Review Fix chats with AndLife director Jean Goto who discusses the project and why it’s a special one.
Review Fix: What is the inspiration for your film?
Jean Goto: A few months before I wrote AndLife my grandmother died. I was struck by how she seemed ready to die and at peace with it through the last few weeks of her life and how that helped me process it all. So death was on my mind. But then so was climate change- it’s become my mission to change the conversation around climate change and this film was a big step in that direction for me. At that time I was thinking about how all the things we take for granted now very well might not be a reality for the next generation. So these two ideas morphed into AndLife.
Review Fix: What were the most challenging parts of production?
Goto: It’s very difficult to edit a film with a low budget- especially when you’re the writer and director and actor! You just can’t see the story clearly at some point. So there came a time when Adam Lim and I felt like hanging up our hats and calling it a day. Luckily that was when Patrick Chen came in as producer and breathed new life into the film- his clearer eyes and encouragement helped refresh the story structure into a more precise narrative. It was so cool to see the film through his eyes and to be re-inspired again!
Review Fix: Describe your set, the tone, they way it runs. Who is the unsung hero of the production? What did you learn about yourself?
Goto: Each project has been a learning experience and I’ve been growing with each film that I make. I’m an actor first and so directing has provided me with a whole new perspective on the filmmaking process. I was deeply fortunate to have worked with a team that was patient with me and so grateful that they believed in my vision.
Review Fix: How do you want the film to be remembered and what is your ultimate goal for it?
Goto: I hope the film will be remembered as a call to arms- the beginning of a shift around climate change, where we can begin to talk about the crisis and ultimately come together to fight against it.
Review Fix: Who is your targeted audience?
Goto: I’d love to be inspiring those who understand the climate crisis we are currently in but maybe need a little push to take action. I’m especially interested in parents of young children, as these kids will grow up to face the consequences of our actions!
Review Fix: Describe your festival experience, what did you learn about your film, about festivals?
Goto: I had such a great experience with Queens World Film Festival and the Philly Asian American Film Festival! I’ve really enjoyed seeing other indie filmmakers work, meeting my fellow creators, interacting with audience members, being interviewed by the press and navigating social media!
I learned so much about AndLife– the biggest realization being that the film is, at its core, about survival and ultimately about hope. It’s a depressing topic, but it wasn’t until I saw it with an audience that I realized there’s some light in the film as well.
Review Fix: What’s next?
Goto: I’m currently finishing post production on Solar, an action short film that is a fun take on why Solar power is better! I also am in the comedic feature film Bruce!!! that recently received a theatrical release with AMC independent, so keep your eyes peeled for it’s streaming release coming soon. Finally I’m so excited to have won the Brooklyn Fireproof Stages Special Jury Prize with Adam Lim. It will definitely encourage us to write more and it will be a wonderful opportunity to continue my growth as a director!
People can hear more about my upcoming projects on instagram @jeanmiyoshigoto, facebook page @jeanmiyoshigoto or on my website at www.jeangoto.com.
Review Fix: Anything else you’d like to add?
Goto: I’m so grateful to festivals like Queens World Film Festival for their pursuit to showcase diverse, truly independent work. It’s very exciting and necessary work that Katha and Don doing! I also want to thank the crew of AndLife from the bottom of my heart– it wouldn’t be what it is without my fantastic collaborator Adam Lim, mentor and producer Patrick Chen, and composer Li Zong just to name a few!!