One of the biggest names in special effects for the Millennium series of Godzilla films (which ran from ‘Godzilla 2000: Millennium’ until ‘Godzilla: Final Wars,’) Yoshikazu Ishii was an often unsung hero of the staff for those films. Working mostly on the crew detailing the miniature sets during the monster battles, he has parlayed that love into a career as special effects director or director of special effects-heavy film,s as well as the odd horror film or two among his resume.
On the occasion of his recent film ‘Game Master Death Sushi’ screening at the 19th Japan Film Fest in Hamburg, we sat down with the director to ask a few questions about his early work in monster movies and the new film.
Asian Movie Pulse: What drew you into making movies, initially?
Yoshikazu Ishii: I wanted to make the audience to have fun
AMP: What especially about special effects photography do you find appealing?
YI: It is to express special effects
AMP: Having worked in various activities within the industry, do you find any particular aspect more appealing or rewarding?
YI: The fact that I did various work lives in my movies.
AMP: You love Japanese Kaiju films and you have actually shot and participated in some of them. Can you tell us about the reason you like these films and the experiences you had while shooting them?
YI: I particularly enjoy the destruction of a city by a monster and monster battles. I do not know why I like it, but these things get me excited.
AMP: Where did the concept for Death Sushi come from?
YI: I wanted to make a rolling sushi horror movie
AMP: Was there any kind of behind-the-scenes experiences you would like to mention?
YI: One day, all three cameras stopped and did not move. That day eventually we had to stop shooting
AMP: With a small cast and few locations, was the low-budget a hindrance or a liberation in the creative process?
YI: I could not visualize all the images because all the budget came from my money
AMP: Was it always your intention to add a blend of comedy and silliness to the more obvious horror elements?
AMP: What is your opinion of the Japanese movie industry at the moment?
YI: Film in Japan is dominated by a production committee system
AMP: What about the underground/exploitation productions?
YI: All I listen is bad production stories
AMP: Are you preparing any new projects?
YI: Yes, a new, low budget kaiju movie.