In the ruins of a destroyed Tokyo, a girl and her brother fight for survival.

The genre has been seen from almost every angle possible, but once in a while we get a refreshing version of it. The particularity of ‘Shuen’, a film directed and created by Canadian filmmaker Philippe McKie, is most certainly in its environment and set design.

The idea of making this film came to me as I heard of Hashima-Island for the first time. Seeing images of this deserted island in the south of Japan, once a bustling mining community turned ghost-town, I knew I needed to create a story that could take place within those ruins. I had no idea at the time of the challenges I would face in being permitted to set foot on the island, as it is forbidden to do so without official government permission. Regardless I set forth to create this story which would be set in a post-apocalyptic Tokyo. Having been able to shoot parts of the film on this ‘Battle-ship-Island’ as it is called by locals is a tremendous privilege.

The post-apocalyptic genre is very popular at the moment and yet very few films in Japan have attempted to make stories in that setting. Philippe sought to make a novel story within the genre set in Japan that would explore themes of love in times of extreme survival, while fully committing to the struggle people would face in such a setting.

Making this film was a visceral experience. Shot in ruins around Japan, difficult of access and some forbidden, all dangerous. With a skeleton crew and a bare-minimum of equipment and resources. My purpose in making this film first and foremost was to create a shocking narrative that would highlight the beauty and mystery of certain ruins in Japan.

Serving also as a proof of concept, where the featured script is looming, the film was created under perilous conditions reflecting those in the film.