Stu Levy's "Pray for Japan" Documentary FilmAug 22nd 2011
Dear TOKYOPOP family:
I hope you are enjoying your summer.
It's been awhile since you've heard from us. A lot has changed this year for TOKYOPOP - and for me personally. While manga is still top of mind for everyone, I'd like to take a few minutes of your time to inform you about an important project I've been dedicating myself to this year.
Back in March, I happened to be in Tokyo when the 9.0 magnitude earthquake hit northeastern Japan, followed by a devastating tsunami. Even though I was going through my own disaster, preparing to wind down TOKYOPOP's North American publishing operations due to the bankruptcy of major retailer Borders, I could not stay put and watch the suffering up north in Tohoku. I joined the "Japan Emergency NGO" (http://www.jen-npo.org/en/) as a volunteer and began delivering emergency provisions to the shelters in Tohoku.
On my second trip, a local victim in Ishinomaki (the largest coastal town hit by the tsunami) asked if I would document the devastation and its aftermath. It only took me a night to decide: this was my calling for 2011 and I would dedicate my personal resources to make a documentary film.
After filming for five weeks, I brought the 40+ hours of footage to Los Angeles where I'm currently editing with a team of volunteers. I traveled back to Ishinomaki on July 23 for a week, filming their annual river festival (the kawa-biraki matsuri) and checking in with the wonderful people I got to know during my stay there.
Pray for Japan - the Film is a tribute to the real-life heroes of the Tohoku Tragedy, from victims to volunteers, who impressed me with their dedication and resilience in the face of seemingly insurmountable suffering.
My plan is to finish the film this fall and submit it to a number of international film festivals, working towards its distribution in a number of formats. This is a non-commercial project that has consumed me - and I hope you see it in your heart to support, as I passionately do, our team's goals of memorializing and honoring the uncelebrated warriors of this continuing fight to rebuild Japan.
Please visit the Pray for Japan project page on Kickstarter to learn more - and become a part of this amazing story. Many people have pitched in already, and we're down to the last 10 days - we need your support!!
PS Thank you to all the wonderful people who sent art, illustrations, letters, candy and other packages to the Students of Takasago in Tohoku. As you can see from the photos below, it was a wonderful gift to the student victims!
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