Film Screening and Virtual Q&A with the Director Friday, October 20, 7 pm In person only at MZMC. Offered by donation. Donations support the filmmaker.
Carving the Divine is a documentary film that offers a rare look into a 1400-year-old Buddhist woodcarving tradition and the practitioners struggling to preserve its legacy in a rapidly changing Japan.
Determined to pass his craft down to future generations, Master Koun Seki, the former apprentice of renowned Busshi, Kourin Saito, interviews a candidate applying to be his new apprentice. Quickly though, we discover this apprenticeship and the Busshi’s life to be far less glamorous, and much more austere, than we (or the Candidate) would’ve likely imagined.
Once Master Seki makes his selection, we’re taken on a trip through a guild culture unlike anything existing today in The West: From the growing pains of a novice apprentice, to the entire guild working together as one body to create breathtaking works of art, to the monkish practice of the famed, Grand Master Saito himself, alone on his quest to “leave nothing but great works behind.”
About Director Yujiro Seki Born and raised in Japan, Yujiro Seki discovered his passion for film-making when he was in high school. Through making his first feature film, Sokonashi Deka (The Enigmatic Detective), he became enamored with the imaginative possibilities of cinema and vowed to master the art through study in the United States. Despite the fact that starting a new life in a new country was a challenge in itself, Seki earned a BA in Film from the University of California, Berkeley, and completed a short film, Sashimi Taco, for his senior, honors thesis. Following his graduation, Seki moved to Los Angeles to work as a director of the video department for Intermarket Design, and as a film instructor at Montecito Fine Arts College of Design. After attaining permanent U.S. residency, Seki began studying full time in the Cinematography program at UCLA Extension. Upon graduating from that program, he embarked on the journey of making his feature documentary project, Carving the Divine: Buddhist Sculptors of Japan. Carving the Divine has become the official selection for 29 film festivals, showing a total of 22 countries, and won the awards at 12 festivals worldwide, such as winning the Best Director Award of a Foreign Language Documentary at World Cinema Milan and premiering at the famous Raindance Film Festival in London.
Milan International Filmmaker Festival 2019 - Best Director of a Foreign Language Documentary Award
Art Quake Kyoto 2019 - Best Feature Length Film Award
Helsinki Education Film Festival International - Best Historical Feature Award
Australia Independent Film Festival 2019 - Jury Award
Arte Non Stop Festival 2019 - Best Screenplay Award
Religion Today Film Festival 2019 - In the Spirit of Faith Award and commendation Award
Japan Indies Film Festival 2020 - Best Documentary Feature Award
Puerto Rico International Film Festival ENFOQUE 2020 - The mention of Honor of Best International Documentary Film
New York Interfaith Film & Music Festival 2020 - Best International Documentary award
Rhode Island International Film Festival Roving Eye 2021 - Best Documentary First Prize
Rhode Island International Film Festival 2021 - Flickers International Vision Award: First Prize
World Independent Cinema Award (WICA) 2021 - Best Cinematography in a Documentary Award and Best Director of a Foreign Language Documentary Award