisuke Sato (佐藤大介), the producer and filmmaker of HOWL FROM BEYOND THE FOG, first participated in GODZILLA MOTHRA KING GHIDORAH GIANT MONSTERS ALL OUT ATTACK (ゴジラ・モスラ・キングギドラ 大怪獣総攻撃, Gojira Mosura Kingu Gidora Daikaijū Sōkōgeki, 2001) as a member of the modeling staff. Since then, he has been involved in a numerous special effects films such as GODZILLA FINAL WARS (ゴジラ Final Wars, 2004), GAMERA THE BRAVE (小さき勇者たち〜ガメラ〜, Chīsaki Yūsha-tachi Gamera, 2006) and ULTRAMAN MEBIUS & ULTRAMAN BROTHERS (ウルトラマンメビウス&ウルトラ兄弟, Urutoraman Mebiusu & Urutora Kyōdai, 2006). Afterwards, he worked in the United States as a local news reporter. He’s currently working on content for the Web media as a representative for LosGatos Works while also producing images and modeling works.

    To understand more about HOWL FROM BEYOND THE FOG, it was necessary to reach out to Daisuke Sato for an interview about his project. With that said, I hope you, the reader, enjoy this interview.

    Photo courtesy of Daisuke Sato. ©LosGatos Works

    Benjamin Chaffins (ベンジャミン・チャッフインズ): Thank you for this interview. How did you participate in the movie? (このインタビューをありがとう。どのようにして映画に参加しましたか?)

    Daisuke Sato (佐藤大介): It’s an independent movie that I started. (私が始めたインディペンデト映画となります.)

    Ben (ベン): I want to know about the special effects. Who shot the special effects? (特殊効果について知りたい。誰が特殊効果を撃ちましたか?)

    Daisuke Sato (佐藤大介): I did the special effects. (特殊効果は私がやりました.)

    Takiri. Photo courtesy of Daisuke Sato. ©LosGatos Works

    Ben (ベン): Nice. What is the monster that appears in the movie? (いいね。映画に登場する怪獣とは何ですか?)

    Daisuke Sato (佐藤大介): It is the survivor of a dragon that has lived for thousands of years. (何千年も生きている首長竜の生き残りです.)

    Ben (ベン): Why is Nebula the name of the monster? (なぜネブラは怪獣の名前なのですか?)

    Daisuke Sato (佐藤大介): Originally, heavenly narrow fog (AMENOSAGIRI) was the title, but there was an opinion that it could not be called that. At that time, the Latin word for [Fog] was Nebula, so I chose that. This is different from the meaning of Nebula in English. (元々,天の狭霧 (AMENOSAGIRI) という名前でしたが,覚えられないという意見があったので,3文字で濁音が人って,最後はラで終わる言葉を探しました。その際に,[霧 (Fog)]を指すラテン語がNebulaだったので,ネブラとしました。EnglishでのNebulaの意味とは異なります.)

    Ben (ベン): Interesting. How do you feel about the reception of the movie so far? Is the reception good? (面白い。これまでの映画の受信についてどう思いますか?受信は良好ですか?)

    Daisuke Sato (佐藤大介): Monster fans have responded very positively. (怪獣ファンの方からは非常に良い反応をいただいています.)

    Ben (ベン): Good. What was the inspiration to make the movie? (良い。映画を作るためのインスピレーションは何でしたか?)

    The Nebula sculpt. Photo courtesy of Daisuke Sato. ©LosGatos Works

    Daisuke Sato (佐藤大介): Ray Bradbury’s The Fog Horn and Godzilla’s sequence to Otoshima in 1954, followed by a few works by Kon Ichikawa. (レイ・ブラッドベリのTHE FOG HORNと1954年のゴジラの大戸島までのシークエンス,後はいくつかの市川崑作品です.)

    Ben (ベン): Interesting. Could you explain the monster model? (面白い。怪獣のモデルを説明してもらえますか?)

    Daisuke Sato (佐藤大介): It was originally by Ray Bradbury’s The Fog Horn. Plus the essence of Japanese monsters. (元々はレイ・ブラッドベリのThe Fog Hornから着想を得ています。それに日本の怪獣のエッセンスをプラスした形です.)

    Ben (ベン): Please tell me who created the model. (モデルの作成者を教えてください.)

    Daisuke Sato (佐藤大介): I am the designer. (デザイナーでしたら私です.)

    Ben (ベン): Oh, very cool. How was the puppetry made? (ああ,とてもクール。人形劇はどのようにして作られたのですか?)

    Daisuke Sato (佐藤大介): I shot with a ½ size doll. I refer to Japanese Bunraku. (1/2サイズの人形を使って撮影しました。日本の文楽を参考にしています.)

    Ben (ベン): What is the reason why the monster attacks the city? (怪獣が街を攻撃する理由は何ですか?)

    Daisuke Sato (佐藤大介): I want you to see the main story. (それは本編をみて欲しいです.)

    Nebula advances through the fog. Photo courtesy of Daisuke Sato. ©LosGatos Works

    Ben (ベン): Do you think your movie will be released in America? Monster fans will want to see your work. (あなたの映画はアメリカで公開されると思いますか?怪獣ファンはあなたの作品を見たいと思うでしょう.)

    Daisuke Sato (佐藤大介): I have applied for several American film festivals, so if they accept them, I think they will be screened in the United States. Also, if there are any other events that I would like to be screened, I definitely want it to be screened.

    Photo courtesy of Daisuke Sato. ©LosGatos Works

    We will also work to make it available for screening at this year’s G-Fest. (いくつかのアメリカの映画祭に応募しているので,受かればアメリカでも上映されると思います。また,他に上映希望のイベントがあれば,私は是非とも上映したいです。また,今年のG-Festで上映できるよう働きかける予定です.) [Update: The film will been screened at the 2020 G-Fest.]

    Ben (ベン): Very nice. Was there a miniature set made for the movie? (非常素晴らしい。映画用に作られたミニチュアセットはありましたか?)

    Daisuke Sato (佐藤大介): All the streets and buildings destroyed in the Meiji era were made in miniature. (明治時代の街並みや壊す建物は全てミニチュアで作りました.)

    Ben (ベン): How was your job with Keizo Murase? (村瀬継蔵との仕事はどうでしたか?) [Note: Keizo Murase is a legendary figure designer who made monster suits for the Showa / Heisei Godzilla Series, the Showa Gamera Series and the Daimajin Series.]

    Daisuke Sato (佐藤大介): It was full of learning. After that, I was taught a number of old techniques. (とても勉強になることだらけでした。後は,古い技術をいくつも教えてもらいました.)

    Operating the Nebula costume.Photo courtesy of Daisuke Sato. ©LosGatos Works

    Ben (ベン): His work is very inspirational. Did he help create the monster? (彼の作品はとても刺激的です。彼は怪獣を作るのを手伝いましたか?)

    Daisuke Sato (佐藤大介): The costume design is by him. The monster design itself is me. (着ぐるみの設計は彼によるものです。怪獣のデザイン自体は私ですが.)

    Ben (ベン): Awesome! Do you want to make monster movies in the future? (驚くばかり!将来,怪獣映画をもっと作ってみたいですか?)

    Daisuke Sato (佐藤大介): Actually, I’m already involved in various things, so I think I can announce it soon. (実はすでに色々と関わっているので,近いうちに発表できると思います.)

    Ben (ベン): Very nice. Finally, how much was the production budget? (非常素晴らしい。最後に,生産の予算はいくらでしたか?)

    Daisuke Sato (佐藤大介): It is about 2 million yen. Among them, the production price of Nebula is 1.2 million yen. (およそ200万円です。その内,ネブラの制作貫は120万円です.)

    Ben (ベン): Thank you for this interview. I hope to see your movie soon. Take care. (このインタビューをありがとうございました。あなたの映画をすぐに見たいです。気を付けて.)

    Daisuke Sato (佐藤大介): Thank you very much. I will do my best to make it available in the United States. (ありがとうございます。アメリカでも公開できるように頑張ります.)

    Photo courtesy of Daisuke Sato. ©LosGatos Works


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