Garth Jennings on Son of Rambow in Japan

Monday December 20th 2010

Note: Due to the *massive* outcry at the Ultra Culture Review of the Year 2010 only being available at Ultra Culture Cinema, I will be posting a selection of material from the zine here over the next couple of weeks, along with all the usual reviews, posters and other nonsense. Here’s an interview with directing genius man Garth Jennings:

It took almost four years for Son of Rambow to make it over to Japan. Why the hold up?
Even in the UK, the release was delayed by at least 18 months because we had some legal issues with parts of the film. By the time they got sorted out, the Japanese distributor had changed and the new one was trying to find a good slot, all that sort of stuff.

When did you first show the film?
We finished shooting in September 2006 and delivered the final print five days before screening it for the first time at Sundance in January 2007. So as you can imagine, it feel quite a long time ago. The kids in the film have grown up now, they’ve got families. But it’s not been one big gap, there’s always been something to do with Son of Rambow: some little film festival or some other little thing here and there. It just keeps bobbing along so it’s rather nice to have it suddenly come out in Japan.

Did you do any press for the film over there?
Yeah, we did Skype interviews for radio and TV and things like that, and with translators as well, so that was… interesting.

Is the film’s appeal different in Japan?
I don’t know about audiences because I haven’t been there for any of their screenings but as for the distributor, they’ve really picked up on the hand-drawn animation in it and made that the aesthetic for the film as far as posters and merchandising and promotion goes. In fact, the T-shirts they had made have just arrived this morning and they’re beautiful. They really know how to make desirable things.

When was the last time you saw the film?
God, I don’t know. Well I obviously watched it lots as we were making it and then we went to quite a few film festivals afterwards which was just joyous. That was the best fun ever. But after the festivals and the release, I don’t know if I’ve watched it again.

Did it lose all meaning eventually?
No, I really love it. I am genuinely so proud of the thing, even though there are a thousand things I would do differently now. But it was made with such good intentions and such lovely kids and the fact that it came out as we wanted it to is a fucking miracle. It’s hard to do that, and whether people like it or not, it’s a lovely, lovely feeling.