I’ve had my hands incredibly full these past few weeks, if you’re wondering at all why I’ve not been posting much recently, and I still have a few loose ends to tie up here before I get up at the crack of dawn tomorrow morning and head to Nippon Connection for my seventh year running. Yes, hard to believe, but it’s already been a year since we were all stranded in Frankfurt by the Icelandic volcano whose name no one could ever pronounce. There are plenty of goodies on offer again this year, including a CALF Animation Special & Independent Animation Filmmakers’ Talk moderated by Cathy Munroe Hotes of Nishikata Film Review featuring Mirai Mizue, Nobuaki Doi and Tochka on 29 April · 18:00 – 21:30.
This presents me with the opportunity to mention that the CALF collectives’ work has proved extremely popular in the UK of late – we got a great turnout at the Zipangu Fest / CALF charity fundrasiser for the Tohoku Earthquake on Sunday 2 April (thanks once again to Phil and the wonderful staff at the Roxy for helping this happen), and 7 April saw a sell-out screening of the programme at Newcastle’s Star & Shadow screening where the staff had to carry sofas into the theatre to cram all the customers in!
Pixilate to Heal - the audience get involved at the CALF fundraiser at the Roxy, 3 April 2011
The UK-based animator Miho Lomon was present at the Roxy screening where she invited the audience to participate in her Pixilate to Heal – Japan Tsunami Appeal animation project (check the facebook page for more info). Hopefully her movie will be up on youtube soon so I can post a link to it on this website. Tochka also worked their animation magic to lend a voice of support to the earthquake victims, which I’m posting below.
Anyway, I may or may not post bulletins from Nippon Connection over the next few days, depending upon how busy I am, but this is just a promise to say once I’m back, I will post the final installment of my Widescreen Weekend report, so watch this space…
Posted at 15:54 on 26 April 2011 Filed under news.
Following on from my post of a few days back, the Play For Japanwebsite has been set up to give details of all fundraising events in the UK for the victims of the Tohoku Earthquake. The coming weeks should see a number of arts and music related events taking place in London, such as a handful of gigs by the London-based Aussie electro-techno twosome Loops of Fury and a 1950′s themed Whiskey Tasting and music Extravaganza with Cask Strength and Gary Driscoll (sounds right up my alley!) No doubt there’ll be plenty more soon announced too, but if you too have got any ideas of ways in which you can raise money, then get in touch with Play for Japan at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Dates and venues for the above events have yet to be confirmed, which goes someway to show the difficulties in getting hold of a venue at short notice, which is why we are particularly grateful to the Roxy Bar and Screen on Borough High Street (midway between London Bridge and Borough tube stations) for stepping in at such short notice and providing both a bar and a screen for a Special screening of Beyond Anime: CALF Animation for Play for Japan, on Sunday 3 April from 6-9pm.
And likewise, a huge thanks to Nobuaki Doi and the animators at CALF, Atsushi Wada, Kei Oyama, Mirai Mizue and the TOCHKA collective for giving their thumbs up to show their films.
There’s no fixed ticket price. Just donate what you want at the door, and we’ll no doubt find some other way of prising more money from your hands on the night, all of which will go directly to the Japan Society Tohoku Earthquake Relief Fund.
For more details, take a look at the entry on the Play for Japan website, its Facebook event page or the Zipangu Fest website, with the full programme listed here.
So just to reiterate, that’s
Special screening of Beyond Anime: CALF Animation for Play for Japan
Where: The Roxy Bar and Screen, 128-132 Borough High Street, London SE1 1LB (London Bridge and Borough tube stations)
When: Sunday 03 April 2010, 18:00 – 21:00.
I’ll try and keep people up to speed on other Play for Japan events too either via this website or Twitter.
Finally, I wanted to end with Ian Thomas Ash’s third and fourth video documents of life in Tokyo in the wake of the quake, much of it concerned, as we all are, with the ominous spectre of the Fukushima nuclear power plant.
After earthquake and tsunami in Japan, anyone for shopping?, uploaded 16 March 2011
Radiation Levels in Tokyo Warrant Fear?, uploaded 17 March 2011
Posted at 10:56 on 18 March 2011 Filed under news.
Click here to donate to Japan Society UK's earthquake appeal
For various reasons, I’ve felt oddly uncomfortable posting about the ongoing tragedy in Japan following the major earthquake that hit last Friday. It seemed slightly inappropriate to start conjecturing about what was going on as the BBC news struggled over the following days to come to terms with the scale of the disaster, and I figured that there were plenty of sources for information elsewhere for those interested, rather than me posting secondhand links here from the UK (I particularly don’t want to contribute to any further panic over the Fukushima nuclear power station situation). The other thing is that it takes me so long to update this website, and I’m assuming a good number of my readers will already be signed up to the Zipangu Fest Facebook page, where a lot of the information I am now going to put here has already appeared. But really it was just a case of watching and waiting for enough information to come through to get my head around things.
I have a fair number of friends and people I deal with on a regular basis who are based in Tokyo, and I’ve been kept up to speed with the situation there both via Facebook posts, Twitter and emails. My heart goes out to them and all their loved ones. But there are few words I can find to express my feelings about the scenes of devastation in the Northeast of the island, other than express my utmost sympathy for all those affected.
The most important thing I want to do first of all is post details of how you can help by making a donation to help those effected. A number of other blogs and websites devoted to Japanese film or culture have linked to the Japan Society New York’s homepage, but as I’m based in London and assuming that a fair number of these blog readers are too, it seemed more fitting to instead link to this appeal from the Japan Society UK. Please give generously to help out those caught up in the senseless tragedy by clicking on the image at the top of this post.
The TOCHKA animators doing their bit with the PIKAPIKA project
Another way you can help is to participate in the PIKAPIKA project, an initiative of the two animators collectively known as TOCHKA whose work we screened at Zipangu Fest last year as part of the CALF animation programme, and you’ll no doubt no all about CALF if you’re a regular reader here. The full details of how to spread a little light and a message of hope to those areas currently without electricity can be found here on the TOCHKA website, but I’ll summarise the basics of their messages below:
At 14:46 (Japan Time) March 11th 2011, a massive scale earthquake of magnitude 9.0 occurred on the pacific coast along from Sanriku to Ibaraki coast.
Rolling blackouts begin on Monday, March 14th in the eastern part of Japan.
We are thinking of sending pen light messages to those who are in the affected areas with still no electricity with Co-director Kosai Sekine.
The messages will be written with light on the fly in the dark and will be put together as a slide show and into one music video. The song is going to be “KIMIDEITE BUJIDEITE(Stay as you are, stay safe)” by Yoko Kanno.
If you happen to have a long exposure capable camera and a pen light/flash light. Could you write a message in two or three pika pika images and send them to email@example.com?
We expect to receive as many messages as possible and send them all out to people in the affected areas up in northern part of Japan.
Thank you so much for your cooperation,in advance.
TOCHKA (Takeshi NAGATA & Kazue MONNO)
And finally, I wanted to share with you a number of reports from a couple of people I know who were out in Japan when the earthquake occurred. Firstly, good friend and one of the top scholars involved in Japanese cinema, Aaron Gerow, has posted an account on his Tangemania website of what happened in the wake of the earthquake hitting while he was having lunch with the documentary-maker Noriaki Tsuchimoto’s wife Motoko. I know a lot of people in the Kanto area found themselves stranded and forced to walk home when the public transport system shut down, but I must say, the 12-hour trek from Yokohama to Fujisawa undertaken by Motoko Tsuchimoto sounds absolutely horrific, at the best of times.
And finally, Tokyo-based American filmmaker Ian Thomas Ash (director of the 2005 doc about a homeless couple in Bristol, The Ballad of Vicki and Jake), has been documenting what has been going on right outside his door. These are some really interesting short films, and give an insight into how people are coping in Tokyo at the moment. They give another, more human side to the international news reports, and benefit from the fact that Ian can speak Japanese, unlike any of the journalists the BBC have in Japan at the moment. You can follow his updates on his own blog, but here are the first two videos:
Tokyo after the earthquake, uploaded by Ian Thomas Ash, 14 March 2011
Nuclear power plant worries follow Japan earthquake, uploaded by Ian Thomas Ash, 15 March 2011
I’ll soon have some more news about some fundraising events being organised by the Japan Society in London, and other ways you can get involved from over here. Watch this space.
Posted at 14:44 on 15 March 2011 Filed under news.