My Films

Monday, January 29, 2007

Film: View from the Bridge

Hello, my friends. Here is an update on a documentary I worked on last year. I'm so happy to see the progress this film has made. I feelso blessed to have been able to work on this film that examines what happens after the worlds attention leaves a place of conflict. I'll keep you updated on any screenings in your neighborhood, please check out the website and help this film be seen around the world! xo, Megumi

View from the Bridge will premiere on January 16 at 7PM (CET) at the Kosovo National Theater in Pristina, Kosovo.

(Directed by Laura Bialis and John Ealer)
What happens after the bombs stop falling?
When news cameras turn away?
When America changes channels, or just loses interest?
In 1999, before Iraq and Afghanistan, the United States and NATO went to war in Kosovo in an unprecedented exercise of military might to end ethnic violence.
Six years after the bombs stopped falling, we returned to Kosovo to see if a society, once riven by ethnic division, can build a lasting peace.
In the scars and the tears, in the nightmares and the dreams of the Kosovars, we trace a portrait of a remarkable people trying to build a future while inextricably bound to the past. Sometimes hopeful, sometimes tragic, yet always unnervingly honest, the struggle to make peace in Kosovo, captured eloquently in VIEW FROM THE BRIDGE, provides a remarkable window into the profound human impact of the politics of hate.

Sunday, January 28, 2007

My favorite time of the year

Need I say anything more? this campaign is so dear to me. In fact, it maybe where my heart truly is.

Instead of hearing about the problems that we have when it comes to conflict and violence, the Department of Peace is about creating solutions.

I'm sad that I won't be able to attend this year, but I know that I will be involved passionately soon enough!

If you are even a little curious, this conference in 2003 changed my life, so register!!

Thursday, January 18, 2007

The Quakers!

Since I began my real peace studies education nearly four years ago, I have been fascinated by the world’s most famous pacifist group--the Quakers or more formally the Religious Society of Friends. They are known for being witnesses to peace, consciences objectors, active in humanitarian work, and lobbying on behalf of the peace voter (The American Friends Service Committee) Well, I've heard little tid bits here and there over the years about what they do when they congregate but I wanted to experience their service first hand. Well, Tokyo has its own Quakers society and so I decided to join them this past Sunday.

What I had heard about the Quakers was that they sit in a circle in a "home"(no churches here), that there is no minister or pastor or priest conducting the service, and for the most part they sit in silence until Spirit moves them to speak. Well, I was most curious as to what they say when spirit moves them and how it relates to their values of pacifism and non-violent action.

Sure enough, the service room was set up in order for people to sit around in a circle. I had imagined that people would sit in chairs in a single circle however at this "home" regular church pews were lined in rows in circular fashion around a small center table. People sat wherever they felt like ie. Only one person at in the inner most circle. There were more pews than people attending that day, so people sat around comfortably.

As I entered, I sat down in silence (as so the website I researched told me to.) It was perhaps 20 minutes before anyone was moved to speak. Then, one man did and asked that we sing a song. Everyone stood up pulled out their religious song book and sang the song once then sat down in silence again. Shortly after, a man stood up and spoke. I had always wondered what exactly they say when spirit speaks through them. Do they talk about god? Do they talk about Christ? Do they talk about peace? Well, this man talked about his concern for polar bears and how global warming was causing their extinction. Another woman spoke about her typical American son-in-law and how their visit to the Hiroshima peace memorial affected him. A few more people spoke; someone read a passage from the bible, another person talked of a charity project they worked on. The service lasted for an hour or so.

I have to say it’s really moving to meet with people who can talk about global warming or their concern for Palestinian children during their religious service. I mean really when was the last time you attended a church service (esp. in the Christian faith) where people were consciously concerned about the world and were taking action about living out teachings of love and kinship!? Well, I give the Quakers my two thumbs up!

Next, Baha’i here I come!

Thursday, January 11, 2007

2007 Yeah!

Happy New Year! I hope 2007 is off to a rockin' start for you.
So far 2007 has been an amazing year.
After celebrating the new year in the traditional Japanese way of Hatsumode (visiting a shinto shrine), I traveled to Kyoto for a mini self-retreat. I spent five days meditating, contemplating, journal writing, hiking, walking and intention setting. What a wonderful treat it was for me! I feel clear and excited about the next 300+ days of this year and the endless possibilities of amazing experiences it holds.

First things first. For a couple of years now, I have wanted to study with the Vietnamese Buddhist Monk Thich Nhat Han. I had always envisioned that I would spend time at his Plum village monastery in France and I had decided to do so this spring break. Well, upon checking the website I discovered that Thay (as he is affectionately called) will be traveling to Vietnam this spring to heal the last wounds of the war. I have decided to join in for three weeks while he is there. When I visited Vietnam on Peace Boat, I was deeply moved when I met third-generation children affected by Agent Orange. As an American, I feel responsible for my countries actions and want to help heal the wounds between the two countries. So, this trip feel like a really good way to dot that. I feel incredibly blessed to have this opportunity. I am planning to travel to Vietnam from March 10 to April 9th.

Well, this is just the beginning of the many wonderful things coming to me this year. Woo hoo!

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

On Apathy

I have been particularly interested in the dilemma of apathy and what is needed to move people out of it. When I worked for California Peace Action , I knocked on 40 plus doors a night and I would always meet a handful of liberals who were consumed by it.
Anyways, I came across this at Post Secret.

I agree with this post secret but I also believe that we can overcome apathy. It is reminding people of the power that they have individually to make a difference and the rippling effect of many coming together. Anyways, I also came across Anti-Apathy, a UK org working to create awareness of how we can all make a difference.

What are your thoughts on apathy?

Monday, January 01, 2007

Media Activism and Film Fests

I recently hooked up with a Japanese youth media activist group in Tokyo. They held an all-day screening of media activist films a couple of weeks ago and I was able to share my short films and talk about media activism in the US. While I was onboard Peace Boat, one of my friends subtitled three of my films in Japanese so now I can share my work more widely while I'm here in Japan. I'm hoping to start collaborating with them on different projects in the new year. I'm starting to realize, I am some what of an expert on grassroots campaigning, activism and media-activism. Who knew!

Also, I just got confirmation of another screening of my film Peace Begins with Me and You at a film festival in Los Angeles this February. It will be screened at the Conscious Life Expo, a "yearly 'gathering of the tribes' allows the entire spiritual and progressive community in southern California to come together to share, network, learn and celebrate the emergence of the new energies that are slowly but surely converging on our little planet at this time."

One too many...

Take a moment to reflect.

The war in Iraq is almost four years old. As a 22 year old in 2003, it was difficult for me to imagine what a war in Iraq would really look like. From the on-set, I did not support the war but like many Americans I had no idea how long the fighting would drag on or what it would look like.

Now that I live back at home with my parents, I wake up to the sounds of CNN blasting from the living room each and every morning. Today, I barely bat an eye at the daily reports of violence and killings in Iraq. Have I too become desensitized?

3000 US soldiers have been lost. On the Iraqi side over 500,000 deaths have been estimated. It's time to re-remember why we want peace and to hold a moment of silence for the lives that have been lost on both sides. There are no winners in war.

Here's a video of a weekly memorial organized by Veterans for Peace in Los Angeles. Take a moment to watch the video.