They told him to stop making the project and look for another subject matter to film. But Japanese director Takafumi Ota really wanted to make a movie that was strongly critical of the nuclear industry but he could not find enough funding. So he turned to a group of people who could help him get the film made: the growing number of people in Japan who are against nuclear energy.
Ever since the near catastrophic meltdown at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant in 2011, the anti-nuclear sentiment across the country has been increasing. So when Ota faced opposition from producers and even fellow directors regarding the subject of his movie, he tried to get public support to fund his project through crowdfunding. The practice, brought to prominence by pioneering company Kickstarter, has seen business startups, philanthropic projects, music and films raise funding by getting micro-donations from small investors, and oftentimes individuals, over the Internet. While it’s still an industry that’s trying to find its feet, research firm Massolution says that crowdfunding projects grew by 81% last year and has managed to raise $5.1 billion for various projects in 2013.
Ota managed to raise the 10 million yen ($100,000) he needed to jumpstart his film entitled Asahi No Ataru Ie (“The House of Rising Sun”), which tells the story of a family that has been torn apart by a Fukushima-like incident. Even thought the budget is low for a full-length film, he managed to get cast and crew on board for a low salary, only because they believed in the message of the film. One who plays a minor role in the film is actor-turned-politician Taro Yamamoto, who was in the news lately because he broke protocol by handing a letter to Emperor Akihito, expressing his anti-nuclear sentiments. He is an outspoken activist who wants to use his fame to get people to care more about getting rid of nuclear energy. The film is now showing in 10 independent movie theaters and cinema complexes around the country. Ota hopes the film will be moderately successful so he could make other movies that tackle other social issues.
[ via Tokyo Times ]
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