Wednesday, March 07, 2012

Ups and Downs and Up Again

As the one year anniversary of March 11 approaches, I return to this blog to reflect on how I am processing this past year.

I have come to realize that filming and editing for me is a way to try to understand what is happening around me. Focusing the camera on what is before me and the subsequent ordering of that experience through editing somehow allows me to process things that may be too difficult to do otherwise. Strangely, I seem to mainly film things that are particularly difficult for me and not things that are fun. For example, I have been filming a good friend who is in the hospital dying of cancer, but I rarely take any footage when I am, say, on vacation. I seem to feel protected by having the camera between me and whatever is happening; and yet, if I have the camera on, I can't seem to fully engage or relax.

Writing for me seems to be somewhat of the opposite. When I am pretty clear about what is going on around me, I write more (in this blog, for example). And when things are stagnant or stuck or worse, writing becomes less and less appealing.

Looking back on all I have filmed and written in this past year, I have realized:

  • If I am filming, chances are things are difficult for me, but I am trying to understand them.
  • If I am not filming, chances are things are just going along.
  • If I am writing, I am actively working towards a goal (and probably working on a film).
  • If I am not writing, I am probably in some kind of rut.

Since finishing the edit of my documentary film "In the Grey Zone" (trailer can be seen here) three months ago, I have been working on the "business side" of filmmaking; film festival submissions and arranging the website, posters and press materials:

I have also been working on a new website (created by Katsuyoshi Ueno) that will eventually have information for all of my films together in one place.

What I hadn't been doing over these last three months was much writing or filming.

That is until this week.

I have just returned from a trip to the city of Minamisoma near the damaged nuclear power plant in Fukushima. Nearly a year after I documented the children returning to school in the radiation zone, I filmed an update on how the children, parents and teachers are doing now. I am editing that now and hope to have it ready to upload by the end of the week.

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