Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Fukushima, Food

Back home in Japan after a wonderful two weeks abroad visiting family for the holidays, I am settling in to what I sense will be another year of significant changes for me.

One thing that remains the same is my commitment to the screenings of 'A2-B-C' (website ENGLISH/ 日本語).  Leading up to what will be the 4th anniversary of the disaster in March of this year (it is hard to believe that nearly four years have passed), there are an increasing number of requests to show the film, both in Japan and abroad.  

It has been six months since the theatrical release ended in Tokyo (INFO), so currently the only way to see 'A2-B-C' in the capital is at a privately-organized screening (in Japanese 自主上映会スケジュールここ).  There was one such screening yesterday organized by the Tokyo chapter of food co-op PAL System (パルシステム東京映画祭INFO).

In addition to delivering food to its members, PAL System also delivers information about current topics through its newsletters and website.  Yesterday they added to that films, holding their first ever "mini Film Festival", screening three films during the one-day event.

Curious about how a food co-op came to program my film, I spoke with some of the executive staff prior to the screening.  They told me that many of their members are young mothers, and that the themes they focus on in their newsletters can be divided into three main topics: The Earth (such as global warming and energy issues), Society (abroad such as political turmoil, or at home such as the nuclear debate), and Food (such as food safety).  PAL System decided to create a film festival with films covering these topics, and they told me that they felt 'A2-B-C' actually dealt with all three themes.

The information about the three films was sent out to their members with interested people asked to register for the screenings they wanted to attend.  But when over 1,000 people registered to see 'A2-B-C', there was a problem: the cinema only had 250 seats.  In the end, the tickets had to be distributed through a lottery which meant that only a fraction of the people who wanted to see my film could do so.  The hope is that they will be able to hold another screening of 'A2-B-C' in the near future.

During the post-screening discussion, we talked about the courage of the mothers who so bravely shared their stories in the film, and about the difficulty of speaking out in Japan.  And, of course, we talked about food, which led us to talking about Ian's Kitchen (the cooking show I had a few years ago, INFO) and about the importance of growing, cooking and eating healthy and delicious food.  In light of Fukushima, this is ever more important and something that can no longer be taken for granted.

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