Production has wrapped in both Singapore and Japan on Nicole Midori Woodford’s supernatural art house drama “Last Shadow at First Light.” It stars Nagase Masatoshi, Tsutsui Mariko (“Harmonium,” “A Girl Missing”), Peter Yu (“A Land Imagined”) and newcomer Shirata Mihaya.
The story examines the intangible nature of trauma and the ripples of its aftermath through 16-year-old Ami (Shirata) who is haunted by visions.
“This is a film borne out of darkness and loss, of a family’s frailties, set in both Singapore and Japan. Shooting between two countries, I hope to capture the diverse mise-en-scene from the urban cities to the vast transformed landscapes my characters are lost within. It has been incredible to work with my actors amidst such poignant terrain.”
A large part of the filming took place in and around the city of Rikuzentakata in Japan, an area significantly affected by the tsunami and nuclear disaster of 2011.
Upon the discovery of old recordings of her long dead mother (Tsutsui), Ami confronts her father (Yu) who is in denial about what happened. Determined to follow the path in her visions, she leaves Singapore for Japan to connect with the only person who knows her mother’s last known whereabouts – a cynical taxi-driving uncle (Nagase) who has moved to Tokyo. Together they embark on a road trip to the family hometown in the north-eastern coastal region of Japan to unravel the mystery of her mother’s disappearance. It is on this journey that the woman hopes to reunite her family separated by grief. Moreover, she begins to find meaning in her recurring dreams.
The cinematography was provided by Woodford’s regular collaborator, Hideho Urata, who shot Golden Leopard winner “A Land Imagined” and “Plan 75,” currently playing in the Cannes Film Festival’s Un Certain Regard section.
The film is executive produced by Jeremy Chua’s Potocol (Singapore), Shozo Ichiyama’s Fourier Films (Japan), and Bostjan Virc’s Studio Virc (Slovenia) in association with Purple Tree Content, 108 Media, cogitoworks, Nocturne Films, Hello Group, Prism Pictures, White Light Bangkok, VS Service, and True Colour Media.
At project stage, the film was winner of the SEAFIC Lab’s SEA Open Fund and TorinoFilmLab Feature Lab’s TFL Coproduction Award. The project was also mentored at the Singapore International Film Festival’s SEA Lab and Talents Tokyo.
Production was supported by the Singapore Film Commission, Slovenian Film Centre, Purin Pictures, and Talents Tokyo Next Masters Support Program. At Cannes 108 Media is handling world sales and post-production financing.