My Films

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Interviewed by iGenius

I was recently interviewed by iGenius, the social networking site for social entrepreneurs, about my peace work. Here's a snipit, to read more click here.

Editor: When did you first become interested in peace-making projects?

I was senior at New York University when September 11th happened. Though I was not in New York City at the time, it deeply affected me. I had previously considered a career as a music video director but after 9-11, I felt I had to do all that was in my power to prevent something like that from ever happening again. However, it was not until I got involved in the anti-Iraq war movement in 2003 that I found my calling to use media as a tool for peace. Now, I am about two months away from finishing a masters in peace and conflict studies on the Rotary World Peace Fellowship.

Editor: How long have you been working with Images of Peace?

Images of Peace will officially launch later this year but the idea for it germinated in 2005. I had just completed a short film called Peace Begins with Me and You, when I realized that from there on out I would be collecting stories or “images” of peace. I believe people are working for peace in both small and big ways every day. This is what I would like to document through Images of Peace.

Editor: What inspires you the most?

Megumi: Peace: Whenever people gather together in the name of peace I am inspired. The first anti-Iraq war protest I participated in was on February 15th, 2003. This was the Day the World Said No to War. Even in 20 F degree weather, there were half a million people on the streets of New York standing for what they believed in. It was among these people that I began to ask myself: What more can I do ?
The campaign to establish a US Department of Peace and Nonviolence and all the activists who work on it also inspire me daily. US Congressmen Dennis Kucinich inspires me.

Filmmakers: I have to say that more than any big name director, the filmmakers that I have worked with and under have been an inspiration to me. I have learnt so much about filmmaking through them and as result they have influenced my work.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Tokyo: Upcoming film festivals

For the globally conscious media junkie, there are a few film festivals coming to Tokyo that you should mark down on your calender.

1. The UNHCR Refugee Film Festival- June 2008 (The website is down at the moment...)
This will be the third year that the UNHCR Refugee film festival will be held in Tokyo. Not only do they showcase great films related to refugee issues around the world, the film festival is entirely free to the public! And on top of that a documentary film I worked on in LA (and that I have blogged about recently) Refusenik has been accepted to be screened. The date of the screening is yet TBD, but I'll be sure to update you on this. So at the very least, don't miss out on this one!

2. Tokyo Peace Film Festival- July 18-20th. This year the TPFF will be screening films such ash Iraq for Sale, American vs. Jon Lennon, and
「六ヶ所村通信」Rokkashoumura Tsushin- a film about Japan's newest nuclear reprocessing plant which has been a hot contested issues among anti-nuclear activist in Japan. I had the pleasure of meeting Kamanaka Hitomi, the director of the film, when she was a guest lecturer on Peace Boat's 53rd global voyage.

3. Artivist Film Festival- November 14-16, 2008
I first came across the Artivist film festival while I was in Los Angeles. The word Artivist came from the merging of Art + Activist, and thus their mission is to "strengthen the voice of the activist artists - 'Artivists' - while raising public awareness for social global causes." This film festival showcases stories on human rights, children's advocacy, environmental preservation and animal rights. My short film Peace Begins with Me and You was screened at their 2006 film festival at the Egyptian theater in Hollywood. I am currently submitting films to the Tokyo debut of this film festival, so wish me luck!

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Tokyo: Injured Soldiers Exhibit

This afternoon I took the train to Ebisu to visit the "Injured Soldiers" exhibition at the MA2Gallery. Photographer Timothy Greenfield-Sanders, usually known to photograph celebrities and porn stars, powerfully captured the images of 13 wounded Iraq veterans. This photo exhibit is part of larger documentary for HBO called Alive Day Memories: Home from Iraq which examines that lives of the newest generation of veterans.
Hung on the stark white walls of the two-story MA2Gallery, the photographs were accompanied by a booklet describing the personal stories of the veterans. Most of them were in their 20s, younger than me, yet by the expressions upon their face I would have assumed they were at least in their 30s. The photographs are simple portraits with all of the subjects looking directly at the camera. Some seemed proud of their battle wounds, others have seemed to have found new meaning in their life, and others seem lost and defeated. As best put by HBO, these photographs/film "puts a face to some of the many soldiers and Marines who've come back in record numbers suffering from severe injuries and trauma, and who, in many ways, have been hidden from the public's view."

The exhibit will continue until the 30th of April. Once exiting the East exit of Ebisu station, continue straight along the main street on the map provided by the gallery (unlike me who took a 15 minute detour...) and you will eventually get there. The gallery is open Tuesday through Saturday form 12-7pm.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Images from Article 9 Peace Bike ride.

Despite the continuous torrential down pour on the days leading up to the bike ride, April 19th turned to be a pretty mild day- good enough for bike ride from Shibuya to Yoyogi park in the name of Article 9. The bikers sang songs of peace, handed out fliers and invited passersby to join the Global Article 9 conference.
Here are some video-captured stills from the Article 9 Peace bike ride:

Getting ready for their bike ride at Shibuya station.

Levi, Rob and Taka are decorating their wheels with a custom made heiwa 9 (peace) decorations.

They begin to walk/ride through the streets of Shibuya.

Shirine and Rob pass out the Global Article 9 conference flyers to pedestrians.

Jen, Levi and Jamie bike towards the Earth Day Festival at Yoyogi Park.

Next Article 9 event is :

Salsa to the Beat of 9, April 26th

Thanks to Article 9, we CAN dance salsa in peace!

Salsa to the Beat of 9
April 26th, 7pm-11pm
Cuban Cafe, 〒104-0045 東京都中央区築地5-6 10浜離宮パークサイドプレイス1F
Contact: Jennifer at for more details:)

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Rotary International Peace Park and Hiroshima film

On April 17 and 18th, in Spartanburg, South Carolina, the University of South Carolina Upstate and Rotary International will be inaugurating the Upstate Rotary International Peace Park. Kola Badejo, the senior adviser on Africa in the United Nations Global Compact Office, will be the keynote speaker at a Peace Symposium as well as two Rotary World Peace Fellow alumni Carla Fantini and Jenny Favinger. My documentary film on Hiroshima will be screened on the 18th. To find more about this event click here.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Tokyo: Countdown to the Global Article 9 Conference

We are a few weeks away from the Global Article 9 conference (May 4-6). In the lead up to it, many activities are taking place in Tokyo and the surrounding areas.

On Saturday April 19th, Peace Boat is organizing a peace bike ride for Article 9. The bike ride begins at 11am at Hachiko exit at Shibuya and participants will ride to the Earth Day festivities at Yoyogi Park.

Peace Bike Ride for A9
"Join us for a day of cycling to support A9, the peace constitution"
Peace Boat

Time and Place
Saturday, April 19, 2008
11:00am - 2:00pm
Shibuya, Tokyo
Hachiko exit, Shibuya eki
Tokyo, Japan

Peace Walk for Article 9
Also, since the end of February, several hardcore peace activists have been walking from Hiroshima towards Tokyo, aiming to arrive on the first day of the conference. You can read up more about them and their Peace Walk here. I am hoping to join them at some point and film some of their activities as well, all pending on the progress of my thesis.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Refusenik film: Trailer

Please click on the image below to watch the trailer for the documentary film Refusenik:

Friday, April 04, 2008

Refusenik film: Theater Release!

I am happy to announce a documentary film that I worked on back when I was living in LA will have a theatrical release. Please go to it if you can, not only for my sake, but because it is an inspiring story of a grassroots movement that spanned 30 years and which ultimately lead to the human rights victory and freedom of 2 million Soviet Jews.
To find more about the film, visit:
and forward this information on!




April 11th, 2008
Landmark Varsity Theatre
4329 University Way N.E.
Seattle, WA 98105

April 11th, 2008
Landmark Lumiere Theatre
1572 California St. at Polk
San Francisco, CA 94109

April 18, 2008
Regal Fox Tower Stadium 10
846 SW Park Avenue
Portland, OR 97205
(503) 221-3280

May 9th, 2008
The Quad Cinema
34 West 13th Street
New York, NY 10011
(212) 255-8800

May 23, 2008
Laemmle's Music Hall
9036 Wilshire Blvd.
Beverly Hills, CA 90211
(310) 274-6869

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Tokyo: International Symposium on the Media's Role in Historical Reconciliation

This Saturday, April 5th, there will be a symposium on the Media's role in Historical Reconciliation at the Goeth Institute in Akasaka, Tokyo. The details on the Goeth Institute website is in German, but I was forwarded the email in English last week. Sorry for not posting earlier.
Particularly I am interested in the second panel discussion on whether journalists can be peacemakers? This is a question that came up during my peace journalism course at Transcend University. Also, Hans-Robert Eisenhauer, the producer of the documentary Why We Fight (2005) will be in attendance. I had the pleasure of attending a screening of this film in LA with the director Eugene Jarecki present. The film is about the US military-industrial-complex and it is on my must-see list.


International Symposium
Peacemakers or Powder Monkeys – the Role of the Media in Post-WWII History Debates in Europe and Northeast Asia
Date and time: April 5, 2008, 10:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m
Place: Goethe-Institut Japan, 7-5-56 Akasaka, Minato-ku. Tokyo 107- 0052
Co-organized by: -- Friedrich Ebert Foundation, Tokyo Office (FES)
-- International Center for the Study of Historical Reconciliation at Tokyo Keizai University (TKU)
-- Goethe-Institut Japan in Tokyo

In recent months, the long shadow of World War II seems for a time to have lifted from the map of East Asia. New leaders in China, Korea and Japan are making efforts to put a difficult past behind them. But is this the beginning of a permanent reconciliation or just a lull in an ongoing war of words? This month, a dispute over contaminated dumplings imported from China unleashed a torrent of such unrelentingly critical coverage in the Japanese media that an official visit by Chinese President Hu Jintao had to be postponed. The US Marine Corps dictionary defines a powder monkey as one who carries explosives to gun crews on a battleship. Reporters everywhere have plied their trade by stoking the fires of nationalism. But is the media also not capable of promoting peace? Japanese, Chinese, and Korean reporters have been meeting for years in attempts to confront the past. In Europe, ARTE TV funded jointly by French and German tax-payers, beams programs on public affairs and the arts, simultaneously in two languages. Might a similar multi-lingual network be established in Asia one day? Or should we pin our hopes on the Internet to forge shared perceptions of past and future?
Keynote speakers:
Hans-Robert Eisenhauer, ZDF; former deputy chief of programming ARTE
Yoshibumi Wakamiya, chief editorial writer, Asahi Shimbun;
Tetsuya Chikushi; host of TBS nightly news hour
Chung Ku-Chong; President,, Seoul
William Horsley; former BBC bureau chief, Tokyo, Bonn
Yasushi Kudo; founder Genron NPO, coordinator of annual China-Japan media meetings
Park Cheol-Hee; professor, political science, Seoul National University
10:00 – 10:15 Registration and Greetings
Markus WERNHARD, Head of Arts, Goethe-Institut Tokyo
Andrew HORVAT, Visiting Professor, Tokyo Keizai University
TBA Japan Representative, Friedrich Ebert Foundation
10:15 – 12:00 Roundtable: The Internet: Bridge or Barrier to Forging a Shared Vision of the Past in Northeast Asia
Dr Chung Kuchong, President,,
Iris Georlette, Japan correspondent, Ha'aretz
12:00 – 13:00 lunch break
13:00 – 14:45 Panel 1: The Art of ARTE – Telling the Same Story to Two Audiences
Speaker: Hans-Robert Eisenhauer, ZDF; former deputy chief of programming at the joint French-German TV network ARTE; producer; “Why We Fight,” winner of prize for best documentary at Sundance Film Festival 2005
Tetsuya Chikushi; host, TBS nightly news hour
William Horsley; formerly BBC bureau chief, Tokyo, Bonn
14:45 – 15:15 Coffee Break
15:15 – 17:00 Panel 2: Can Journalists be Peacemakers? 
Speaker: Yoshibumi Wakamiya, chief editorial writer, the Asahi Shimbun; author of The Postwar Conservative View of Asia: How
the Political Right has Delayed Japan's Coming to Terms With its
History of Aggression in Asia
Yasushi Kudo; founder and head, Genron NPO
Park Cheol-Hee; professor, political science, Seoul National University
17:00 – 17:30   Free discussion
17:30 Buffet reception
Simultaneous English-Japanese translation available;
Admission is free but participants are kindly requested to register in advance using the reply form sent as separate attachment.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Los Angeles: A Path for Peace

Much of my early peace activism began with working on the campaign to establish a cabinet level Department of Peace. Since 2003, the campaign has been pushing legislature through congress as well as building a culture of peace.

What is a culture of peace?
According to the UNESCO, a culture of peace is:
a set of values, attitudes, modes of behaviour and ways of life that reject violence and prevent conflicts by tackling their root causes to solve problems through dialogue and negotiation among individuals, groups and nations.

To me, a culture of peace is also creating a sense of appreciation for peace, where people understand the value that peace has to offer and thus want to encourage its presence.

So if you live in LA, here's a way in which you can help build a culture of peace:

On April 18, 2008, the California chapter of the DOP campaign will be organizing "A Path for Peace. " They will be building a meditative labyrinth out of sand on Hermosa Beach Pier in which they will invite you contemplate peace as you walk.
To find out more about the event or if you are interested in volunteering, visit their website.

A Path for Peace
Saturday, April 19, 2008

1:00 pm
Welcome Ceremony

1:00 – 3:00 pm
Labyrinth Walk and Peace Celebration
Everyone is welcome!

3:15 pm
Children's Labyrinth Walk


On the beach –
Just north of the Hermosa Beach Pier