Tuesday, August 27, 2019

ショッキング、扇情的、または過度に暴力的 Shocking, sensational, or excessively violent content

Facebook has banned the trailer of “Sending Off” from being used in advertising. Of course, only after taking my money for a couple of weeks of running the ad...
Facebookにおいて「おみおくり~Sending Off~」の予告編が広告利用禁止にされました。

I am no stranger to controversy when it comes to my films: long-time readers of this blog may remember when all domestic screenings of my documentary "A2-B-C", about children living in Fukushima, were abruptly canceled by the distributor in 2015.  But unlike the less than measured response I took then (STORY), this time I decided to try to use this as an opportunity to start a positive discussion.  After all, they say "there is no such thing as bad publicity".

So I decided to replace the video with a "Facebook-friendly" version of the trailer (below) and resubmit it for ad approval.  I am still waiting a reply to the appeal, with the Japanese Premier that I am trying to promote just 10 days away...

広告利用禁止にされた予告編ビデオを入れ替えました。おみおくり~Sending Off~」の日本初上映が9月7日ですが、Facebookから広告の復活許可を早く貰えると良いですが...

Message from the director:

"The trailer to this documentary, depicting images of the elderly passing away, has been disapproved by Facebook for advertising. Death is hard to talk about, let alone watch, but thinking about how we want to die has the potential to change the way we live."


The Japan Premier of “Sending Off” will take place on September 7 at 14:30 during the Pia Film Festival at the National Film Archive of Japan.  Screening with English subtitles (INFO).

「おみおくり~Sending Off~」9月7日14時30分より、国立アーカイブにて行われる 
ぴあフィルムフェスティバル において、英語字幕付き日本初上映。詳細はこちら。  

And for those would have not seen the original trailer but would like to, the link is below.

Monday, August 26, 2019

North American and Dutch Premiers of "Sending Off" announced

「おみおくり~Sending Off~」が北アメリカ初上映とオランダ初上映となることを、皆さんにお伝えでき、とても嬉しいです。どちらの映画祭にも出席しますので、みなさんとそちらでお会いできるといいな。

I am thrilled to announce the North American premier of “Sending Off” (film website HERE) in the Newburyport Documentary Film Festival in Massachusetts, USA, on Sunday, September 14 (INFO), and the Dutch Premier in Camera Japan in Rotterdam, Holland, on Saturday, September 28 (INFO). 

And I am honoured to be able to be in attendance at both.
I first had the honour to screen at and attend the Newburyport Documentary Film Festival in 2013 with my film "A2-B-C" (2013) STORY, and I am thrilled to screen there again this year.

at the 2013 edition of the Newburyport Documentary Film Festival
Camera Japan (CJ) in Holland is the only festival to have have screened four (and with "Sending Off, now five) of my films (list below, which includes "Boys for Sale" on which I served as Executive Producer).  I attended the festival for the first time in 2017 where I had a wonderful time (STORY).

"In the Grey Zone" (CJ 2012)
"A2-B-C" (CJ 2013)
"-1287" (CJ 2015)
"Boys for Sale" (dir: ITAKO) (CJ 2017)
"Sending Off" (2019)

Monday, August 12, 2019

"Sending Off" to be featured on NHK WORLD TV program "J-FLICKS"

Ahead of the Japan Premier of my new feature documentary「おみおくり〜Sending Off〜」(WEBSITE) at the National Film Archive of Japan on the opening day of the Pia Film Festival on September 7 (STORY), I have some exciting news: the film (and I!) will be featured on TOMORROW'S (Aug 13) episode of the NHK World Japan program "J-FLICKS"!

It is a huge honour to have my work featured on a television program with the tagline:
Japanese cinema in-depth! The latest info on the best of Japanese cinema, from blockbuster to indie, stars, film festivals, interviews and insights!
This month's episode is called "Focus on Nippon Connection 2019", which is about the film festival in Germany where 「おみおくり〜Sending Off〜」held the World Premier and received the Nippon Docs Award (Audience Award for Best Documentary) (Story HERE).  This is the synopsis of the episode:  
Taking place every early summer in Frankfurt is the world's largest festival dedicated to Japanese cinema, Nippon Connection, which was held for the 19th year this June. On this episode of J-FLICKS, we present a film that received a Special Mention by the Nippon Visions Jury at the festival, "BLUE HOUR," directed by Yuko Hakota. We also look at Kensei Takahashi's "Sea," winner of the Nippon Visions Jury Award. And joining us in the studio as a special guest is Mr. Ian Thomas Ash, director of "Sending Off," a documentary that won the festival's Nippon Docs Award.
For exact broadcast times, please see the J-FLICKS website, which displays the air times for the zone in which it is accessed (WEBSITE).

Outside of Japan, the program can be viewed on the NHK World Japan channel, app (this one HERE) and website (watch LIVE HERE); inside Japan, it can be viewed on the website and app. After the August 13 air date, the episode will be available to watch for free On Demand (watch On Demand HERE), and it will also be rebroadcast on September 9.

Back on June 21, the day of the studio recording, this is what I posted on social media:
Huge honour to have my documentary work featured during today’s taping of NHK WORLD-JAPAN program dedicated to Japanese film J-Flicks for their special episode “Focus on Nippon Connection - Japanese Film Festival“ with presenter Sarah Macdonald and studio guest Rob Schwartz, who is Asia Bureau Chief for Billboard magazine. While discussing my film “Sending Off”, which is about end-of-life care in Japan, Rob revealed that his father was Morrie Schwartz of “Tuesdays With Morrie” and presented me with a copy of the book. I have chills- my mother had given me a copy before she died but I had never been been able to bring myself to read it. It must be more than a coincidence that Rob had already been booked as a guest when they decided to feature my documentary. I am so grateful. Episode airs August 13 and September 10.

Thursday, August 01, 2019

Japan Premier of "Sending Off" announced!

「おみおくり〜Sending Off〜」日本初上映9月7日 in ぴあフィルムフェスティバル! さっすがに「カッコいい女編」Dr. 今田かおる! 

Following the successful World Premier of my new feature-length documentary "Sending Off" in Germany in May where I had the honour of receiving the Audience Award for Best Documentary (STORY), I am happy to be able announce the Japan Premier today as the press embargo has just been lifted.

Taking place on Saturday, September 7, on the opening day of the Pia Film Festival (PFF) which will be held at the National Film Archive of Japan (INFO and TICKETS HERE), "Sending Off" will be screening in a specially curated section of films that all feature "Cool Women", which is so fitting for the amazing Dr. Kaoru Konta and her team of nurses whose work I had the honour of documenting.

Six years ago, the Japan premier of my documentary "A2-B-C" was also held on the opening day of PFF (STORY).  I am extremely grateful to the festival and its director, Araki Keiko, whose support for "A2-B-C" helped to jump-start my filmmaking career in Japan... which then literally changed my life.
with PFF director Araki Keiko in 2013

〜 〜 〜 〜 〜 ADDED August 11〜 〜 〜 〜 〜 

We have made a flyer to go with the cute programmes that just arrived from the festival.  We will do our best to get the word out and to have a great turn out at the screening.  Thank you for your support!