Greenscreen shoot – Week 1

The first phase of the filming is now complete, and many key scenes from the first half of the script are now in the bag.

We still have a lot of work ahead of us, but it’s a good time to look back and see just how far we’ve come with this project.

It’s been two years of hard, hard slog- research, research and more research, endless script rewrites, an outpour of storyboards and production artwork, countless hours spent fund raising…   Long days and sleepless nights, but we’ve been driven by a passion to make this happen.

Script

Most of the filming is now taking place in a location in Birmingham. We were lucky to find a perfect location for our shoot. Everything we need is literally on one site, studio space for our greensceen set-up, catering facilities,  a coffee and tea area for cast and crew to relax and even a hotel to put up the cast members who were sleeping over. And with the beautiful Lickey Hills on our doorstep, what more could we ask for?

For most of the cast this is their first real experience of working with greenscreen, which brings new challenges for them and an exciting vibe to the set.

Greenscreen

Getting ready for a take

We’d like to give special thanks here to, Tomasina Scott, Kikuko Wall and Sheila and Bill Evans.

Sheila and Bill have been amazing to us during our shoot, when they haven’t been preparing wonderful food for the cast and crew, they’ve been coming to rescue in the props department!

On the last day of this part of the shoot, our cast and crew had the choice of enjoying authentic Japanese cuisine, courtesy of a local Japanese lady, Tomasina Scott. Interestingly we learnt that Tomasina grew up in Hiroshima and that her mother was there the day the first bomb was dropped. A big thank you to Tomasina for spending the day with us and for preparing all that delicious food!

Once again we have to thank, Kikuko, a very special lady, who came all the way from Telford to bring us a suitcase full of beautiful Kimono’s for us to use on set.

From left to right – Kikuko, Sheila, Yuna, Meg and Tomasina

The second phase of filming, which will concentrate mainly on scenes after the bombing, will take place in late October/early November.

In the meantime though, there’s plenty of work to do with the footage we’ve now got, as most of it has been shot in a greenscreen studio, meaning the sets and locations have to be added, and then there is the “grading” process – the part where we give the film its unique look. We’ve added a few stills of shots we’ve worked on below, to illustrate the work that goes into creating the final images you’ll see on screen.

close-takashi

Below are some stills from our first week’s shoot, enjoy! All behind the scenes photos by Phil Pugh.

Nicholas

Nicholas Lu-Fong plays Makoto Nagai

Nicholas gets into the part with a new haircut.

Nicholas gets into the part with a new haircut

Leo (Takashi), Nicholas (Makoto), and Yuna (Midori).

Leo (Takashi), Nicholas (Makoto), and Yuna (Midori)

Wardrobe

Wardrobe department

Actress Yuriri Naka undergoes  a two hour make-up session

Actress Yuriri Naka undergoes a two hour make-up session to play an atom bomb scared victim

Meg and Leo

Actress Meg Kubota and lead actor Leo Ashizawa enjoy a coffee and a chat

Dinner

Dinner, East meets West. A local Japanese lady brought a Japanese banquet to the set. Special thanks also to Sheila and Bill Evans for the splendid food they made for us on the day

Ian and Leo

Ian and Leo discuss Character

CAMERAMAN_SMALL

Nicholas is proving to be a natural in front and behind the camera

Painting light

Dominic painting with Light

Cast and crew

Directors Ian & Dominic show cast and crew some of the shots they’ve been working on

Two crew members stand in for our cast as we set up a shot.

Two crew members stand in for our cast as we set up a shot

Cast and crew

Cast and crew

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Meet the cast

Meet Takashi and Midori

With the first few days of filming now complete, we thought it was time to introduce you to some of the main cast.

Leo Ashizawa is Dr. Takashi Nagai

Leo Ashizawa is Dr. Takashi Nagai

Leo Ashizawa is Dr. Takashi Nagai. Leo is an actor with great screen presence and charisma. Two qualities that help make him so well suited to the role of Takashi.

Check out Leo’s personal website here.

Yuna is Midori Nagai

Yuna Shin is Midori Nagai

Yuna Shin is Midori Nagai. From her first audition, Yuna seemed to be the perfect choice for the role of Takahi’s faithful wife, Midori. Yuna brings a great emotional depth to the role.

Check out Yuna’s website here.

Meg Kubota is Tsumo Moriyama

Meg Kubota is Tsumo Moriyama

Meg Kubota is Tsumo Moriyama. Meg is a very experienced actress who brings a great a presence to her role as Midori’s watchful mother. She is an actress who is capable of producing beautiful subtle performances.

Dai Tabuchi is Sadakichi Moriyama

Dai Tabuchi is Sadakichi Moriyama

Dai Tabuchi is Sadakichi Moriyama. From the moment we first saw Dai perform at the audition, we knew he would be perfect for the role of Midori’s father, a man who exudes warmth, compassion and sensitivity.

Juni Chi is prof. Suetsugu

Junichi Kajioka is prof. Suetsugu

Junichi Kajioka is Professor Suetsugu. Junichi is an actor with lots of experience under his belt, having starred in the recent Chinese blockbusters City of Life and Death and Flowers of War, with Christian Bale (check out directors Ian and Dominic Higgins’ review of City of Life and Death here). With his tireless enthusiasm, he was not only great fun to have on set; he also created a very memorable professor Suetsugu on camera.

We were also very lucky to be able to have the chance to work with up coming actor Tanroh Ishida who, having not long finished work on a new Keanu Reeves movie and a Cameron Diaz/Collin Firth vehicle, is just about to head off to Hollywood yet again, to test for another major new feature film.

There are many more great actors involved in this production, of course, and we’ll be introducing those in a future blog – so be sure to stay tuned!

With a filming schedule that will run into November, there’s a lot of work ahead, but directors Ian & Dominic Higgins are very excited with how things are shaping up. “We’ve captured some great performances so far and we’re looking forward to sitting down and watching back over it all, while we prepare the next shoot”, explains Dominic.

“We now know for sure we have the right cast for the parts, and look forward to the rest of the filming”, adds Ian.