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"Future of Energy: The Choice of Japan," Documentary by a Japanese Michael Moore?!


"Future of Energy: The Choice of Japan," Documentary by a Japanese Michael Moore?!

What's this Challenge about?

Hi, I’m Tomoya Ishida, independent film director. I learned filmmaking in Paris and have worked in many projects including documentary programs by NHK (Japan Broadcasting Corporation) and foreign and international joint film productions.

“Future Energy: The Choice of Japan” is a documentary film about the current situation and the future of the energy issues in this country. This isn’t a simple anti-nuclear film; it’s an objective study based on data from a wide range of sources.

As a Japanese Michael Moore, I won’t be afraid of crossing the line. I’ll interview politicians, business owners, scholars, and more! This will be a documentary about the future of energy, relevant not only to Japan but to the whole world.

My goal is to finish the production by the end of 2013 and submit the film to the Berlin Film Festival held in February, 2014.

Special rewards for supporters include tickets for the film, Limited-Edition DVD, making footage, name on the end credit, YOUR interview in the film, etc.
This will be one of the first independent documentary films made in Japan that focus on the real voices of the people, which I believe should be heard by the world. With your support, it’ll be possible. Thank you so much for your support!

How Will the Money Be Used?

The raised money will be used for as follows:

1. Supplies and Equipment
Currently, I have to rent the necessary equipment for every shooting. That’s expensive and inconvenient. I’d like to purchase the necessities such as a camera and microphone with the funds raised. It’ll give me much more freedom of time and place with my interviews.

2. Transportation and Accommodation
My crew and I will be visiting many different areas of Japan to interview and film a number of people. We will need the funds to provide transportation and accommodation.

Filmmaking is a costly business because, unlike some other types of art, it almost always involves many people. Even my funding goal, 2,000,000 yen, isn’t enough to cover all the expenses.

If with your help this Challenge succeeds in raising the funds I need to start with the production of the film, it’ll be such great news for every independent director without sponsors like myself who is always facing the problem of fundraising.

Why Am I Making This Film?

The Great Earthquake of Japan on March 11, 2011, and the following “man-made” disaster of the nuclear plants in Fukushima have left deep scars on the country and its people.

In the face of one of the world’s biggest nuclear disasters, there has been much controversy about the future of energy all over the world. Some countries, such as Germany, have decided to stop relying on nuclear power and are making a shift to natural energy sources.

Japan, however, has yet to make a clear choice. In June, 2011, the government and the major electric power companies warned the people about the possible shortage of electric power due to shutting down all the nuclear plants in the nation. Although we went through the summer without a single power shortage issue, this summer, the government again claimed the need for nuclear power and decided on restarting reactors at Oi nuclear plants.

Seeing how the government and media took control over the issues without allowing the people to choose makes me worry. I feel the need for more objective data and information so I can make my own choice. Don’t you feel the same way?

That’s Why It’s a Documentary

We need a media that’s not tied to or controlled by authorities to tell us what’s really going on. In this film, I’m going to try to answer the following questions using objective data and information collected in interviews.

-Will Japan really have a problem of power shortage without nuclear plants?
-Do we need to restart the nuclear plants to get out of deflation?
-Would using thermal power again increase the carbon dioxide issues?
-Would natural energy such as solar and wind powers be enough to support us?

I plan on interviewing experts of energy, environmental issues, and economy, politicians, philosophers, religious leaders and more, whether they’re for or against nuclear plants, about how they see the current situation and what they think will become of nuclear power in Japan.

We have yet to see the end to all the damage caused by the nuclear plant meltdown in Fukushima. It will be a burden we’ll be leaving the shoulders of our kids. What else can we leave for them? What’s the best choice we can make?

Sneak Peek

What really happened?

The film will try to investigate how and what happened at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant from the time of the tsunami till the eventual meltdown based on the remaining data and interviews with those involved, as well as all the political turmoil from the then-Prime Minister Naoto Kan’s sudden shutdown of the Hamaoka Power Plant to dissolution of the lower house.

A shift to renewable energy?

Interview with Amory B. Lovins:
I will visit Dr. Amory Lovins at the Rocky Mountain Institute in the United States to discuss the possible future of energy for Japan. Dr. Lovins has worked for a long time studying energy policy and related areas and is an advocate of the use of renewable energy sources. He believes that “among the world’s major developed countries, Japan has abundant resources of renewable energy” and sees the possibility of a speedy shift to renewable energy while retaining profitability.

Interview with Haruki Tsuchiya:
A holder of a Ph.D. in Engineering, Dr. Haruki Tsuchiya is the President of Research Institute of System Technology and translator of books by Amory B. Lovins. His study claims the possibility of Japan living on renewable energy only. In my interview, I will ask him about the ways to put his theory into practice.

Comment from Tetsuya Iida, Director of the Institute for Sustainable Energy Policies:

Politics matters, ultimately

At the end of the day, politicians are the people who decide what the country chooses. I plan on interviewing German politicians on their decisions to shut down nuclear plants and Japanese politicians such as Tetsuro Fukuyama, then deputy chief Cabinet secretary at the time of the Fukushima Daiichi disaster, who has been a keen advocate of renewable energy policy.

Where is the Japanese spirit going?

I believe the issue of energy and nuclear power is not only about society and economy only but also about our spirituality. Many a leaders in spirituality and religions have make their positions clear in the controversy over the nation’s energy policy, and the issue has deeply affected people’s beliefs and faiths. The film will investigate the spiritual aspects of the controversy as well.

(The film is still a work in progress, and the above information may change.)

Messages for the Film

Amory B. Lovins, Chairman and Chief Scientist at Rocky Mountain Institute

“Two years after Fukushima, Japan is at a tipping point between the old and new energy worlds. It is the best positioned major industrial country to switch from nuclear power and fossil fuels to modern efficiency and renewables, yet must overcome resistance from the old-industry incumbents. This worthy film project could greatly help raise public awareness of the options, the stakes, and the huge opportunity to transform Japan's energy system?and for Japan in turn to lead the world.”

Hajime Mikami, Mayor of Kosai in Shizuoka and Facilitator ofMayors for a Nuclear Power Free Japan

“Please help us make the change! The nuclear plant controversy has been the most heated since the war. It’s no doubt we’re now standing at a turning point. While 70% of the public opinions claim we should give up nuclear plants, the government suggests we ‘wait and see’ for ten years, seemingly unwilling to make the shift. A film like this will be extremely relevant in times like now.
There will be another documentary about nuclear power set in the city of Kosai this coming June. I hope both of those promising films will be a great success.”

Kaoru Otsuka, Film Producer

“I’ve known Tomoya Ishida since he was an AD. Things are usually hectic on the set, and there can be a lot of tension among the crew at times. Even in those times, he was always smiling, making sure the director wasn’t upset and crew were in a better mood, absorbing everyone’s complaints and anger when necessary.

He sweats a lot. So much that sometimes his t-shirt would tear. Older crews would tease him saying, “You look like such a hard worker with all that sweat on you!” But he was. With every shoot he would fully devote himself and get completely drained by the time we finished the film. I’m pretty sure that’ll happen with this one, too. I hope he’ll leave some energy this time, though. As the director, he’ll have to handle the promotion part, too, won’t he?

Ishida is a chubby guy, always wearing his signature glasses. We would joke around saying he looked just like Michael Moore. Then he really became a documentary film director (I’m sure he’s gone through so much to get there!). This will be his second work, and I’ll be working for him as a producer.

I believe his smile will be the biggest weapon in the shooting for this film. The theme we’re dealing with is a very sensitive matter, and it depends a lot on the interviewer, Ishida, how much we’ll get to hear from the interviewees. He has a great way of getting into people’s hearts. I’m sure he’ll find a way into the core of the issue in this film, too.

I’m really thrilled to be working with Tomoya Ishida. Thank you so much for your support!”