Wednesday, April 25, 2012

My first post-3.11 film


Over the past year, my work has been mainly trying to help tell the story of what was happening in Japan surrounding the events of March 11.  

I started filming soon after the disaster, and in addition to my early short documentaries about Tokyo (here), I traveled to the tsunami-ravaged city of Ishinomaki (here) and to the radiation-affected city of Minamisoma (here) where I also filmed the feature documentary "In the Grey Zone".  

Six months after the crises, I traveled back to Minamisoma to film an update (here), and then went back a year later to film another follow-up documentary (here).


Quietly in the background, I have been working on another documentary film for the past four years.  The film began when my friend, Kazuko, told me she was dying.  Her doctor had told her that at best she had three or four years left to live.  She struggled with knowing that she was going to die, but knew that she had no time to waste.  

We talked often, and I eventually asked her if we could film her story.  For four years, we discussed love, life, marriage, raising children, money... and of course, life and death.  I was fascinated by the way Kazuko's description of the things she was thinking changed over time.  And I was deeply moved when she shared with me what the process of making the film itself had meant to her, particularly in the last months of her life.

Kazuko died two weeks ago.


Since Kazuko's death, I have been working almost exclusively on editing the film about her, and I have found that the process of editing has helped me to sort through difficult feelings of sadness.  I learned so much through my friendship with Kazuko and through the making of this film.  I feel honoured to have been able to record her story and my hope is that it will hold deep meaning for those who watch it.

The film is tentatively called "-1287", and I am now working on the post-production.  I don't know what the overall length will end up being, but it looks like it will be feature-length (over an hour).  In the meantime, I have just finished the trailer (below).

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