Success is built on relationships.

It’s one thing to make a film. It’s another to get an audience to see it. Success, she believes, is built on relationships. “I had an opportunity to work with Steven Spielberg as a jury member at the Cannes Film Festival. When I entered the jury room, he came up and said he’d seen my TEDxTokyo talk. He said he thought my grandmother must have been very happy to have raised me, which was a shock. It was clear that he’d done a lot of research. No effort can be spared in building relationships with the people around you. That attitude is necessary when you work internationally.”

In addition to cultivating relationships, Kawase, who turns 50 this year, is also concerned about motivation. “I think the hunger and desire to pursue what we don’t understand is what facilitates great work. When I was younger, I had a youthful zeal and was constantly delving into amazing ideas. Now that I’m older, some of it has faded, and I face the challenge of maintaining my artistic hunger.”

Again, relationships help her meet this challenge. “I launched the Nara International Film Festival, and I have been influenced by the passion the younger generation of filmmakers bring to their work,” she explains. “I also find collaborations with actors exciting when making a film. I’d like to avoid simply doing what I’ve done before and concentrate on what I’ve never seen or done.”

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