by Chris MaGee
During Nippon Connection I had the very good fortune to be interviewed a couple of times, once as part of a great podcast moderated by the guys at German film blog Schöner Denken and the other time by a group of Goethe University film students working on a documentary about the fest. One question I was asked by both of them is when I thought we would start seeing films made about the March 11th earthquake, tsunami and subsequent crisis at the Fukushima Daichi nuclear plant. I said that I thought we would see films in the future, but maybe not the near future. Things have been too traumatic for most screenwriters and film-makers to get their heads around this tragedy at this point. I could have been wrong though.
During the past week writer and director Atsushi Kokatsu posted a link on the wall of the J-Film Pow-Wow Facebook page. It was for his upcoming film "Totecheeta Chiquitita". The film, produced by Fukushima native Tatsuko Kokatsu, was in pre-production before the recent disasters in Japan, but it seemed that the project was going to be shelved due to the difficulty shooting in the Fukushima area. Now, due to the outpouring of support from the displaced residents of Fukushima, production on "Totecheeta Chiquitita" will be moving forward.
The film tells of a reunion between 70-year-old retired teacher Yuriko and members of her estranged family in Fukushima. Although it is doubtful that Kokatsu's crew will be able to film anywhere near the crippled Fukushima Daichi plant it is wonderful to see that film-makers refuse to give up on this now troubled region. The success of "Totecheeta Chiquitita" depends on funding though, and individuals can help by making donations at the film's official website here. If all goes well the film should be completed by the end of this year.