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…

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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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From design to final shot – a look at the special effects.

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Dream sequence in ‘All That Remains’ where Takashi Nagai comes face to face with the atom bomb that destroyed Nagasaki.

These last couple of weeks, our main focus in the edit room has been FX work – turning concept art into convincing special effect shots and recreating iconic scenes from archive photos.

Most of the “digital set pieces” are a mix of photographic, live action and computer generated 3D elements.

For the dream sequence pictured at the top of this post, a 3D model of “Fat Man” – the atomic bomb dropped on Nagasaki was rendered to match the exact angle and lighting of the shot. Below, the Fat Man model is prepared for a final render.

A 3D model of "Fat Man"

All the elements for each shot were composited in PhotoShop, the shots were then completed in Adobe After Effects (an industry standard visual effects software) for coloring and final blending of all the elements.

For the shot illustrated above, we worked from an archive photo and built up the atom bombed landscape using a mixture of photographic material and 3D renders. Actor Leo Ashizawa was filmed in the greenscreen studio and superimposed into the scene to recreate an iconic photo of Dr. Nagai.

The above post was originally published on Life Through a Digital Lens .

 As we push on with the final leg of the filming, we’ve decided to launch another crowd funding campaign on Indiegogo, to help cover the costs of getting the last few scenes in the bag.

As we always say, every dollar/pound really goes a long way, so if you can spare a few bob and fancy seeing your name included in the final credits, why not head over to Indiegogo now?

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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.

War – up close and personal

surgeon

As we prepare for our next shoot in Mid-March, the scenes we shot in early February are taking shape in our edit suite. The main focus of the February shoot was Takashi Nagai’s personal experiences of war during his service in the second Sino-Japanese War.

Takashi Nagai was called for military service in February 1933. Japan and China had been unofficially at war since 1931. Takashi was sent to China as a medical officer in the 11th Hiroshima Infantry Regiment. He would actually serve two tours of duty in China, the second being in 1937 when the unofficial war finally became official.

Takashi’s personal experiences of the horrors and brutality of war had a profound effect on him and influenced him greatly, so for directors Ian & Dominic Higgins it was important to portray at least some of his experiences in China.

“There’s no doubt that Takashi returned from his first tour of duty traumatised but also far more spiritual”, says Dominic.

“Up until his time in China, he was still the scientist exploring the possibility of life after death and religion through the clinical microscope of science, war changed that”, adds Ian.

The war scenes required the usual attention to detail and planning the directors insist on before cameras roll, which meant storyboarding, pre-visual art and shot lists…

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During the filming of the war scenes, the directors have kept their cameras focused on the human cost of war and our make-up artists Stephanie Bentham and Jenny Gillings, aided by Birmingham’s South and City college students Donna Woodman and Dolly Karoni, did a fantastic job helping us to bring a sense of reality to the scenes.

Below are some stills from the China war sequences…

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We’ll be posting an exclusive preview of a very special scene on the Production Hub page soon!

All That Remains Trailer

Watch the first official trailer of All That Remains.

Check out director’s Ian and Dominic Higgins’ blog for their commentary on the trailer.

Coming soon… a special extended preview.

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Wasting no time at all, directors Ian and Dominic Higgins have been busy at work in the editing room since the New Year began, cutting a “special extended preview” of All That Remains.

“We’re very excited with how this film is shaping up and we really wanted to let everyone who has supported us and everyone who has contributed to the making of this film up until now, see for themselves, the results of all the hard work so far”, says Dominic.

“Although we have a lot of work ahead and plenty more scenes to shoot, the trailer will give a really good impression of the scale of this project and the vision behind the scale,” adds Ian.

The trailer will premiere in 9 days’ time on our official Facebook page, but if you have access to our Production Hub, you can watch it right now!

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’.

More auditions and more greenscreen…

Last Monday was a busy day – what with holding auditions for the role of Kayano (Dr. Nagai’s daughter and the young Takashi) and the filming of key scenes from the opening sequences!

It was a great day though, well worth every minute and we’ll be announcing our casting decisions very soon. In the meantime, a big thank you to all the parents who brought their children to the auditions.

Also another thank you to our wonderful costume assistant/adviser Kikuko Wall whose help was invaluable, and to Bill Evans, who went the extra mile for us, quite literally!

Actress Theresa Nguyen and hair stylist Jenny Gillings

Actress Theresa Nguyen and hair stylist Jenny Gillings

Japanese actress Kyoko Morita plays Tsune Nagai.

Japanese actress Kyoko Morita plays Tsune Nagai, the mother of Takashi.

Actress Kyoko Morita kindly postponed a trip to Japan for a week so she would be available for our shoot. Not only did she look great in the part – she gave a wonderful performance as Tsune Nagai, the mother of Takashi.

Check out Kyoko’s website here.

Actress Ava Lyn Koh with Kyoko Morita preparing for a scene

Actress Ava Lyn Koh with Kyoko Morita preparing for a scene

The next big shoot will be the “Cathedral scene” on 10th November, which will be filmed at a location in Birmingham. “We’ve found the perfect place for the scene,” explains Ian, “a beautiful church that really has the grand look of a cathedral inside and looks simply stunning on camera”. “We just need to fill it out with as many people as we can”, adds Dominic.

So, once again, we’re looking for members of the Japanese community to appear as extras.  All ages are welcome, both male and female. If you’re interested in doing something a little different on Saturday 10th November, why not come along – it’ll be a fun day for sure! For further details please contact Nigel at daveyfilms@aol.com.

Here’s a video showing some before and after shots from the greenscreen scenes we’ve filmed so far.

Below are a few more stills too showing how the footage we’ve shot so far is shaping up…

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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.

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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

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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