Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Peace and love and... nuclear power.

The screening dates and times have just been confirmed for the participation of my doc "In the Grey Zone" (website) in the 2012 Global Peace Film Festival (September 18-23 in Orlando, Florida).

Filming "In the Grey Zone" taught me a lot, and it continues to bring me new experiences.  The Rhode Island International Film Festival (RIIFF) was the first time for one of my films to be shown in the country where I was born, the USA!  

Since this is the first time one of my films has dealt so specifically with an issue of human rights, the Global Peace Film Festival (GPFF) will be the first time for one of my films to be invited to one of the many human rights-themed festivals (here). 

And October will bring yet another first.  When "In the Grey Zone" screens in the Camera Japan Festival (website) in Holland, it will be the first time I will be recognized as the director of a Japanese film and have my work shown in a collection of films made solely by Japanese directors.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

No place like home (in the kitchen)

I got back home to Tokyo from my trip to the US and hit the ground running: within 48 hours I was on a bullet train to Tochigi to film episode 3 of my cooking show "Ian's Kitchen" (website).  

The first part of each show is a short documentary where we go to the farmer's market and ask them to introduce us to the farmer who grew whatever fruit or vegetable we are featuring in that episode.  Then we go to meet the farmer and film with them in their field.  

We have so much fun with this part of the show and always meet such wonderful people!  Then we get the FRESHEST produce available (picked right then and there):

For the second part of the show, I am joined in the kitchen by MC and co-host, Daichi Takanezawa.  Here we are about to start filming:

After the cooking, which is usually a mess and always hilarious, comes the eating part!

Monday, August 13, 2012

In the desert

It was an intense week in Rhode Island.

There was a meeting of old friends and the making of new ones.

There was a professional triumph, and there was a personal tragedy.

Before returning home to Japan, I have come to the desert of New Mexico for a few days to sort out my thoughts. 

It may be my first time in the desert, but it is not the first time I have been in this state of mind.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

RIIFF Award Ceremony at the Vets

The Rhode Island International Film Festival has come to a close in style at the beautiful historic theatre The Vets.

With so many films wonderful films, it was exciting to learn which films would receive honours and to hear the names of new friends being called out and awarded.

Among my new friends that were awarded are:

GRAND: Fraction | Alain Delannoy, Canada, 2012

Presented to a director whose outstanding work on a first short or feature film represents a new unique and compelling vision that will resonate well into the future
• Calcutta Taxi | Vikram Dasgupta, Canada/ India, 2012

Given annually to a film or filmmaker that inspires social change, community outreach and strives for
bettering the world in which we live.

StandUp | Louis McCullagh, Ireland, 2012

And I was deeply honoured to hear my name called as the recipient of the "2012 Filmmaker of the Future Award"!
Presented to a filmmaker whose vision excites audiences and judges alike about the potential to produce compelling and successful films in the future
Gurei Zoun No Naka (In the Grey Zone) | Ian Thomas Ash, Japan, 2012

It feel so honoured to simply have been screened at the RIIFF, and to receive an award as well is truly humbling.  In addition, I am thrilled that some of my family was able to attend the screening as well.

The full list of awards can be found here

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Awesome Films at RIIFF!!!

Including short films, I have seen over 40 films at RIIFF this week!  RIIFF is curated beautifully, and there is no hit or miss; all the films are amazing!

Some highlights:

StandUp, directed by Louis McCullagh

Calcutta Taxi, directed by Vikram Dasgupta

Attachments, directed by Peter Mabrucco

Fraction, directed by Alain Delannoy

Friday, August 10, 2012

Honorable Mentions

A very big thank you for the shout out (click the banner below) that the Providence Journal has given the RIIFF screening of "In the Grey Zone".  I can't wait for their screening "Coming Home" tomorrow!

And in today's Watertown Daily Times (the paper of the town in Upstate New York where I was born) published this article (click the banner below) about my film work in Fukushima.  

Not sure why they used the terrible file photo of me.  I don't even remember that mug shot being taken...

Thursday, August 09, 2012

Europoean Premier Confirmed: Camera Japan!

Driving in the car with my sister on Tuesday on the way to RIIFF, I received an e-mail with some more awesome news:  "In the Grey Zone" has been invited to hold its European Premier at the Camera Japan festival in Holland in November!

According to their website (here), Camera Japan is "a Japanese cultural festival with its main focus on film that also dives into other areas like art, music, dance, fashion, architecture, food and many more. The annual event takes place each fall in several cities in The Netherlands."


Wednesday, August 08, 2012

Opening Night at RIIFF!

We arrived in Rhode Island yesterday afternoon for the Rhode Island International Film Festival (RIIFF).  Festival registration at the Renaissance (swish!), Opening Night at the Vets (swank!) followed by an after party on the stage of the Vets (chic!).  

A wonderful start to the World Premier of "In the Grey Zone" (on Saturday)!

At opening night with my lovely assistant (read: "sister") Amanda.

"In the Grey Zone" poster in the background!

Tuesday, August 07, 2012

A bit of respite for Fukushima children

From time to time over the past year and a half, some people have said to me, "Oh, I wish I could bring the children living in Fukushima over here (the US, Australia, the UK...).

A friend (@kueno44) just sent me this article about a program to bring 30 children from Namie, Fukushima to Prague for two weeks of rest, relaxation and sightseeing.

Namie is where I filmed Part 4 of "In Containment".

Friday, August 03, 2012

Fearing discrimination, no full names, please

An article in today's Japan Times ("Kids' safety key worry in Fukushima" by Natsuko Fukue)  describes the continuing fear that Fukushima residents continue to have for their children.  They fear for the future health of their children and for the potential discrimination they may receive simply for having been residents of Fukushima.

One of the things that really stood out to me in the article and says something very poignant about the fear of discrimination was that while some of those interviewed declined to be identified at all, others would only allow themselves to be identified by their family name.  None were identified by their full name.

(via @kueno44)

Rhode Island International Film Fest details

As the opening of the Rhode Island International Film Festival nears (August 7-12), the Herald News of Massachusetts published details about the festival in yesterday's edition.  Click the screen grab below to read the article: