26 Martyrs: pre-order your copy now!

Major Oak Ent & Pixel Revolution Films:

Before Takashi Nagai, there were the 26 Martyrs…

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26 Martyrs 26 Martyrs – Animated short

Our animated short 26 Martyrs is now available for pre-order online, via VOD (video on demand) over at Reelhouse– an online video distribution platform for independent film-makers.

26 Martyrs tells the story of how 26 men and boys were condemned to be crucified in Nagasaki by Toyotomi Hideyoshi, the absolute ruler of Japan in 1597.

Fr. Paul Glynn, author of A Song For Nagasaki, had this to say about our film, “An heroic saga that stirs hearts”.

The short is a kind of prequel to our feature project, All That Remains, as the story of the martyrs had a profound effect on our main character, Takashi Nagai.

26 Martyrs 26 Martyrs

VOD has been an area we have been keen to explore for some time and we’re excited to now finally have the chance, so head over to our corner at Reelhouse and check it out…

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All That Remains Cast Interview: Meg Kubota

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Meg Kubota

Meg Kubota plays Tsumo Moriyama, the mother of Dr Nagai’s wife, Midori. After the atomic bombing which claimed the life of Midori, Tsumo lived with Dr Nagai in his tiny wooden hut, Nyokodo, where she became a mother for their children and a carer for the bed-ridden Dr. Nagai. In her performance, London based actress, Meg Kubota captures the quiet strength and dignity of a woman who survived the unthinkable. Below she shares some of her thoughts and her approach to the role…

Can you tell us a little bit about your background?

I am a Japanese actress based in the UK and I have been working as an actress in this country for a very long time now. I trained at Arts Educational Drama School in London and since leaving, I have been very fortunate to work in theatre, film, television and radio drama. I have also been the voice of characters in…

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All That Remains Cast Interview: Yuna Shin

Major Oak Ent & Pixel Revolution Films:

Merry Christmas! Here’s a great interview with our lead actress!

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Yuna Shin

Midori Nagai, the wife and confident of Dr. Nagai was the epitome of the Japanese expression “graceful bamboo” – gentle yet filled with an incredible inner strength. Such an important role required careful and considerate casting. We found the perfect fit in London based actress, Yuna Shin – who, from her very first audition captured Midori’s essence in a performance of remarkable depth.

Below is a very interesting interview…

Can you tell us a little bit about your background?

I graduated from Drama Studio London in 2010 so I have been acting professionally for 4 full years now. Before that, I did an MA in marketing communications and worked for an investment company to save the tuition fee for a drama school.

Looking back, I could have gone to drama school straight away rather than doing the MA, which may have saved time and money. But it was valuable because…

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A morning interview with Dr. Nagai

Dr Nagai and his children in Nyokodo - note all the parcels!!

Dr Nagai and his children in Nyokodo – note all the parcels!!

One of the most fascinating pieces of archive material we came across when researching the story of Dr. Nagai was a radio interview with him, recorded five years after the bombing.

Speaking from his bedside in Nyokodo, the tiny wooden hut he occupied with his two children, Dr. Nagai thanks his children for their unwavering support, and expresses indignation about the perpetual warfare in the world. The Korean War broke out in June 1950.

Poignantly, he also speaks of his determination to keep on writing for the cause of world peace.

Perhaps though, the most remarkable thing of all is how clearly the warmth and humour that made him so well loved is evident, even to those who don’t speak Japanese.

The interview is available to listen to at the NHK (Japan Broadcasting Corporation) website.

All That Remains production update

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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!

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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…

still-21

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.

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