Monday, November 16, 2015

People's Choice

It was an honour to be invited to attend the 2nd Annual Lake Champlain International Film Festival (LCIFF) this weekend, where my documentary '-1287' (WEBSITE) was screened.  At the closing ceremony of the festival last night, I was extremely honoured to receive the People's Choice (Audience) Award.  While jury awards are indeed a great honour, it is truly humbling to receive an audience award voted on by cinema-goers from among all the films screened.

Last year, I was able to attend the inaugural edition of the festival, where I received the 'Golden Honeycomb' (grand prize) for my films 'A2-B-C' (2013) and 'In the Grey Zone' (2012) (STORY).  My attendance at the first two editions of the festival was made possible through the support of both the festival and of Plattsburgh State University (PSU).  A graduate of the English Department (with a minor in theatre), it was my absolute pleasure to be asked to visit classes at my alma matar to share both about my work and life in Japan as well as how my education at the university prepared me for the films I make.  Visiting six classes in all (Trauma Narratives, Food and Film, Autobiography, Outsiders, Mythology and Poetry), it was a wonderful experience to meet and speak with so many students.  Their engaged and intelligent questions caused me to think about my own work in different ways, and I was reminded again that through teaching the teacher learns.

with LCIFF staff member/ filmmaker Simon Conroy and PSU professor/ filmmaker Michael Devine
The beautifully curated festival began on Friday and packed dozens of films into the three-day event.  In between fascinating films from across the world, it was an additional pleasure to spend time with old friends, like former classmate/ filmmaker/ festival founding member Jason Torrance, former classmate/ -1287 producer Sarah Lushia, and former classmate/ festival staff member Maya Saroj (PHOTO below).  Even the venue was nostalgic- held in the newly renovated Stand Theatre (INFO), this is where my European Films class came to watch films back in the day when the former vaudeville theatre had been haphazardly converted into a multi-screen cinema fire trap with sticky floors.

with Jason, Sarah and Maya

As the Lake Champlain International Film Festival staff works toward its 3rd edition and beyond, I wish them all the best.  I am proud to be an alum of both the university and the festival, and look forward to all that is to come.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Droning on...

It has been a month since my last blog.  It isn't that there hasn't been much to write about, in fact it has been the opposite; ironically the more I have to write about, the less time I have to write.

This has been a very full month, filed with four trips to Fukushima where I am currently working on two films.  This month has also seen the start of two courses I am teaching, one at the University of Tokyo (called "Japan in Asia: Oral Histories") and one at the Japan Visualmedia Translation Academy on filmmaking. 

Just back from Fukushima, I am now at the airport on my way to New York, where my film '-1287' (WEBSITE) is screening in the 2nd annual Lake Champlain International Film Festival (INFO).  While there, I will also have the honour of visiting classes at the University of Plattsburgh, my alma mater (2000).  This is the second time to screen at LCIFF after my films "In the Grey Zone" (2012) and "A2-B-C" (2013) screened in the inaugural edition of the festival last year (STORY).

link to article HERE
I look forward to sharing more about the films I am working on in Fukushima in the coming months, but in the meantime, I will share a few recent location photographs.