CinemAsia Film Festival Interview ENG: Natasja Pattipeilohy.

Natasja Pattipeilohy

CinemAsia Film Festival is from the 6th till the 11th of March 2018.

Interview by: Feargal Agard | FilmLAB participant: Natasja Pattipeilohy.

Film: Hirofumi’s Suitcase (2018) | Genre: Romance | Languages: Dutch, English, Japanese.

I am Natasja Pattipeilohy.

“I am Natasja Pattipeilohy. The last time I studied was a long time ago. After traveling and living abroad for several years, including England and Mexico, I began my to study a Bachelor’s in Communication & Tourism Management. After I finished my studies I always continued to study, but more about photography because I did that on a freelance basis. For example, I attended Summerschool at the Speos Photographic Institute in Paris and I also studied Business at Ohio University. Because of my passion for photography, I decided to create a book of my photo shoots and stories in regard of the Moluccan identity in the Netherlands. Soon it turned out that there was an interest for it and it became an official photo book named “PROUD!” Meanwhile, I have been working on my second photobook for a while, only this project has been on hold for a bit, because of my film projects. It is a photo book that also has a focus on identity, this time it is about nude pictures of “real” people. I have been working for two years on it, all it needs is text, and hopefully, I’ll manage to finish it at the end of the year.”

“In daily life, I work in IT change-management and I am currently working on a project with a French/Dutch airline. I haven’t done any course at the film academy, but my interest for photography has mostly shifted towards film because I happen to end up with a film assignment that led to more. Someone I knew asked me if I wanted to do the production for a film, so I found out that it was basically the same as running a project, only it is a different product, and that is film. After that, I started working on several film projects, a number of which were nominated and others have won prizes, and at the moment I am mainly asked as a Producer and/or line Director.”

Hirofumi’s Suitcase (2018).

“When I was asked by the CinemAsia FilmLAB, I only knew that I was going to direct something. I was introduced to a writer named Raoul Groothuizen who had already submitted a synopsis for Hirofumi’s Suitcase, after the introduction he started writing. Hirofumi’s Suitcase (2018) is actually my first directing job and that certainly made me crave for more. New projects are now also being planned. Besides directing, I also did the production and the crowdfunding in parallel. Producing is really in my blood, something that I do blindly. ”

“Hirofumi is the protagonist in the film. He is an expat and together with his colleague he decides to learn Dutch. He almost immediately likes his Dutch teacher, but she remains professional. Hirofumi’s English is quite poor and he cannot speak Dutch. So it is difficult for him to express himself to her. Ultimately, there comes a moment where he walks into the lecture hall with a suitcase, but what’s inside the suitcase will remain to be a secret for now.”

“The actor who played Hirofumi was actually a non-actor. At first, I thought it would be easy to find the right actor, but I had to find a Japanese actor who looked Japanese, spoke the language, and who would also fit the role. After a lot of searching, we encountered Masataka Miyanaga. He sent us a fun video of himself as an audition and he was very diligent and eager. That’s why we gave him a chance. We practiced a lot and he completely absorbed the role. The best part is that he became so motivated that he decided to register with a casting agency, and he already had two jobs in January. It cannot be any better?! The fact that this film has caused our actor to discover his new passion. It’s super awesome.”

“Sometimes you just have to follow your heart.”

“I actually did not make a drama film, but a quite airy film. It was about Japanese pride. With that I mean to say, the importance of not wanting to share feelings because it can make you seem like a fool. Luckily Hirofumi doesn’t care that much and he tries to show his feelings to the teacher. His colleague wants to protect him, because what would a teacher see in a businessman like him? Hirofumi thinks it is important to express himself, he is just very stubborn. At the end you discover that the essence is that sometimes you just have to follow your heart.”

CinemAsia & FilmLAB: “Identity en diversity.”

“I think it’s a good idea that there is a platform for Asian Cinema in the Netherlands. In addition, FilmLAB is a good initiative to give beginning filmmakers with an Asian background a chance to do something for Asian cinema. That is why I think it is good that there is a focus on an underrepresented group. ldentity and diversity should receive a lot more attention instead of just what is mainstream.”

“Happiness is determined by yourself.”

“In the past, people sometimes asked for a new job or project where I’d see myself in 10 years from now. I gave that up because I notice that it always goes differently. What I said ten years ago doesn’t interest me anymore at the moment. What is most important for me is that I have the room to do the things that I like. That is actually what I am always working on. Happiness is determined by yourself or you are mostly in control of it, and I am happy with the things that I am doing now. Hopefully, I am still working on that in the future and who knows I’ll develop and grow some more enabling me to make my first feature film. Perhaps even the beautiful documentary that I was working on and is currently ‘on hold’ will actually be finished and released.”

Photo and interview by Feargal Agard.

Check for all information about CinemAsia Film Festival 2018.