Tuesday, November 04, 2014

Fukushima and Samurai

Monday being the national holiday of "Culture Day" in Japan, it was a three-day weekend.  And although not directly tied to the holiday, I did find myself traveling around with 'A2-B-C' (website ENGLISH/ 日本語) as the domestic screenings of the film continue.

On Friday night, I flew down to Kyushu where two screenings of 'A2-B-C' were sponsored by the NPO "Mommy's Tummy".  Saturday's screening in the city of Fukuoka began with a 30-minute presentation by Dr. Kobayashi, a psychiatrist who works mainly with patients living in temporary housing. (福岡市上映 INFO 日本語).

I have met Dr. Kobayashi several times before during my trips to Fukushima and have even had the honour of interviewing him.  His presentation gave a great background to many of the issues that are presented in the film, and following the screening, Dr. Kobayashi and I answered questions from the audience.  The Q&A was conducted by Mommy's Tummy's founder Kazumi Watanabe (PHOTO below), and it was a wonderful experience to take part in the Q&A with a doctor who has so much experience working (and living) in Fukushima.  So many people commented afterwards on how it was a great balance to have a medical professional and a filmmaker answering the questions and offering different viewpoints.

Following the event, several young families who have evacuated to Kyushu joined us for tea and shared with us their personal experiences following the nuclear accident.

By coincidence, the 38th conference Clinical Research on Death and Dying was taking place over the weekend in the nearby city of Beppu (第38回日本死の臨床研究会年次大会 INFO).  The Konta's, both doctors in Fukushima (whom I wrote about HERE) and their daughters, one of whom is in medical school, were in town for the conference.  Aware of my new film, '-1287' (WEBSITE), they invited me to the Sunday morning session.  There were a variety of speakers-- priests, monks, medical doctors-- and it was an amazing and educational experience for which I am so grateful.

In the afternoon, 'A2-B-C' screened before a full audience in the city of Oita (大分市上映 INFO 日本語).  The event again began with a presentation by Dr. Kobayashi.  In addition to Dr. Kobayashi and I answering questions following the screening, the Konta's, who were in attendance, shared with the audience their experiences as two medical doctors who are currently treating patients in Fukushima.  It was a very special and rare experience.

Also in attendance at the screening was Jiro, whom I first met HERE, and a REAL Samurai (who is very cool and even has a blog HERE).  

Following the event, some of the Mommy's Tummy staff and volunteers gathered with founder Watanabe Kazumi, Dr. Kobayashi and the Konta family for a group photo.

At 7 am the next morning, I took part in the post-screening discussion following a screening of 'A2-B-C' in LA.  The screening (INFO) was full and it was wonderful both to hear the audience's comments and questions and also to see the other panelists, several of whom I know quite well.

Then after a quick breakfast, I headed back to the airport...

More information about upcoming screenings, including ones in North America, Iran and Jordon, can be found on the Screenings pages of 'A2-B-C' (HERE) and '-1287' (HERE).

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