Kevin Kossowan and Kevin Kent’s Springhammer Comes to Calgary
The film documents great stories about Japanese blacksmithing (accompanied by rad music) and you can buy Japanese knives after the screening
A still shot of Japanese knives from the film
If you’re a lover of Japanese culture, this is a film for you. If you’re inspired by maker films, this is a film for you. And even if you think you have no interest in, or connection to, Japanese knives, there is something in this film for you.
The documentary Springhammer takes viewers on a brief trip to Japan and shows a side of the culture few know about: Japanese blacksmithing.
Making the documentary
The Calgary premiere of Springhammer, a documentary all about Japanese knives, premieres at the Plaza Theatre on Monday, October 20. The 48-minute documentary was written by Edmonton-based Kevin Kossowan was the film’s writer, director and editor, while Kevin Kent, owner of Inglewood’s Knifewear and Kent of Inglewood, is the executive producer.
Kent visits Japan multiple times a year in order to source the knives he sells on 9 Avenue S.E., and invited Kossowan to film workshops when he was last visiting. The result: an insight into the little-known skill of Japanese blacksmithing, including an interview with Master Knife Sharpener Shibata San from Masakage.
While the documentary is not all about blacksmithing, that is the focus. And, for all you skeptics, it is an interesting concept. “Japanese blacksmiths use techniques and materials that date back 1,200 years,” says Kent. “They have long been known as the best in the world, in terms of their skill and what they produce.”
The appeal of the documentary
According to Kent, the film has a little something for everyone. “We have three generations of blacksmiths featured, each with very different stories. The film is a bit of a fun jaunt through Japan, with culture and food playing a large roll.”
As well as telling interesting stories and getting behind the scenes of Japanese blacksmithing, the visuals are impressive. “Kossowan had great materials to work with: red hot steel, fire, sparks, master blacksmiths and Japan in all its natural, urban glory,” says Kent. “And did I mention the music is rad?”
After the screening
Don’t rush away after the documentary. There will be a Knifewear pop-up, selling knives from Hinoura san, Takamura san, Kato san and more. Best of all, all knives will be 15 per cent off at the showing. A Q&A session with Kent and Kossowan will also take place after the screening, moderated by Connie Desousa of Charcut.
This isn’t the filmmakers’ only creative venture. Next week, Kent and Kossowan will head back to Japan to shoot Springhammer: Part Two, which will focus on new blacksmiths’ stories and the life of the Japanese knife.
The Calgary debut of the film takes place on Monday, October 20 at 7 p.m. at the Plaza Theatre (1133 Kensington Rd. N.W.). Tickets are $10.