Cave of Forgotten Dreams 3D

Thursday, 28 April, 2011

Don’t know if or when Cave of Forgotten Dreams 3D will be shown in Calgary but have a read of Roger Ebert’s review of the film. Looks like a great film that I will enjoy very much.


PEACE won Best Documentary Award at the Hong Kong Int. Film Fest

Wednesday, 30 March, 2011

Peace - Pix 01 - cats_confrontation

PEACE has just won Best Documentary Award at the Hong Kong International Film Festival. Congrats to the wonderful documentary filmmaker Kazuhiro Soda!

Here are the HKIFF Jury’s comment:

Peace is a quiet film with an unusual power to move. By following the ordinary lives of people and cats, the camera leads the audience to discover the concept of peace in its most fundamental sense, not as a state of negotiated, reluctant coexistence, but as an idea that lies at the core of our humanity. The film reveals the sublime through the mundane.

I was touched by what Soda wrote on Facebook,

What I said at the Award Ceremony: I’m from Japan. I’ve been so overwhelmed by the tragedy my country is experiencing that I almost cancelled the trip to Hong Kong. But I’m a filmmaker. It’s my job to make movies and to show them to people. So I changed my mind to come here. I’m now confident that I made a right decision. I’ll continue to make movies.

Here is a film trailer

The film has won audience award at Tokyo Filmex and screened at MoMa. You can see my film review and interview with Soda.

Personal note: Since watching Soda’s films for the first time and interviewing him over the years for a few times, Soda has been a true inspiring documentary filmmaker for me. I try to find my own path in documentary filmmaking and it is nice to be inspired by filmmakers like Soda.


PEACE @ HKIFF March 28 & 31 (w Filmmaker Soda Q&A)

Saturday, 26 March, 2011

Peace - Pix 01 - cats_confrontation

The wonderful documentary filmmaker Kazuhiro Soda is screening his award winning new documentary PEACE at the 2011 The 35th Hong Kong International Film Festival on March 28th and March 31st and doing Q&As afterward! Check out the film if you have time. Highly recommended.

Here is a film trailer

The film has won audience award at Tokyo Filmex and screened at MoMa. You can see my film review and interview with Soda.

Film synopsis (emphasis added)

What is peace? What is coexistence? And what are the bases for them?

PEACE is a visual-essay-like observational documentary, which contemplates these questions by observing the daily lives of people and cats in Okayama city, Japan, where life and death, acceptance and rejection are intermingled.

Three people and stray cats are the main characters. Read the rest of this entry »


Documentary “Nuclear Ginza” by Channel 4, Great Britain, 1995

Thursday, 24 March, 2011

A Japanese documentarian friend recommend checking out the insightful and timely documentary “Nuclear Ginza” (with English subtitles) by Channel 4, Great Britain, 1995. [HT Soda]


Documentary “The Game of Death” on CBC The Passionate Eye – Watch Online in Canada

Monday, 21 March, 2011

Last night on CBC News Network, I watched the French documentary “The Game of Death” (full doc can be watched online in Canada). To me, a good documentary is engaging and makes us think at the same time. In fact, I am watching “The Game of Death” for the second time to understand the “harm” many of us (yes, us) are, unfortunately, capable of delivering. Highly recommended. (note: One way of “vaccinating” ourselves may be become more aware of what we are capable of doing.)

Here is an excerpt from the CBC program info for The Game of Death (emphasis added),

“In 1963, an infamous scientific experiment led by Yale psychologist Stanley Milgram demonstrated that a majority of people would administer unbearable electric shocks to another man, when encouraged to do so by an authority figure. [note: I remember the Milgram Experiment as one of the infamous/controversial research that we have to study in PSY 100.] Surprisingly, more than sixty per cent of the participants completed the experiment. They learned afterwards that the ‘victims’ were in fact actors and no pain was ever inflicted.

Filmmaker Christophe Nick re-creates Milgram’s experiment in the form of a TV game show, where 80 participants are asked to follow its onerous rules. The participants are recruited for a test TV show and are brought into a real game show set in a television studio with technicians, a live audience, and an attractive hostess. Despite the contestant’s increasingly urgent protests and howls of pain, will they obey the TV host’s commands and inflict electric shocks on an unseen man? Or will they stop before it’s too late?

You can watch a Passionate Eye trailer of the doc (probably viewable in Canada only). Also check out a Reuters English report video (see below), a TIME magazine article “The Game of Death: France’s Shocking TV Experiment” and a BBC report with audio interview “‘Game of Death’ French TV show sparks controversy“.

If you understand French (which unfortunately I don’t), you can check out this French news report.


Backing “Urbanized: A Documentary Film” project by Gary Hustwit

Wednesday, 9 March, 2011

I am excited to support “Urbanized: A Documentary Film” project by Gary Hustwit using KickStarter. I loved and really enjoyed Gary‘s last two docs Helvetica & Objectified, I am really happy to be able to help fund Gary’s new film.

I wrote about KickStarter helping creative people find funding for their projects in Oct 2009 “Designing Obama – The Book” and in Dec 2010 “$600,000+ for iPod watch kit project – Kickstarter”. I am excited to become a kickstarter and did my small part for “Urbanized”.

I encourage you check out Gary’s film info and consider using KickStarter to back the film if you like what Gary said. If you contribute $10 or more, you can even get a digital download of “Urbanized” when the film is released in late 2011/early 2012.

Note: By the way, Calgary public library has DVDs of HelveticaObjectified for you to check out.


Canadian directed ‘Last Train Home’ nominated for DGA documentary prize

Wednesday, 12 January, 2011

"Last Train Home" Review - pix 1

I am excited to report the Lixin Fan directed Canadian made ‘Last Train Home‘ is nominated for DGA Documentary Prize.

Last Train Home, a documentary that looks at Chinese peasants, and four other documentaries that focus on various hot-button topics from the American scene, have been nominated by the Directors Guild of America for its outstanding directorial achievement in documentary.”

Congrats Lixin, I am really excited for Lixin as ‘Last Train Home‘ is his debut film!

Check out my previous entries about the film,

* My March 2010 interview with Lixin Fan, director of “Last Train Home”

* “Last Train Home” directed by Lixin Fan is one of TIFF Top 10 feature films

* “Last Train Home” Review – 130 million Chinese migrant workers making inexpensive “Made in China” goods possible

* NYT article, “Following Workers’ Trails of Tears in China”

Also check out Roger Ebert’s review of the film.

Here is a trailer of the film,

Here is a Mandarin interview with the director Lixin (訪紀錄片歸途列車導演范立新) posted on Dec 7, 2010 conducted by a US TV station.


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