SciFi Japan

    THE GOD OF CLAY World Premiere + GODZILLA VS THE SEA MONSTER at Crest Theater in Los Angeles

    Old-school Japanese monster action is back on the big screen in THE GOD OF CLAY, the new short film by FX crew members from the Godzilla and Ultraman series. Photo courtesy of Dennis Bartok. © 2011 Marbling Fine Arts

    Daikaiju Double Feature on June 23rd Source: Bigfoot Crest Theater Special Thanks to Dennis Bartok On Thursday, June 23, the Bigfoot Crest Theater in Westwood, CA (near UCLA) will present a special giant monster/Godzilla-themed film event featuring the World Premiere of the Japanese giant monster short film THE GOD OF CLAY produced by Marbling Fine Arts, co-directed by Godzilla FX master Koichi Kawakita and featuring a veritable Who`s Who of some of the greatest names in Japanese monster special effects. Also on the schedule is a 35 mm screening of the classic Toho movie GODZILLA VS. THE SEA MONSTER. Between the films there will be short discussion on the making of THE GOD OF CLAY and the history of Japanese giant monster movies with producer Norihiko Iwasaki of Marbling Fine Arts, Godzilla expert Steve Ryfle (Classic Media`s Toho Master Collection, Sony`s ICONS OF SCI-FI: TOHO COLLECTION) and film restoration expert Oki Miyano (RASHOMON). Japanese Monster Mayhem!! Thursday, June 23 – 9:30 PM World Premiere THE GOD OF CLAY (???????, 2009/2011) Marbling Fine Arts, 13 min. Directed by Koichi Kawakita and Nobuaki Sugimoto Japanese with English subtitles

    THE GOD OF CLAY relies on miniatures and other traditional FX techniques. Photo courtesy of Dennis Bartok. © 2011 Marbling Fine Arts

    A legendary, never-before screened project created as a labor of love by some of Japan’s best-known FX artists, THE GOD OF CLAY is a loving homage to classic 1960’s-era Japanese giant monster movies. This short film, adapted from the anti-war children’s picture book by author Masamoto Nasu (Children of the Paper Crane: The Story of Sadako Sasaki and Her Struggle With the A-Bomb Disease), revolves around a boy named Ken-chan whose parents are killed in WWII, and who creates a tiny clay god to punish those who profit from war. Fifty years later, Ken-chan has become president of an arms company – and his forgotten God Of Clay grows to enormous size, wreaking havoc and destruction until it confronts its maker. THE GOD OF CLAY was originally directed by documentary filmmaker Nobuaki Sugimoto, and Koichi Kawakita later added some FX sequences and re-edited the film. Kawakita started his special effects career at Toho in 1962, working as an assistant on films such as GODZILLA VS THE SEA MONSTER (1966) and GODZILLA VS HEDORAH (1971). He became an FX director in the early 1970s on television shows like ULTRAMAN ACE (1972) and ZONE FIGHTER (1973). In 1989, Kawakita took over as FX director on the Heisei Godzilla series from GODZILLA VS BIOLLANTE through GODZILLA VS DESTOROYAH (1995), plus REBIRTH OF MOTHRA (1996) and REBIRTH OF MOTHRA II (1997).

    The monstrous god climbs out of a ravine. Photo courtesy of Dennis Bartok. © 2011 Marbling Fine Arts

    Produced by the miniature FX company Marbling Fine Arts (Heisei Godzilla series, Ultraman series, Heisei Gamera series), the film features contributions from Eizo Kaimai’s company (who helped create the original Godzilla suit in 1954). Takehiro Kuramochi (ULTRAMAN TIGA, ULTRAMAN MEBIUS) and Keiichi Sakurai (REBIRTH OF MOTHRA III) worked as director of photography. Tetsuzo Osawa (Heisei Godzilla series, ULTRAMAN MEBIUS & ULTRAMAN BROTHERS) worked as director of art/design. Legendary background painter Fuchimu Shimakura (MADADAYO, DESTROY ALL MONSTERS, GODZILLA: FINAL WARS) helped create the beautiful background artwork, while Shinji Nishikawa (designer of Heisei Godzilla monsters such as Biollante, King Ghidorah, Baby Godzilla and Little Godzilla) took a part in creating storyboards. Norihiko Iwasaki, the owner of Marbling Fine Arts, took a role as a producer. The Japanese FX industry has changed dramatically in recent years with a shift towards computer graphics in place of traditional techniques. In 2008, Toho decided to close their studio facility "Toho Built", where monster movies, the Ultraman shows, and even Akira Kurosawa`s RED BEARD and SEVEN SAMURAI were filmed. Norihiko Iwasaki talked with Toho and they agreed to let him shoot THE GOD OF CLAY at Toho Built just before they shut down. Iwasaki called his colleagues together to create one last film at this studio. THE GOD OF CLAY was completed with the budget at $40,000. This short reel was able to be made on such a low budget due to the volunteer work of the crew members. GODZILLA VS. THE SEA MONSTER (??????????????????, aka EBIRAH, HORROR OF THE DEEP, 1966) Toho Co., 87 min. Directed by Jun Fukuda 35mm. English dubbed version A bank robber and several young men wash ashore on tropical Letchi Island - where they find the secret base of a terrorist organization called "The Red Bamboo" that uses natives kidnapped from Mothra`s island home as slave labor. With Mothra in hibernation on Infant Island and the giant crustacean Ebirah prowling the nearby ocean depths, escape seems impossible - until the castaways discover Godzilla asleep in one of Letchi`s caves! One of the most entertaining of the mid-1960’s Toho giant monster films – and the first directed by Ishiro Honda’s successor, Jun Fukuda – this features one of Godzilla’s best-loved rivals, the giant lobster known as Ebirah, along with Mothra and a terrorist group. Originally written as OPERATION ROBINSON CRUSOE: KING KONG VS. EBIRAH, a live-action adaptation of the 1966 Rankin-Bass KING KONG cartoon show, the story was reworked and Godzilla became a last-minute substitute for the famous ape.

    Godzilla tussles with Ebirah in the classic GODZILLA VS THE SEA MONSTER, screening in 35mm at the Crest Theater. © 1966 Toho Co., Ltd.

    The Bigfoot Crest Theater 1262 Westwood Boulevard (just south of Wilshire Blvd. in Westwood) Los Angeles, CA 90024-4801 Box Office Phone: (310) 474-7824 Recorded Program Info: (310) 474-7866 Ticket Prices: $11 General Admission $8 Seniors & Students with valid student I.D. Advance tickets are generally available several weeks before the date of the program. Advance sales available through Fandango, or at the Bigfoot Crest box office, which opens 30 min. prior to the first show of the day. Parking: Parking meters on Westwood Blvd. are free after 7:00 PM with a 2 hour limit before that. There is a lot directly behind the theater run by Standard Parking which charges a $4 flat fee after 4:00 PM.

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