C47Houston Flix Review:

"ToyPunks : Part 1"



Exploring the convergence of American Cultural iconic influences in the toy, punk rock and fashion industries with the Japanese cultural influences of art, work ethics and business sense that further influence the genres, this movie superbly captures a visually stunning portrayal of Japan's most dynamic vinyl toy makers, fashion and punk rock icons in this documentary by Houston writer and director Chris Nelson titled "ToyPunks". 

Written and Created by Justin Kovalsky, "ToyPunks" dwells into the merger of art, toys and punk rock in Japan and its influence in the America's. 

Director Christopher Nelson takes you to back to 1995 and the creation of a new subCulture started as a result of Hikaru Iwanaga's new Bounty Hunter. Considered the original designer toy company and one of the most influential clothing brands to emerge from Hara Juku's fashion scene.  From its American influence and from this point on designer toys and subculture fashion would never be the same in Japan. Likewise, for American's being exposed to the Japanese toys and fashion. The  influence both ways creates some outstanding and very marketable toys, fashion and art.

This 43-minute documentary gives you an inside look at the people that started this craze and the people that were highly influenced by cross cultural ideas, without which they would not be who they are today and leading up to The Kid Hunter line, considered to world's first "designer vinyl" toy and Skull-Kun. All leading to more and more designer influences on both sides of the world.

Shot with a Panasonic DVX100B, the documentary also sheds light on the lost "toy" appreciation and today's lack  of "toys" as an art form and the American verses Japanese why of thinking about toys, and, more importantly, designer toys. 

This is Houston Director Chris Nelson's first documentary venture.

C47Houston News & Entertainment Magazine was honored with an exclusive interview with Mr. Nelson. You can read that interview in our August 2008 issues at: http://issuu.com/c47houston/docs/c47houstonaugust2008 

(an excerpt from the interview)

Mr. Nelson: "As an independent this is my first indie project. In terms of film, “ToyPunks” is my first big solo-directing venture. But I have been working professionally in Houston and across the country doing documentaries, webcam stuff and industrial for some time but “ToyPunks” is the accumulation of all my work and experience coming together to create my first venture into type of independent market genre. “ToyPunks” was my time to make an original media from scratch. My partners are exceptional people and without them this film would not have been done, but they didn’t come from a production background at all so I shot, cut and directed this film on my own."

Technically, "Toypunks" is what you would expect a documentary would be...Interviews and such. The camera work was typical and creative, in that there wasn't too much that can be done with interviews. The team was able to incorporate file footage, pictures and the cinematographer was creative in shooting these designer toys in some outstanding ways. 

What we had a problem with was subtitles. The were a bit small and hard to read, however, not impossible if you pressed the pause button for additional time. Often we find subtitles to be a distraction as our nature is to encompass the face when someone is talking and not looking down at words on the screen. I would basically have to pause, read and then start up the DVD. It's the best way to do it. 

Story wise, "Toypunk" was gradual in presenting an evolution of the people and trends that make up the designer toy genre. The team, we think took on a little too much as they tried to expose the designer toys, but also dwelled into punk fashion and incorporated it with the punk music scene.  

Sound was consistent with a documentary and leveled throughout the movie. Lighting was, as well consistent. 

Overall, not a bad job by Director Christopher Nelson in presenting a very unique look at a cultural interchange between two economical power countries and the influence they have on one another, as it relates to designer toys, art and music.

This is an interesting documentary to watch. Well worth the time.

C47Houston rated "ToyPunks" at a strong 4.4 out of 5 stars on the TSIRS scale

Title: ToyPunks: Part 1

Premiere: Houston, Saturday, August 16th, 2008 at the Aurora Picture Show, Houston Texas. 

Production Company: Toypunks Production Committee (Christopher Nelson, Carl Wormley and Justin Kovalsky

Written and Created by: Justin Kovalsky

Directed by: Christopher Nelson

Cinematographer: Christopher Nelson

Additional Videography by: Carl Wormley

Edited by: Christopher Nelson

Toypunks Logo and Mascot are drawn by: Mike Giant

Japanese interviews and Translation by Carl Wormley and Keijiro Suzuki

Sound Design and Mix by: Matt Crawford

Narration by: Angela Meloni

Music: Toypunks Original Score by: TS

Interviews with: Hikaru Iwanaga/Bounty Hunter, Frank Kozik, Hiddy Kinoshita/Secret Base, Hirosuke Nishiyama, Akio Imai of Balzac, Ken Kakinuma/+8 Paris Rock, Masa Sakamoto/Three Tides Tattoo, Kiyoka Ikeda/Gargamel, Carl Kent Smith/Super Collector, Mark Nagata/MaxToyCo-Vintage Toy Expert and Isaac Ramos/RealFanshitOnly.com

Websites: www.ToyPunks.com 

Facebook: www.facebook.com/toypunks 

Blog: http://toypunks.blogspot.com 




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