Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Life, Love and Loss

The domestic screenings of 'A2-B-C' (website ENGLISH/ 日本語) continue, and I will be flying down to Kyushu on Friday of this week for screenings in Fukuoka and Oita over the three-day holiday weekend (福岡市上映 INFO 日本語、大分市上映 INFO 日本語).

Last week on Friday, there were two screenings in Chigasaki, an hour outside of Tokyo (茅ヶ崎上映 INFO 日本語).  Following both screenings, there was a post-screening discussion, and it is always a great experience for me to hear the reactions and questions from the different audiences around Japan.

After being introduced and asked to come out onto the stage, I asked the audience to please address me as "Ian", and not "Director Ian";  I am simply a filmmaker and feel uncomfortable with the honorific "Director", especially as it is used in Japanese.  Then explaining that I didn't want to be looking down on the audience during the discussion, preferring instead to be close and on the same level, I joined them in the "house", where we had a wonderful "at home" discussion about the film and the current situation for the families living in Fukushima.

Late Saturday night, I received some devastating news: a very dear friend had died quite suddenly after a brief illness. He had been a big part of my family when I was younger, and he was not only a close friend of mine, but he had also been close to my mom.  He died on what would have been my mom's 74th birthday.  He himself had just become a father last year.

I was reminded about what really matters in life: health, family, love.

Losing this friend is particularly difficult for me and in ways that I haven't even begun to comprehend.  I am also having a hard time with thoughts like "if only I had said..." and "why didn't I contact him sooner", but this only makes me feel selfish, on top of being sad, for putting some of the focus on myself.  And to be really, truly, painfully honest, I must admit that it's not only hard losing a friend to whom I had been so close, but also one who was the same age as me; it is making me think about my own life... and death... but this just makes me feel more selfish for making it somehow even more about me.

With just a few hours to pull myself together, Sunday morning I was off to the airport again, this time to Wakayama for more screenings of 'A2-B-C' (和歌山上映 INFO 日本語).

I was met at the airport by Mr. Saigou, and Karly and Yuki Wada (below), and their kindness helped me to focus on the task I was there to do: to share with the audiences about what is happening with the families and children in Fukushima.

Karly and Yuki conducted both post-screening discussions in what was the first time for one of my Q&A'S to be led by a young couple.  Their questions about how I had met the mothers who appear in 'A2-B-C' and about my personal experience making the film created a wonderful atmosphere for when the discussion was opened up to audience questions (which I answered after stepping off the stage).

The staff and volunteers of the event were so warm, and it was an honour to be with these caring people, talking about things that are so important to us, such as the future of the children in Fukushima.

I was again reminded about what really matters in life: health, family, love.

I spent most of the day yesterday in bed.  Thinking.  Remembering.  Feeling.

Today, I got up and did the only thing I could: I continued the work to which I am called.

For D. (1974-2014)

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