by Chris MaGee
As many of you will know I've been eagerly following news of "observational filmmaker" Kazuhiro Soda for awhile now because I'm a fan, plain and simple; so I was very happy to hear that his 2007 documentary "Campaign" has been announced as one of the recipients of a prestigious Peabody Award. Handed out annually since 1941 the Peabody honours excellence in radio and television broadcasting. "Campaign" featured Soda chronicling his old University friend Kazuhiko Yamauchi as he runs for a seat on the city council of Kawasaki, Kanagawa Prefecture. The "observational film" as Soda prefers to call his documentaries, aired on PBS's popular "P.O.V." program in July of last year, and it was for this broadcast that it will receive an award at a ceremony that will take place at New York's Waldorf-Astoria Hotel on Monday, May 18th.
It's interesting to note that the last time a Peabody was awarded to a Japanese filmmaker or broadcaster was in 2003 to TV Asahi and director Hiroki Negishi for "Mother Flew Away As A Kite", an animated film adaptation of a story by Akiyuki Nosaka about young girl growing up in Japan during the final days of WW2.
Congratulations to Soda-san for receiving the great honour! Check out the full list of this year's recipients at the official site for the Peabody Awards here.