Monday, April 30, 2012

Now we're cooking with... Ian

Last year, I directed a documentary series for cable TV called "It's Ian.  I'm home!" (it sounds much better in Japanese).  Season 1 ran from July 2011 and finished last month.

Fortunately, we were commissioned to do a second season... but with a catch:  it would be turned into a cooking show called "Ian's Kitchen" (that story is here).

Season 2 Episode 1 premiers this week on cable TV in a prime time slot during the Golden Week holidays (a great time to air, second only to the New Year holidays).

More information on the program and schedule can be found on the TV station website, here:

Nakagawa Cable TV website
And I can't resist posting these cute cartoons of me cooking that are being used in the opening credit sequence.

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).

Friday, April 13, 2012

“In the Grey Zone” available in Nyon Doc Market

My recent documentary “In the Grey Zone” will be available for viewing in the Doc Outlook International Market at this year’s Visions du Reel film festival in Nyon, Switzerland (April 20-27).

The market “ensures excellent working conditions for producers, buyers, decision-makers and distributors supported by optimum facilities and cutting edge tools. It fosters contacts for the funding and promotion of films, as well as for networking and for acquiring film rights.”

The listing can be seen by clicking the screen grab below.

Saturday, April 07, 2012

A Calling Card from Plattsburgh

I am very honoured that my alma mater, Plattsburgh State University of New York, has featured me in this month's issue of their alumni newsletter, "Calling Card". Please click on the photo below for the article.