Dispatches from Tokyo

04 16 2019

Oliver’s Tokyo film!

There’s nothing quite like a visit to another city, country, or continent to keep the creative juices flowing. For many of us at STALKR, Tokyo is the ultimate city; it always delivers on an adventure filled with inspired ideas and the constant energy buzzing throughout the streets is intoxicating. Oliver Merchant, Executive Producer of STALKR’s London office, recently took to Tokyo and we had the chance to catch up with him to hear more about his trip and just what makes Tokyo the special city that it is. Here’s Oliver!

How would you describe the creative scene and general creative energy in Tokyo? What makes it unique?

Tokyo is such a huge city that in order to tap into the truly creative scene you need to scratch beneath the surface somewhat, and spend some real time there. I was only there for a week but it was unforgettable and my feeling during that time was that the creative energy was always bubbling away beneath the surface. Fortunately, it seems everyone is keen to make a connection. It’s a culture that thrives on face to face. Once you know someone, you will always be introduced to other interesting creative people. The contrast between tradition and cutting edge is quite remarkable. I would say it is the only other city I‘ve ever been to, along with NYC, that gives me the impression of being a truly urban metropolis, full of endless possibilities.

What do you love most about Tokyo?

What I find so fascinating about Tokyo is how you always get the impression that you’re never very far from something bizarre or delightfully surreal—but there is no way of knowing unless you are taken there. An amazing underground bar accessible via a bookshop open at 3am, a restaurant in what looks like a residential building that you have to crawl through to get into, bars that only fit 4 people. One of the things I like most is walking around with my camera and this is the city to do it. Visually it is just unbelievable, a gift. Also, I find the Japanese sense of style and aesthetic knows no equal. It’s so striking.

Tell us a bit about the fellow creatives you met during your trip. Any Tokyo-based directors? 

We met a lot of people in very few days so it is hard to single out people — but I did in fact meet a very interesting Tokyo-based French director towards the end of my stay there who showed us some great places gave us an interesting insight into living in Tokyo. I was thrilled to also meet and spend time with fellow London producers. 

Did you bring back any inspired ideas from your time in Tokyo?

Yes, it was really invigorating—I came back determined to shoot more personal projects!

From the food to the sights, what were some of the highlights from your trip? 

I didn’t go to any sights as I didn’t really have time, we spent most of the week in meetings. Any spare time I did have I spent walking about, so consequently I only saw a tiny part of Tokyo, unfortunately. I am already thinking about when I might be able to go back! As a filmmaker my takeaway was the constant visual and auditory stimulation that you are taking in. It’s truly unique. I was told that a trait of the Japanese character is that because they are such perfectionists, any time they put their mind to something, they end up being the best at it. You can see that with the food. Obviously Japanese food is absolutely amazing but they embrace everything in this way and Japanese Single Malt Whisky is a perfect example!