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.

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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 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!

More behind-the-scenes from our last shoot

Cast and crew getting ready to shoot a scene

Cast and crew getting ready to shoot a scene

Before locking ourselves away for a couple of weeks to work on editing footage that now amounts to most of the film, just time to post some more behind-the-scenes photos from last week’s shoot.

It was a great day filming. On the cast front, alongside Leo, Kaya Yuzuki returned to play Matron Hisamatsu, and, as we mentioned in our last blog, we had two new cast members; up and coming actress Charissa Shearer (watch out for her!) and we were honored to have the very talented character actresses Susan Jameson, who has been a regular face in British drama for many years, to play the part of Helen Keller.

On the crew front, South and City College Birmingham students proved to be a great asset on set once again with hair and make-up students Tania Ashworth and Samantha Wilson doing a fantastic job for us!

Over the next few weeks, we’ll also be preparing for our last day of filming which will take place in September – so watch this space for more info!

Most of the wonderful photos below are courtesy of fellow local film-maker Phil Pugh. Phil is also completing filming on his own feature film, much of which was shot on a custom built set- just down the road from our own!

If, like us, you are a fan of true independent and original films, then you might want to check out Phil’s film here!

Birmingham South and City student Tania Ashworth applying make-up to Leo Ashizawa

South and City college Birmingham student Tania Ashworth applying make-up to Leo Ashizawa (Takashi Nagai)

Birmingham South and City student Sam Wilson working on Charissa's period hair style

Fellow South and City college Birmingham student Sam Wilson working on Charissa’s period hair style

Tania doing the finishing touches to the hair!

Tania doing the finishing touches to the hair!

Producer Nigel Davey shares a joke with Charissa Shearer, Susan Jameson and costume ace Monica Price

Producer Nigel Davey shares a joke with Charissa Shearer, Susan Jameson and costume ace Monica Price

Leo and Charissa relaxing between takes

Leo and Charissa relaxing between takes

Director Ian Higgins discussing a scene with Charissa Shearer

Ian discussing a scene with Charissa and Leo

Veteran actress Susan Jameson gets into character with Charissa Shearer

Susan Jameson gets into character with Charissa Shearer

Susan with Leo, rehearsing the moment Helen Keller meets Dr. Nagai

Susan with Leo, rehearsing the moment Helen Keller meets Dr. Nagai

Charissa and Leo just before a take

Charissa and Leo waiting to film a scene

Monica, Tania and Leo with freshly shaved head!

Monica, Tania and Leo with freshly shaved head!

Producer Nigel Davey with wardrobe ace Monica

Producer Nigel Davey with wardrobe ace Monica

Susan and Charissa about to go for a take

Susan and Charissa about to go for a take

Leo having a spot of make-up retouching!

Leo having a spot of make-up retouching!

Our two assistant camera  men, Josh and Dan step in front of the camera to act as body doubles for us!

Our two assistant camera men, Josh and Dan step in front of the camera to act as body doubles for us!

Director Dominic Higgins setting up his camera while Josh sets up another angle

Dominic setting up his camera while Josh sets up for another angle. Photo credit: Chris Willmore

Kaya Yuzuki and Leo about to film a scene

Kaya Yuzuki and Leo about to film a scene. Photo credit: Dan Woodward

Leo with Steve Green on clapper duties

Leo with Stephen Green on clapper duties. Photo credit: Dan Woodward

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

Location, location, location…

Flag of hope

Actor Andrew Futaishi raising a symbol of hope in the aftermath of the atom bomb.

These last two weeks we’ve been getting more scenes in the bag and with filming both in the green-screen studio and at various locations; it’s been our busiest and most grueling shoot yet.

Most of the time on location meant putting up with the bitter cold, wind and rain (despite it being almost summer!) we got some great shots though.  As always, our cast and crew were brilliant, running up and down mounds of rubble and dirt, and in the case of the actors, often dressed only in torn rags!

With the focus on the immediate aftermath of the bombing, our chief make-up artist Vera Fenlon was, once again, ably assisted by students from Birmingham South and City College.

“ We’ve just finished filming some of the most dramatic scenes in the entire movie,” explains co-director Ian Higgins, “and the shots couldn’t have come out any better.”

“The locations were perfect, even the weather, horrible and cold though it was, actually served to enhance the scenes,” adds co-director Dominic Higgins. “There was one scene for example, where Leo (Takashi Nagai) finds his wife’s melted rosary in the burned out remains of their house and he’s sitting there, holding the rosary in his hands crying, and suddenly it starts to rain, we all got soaked, but it looked amazing and the timing was perfect, no one cared about how wet and cold we were!”

In the studio, we also shot the first scenes set in “Nyokodo” – the tiny hut in Nagasaki that Takashi Nagai spent the remaining years of his life, with his family, after the atom bombing. For these scenes we re-created the interior of the hut in the corner of our green-screen studio.

“It was a bit strange to sit with Leo in the Nyokodo set,” says Ian, “having sat in the real Nyokodo with Takashi’s grandson, it felt a bit unreal to be now sitting in a re-created version with our Takashi. But it looks great and it’s really nice not to have to worry about adding the background later!”

The next couple of weeks will be editing, grading and FX work on these new scenes and preparation for what will be the final 6 days of filming which will take place in June.

Special thanks to Coppers Farm for allowing us to film on their land!

Medical Team on location

Medical Team on location – we raised a couple of eyebrows on this location shoot!  (Picture credit: Monica Price)

Keeping warm

Actress Kimberley Wong keeping warm between takes.  (Picture credit: Chris Willmore)

On location

Hair stylist Nikki giving Leo some support before filming a scene.  (Picture credit: Chris Willmore)

Last minute direction before a take

Last minute direction before a take.  The cast braved freezing weather!   (Picture credit: Stephen Green)

Chief Make-up artist Vera keeps a close on eye on her work.

Chief Make-up artist Vera keeps a close on eye on her work.  (Picture credit: Stephen Green)

Lighting up "Nyokodo"

Lighting up “Nyokodo” (Picture credit: Chris Willmore)

Co-director Ian Higgins and Leo Ashizawa check an archive photo of Dr Nagai in Nyokodo before going for a take.

Co-director Ian Higgins and Leo Ashizawa check an archive photo of Dr Nagai in Nyokodo before going for a take.

Leo in Nyokodo

Leo Ashizawa in Nyokodo.

Leo getting into character

Leo getting into character (with false belly) while Wardrobe wiz Monica watches on. (Picture credit: Chris Willmore).

Below are some graded stills from the recent shoot…

Still 2

Still 1

Still 3

Fat Man is conceived – video clip

Below is the scene where Prof. Peierls writes up the memorandum which lays out the details necessary to construct a super bomb. This information would lead to the building of Fat Man, the atom bomb which destroyed Nagasaki.

The clip is pre-sound mixed

Our Indiegogo campaign is going great, thanks to everyone who has so generously contributed! Check it out by clicking the link below!

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Nagasaki No Kane – A song for Nagasaki and a thank you.

As a thank you to all those who have been so generous in their donations to the production costs of All That Remains so far, we’d thought we’d share this very special memory from our trip to Japan with you.

When visiting Fr. Paul Glynn, author of “A Song For Nagasaki” in Nara, to interview him for our movie, we did not expect to get such a fantastic welcome, a welcome which included a wonderful meal (washed down with sake) and the above performance by Opera singer Yumiko Okada of the song “Nagasaki No Kane” (The Bells of Nagasaki) which was the theme song for the 1949 movie on Dr. Nagai. We think you’ll agree, it’s a very beautiful and powerful song and a stunning performance by Mrs Okada.

Remember every penny really does go a long way to helping us reach the finishing post! If you have a few dollars to spare and fancy being a part of this amazing project click the link below!

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Family moments…

Midori and Noboru

A cold reception –  Midori visits Takashi’s father.

As April kicks off, we get back to scheduling and preparing to shoot more scenes. This month the focus is on the aftermath of the A-bomb – so there are a lot of grueling days ahead.

During March we concentrated mainly on filming all the “Nagai family” scenes before the Atom bombing, including scenes between Takashi and his father, Noburu.

Noburu was a descendent of a Samurai and the first of the Nagai family to study and practice Western medicine techniques. He was a very influential figure for the young Takashi and encouraged his son to follow in his footsteps by becoming a doctor.

When Takashi converted to Christianity, Noburu however proved to be a staunch traditionalist and was vehemently against it. In fact, Takashi’s decision to convert caused a serious rift between father and son. A rift that was eventually mended by Midori.

Playing the part of Noburu is David Yip, star of the cult 80’s TV show, “The Chinese Detective”. It was a great honour for us to have David on board, and directors Ian and Dominic Higgins were very excited to get the chance to work with him.

“David was the first Asian actor in England to be given a main starring role in a prime time TV show, back in 1981”, explains Dominic, “and our film is also breaking new ground, by being the first Western movie to deal directly with the atomic bombing of Japan, so he seemed a prefect to choice for such an important role.”

“In fact, David remains the only South East Asian actor to have been given the lead role in a British drama,” adds Ian, “so I do hope that our film will now also shine a huge spotlight on the great talent this over looked sector of the acting community has to offer”.

David Yip talks to Ian & Dominic

David Yip talks to Ian & Dominic with producer Nigel Davey

Our Chief Make-up artist Vera Fenlon did a terrific job in helping David ‘step into the character’ of a stern Japanese father. “As a Chinese actor, I was a bit concerned about playing the part of a traditional Japanese father,” Says David, “but after Vera had finished her work, and I looked in the mirror, I saw a Japanese man staring back at me!”.

David Yip in All That Remains

Aided by Make-up artist Vera Fenlon, Chinese actor David Yip plays a Japanese father.

Yuna Shin as Midori Nagai

Yuna Shin as Midori Nagai

David Yip in All That Remains

David Yip in All That Remains

For those of you with access to the “Production Hub”, we’ve uploaded a very special clip that illustrates what a truly remarkable woman Midori Nagai was.