9th August

Short clip set on the morning of the day the bomb was dropped (Clip is pre-sound mixed).

68 years ago today at precisely 11.02 am, the 2nd Atomic bomb to be dropped on Japan, detonated over the Urakami district of Nagasaki.  Six days later the war finally came to an end and the American occupation began.

Nagasaki is often referred to as the “Forgotten A-Bomb city”, but one man helped to generate worldwide interest in the event. That man was Dr. Takashi Nagai- mainly confined to a bed, living with his two children in a small hut near ground zero, he wrote extensively about the disaster and the need for world peace.

What Makes Dr. Nagai’s work so unique and extraordinary is that his words are never bitter or angry. His books are deeply spiritual and make for profound reading. This is why when they were published they made such an impact on a war ravished and demoralized country.

He was visited by the Emperor himself  who gave an impassionate speech to the people of Nagasaki during his visit. Western celebrities also made the pilgrimage to see the ‘Holy Man of Nyokodo”.

The Emperor visits Takashi in Nyokodo.

The Emperor (Gakuji Nomoto) visits Takashi (Leo Ashizawa) in Nyokodo.

Emperor speech

The Emperor speaks to the people of Nagasaki. A dignified and stirring performance from Japanese actor Gakuji Nomoto

It is also one year ago today that we shot our first scenes with cast and crew. Yesterday marked the penultimate day of the shoot, and the day was partly dedicated to re-creating the visit of American icon, Helen Keller to Takashi’s hut.

Helen Keller, the first goodwill ambassador from America visits Takashi

Helen Keller, the first goodwill ambassador from America visits Takashi

Helen Keller was a remarkable woman, who overcame blindness and deafness to become a prominent and renowned writer and social activist.  Helen was a much loved and respected figure in Japan and her visit to Japan after the war, was the first official visit from a US goodwill ambassador and very much a state affair

Playing the part of Helen is British actress Susan Jameson. Susan played the part with such grace and eloquence and together with Leo Ashizawa, who is of course playing Takashi; they crafted a truly beautiful and heartfelt scene.

Susan Jameson and Charissa Shearer as Helen Keller and Judith Tyler

Susan Jameson and Charissa Shearer as Helen Keller and Judith Tyler

Yesterday we also worked with upcoming actress, Charissa Shearer. Charissa plays a fictitious character called Judith Tyler, an Australian working for the Allied powers in Japan.

Again, Charissa turned up on set, looking every inch the part; she was great to work with and gave a wonderful, sensitive performance. We see a great future for Charissa as an actress and wish her all the best!

Some behind the scenes shots from our most recent shoots!

Leo Ashizawa as Takashi Nagai. Here Takashi struggles to come to terms with the emotional damage of war.

Leo Ashizawa as Takashi Nagai. Here Takashi struggles to come to terms with the emotional damage of war.  Photo credit: Josh Pitt

Actress Kaya Yuzuki as Matron Hisamatsu

Actress Kaya Yuzuki as Matron Hisamatsu

Ian and Leo go through a scene.

Ian and Leo go through a scene.  Photo credit: Chris Willmore

Dominic shows Anna (Kayano) how to operator a camera!

Dominic shows Anna (Kayano) how to operate a camera!  Photo credit: Chris Willmore

Luke, Ian, Dan, Dominic and Josh shooting a scene on one of our outdoor locations.

From left to right; Luke, Ian, Dan, Dominic and Josh shooting a scene on one of our outdoor locations.  Photo credit: Chris Willmore

Advertisements

The Bells of Nagasaki

The Resurrection scene

On Christmas eve night 1945, from the atom bombed ruins of Urakami Cathedral, the  Angelus bell rang out its message across the wasteland for the first time since that fateful day.

These are the bells that did not ring for weeks or months after the disaster. May there never be a time when they do not ring! May they ring out this message of peace until the morning of the day on which the world ends.” – Takashi Nagai  – The Bells of Nagasaki

This is one of the most important scenes in the film as it represents the ‘story of Nagasaki’ in a few powerful images.

Raising The Bell

It takes faith…

… to raise the bell

Actors, Tanroh Ishida and Mark Roy Tsai get to grips with one of the key scenes in the film, with no props, just an actors best tool, their imagination…

Raising The Bell

Looking down on Urakami…

Christmas Eve

“People say that Nagasaki is famous for persecution and devastation, for it has known much in it’s history. But Nagasaki is not the only place that has experienced both persecution and destruction… The reason Nagasaki is famous, is because it is rebuilt, because it has always survived.” – Takashi Nagai

Once again we would like to give special thanks to Fr. Paul Glynn, Mr and Mrs Yoshida and the people of Nara for their recent generous donations and for their on going support.

We will be uploading a few rough cuts of some of the scenes we’ve been working on very soon to the ‘Production Hub’.

Camera’s roll…

Production Room

Production Room

In the week that marked the 67th anniversary of the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki we officially began production on the live action drama scenes, for “All That Remains” (working title).

Production Trailer

Hair, Wardrobe and Make-Up department, courtesy of F.A.T.T.S (Film, Television and Transport Services).

Newest member of the team, Nigel found himself thrown right into the deep end with helping us to organize what is without question, the largest film shoot- in terms of scope and logistics, we’ve ever attempted, Nigel’s risen to the challenge. We are indeed lucky to have him on the team.

Nigel Davey

Nigel on set “Sorted!”

Weeks of preparation went into organizing the ‘atomic bomb shoot’, which is the first of the drama scenes to be filmed. A derelict industrial site in Birmingham (UK) was turned into a set piece depicting atom bombed Nagasaki. It was a perfect location, a football pitch sized land full of rubble and debris.

The site manager and owner were incredibly generous in allowing us free run of the property for the two days. They handed us the keys to the gates and basically said, “It’s all yours!”

On set

A corner of Oldbury Birmingham UK was turned into atom bombed Nagasaki

It was a great shoot thanks to a great crew; everyone was willing to get their hands dirty- just the sort of crew we like to work with! They all did an outstanding job!

Dirty Job

It’s a dirty Job at times

camera operator

Lilian, the youngest assistant camera operator in the history of film

We had a great Special Make-Up FX team who worked from artwork created by directors Ian & Dominic Higgins and archive photos to re-create the “Walking Ghosts” – the victims. We do not intend to make this film in anyway gratuitous, but want our audience to glimpse the horror of that day, the snapshots that are seared into the memories of the survivors.

We also have to give a special mention to the wonderful supporting cast drafted in from the Local Japanese community. They were patient with us and threw themselves into their parts like true professionals. We captured some beautiful performances that at times were very emotional. One of the cast, a lady named, Kikuko Wall, grew up in Hiroshima just after the war and explained that while she was holding the hand of a girl who was playing  a ‘dying victim’, she was connecting with the past. Tears filled her eyes as our cameras rolled.

On set

Preparing for a take

During a short coffee break, Kikuko presented us with a piece of paper that had the lyrics to a song about Hiroshima and Nagasaki and then gave an impromptu performance for the entire cast and crew. It’s a beautiful song and she sung it beautifully, you can see Kikuko‘s performance in the video below .

“No more Hiroshima No More Nagasaki”

Below are some photos from the two day shoot. All of the photos on this page were taken by local filmmaker Phil Pugh- he took some great shots, enjoy!

Noriko

Kikuko talks about growing up in Hiroshima after the war

Bomb Victim

Ian gets an actor ready for a shot

Ian & Dominic on set

Ian & Dominic and Joel plus assistant on set.

Monica

Wardrobe wiz Monica turned out to be very handy with a pair of scissors

Supporting Cast

Two of the supporting cast- they were still smiling at the end of  two very long days.

Bad Hair

Bad Hair day? Another supporting cast member takes it all in her stride.

Make up

One of the Make-up team at work. They did an excellent job for us.

On set

Filming with a supporting cast member

Nikki

Hair stylist Nikki sets to work on a cast member’s hair

Ian and Joel on set

Ian and Joel on set

Rain coat

Joel and Dominic persevering in the rain

woman-and-baby

The youngest cast member at just 6 months old

Joel and Ian

Joel on camera, while Ian gets ready to shout “action!” on the first of the drama scenes to be filmed…

Three ladies

Three supporting cast members wait patiently for us to set up a shot

Ian and Nigel

Ian and Nigel discuss a shot

Nigel, Dominic and Ian

Nigel, Dominic and Ian share a joke with cast

crew-shot

Some of the cast and crew

Photo credits Phil Pugh (c) Major Oak Entertainment Ltd

The shoot attracted the interest of the local press, so it was a great opportunity to generate some free publicity and good timing as we are about to launch a new crowd funding campaign.

You can read the local story here http://www.stourbridgenews.co.uk

Now it’s back to the storyboard… as we prepare for the greenscreen and studio based shoot in London, which will take place during the first two weeks of September!

Recreating “that day” 67 years on…

Nagasaki 1945

Nagasaki, August 9, 1945

Today is the 67th anniversary of the atomic bombing of Nagasaki. So it’s fitting that in just two days’ time, our cameras will roll on filming the harrowing events of that morning in 1945.

Logistically these sequences will be the most complicated as they will involve working with lots of extras and a team of special make-up effect artists in an area the size of a small football field, covered in rubble and timber, and of course, all at the mercy of the English weather.

Using archive photos and storyboards created by the directors Ian and Dominic Higgins, authenticity is the number one concern.

Aftermath boards

Pre-visual artwork for the  A-bomb aftermath sequence

Aftermath board

Previsual reference art for the aftermath sequence

Aftermath board

Previsual reference art for the aftermath sequence

The newest member of the production team, Nigel Davey has been responsible for finding the extras and the location – and he’s done an amazing job!

“When Nigel called us to tell us that he’d found a location that might be ideal, we had no idea just how ideal it would be!” explains Dominic.

“By the time you see these shots in the film, you’ll never believe it was filmed right in the heart of England,” adds Ian.

A big thank you to both the land owner and his very accommodating site manager Alistair for their incredible generosity in allowing our crew such open access and the freedom to do what we need to, in order to best re-create “that day”.

On location

Dominic, Joel, Ian and Nigel on location – August 9, 2012

The Japanese community in Birmingham have also been amazing in their response to our call for extras, far exceeding our expectations.

We’ll be posting some stills here on this blog, so keep watching this space!

Meanwhile, with the latest draft of the script now completed and the cast selected, we’ve decided to upload a few clips from a selection of the auditions we’ve held over the last few weeks to the “Production Hub” section.  For those of you who have access to this area, you can check those out right now!

“We’ve had such a high calibre of performance during these auditions, we’re really looking forward to working with this cast!” says Ian.

“It’s taken a long time, but we now have a cast who will give us exactly what we were looking for, characters you will believe in, characters you will care about.” concludes Dominic.

Filming for the main drama scenes will take place in the first two weeks of September.

“All That Remains” Promo store now open!

All That Remains Merchandise shop

Another great way to show your support! - Just some of the great promo products we have in store...

Need a new mouse mat? Or how about a new set of mugs? Are you looking to buy someone a gift?

Well, if you answered yes to any of the above questions, you might be interested in knowing that we’ve opened our very own shop and stocked it full with all kinds of products that would make ideal gifts. These are products with one purpose in mind, to promote “All That Remains”.

Once again, every single penny of profit will go into the production of the movie, so could we tempt you with a T-shirt or how about a baseball cap?  After all, there’s nothing like wearing something with pride!

Come in and take a look around today!

http://www.cafepress.co.uk/allthatremains

The Japan experience – Part 1

After an epic 22 hour journey from England to Japan, we took a brief walk around Nagasaki to get a feel for the place, and then had an early night, ready for the busy schedule that awaited us over the next 10 days.

Our first interviews were with Tokusaburo Nagai, the grandson of Dr. Nagai and Fr. Jose Aguilar, an expert on early Christianity in Japan as well as the life of Dr. Nagai. After a look around the small museum dedicated to Dr. Nagai, we set up next door in Nyokodo, the little hut where Dr. Nagai spent the last few years of his life.

Nyokodo today– This is the tiny hut where Dr. Nagai and his two children lived after the atomic bombing.

Takashi in Nyokodo

Takashi Nagai at work in Nyokodo. His body is weak, but his mind and spirit are strong. Perhaps his most remarkable achievement is the sheer volume of books, articles and drawings he produced while confined to a bed.

After so many months researching, it was very strange to be actually sitting in his house, but in order for us to be able to faithfully recreate his story on film; the connection we felt walking in his footsteps was vital.

Our next interview was with Sister Kataoka, a historian with a personal connection to Dr. Nagai – her father was one of his doctors. She came to the interview with mountains of research material to show us. It was a fascinating hour or so.

Next on our schedule was an interview with Archbishop Takami. After the interview, the Archbishop gave us a guided tour of the rebuilt Cathedral. In the shadow of the great cathedral stand several atom bombed scarred statues, silent witnesses to an event that today, we can’t really imagine.

Director Dominic Higgins and producer Joel Fletcher talk with Archbishop Takami on their way to visiting the rebuilt cathedral in Urakami.

The rebuilt Urakami cathedral towers majestically above the trees.

We had an earlier than usual start the next day because we had an 8 hour journey from Nagasaki to Nara ahead of us, where we were to meet Fr. Paul Glynn, author of “A Song For Nagasaki”.

We discovered just before leaving for Japan that Nara was celebrating its 1300th anniversary – as the number 13 played such an important part in our previous film, Finding Fatima, we took this as a good omen.

It turned out that our brief stay in Nara would be amongst the most treasured highlights of our entire trip to Japan.

We’ve had many wonderful experiences working on our previous films, but nothing compares to the welcome we received in Nara. On our first night we had a welcome dinner of Traditional Japanese food with Fr. Glynn and the men of “The Glynn club” washed down with Japanese beer and Sake. Unfortunately we had to cut the night a little short as we had to conduct one of our main interviews – with Fr. Glynn!

Fr. Paul Glynn.

Fr. Paul Glynn, author of “A Song For Nagasaki”.

The next morning we were up bright and early to film the Sunday mass, where many of the parishioners had agreed to dress in traditional Kimonos, and in the case of the women, wearing white veils also.

I don’t think any of us has ever heard hymns sung in such perfect harmony as we did in that mass in Nara. There is something very special and pure about the faith of the Japanese Christians we’ve come across in our research, a deep sincerity, which is both humbling and inspiring at the same time, and this is what we witnessed during that mass.

Fr. Paul Glynn gives communion. Note the beautiful headdresses worn by the women.

During the service, Mrs Okada, a local soprano sung “The Bells of Nagasaki” – the theme song to the original 1950 movie based on the life of Dr. Nagai. The performance was stunning and this was among the most emotional moments of our trip.

Soprano Yumiko Okada gives a powerful rendition of “The Bells of Nagasaki”.

We definitely wasn’t expecting what came at the end of the service. First Mrs. Yoshida, who, along with her husband Andy and Fr. Glynn, had helped arrange everything for our trip to Nara, performed a special welcome dance for us, and then we were asked to stand in front of the altar where we were presented with so many wonderful gifts, including an old Noh play mask (Noh is an ancient Japanese form of theatre).

One of the many gifts we received from the people of Nara was this beautiful Noh mask.

Speaking on behalf of Major Oak Entertainment, director Ian Higgins addressed the parishioners, “We came to Japan to tell the story of one man, Dr. Nagai, but now, we realise this is the story of everyone in this church, of every Japanese Christian who ever lived. It is a story of a faith that survived against the odds, a faith that stands as an example to the rest of the world.”

Below Mrs Yoshida performs the traditional dance.

At the end of service we made a special recording of Mrs Okada singing “The Bells of Nagasaki”, for use in our film. We had a farewell lunch with Fr. Glynn and several of the parishioners before a quick shopping spree for traditional Kimonos, to be used as costumes in the movie. Mrs Yoshida kindly offered to come with us (we would have been lost without her!)

We were very sad to leave Nara so soon – but we had a very demanding and tight schedule, so we set off on another 8 hour journey back to Nagasaki.

Director Ian Higgins stands before a monument honoring the memory of the “Hidden Christians” of Nagasaki.

Major Oak meets the Mighty Oak: In Nagasaki's Glover garden, we found a special Oak tree that had been planted to commemorate Nagasaki City’s participation in the UK-Japan Green Alliance 2002 to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Anglo/Japanese Alliance. Director Dominic Higgins reads the inscription which states that the tree symbolizes strength, loyalty and longevity.

The 26 Martyrs – an exercise in character building.

Character design

A digital actor comes to life.

For the visual style of the animated short, “26 Martyrs”, we wanted to take a stylized approach, but we wanted it to have the look and feel of traditional Japanese art. The final designs also incorporated a strong element of contemporary Japanese art inspired by Anime and Magna graphic novels.

Character design was something we spent a lot of time developing, being very conscious that we were telling the story of men that have become icons to many around the world.

Character building

Character building – the faces of each character are “sculpted” and shaped using specialised software.

While exploring different ideas for the character design, directors Ian and Dominic Higgins were adamant about one thing, “for the character designs for 26 Martyrs, it’s important that the personalities are visible in the faces of the characters. We want memorable faces”.

View the trailer for “26 Martyrs” below.

The making of 26 Martyrs.

“26 Martyrs” is a sort of prequel to “All That Remains” in that it illustrates the Christian heritage of Nagasaki and is one of the stories that inspired Dr. Nagai.

As work on the animated short  draws to a close, we’re busy preparing a promotional trailer! In the meantime though, we thought we’d post a link to this behind the scenes glimpse from the blog of directors Ian and Dominic Higgins.

The making of the 26 Martyrs

Life through a digital lens – a personal perspective on the digital revolution: June 2011.

The movie, the blog.


Welcome to the place where we’ll be posting updates and news on our progress in the making of “All That Remains”, the story of Dr. Takashi Nagai. Here we’ll talk about our ideas, the difficulties we face in telling such an ambitious story, the creative decisions that we make, and give plenty of peeks behind the scenes.

Also, here’s the place to give us some feedback on the ideas, concepts, clips etc that we post, although we have a strong idea of how we will tell the story, we believe that an open mind is the most creative.

Don’t forget – any posts that you like, share them via Facebook, Twitter or your own blog sites!