easternKicks began very much as a hobby, a place to throw all my enthusiasm for Asian film outside of my day job as a graphic designer and share it with the world…
Like many British Asian film fans of my age, we’d all seen the dubbed Japanese TV series of Monkey (and, to a lesser degree, The Water Margin) on primetime telly in the late 70s at an impressionable age. It would be a decade before I truly realised the extent of Asian cinema that awaited me thanks to series like Jonathan Ross’ Incredibly Strange Film Show, and the seasons that followed on Channel 4; and nearly another decade before these films would become more widely available – at least in undubbed versions – on video and DVD.
The site launched in mid-2002. The name easternKicks was intended as something more than just martial arts – it’s also ‘kicks’ as in ‘how you get your kicks’, not just the actual act of kicking (though we have plenty of that too). Slowly, ever so slowly, adding reviews, articles and news as time went on. (In those days there could be a few weeks between reviews, not even days, we’ve come a long way!)
Since then we’ve gone from strength to strength. We’ve not only kept you up-to-date with the best in Asian film; we’ve had access to some of the best festivals around and also brought you exclusive interviews with actors, filmmakers and distributors. We’ve also welcomed several (often regular) like-minded contributors to our ranks, so it’s no longer a solo effort.
(But I still work in my day job as a freelance graphic designer, generally colouring in and making things look pretty, whether on the web or in print. Bottom line is don’t expect to make the big bucks doing this sort of thing!)
Our first interview came in 2006 with the late director Jun Ichikawa, and since then both my contributors and I have had the chance to interview to some of the finest talent from Asia. Articles have been published in magazines across the world, including Cut Magazine (Japan) and Jade Screen (UK); and I have appeared in documentaries on Asian film and on BBC World News TV. I’ve even been known to host the odd film as part of the Asian Movies Meetup group. We are also part of an informal group of London-based critics and bloggers known as the London Asian Film Society.
Our unofficial mandate is to help both to help new audiences find their way to Asian cinema, and to help those who have already found it explore other films they may not know about yet. But if you are already Asian film enthusiast, maybe you’d like to join us? Simply get in touch…