My Films

Sunday, December 06, 2009

Indigenous Voices of Climate Change Film Festival @ COP15

Goddag! I am writing to you from Copenhagen, Denmark--home to the COP15 UN Climate Change Conference- which begins tomorrow. I'm here to support my colleague Citt Williams who for the past year has been tirelessly making films in some of the most remote parts of the world for the Indigenous Voices on Climate Change film festival which we have organized at the National Museum of Denmark.

The film festival which kicks off on Wednesday is a collection of not only UNU Media Studio produced documentaries, but stories form around the world on how local and indigenous people's are feeling the effects of changing climate. A short version of my most recently produced documentary on climate change adaptation strategies taking place in Bangladesh will be screened at this film festival.

Here are the basic details of the film festival or you can go straight to the Our World site for more info.

Indigenous voices on Climate Change Film Festival

9th – 13th Dec
16.00 – 18.00
Free Admission

Fifteen of the films screened at the festival can be viewed in the customized youtube play-list below. Use the button second from the left to scroll through the films.

If you happen to catch this post and are in Copehagen, please do stop by and check out the films. Otherwise, follow my twitter feed for more regular posts on COP15 and the film festival.

Sunday, November 01, 2009

A step backwards for marriage

One particular subject that I have not blogged upon thus far is something that is actually quite dear to me. It is the right for same-sex marriage.

The reason why it's important to me is because it is an issue that affects some of my dearest friends.

My best friend once told me that as a little girl she envisioned herself walking down the aisle to marry the love of her life. Today, that person waiting for her at the alter happens to be of the same sex. When I hear that people are willing to deny her that happiness, as Maine did this past Wednesday, it breaks my heart to no end.

While it is a great disappointment and it shows the many challenges the movement still faces, it was even more shocking to learn on October 15 that a Louisianan Justice of the Peace denied a marriage license to an interracial couple.

As I've blogged about before, the right for interracial marriage was won in 1967 with Loving vs. Virgina case. So it's alarming that in a day in age where we are fighting for the next level of civil rights that such an incident occurred.

Luckily, this justice of the peace resigned -sending a clear signal that he overstepped the law in favor for his personal opinion/ignorance.

For me, much of the ignorance and the arguments against same-sex marriage today are the same arguments that were used against interracial marriage back in the day.

I produced the 2009 Loving Day Flagship Celebration video partly in celebration of my own multi-racial/cultural heritage but also in part to show how such an injustice can be overcome and to give hope to the challenges we are facing now. Please watch the video and pass it on to your friends.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Off to Bangladesh!

On Monday, I'm headed to Bangladesh for two weeks to do a story about how the local people are affected by climate change. On our warming planet, Bangladesh is considered to be one of the 12 highest climate-risk countries. It has all of the five main threats that arise from climate change: droughts, floods, storms, rising sea levels, and greater uncertainty in agriculture. (World Bank) In particular, Bangladesh will lead in flood disasters due to its geography: ie. situated between Himalayan glaciers which are melting and the sea of Bengal.

It's sad to hear that Bangladesh, and many of the other countries on the high-risk list, is increasingly facing such threats when its contribution to the world wide carbon emissions is miniscule. On top of these climate impacts, Bangladesh is one of the most population dense countries in the world and ranks 147 out of 179 on UNDP's Human Development Index. A list which asses a countries achievement in terms of human development, ie. prosperity. 

The Bangladeshis, however, have not resigned to climate change doom but have become an active leader in trying to make adaptations both at home and abroad. In 2008, the Government of Bangladesh published the "Climate Change Strategy and Action Plan"

I have to admit that while it's very exciting to be going on this mission, I'm also a bit nervous about what I'm about to experience. Seeing and documenting the diminishing drift-ice in Hokkaido (see bottom video) is starting to feel small in comparison to meeting the men and women of Bangladesh who's homes have washed away and livelihoods destroyed to crop salination. While there, we will be working with UNU Researcher Tan Chun Knee and the International Union for the Conservation of Nature,
to document some of the efforts to create awareness and to help Bangladeshis adapt to the increasing environmental changes. 

Anyways, looking forward to my return to Tokyo and sharing my experiences with you. 'Till then.~<3

Monday, October 12, 2009

"The Cove" @ Tokyo International Film Festival

October certainly seems like the month of film festivals. With the always excellent UNHCR refugee film festival out of the way, Tokyoites now have the Tokyo International Film Festival to look forward to. Last year TIFF went eco-friendly: laying out a green carpet, using green energy for screenings, and holding a symposium on environmental issues. Adding on to that, this year, TIFF has started the Green Carpet Club, of which you can become a member:

I'll be away for most the entire duration of the film festival :( but I have one particularly film that I want to encourage you wholeheartedly to see- "The Cove."

While I feel this trailer speaks for itself, I have to say of all the amazing films I have seen recently (Burma VJ, Heart of Jenin, Age of Stupid) this by far trumps them all. 

"The Cove" is an inspirational story about an individual giving everything in order to bring awareness to not only the plight of this dolphin slaughter but the many issues related, such as mercury poisoning and the selling dolphin meat disguised as whale. Ric O'Barry, once the dolphin trainer of the beloved American TV show Flipper, now sees it as his mission to curb the ever expanding dolphin industry.  

While protecting dolphins is not necessarily my number one priority, the shear passion that Ric O'Barry emits is earth-shatteringly inspiring. I was shaking when I had the opportunity to meet him after the screening of the film at the Foreign Correspondent's Press Club in Tokyo.

The screening of the film at TIFF is on Wendesday the 21st at 10:50am. Pre-sale tickets are already sold out but if you line up early ( I would get there by 8, but Im just a film freak) I'm sure you can get a chance to catch this controversial yet well produced and incredibly moving story.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

2009 UNHCR Refugee Film Festival

I apologize for the lateness of this post but the 2009 UNHCR Refugee Film Festival  is underway. Please visit the home page for the line up.

I feel this year's selection is particularly outstanding and the festival organizers purposely choose to only screen 2o films this year, allowing them to bring the many of the  filmmakers over for Q & A sessions.

Of the films selected, I have already had the great pleasure of watching two of them. The highly anticipated Burma VJ which tells the stories of the courageous Burmese video journalists who risked everything to share the stories of the 2007 Saffron Revolution. Through clever and well placed reenactments, the raw footage is woven together to give one a very real picture of the incidents that occurred that Fall. 

The second film Heart of Jenin, tells the incredible journey of a Palestinian father makes a remarkable decision when his 11 year old son Ahmed is shot by Israeli soldiers. Ismahel (the father) decides to offer his son's organs to 6 israelis, giving a second chance to children while challenging the Israeli-Palestinian conflict on a personal level for some of the families.   

The film festival is on until this Friday.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Hafu Japanese project

Since returning to Japan nearly three years ago, I've been re-exploring my Japanese and "hafu" identity. This has manifested in my collaboration with the Loving Day project and now with a projected called the Hafu/Half Japanese project by Marcia Yumi Lise and Natalie Willier.

The Hafu Japanese project examines both the physical features and identities of individuals who are of mixed Japanese decent. Thus far Marcia and Natalie (also hafus) have been photographing and interviewing hafus living in both the UK and in Japan.

Next Saturday evening, (September 19th) Marcia will be leading a talk event in which she will present her project and explore the many facets of what it means to be a hafu living in Japan.

Venue: Las Chicas in Aoyama (
Nearest station: Omotesando Exit B2 (5 mins walk)
Date: 19th of September 2009, Saturday
Time: Talk event 6pm ~, Networking Party 8pm~

6pm- Talk and In Conversation

Marcia Yumi Lise (Co-founder of the Hafu Project)
An increasing number of people are migrating between countries, which is intrinsically related to the process of globalisation. It is safe to say that most of the so called "Hafus" are the offspring of such a process. The event deals with the ways in which Hafus see the world in modern-day world, and explore their position in society using data and some theoretical framework. Inviting two guest speakers including Kota and Henry we will discuss topics related to nation, nationality, race, culture and gender.

Kota (Special guest speaker and music performance)
Kota is a musician, writer and a sports commentator. Being a transgender, "kuota" (quarter Japanese) and brought up outside of Japan, Kota has been making enquiries into her identity and gives public talks extensively. Check out her blog and professional profile.

Henry McDonald (Guest speaker)
Henry was born between a Japanese mother and a British father. Having graduated an international school in Japan, he decided to study at Birmingham University in the UK. Currently a graduate student at
Hitotsubashi University.

8pm- Networking party
A special music performance by Kota and
DJ performance by DJ No'n.

Public talk & Party
3000 yen (3500 yen at door)

Party only
2000 yen (2500 yen at door)

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Youtube launches Video Volunteers

Wow, I just discovered Youtube's latest initiative Video Volunteers. 

Youtube has launched this new channel which connects non-profit orgs with its hundreds and thousands of videomakers to produce videos for worthy causes. It has built the widget below (sorry just an image, I'm having trouble imbedding it in my blog) that lists videomaking volunteer opportunities from,, and volunteer match.

First thoughts: Incredible. I look forward to following this and seeing the videos that are produced from this new partnership.

However, browsing quickly through the comments it seems that many Youtubers are unsure exactly in what ways they can help and it looks like it will take a rather sophisticated video maker to do the job...

Hmm something to definitely watch and see how it grows...

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Latest videos from Our World 2.0

Here are my latest videos from Our World 2.0.

Drop me a comment and let me know what you think. 

Plastic to Oil Fantastic!

Plastic to Oil Fantastic from UNUChannel on Vimeo.

The Japanese company Blest has developed one of the smallest and safest oil-to-plastic conversion machines out on the market today. It's founder and CEO, Akinori Ito is passionate about using this machine to change the way people around the world think about their plastic trash. From solving our landfill and garbage disposal issues to reducing our oil dependancy on the Middle East, his machine may one day be in every household across Japan.
While holding up a bag of trash, he states, "It's a waste to throw away, isn't it? This is a treasure."

Read the article:

The Case of the Diminishing Drift Ice

The Case of the Diminishing Drift Ice from UNUChannel on Vimeo.

The Sea of Okhotsk has long been the southernmost spot in the Northern Hemisphere where polar sea ice is found. After spreading southward out of the Arctic each winter and along the eastern edge of Sakhalin Island, the ice typically arrives in Hokkaido in mid to late January. The best time to see it is the latter half of February but it stays until late March or early April. However, over the past twenty years the drift ice has been slowly diminishing. Some say this is the result of global warming. The people of Abashiri have come together to take action.

To read more about this

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Come celebrate interracial marraige at the Loving Day celebrations!

I came across Loving Day less than a year ago while searching through hapa (Hawaiian-term for mixed race) based websites. As someone who feels that my life path has been directly influenced by my multiracial and multicultural background, it is especially important for me to honor the day that interracial marriage was legalized.

Personally, I can't remember when I first learned that there was a time in US history (just forty some years ago) when interracial marriage was illegal in many states. But nonetheless it baffled me that this had been a recent reality. I believe that much of the same ignorance and prejudice that existed against interracial and intercultural marriage persists today with new issues. As someone who champions for civil and human right, its only natural to honor the battles that we have already won.

So come on out, let's celebrate!

Event Details
Hosted By: Loving Day and World Up
RSVP: requested via email
Loving Day proudly presents the 6th annual
in New York City

FREE BBQ: all day long
FREE BEER: for the first hour
GET IN FREE: rain or shine
MULTICULTURAL: family friendly

DJ DHUNDEE, Sugarcuts Music (

Sunday, June 7th from 3-7pm at Solar 1
East River at 23rd St. in Manhattan

Come celebrate the anniversary of Loving v. Virginia, the Supreme Court case that legalized interracial marriage in the US.

SUBWAY: 6 train to 23rd, then M23 bus or walk e. past Ave C & FDR. Look for Gulf gas station. Or, L train to 1st Ave: walk N. to 23rd
BY CARr: from south, FDR to 20-23 St. exit. Right on Ave C, right on 23rd almost to Gulf gas station, then service road to Solar 1


Sunday, May 03, 2009

Seeking interracial couple for documentary on Loving Day

Hi- I'm currently planning to shoot a short documentary while I'm in New York in June. I'm looking for a interracial couple to follow as they celebrate Loving day- the day the Loving vs. Virgina Supreme Court case legalized interracial marriage. Anyways, here's my call:

Documentary filmmaker seeks an interracial couple to film at the Loving Day celebrations on June 7th, 2009 in NYC.
The Loving Day Campaign ( commemorates the legalization of interracial marriage by organizing an afternoon of festivities the Solar 1 pier
in New York City.

Ideally, we are looking for an interracial couple who is:
-passionate about overcoming racial prejudice
-who is either married or considering it in the future
-interested in volunteering at the Loving Day celebrations (optional)
-be willing to have a camera follow them on the day and be interviewed about how you met etc. (on possibly another day)

If interested please contact the filmmaker
Megumi Nishikura

About the filmmaker:
Megumi is a documentary filmmaker of mix heritage.
Her desire to create films about our common humanity stems from her own multicultural and interracial background.
Past documentary work includes films for the United Nations, Associated Press and various NGOs and foundations.

Please feel free to repost and share with anyone who might be interested.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Global Media Forum - June 3-5, 2009

Deutsche Welle Global Media Forum

While I have yet to make it to a conference that addresses the media's role in peace (they seem to get canceled a lot), the Global Media Forum is one I'm hoping to attend. It's main objective is to examine how new media technology (hello my thesis!!) can aid in conflict prevention and peacebuilding.

In their first conference (2008) they addressed the following questions:
What is the relation between the media and violent conflict? Do the media have a responsibility to prevent the outbreak of violence? Moreover, can they contribute to peace-building activities? And if so: how?

Here's a video from last year's conference:

This years follow up conference will be held from June 3-5th in Bonn, Germany.
Taking a look through their website and their lineup of talks, it's clear that they are aware of how these new medias- Youtube, blogging, and social networking- are changing the face of not only traditional media but its outreach to newer audiences.

Out of the questions/issues that this conference aims to address these are the following that particularly interest me:
• Do the changes in technology and user profiles influence the way in which the media report on conflicts – or do they directly influence the way in which a war is fought?
• What about the impact on peace-building processes and conflict-prevention strategies?
• What are the main challenges for the international media during this technological revolution?
• How have the expectations of viewers, listeners and users changed, and what is the best way to reach them in the digital age?
• The multimedia revolution and its impact on conventional media YouTube & Co.: Generating new audiences or excluding even more people?
• Blogging for peace or hate as a way to bypass censorship?

I hope that this conference will prove to be an opportunity to learn in greater detail from those already working in this field of how both content and the way it is served can reach the largest amount of individuals and have the greatest impact possible.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Hometown Baghdad on the Sundance Channel this Thursday night

Hometown Baghdad, the web-based documentary series that I wrote my thesis on, will be making its debut on the Sundance Channel on Thursday March 19 at 11:30pm. It's airing coincides with an important date--the 6th anniversary of the war in Iraq. Let's take this opportunity to re-reflect on the costs of war. For international viewers, look for it listed on the National Geographic International channel. I hope to catch it there!

From Chat the Planet's email blast:
"Hometown Baghdad follows three Iraqi college students based in Baghdad as they try to maintain a semblance of normal existence amidst the escalating violence and chaos around them. The online version of Hometown Baghdad drew over 3 million viewers worldwide when it launched in March 2007. The series won three 2008 Webby Awards, and in the categories News and Politics Series, Public Service and Activism, and Reality. In an article about the online series for the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, pop culture critic Cary Darling wrote that the series' scenes of ordinary lives "offer a glimpse into a society few knew existed: young Iraqis who are clinging to a global, middle-class identity while the world around them crumbles into chaos."

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

My First OW2.0 Video: Will you eco-marry me?

My first Our World 2.0 story is up on the ourworld hompage. To read the article that goes a long with the article click here. Please visit the website and leave your comments there! Thank you!

Will you eco-marry me? from UNUChannel on Vimeo.

"Tokyo couple Shigeru Komori and Tomoko Hoshino embraced the chance to create a beautiful wedding day without leaving behind a huge environmental footprint. Both of them are passionate about the environment and so practicing their eco-philosophy on their wedding day was a true reflection of who they are and what is important to them."

Saturday, March 07, 2009

Up sleeve number two

I apologize for this much overdue entry, as I have certainly been busy for the past month and half. After returning from Australia and successfully producing the Associated Press story about the Hibakusha Peace Boat voyage, I was offered a short-term contract position working for the United Nations University Media Studio. So for the past few weeks, I have been producing short six-minute documentaries for a webmagazine called Our World2.0.

The web magazine and documentaries focus on solutions to our global issues, with an emphasis on oil scarcity, alternative energy, and food security. So far the stories that I have been working on have been about how the diminishing drift-ice in the Okhotsk sea is affecting tourism in Hokkaido, how one couple planned an eco-wedding, and a machine that converts our plastic waste back into oil. As these stories go up online, I'll be posting the links here as well. Check it out when you get a chance.