Wednesday, 8 November, 2017
Earlier in 2017, my Facebook friend Horatio Tsoi (蔡錦源 Kam Yuen), an experienced TV/film director & producer, and his Hong Kong team completed a stunningly/hauntingly beautiful/insightful independent documentary 《311 – Revival 》(Japanese/Cantonese/English with English subtitles, YouTube link) (imdb) that is also thought provoking. We get to see different parts of Fukushima Prefecture up close through the eyes of the presenter Clarisse Yeung 楊雪盈 (a HK district council politician), the film crews, and the high flying drone camera that shot some hauntingly beautiful footage. We also get to hear from local residents, a farmer, restaurant operators, NGO volunteer radiation measuring group, TEPCO (Tokyo Electric Power Company ran the destroyed nuclear plants) official interviewed for the film to get their perspectives on things.
Many parts of this film touched me deeply. This crowdfunded independent documentary is now posted on YouTube. Please watch, share, and contribute to this crowdfund documentary via PayPal if you can.
《311 – 復興與再生》英文字幕版 / 《311 – Revival 》 English subtitle (1080p)
Crowdfund support link: https://www.paypal.me/KAMYUENTSOI
*** Film summary from IMDb ***
“Fukushima used to be a wonderful place. Unfortunately, since March 11, 2011, “Fukushima” has been superseded by another name: Nuclear Disaster Zone. Six years have passed, but over 80,000 Fukushima residents still cannot return home, still cannot return to their former lives. How did they get through it? Reconstruction work is slow. Several years on, surrounding the site of the Fukushima nuclear incident, there remain many refuge-seeking residents whose homes are still in lockdown. In the streets, people are taking it to their own hands to save their communities. Psychologically and practically, how does one rebuild? Does the civil society’s self-rescue mission conclude in recovering what was lost, or in reviving an even better community? In their eyes, what is “revival”? What is the meaning of “rebirth”? Our crew went all over the coastal areas of Fukushima, recording stories of residents each finding their own ways to save themselves.“
Monday, 30 April, 2012
At NAB Show 2012, I had the pleasure to meet Newsight Japan‘s President & CEO Kiyoto Kanda. I was at Sony’s NAB Show booth checking out Sony’s latest prototype not-for-sale Glasses-Free 3D TV to see for myself the pros and cons. And then Kiyoto came up and we started talking. Kiyoto mentioned that his company is also working on Glasses-Free 3D TV. While I have not seen what Newsight Japan‘s Glasses-Free 3D TV actually look like (and the look and image quality is one of the most important thing), Kiyoto seems to be quite knowledgable and I like his talking of applying a Glasses-Free 3D filter on top of a traditional LCD/LED set and partnering with Chinese TV manufacturers. Here is my video interview with Kiyoto at NAB Show 2012.
Sunday, 17 July, 2011
Have a read of an insightful Asahi Weekly interview with award-winning doc filmmaker Kazuhiro Soda about “Peace” where he talked about how he views even his own film “Peace” in a different light, in terms of before and after the March 11 disaster.
Soda tweets here.
Sunday, 3 July, 2011
I played Go (a board game) almost every day for four of my high school years and often skipping lunch to play! The rules of Go are easy to learn and the game is enjoyable even for young kids (some as young as 6 years old can pick it up quickly). Despite Go‘s seeming simplicity, I think Go takes longer (or is harder) to master than Chess (more on this later). Yesterday (July 2nd), I had the pleasure to visit the Calgary Go Club in Chinatown and attended part of the 2011 CGA Open Go Tournament.
Have a watch of the following highlight video. You will also find a series of interviews I conducted with Calgary Go Club Chair Vincent, a Go instructor (Cathy Li), two advanced Go players (Ryan and Jing Yang), and father of the 10 years old advanced Go player Wanshan Gu (Qiang Gu).
Note: If and when I receive the official results of the CGA Open 2011 from Calgary Go Club Chair Vincent as promised, I will post it here.
Update: I searched and found the CGA Open 2011 results on the Calgary Go Club home page so I’m reposting the results (unofficially here),
The results are in for the 2011 Canadian Open Go Tournament:
Division (!) First Place (2) Second Place
Group A (1) Jing Yang (2) Ryan Li
Group B (1) Zu Bai (2) Shan Lu
Group C (1)Miki Ishikawa (2) Tony Adria
Irene Sha and Bill Lin won the pairs tournament.
2011 Calgary Go Club – 2011 CGA Open Highlight
Interview with Vincent Van der Ploeg (Chair of Calgary Go Club)
Interview with Cathy Li (Go instructor)
(note: Here are some info I Googled and found about Cathy (Chen Shuo) Li 李晨硕 online. I don’t know if it is accurate or not.)
Interview with Ryan (an advanced Go player) (Update: Group A Division, Second Place)
Interview with Jing Yang (an advanced Go player) (Update: Group A Division, First Place)
Interview with Qiang Gu (dad of advanced Go player Wanshan) (English subtitles to be added soon)
Complexity/difficulty of Go compare to chess
In 1997, the chess computer Deep Blue won a six-game match against world champion Garry Kasparov. As far as I know, Computer Go is still very far from able to win against even mid-level professionals and let alone Go champions. Have a read of the Wikipedia “Computer Go” page as it is pretty informative.
Some photos from the 2011 CGA Open
Read the rest of this entry »
Sunday, 17 April, 2011
A highly recommended Guardian story with short video documentary about the 200 years old Yagisawa Shoten , “Soy sauce company symbolises Japan’s determination after the tsunami – Michihiro Kono has taken over a company destroyed by the disaster, and is determined to reopen its doors”
“In less tumultuous times, Michihiro Kono could have expected a seamless transition as the new head of the soy sauce company he took over from his father at the start of the month. But in post-tsunami Japan, Kono is the president of a company that, by any conventional measure, no longer exists. Read the rest of this entry »
Wednesday, 30 March, 2011
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.