All That Remains production update

Originally posted on Pixel Revolution Films blog:

ATR edit

All That Remains in the edit suite

It’s been a while since we’ve had chance to post any kind of updates on our current feature project, All That Remains, so we thought we’d grab a few moments to do just that…

It’s been a very intense few months, editing and generating the necessary Special Effects shots. However having spent so much time in the edit suite, it was getting to the point where we could no longer see the woods for the trees. We were also risking creative burn out.

So we took a couple of weeks off from the project, turning our attention instead to client work and to developing a couple of other projects, one of which we’ll be looking to push into production next year.

It’s incredible how much of a fresh perspective this change of scenery gave us when we fired the edit back up and…

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All That Remains cast interview: Leo Ashizawa

Major Oak Ent & Pixel Revolution Films:

Great interview with our lead actor!

Originally posted on Pixel Revolution Films blog:

Leo Ashizawa

Leo Ashizawa

Leo Ashizawa plays the lead role in our feature film, “All That Remains”. Here’s an in-depth and very interesting interview with the man himself.

Can you tell us a little bit about your background?

I was born in Japan. I had four dreams when I was a kid. In my town, when we graduate from primary school, every single student writes down what they want to be when they become an adult. I wrote ‘I want to be an actor’, so that was my first dream.

The other three dreams came later; they were to be an archaeologist, a palaeontologist, and a marine zoologist, simply because I loved history, dinosaurs, and whales and dolphins.

When it was time to choose which university to go to, I re-thought what I wanted to do and because I believed at that time acting is not something to study at university and drama…

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New book on Dr. Nagai helps spread the word…

The Saint of Nagasaki

The Saint of Nagasaki by Walter Enloe

Walter Enloe is a teacher at Hamline University in Saint Paul, Minnesota USA, he is also a prolific author on the atomic bombings of Japan (as well as being involved in several exhibitions promoting world peace) and is just about to release a new book on Dr. Nagai entitled The Saint of Nagasaki. Mr Enloe has very kindly offered to carry a flyer for All That Remains in each of the books!

The book contains 60 photos and 25 drawings by Dr. Nagai, kindly supplied by his grandson, Tokusaburo Nagai, which are used to construct a narrative. For anyone interested in the life and work of Dr. Nagai this will be a must read.

As mentioned above, Walter is from Saint Paul, Minnesota, since 1955, this city has been twinned with Nagasaki. After the atomic bombing the citizens of Saint Paul set up a special program to help Nagasaki recover from the damage it had sustained, and today the Saint Paul-Nagasaki Sister City Committee (SPNSCC) continues to promote beneficial relationships between the American and Japanese people in the two cities, and to promote the cause of peace.

Next year will mark the 60th Anniversary of this special relationship.

To find out more about Mr. Enloe and his books please do check out his website here – there are so many other stories that deserve to be told to wider audience.

Flowers will bloom.

Takashi's and Midori's final resting place

Takashi’s and Midori’s final resting place – 1st May 1951

63 years ago today, on May 1st 1951, Takashi Nagai – the “Saint of Urakami” passed away.

It was a short but full life. In his 43 years he had managed to fit in a lifetime of accomplishments and created an enduring legacy through his teachings and writings.

The good doctor, although more or less bedridden in his final years, worked tirelessly to make Urakami district (ground zero) a place where “beautiful flowers will bloom”.

He left behind copious essays, memoirs, drawings and calligraphy on various themes including God, war, death, medicine, and orphanhood. These enjoyed a large readership during the American Occupation of Japan (1945–1952) as spiritual chronicles of the atomic bomb experience.

His work towards the spiritual restoration of his country led to him being honoured as a National Hero of Japan, and in 1991, “The Takashi Nagai Peace Award”, was founded to annually promote writings and essays on “love” and “peace” from all over Japan.

As befitting a man born into a Samurai family (Samurai means “to serve”) he has recently been honoured by the Catholic Church with the title “Servant of God”, the first step to sainthood. But to many people in Nagasaki and around the world, Takashi Nagai is already considered a saint.

Walking around Nagasaki today you will still find a living legacy  to the spirit of Dr. Nagai. Surrounding Urakami Cathedral are the cherry trees he planted shortly before his death. They defied science which declared that no life could grow there for 75 years.

Nagasaki is indeed a city that has risen from the ashes. It is a city where the past has left its indelible shadow forever imprinted upon its surface and on the collective consciousness of its inhabitants, but it is also a place that embraces the future, a city that continues to grow and bloom.

Presenting the bigger picture…

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These past few months directors Ian and Dominic Higgins have been buried away working on the edit of the film, honing scenes, polishing the visuals and designing the soundscape, but now they have announced they will shortly present the first test screening of a completed edit  (with only directors and producers present) – so stay tuned for more info on this!

In the meantime, it appears our film isn’t the only thing to soon be revealed (albeit at this stage to only select crew).  We came across an interesting and very timely story in the Ashai Shimbun newspaper.

It is common knowledge that Dr. Nagai was a convert to Christianity and that it was his new found faith that he turned to when confronted with the horrors of war. What is not common knowledge though is that Christianity in Japan is a little different to Christianity in the West.

Having been driven underground in the early 17th Century by the Japanese government of that time, these hidden Christians or “Krishitans” as they became known, began to develop their own form of Christianity, incorporating certain aspects of Buddhism and Shinto into their practices.

Now it seems the Vatican is about to start its first extensive study on the Krishitans.

A still from "26 Martyrs" courtesy of Pixel Revolution Films

A still from “26 Martyrs” courtesy of Pixel Revolution Films

Naturally there are some who question as to whether the Krishitans should be considered as Christians.

Annibale Zambarbieri, a professor of religion at the University of Pavia in Italy, has this to say in answer, “I think that we should call them, ‘Old Christians.’ Christianity has often mixed with local cultures. Even Pope Francis said that they are model believers. There is no reason not to regard them as Christians.”

Our experiences with Fr. Paul Glynn and his parishioners in Nara certainly back these words up.

For more on this, here’s a the full article from Ashai Shimbun….

We’ve made the news in Japan!

News of our film has been picked up by the Asahi Shimbun, which is one of the five national newspapers in Japan.

Directors, Ian & Dominic Higgins and Lead actor Leo Ashizawa were interviewed for the article. The English version can be read here.

All That Remains in the  Asahi Shimbun.

All That Remains in the Asahi Shimbun.

Trailer 2

The new trailer for ATR!

The Christmas message from Nagasaki

Raising the bell of Nagasaki

Raising the bell of Nagasaki

On Christmas Eve 1945, a single bell rang out across the atomic wasteland of Nagasaki. For all who heard it, it was an incredible message of hope that resurrection was indeed possible.

Needless to say, it’s an incredibly important scene in our film.

From the director’s blog:

The sequence required two actors to unearth a cathedral bell that has been buried beneath a pile of rubble (from the atomic blast) and to then raise it on a make-shift stand, with the scene ending on the bell ringing out once more across the wastelands of Nagasaki on Christmas Eve night.

It’s a very important scene in the film (and a very symbolic one) so we spent a lot of time experimenting with different ideas for how we were going to pull this off. After rendering some test footage with a computer generated 3D version of the bell, we decided to opt for a far more traditional technique.

Model miniatures have been used in the field of film special effects since the very beginning; in fact, one of the iconic images from the early film period is a still from George Melies’ A Trip to the Moon – which shows the man in the moon with the rocket stuck in his eye. The effect was achieved with the use of miniatures.

Concept art for George Melies' A Trip to the Moon - 1901

Concept art for George Melies’ A Trip to the Moon – 1901

Maybe the most magical aspect of miniatures is that, even today, with the stunning photo-realism that can be achieved with CGI, miniatures are still very much part of the special effects tool box, and indeed, in many cases, the best tool for the job.

In our case, the miniature was shot against a greenscreen and was then composited into a CGI rendered backdrop with the two actors (also shot against greenscreen) – so it was very much a case of traditional and modern FX techniques working together to achieve our effect.

The miniature bell lying in a pile of miniature rubble.

The miniature bell lying in a pile of miniature rubble.

As it appears in the scene

As it appears in the scene

The bell hanging from a make-shift support.

The bell hanging from a make-shift support.

Below are more stills from the scene when the bell rings out for the first time since the bombing.

A Christmas message rings out

A Christmas message rings out

Takashi Nagai (Leo Ashizawa) hears the bell ringing out and finds inspiration

Takashi Nagai (Leo Ashizawa) hears the bell ringing out and finds inspiration

In case you haven’t heard, we’ve released the new trailer on our Facebook Page too.

A very Merry Christmas and a happy New Year from team ATR!

It’s a wrap!

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It’s a wrap! It’s official, now we have filmed the last few scenes and captured the final few shots that we need to complete All That Remains – the filming phase has finally come to an end!

What was going to be one final day of filming, actually turned out to be two. The first day was our final day with both supporting and main cast members.

This day was about filming the pick up shots.

The highlight of the first day was actress Michelle Lam performing a powerful rendition of the hymn Nearer My God to Thee for part of a sequence that will play out during the A-bomb aftermath scene.

Actress Michelle Lam plays a school teacher who finds comfort in the words of a hymn during the aftermath scene.

Actress Michelle Lam plays a school teacher who finds comfort in the words of a hymn during the aftermath scene.

Hearing their teacher sing, her pupils join in.

Hearing their teacher sing, her pupils join in.

The second day was working with more supporting cast, and stepping up to the mark for this were pupils from Malvern St. James. Accompanied by their music teacher, Liz Prophet (who was a great help on the day too) the girls performed another rendition of Nearer My God to Thee as part of the same sequence mentioned above.

After recording audio of the girls singing, they were put into make-up and costume and then filmed for the sequence.

One pupil who didn’t get to appear in front of the camera (but gave an incredible vocal performance), was Lilian Price, however, she proved to be a great help behind the scenes too!

Once again, we were also joined on set by students of South and City College Birmingham, with  Sadia Anwar and Shakia Bibi, who have been with us since we started filming, on hair and make-up for both days. As you can see from the above pics, they did a fantastic job!

Below are some behind the scenes photos from our last two days of shooting. A huge thank  you to Ron and Sandra Smith of the Trinity Centre, Lickey Hills, Mavlern St. James school, Monica Price, and all our talented cast and crew – we couldn’t have done it with out you.

We’ll be posting the second trailer on the “Production Hub” very soon – keep an eye on our Facebook page for more details!

Leo Ashizawa and Junichi Kajioka filming pick up shots on our final shoot with main cast.

Leo Ashizawa and Junichi Kajioka filming pick up shots on our final shoot with main cast. Photo credit: Chris Wilmore

Ian and Dominic discuss a scene with Leo and Junichi.

Ian and Dominic discuss a scene with Leo and Junichi.  Photo Credit: Chris Wilmore

Michelle Lam gets ready to film her scene.

Michelle Lam gets ready to film her scene.

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Photo credit: Chris Wilmore

Junichi getting into character. Photo credit: Chris Wilmore

Junichi getting into character. Photo credit: Chris Wilmore

We were joined by little cast members too. Photo credit: Chris Wilmore

We were joined by little cast members too. Photo credit: Chris Wilmore

As the day came to an end, the little cast members had other plans... Photo credit: Chris Wilmore

As the day came to an end, the little cast members had other plans… Photo credit: Chris Wilmore

... As assistant camera operator, Dan soon finds out! Photo credit: Chris Wilmore

… As assistant camera operator, Dan soon finds out! Photo credit: Chris Wilmore

Pupils of Malvern St James school recording audio. Photo credit: Dan Woodward

Pupils of Malvern St James school recording audio. Photo credit: Dan Woodward

The pupils in make-up, ready for their scene. Photo credit: Dan Woodward

The pupils in make-up, ready for their scene. Photo credit: Dan Woodward

The pupils of Malvern St. James with their singing coach, Liz Prophet.

The pupils of Malvern St. James with their singing coach, Liz Prophet.

Lilian, a fellow pupil of Malvern St. James proved to be a great help behind the scenes! Photo credit: Dan Woodward

Lilian, a fellow pupil of Malvern St. James proved to be a great help behind the scenes! Photo credit: Dan Woodward

Shakia Bibi and Sadia Anwar and of South and City College Birmingham were our make-up artists for the last two days of shooting. Photo credit: Dan Woodward

Shakia Bibi and Sadia Anwar of South and City College Birmingham have proved to be an asset to our make-up and hair team since we started filming. Photo credit: Dan Woodward

The end is in sight…

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Takashi Nagai and “Fat Man” come face to face

On Saturday (5th Oct) our cameras will roll on what will be the last drama scenes for “All That Remains”.

The day will mainly consist of “pick-up” shots, that is, shots we feel we need to re-shoot or additional shots we feel a certain scene needs.

We’ll keep you posted about the final day of shooting, but in the meantime, below are a few stills showing how the shots from our previous shoots, which took place through June, July and August are shaping up, courtesy of Pixel Revolution Films.

Midori (Yuna Shin) with Makoto (Nicolas Lue-Fong)

Midori (Yuna Shin) with Makoto (Nicolas Lue-Fong)

Charissa Shearer in "All That Remains"

Charissa Shearer in “All That Remains”

Helen Keller (Susan Jameson) meets Takashi.

Helen Keller (Susan Jameson) meets Takashi.

Takashi Nagai (Leo Ashizawa) in the aftermath of the A-bombing

Takashi Nagai (Leo Ashizawa) in the aftermath of the A-bombing

The grandest cathedral in East Asia

The grandest cathedral in East Asia

The holy man of Nagasaki

The holy man of Nagasaki

Makoto enduring the harshness of life in the aftermath of the war.

Makoto enduring the harshness of life in the aftermath of the war.

The Nagai family share a precious moment.

The Nagai family share a precious moment.

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Takashi and Midori before Urakami cathedral

Takashi and Midori before Urakami cathedral

The older Kayano (Debbie-Mai Gordon) and Makoto (Henry Wu) prepare to face a new future.

The older Kayano (Debbie-Mai Gordon) and Makoto (Henry Wu) prepare to face a new future.

We’ll also be releasing a brand new trailer shortly, please keep an eye on our Facebook page for more news on this, but if you want to be among the first to see it, be sure to “Like” our FB page!

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