Insect aficionado visits SF for film screening 

Jessica Oreck, a filmmaker from New York City, will attend the Friday and Saturday night screenings of her debut documentary, “Beetle Queen Conquers Tokyo,” which runs at the Kabuki Theater from Friday to July 15.

What is the film about? About the Japanese love of insects, but it’s less about insects and much more about philosophy and religion and history. Their basic perception of nature is very different from the American perception.

How do the Japanese value insects differently than Californians? For one thing, they keep them as pets. They pay lots of money for them, and Japanese will travel all the way across the country to hear a particular type of cricket sing or to watch fireflies emerge at dusk.

Where did you develop an interest in insects? I’ve loved insects since I was really little, so this was a perfect project for me. I studied filmmaking and biology, ecology and botany at school and I wanted to make films about ethnobiology.

How long did the film take to make? I started doing research in January 2007 and we shot for six weeks in Tokyo and all over Japan. It took me a long time to edit and I had to go back to work because I spent all my money. I finished the film in early 2009 and we premiered at the Film Forum in New York City in May.

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