A Tokyo event showcasing short films about rainforest conservation will be shown next Saturday, with organizers pinning hopes to raise awareness on the issue as part of efforts to reach out to a broader audience in Asia.
Films for the Forest, a project organized by the U.S.-based nonprofit organization Rainforest Partnership, will feature 11 works from several different countries, including Japan, Brazil and Malaysia.
Filmmakers are hoping to bring relevance to efforts to preserve rainforests, even to those living in urbanized societies seemingly detached from nature, and that point is driven home by Japanese director Yo Kohatsu’s film “Re-member.”
A scene from Japanese director Yo Kohatsu’s film “Re-member,” which won the animated short category in the 2022 edition of Films for the Forest. (Courtesy of Rainforest Partnership)(Kyodo)
The film, which won the event’s animated short category for this year, is directed in a childlike animation style and follows a human being who lives in modern urban society and remembers being part of nature after being suddenly thrust into a forest.
Kohatsu said that the film took shape from online team meetings during which participants, when interacting, chose not to show their faces but instead used images of nature such as animals and plants.
“Things we usually would not think about from a human perspective, we began to think about from a different being’s point of view,” Kohatsu, 49, said in an interview with Kyodo News.
Japanese film director Yo Kohatsu. (Photo courtesy of Yo Kohatsu)(Kyodo)
The theme for his film came from producer Ai Sanda, who is also the founder of Earth Co-cree, a project that carries out community-based activities across Japan and seeks ways society can focus more on the environment.
“The aim (of the film) was for humans to understand their original role and to show their true abilities,” Sanda, 44, said. “Even though we have the power to destroy so much in just a few hundred years, in a short period of time we also can bring about big changes.”
Films for the Forest will be held on Oct. 29 from 3 p.m. at the 100Banch event venue in Tokyo’s Shibuya Ward, with capacity for 100 attendees. Tickets for the bilingual Japanese-English event are available on the venue’s website for 2,000 yen ($13.50) each, with proceeds going toward Rainforest Partnership.
Deny Majikina, the NPO’s Tokyo coordinator for the event which is being held in Japan for the first time, said she hopes the films will offer a “visual way to create awareness” over the importance of rainforests and preserving them.
Rainforest Partnership, which mainly operates in Latin America, says it is spearheading the conservation and protection of 1.16 million acres of rainforest in Ecuador, Peru and along the Peru-Brazil border.
Majikina said she hopes the film event will get Japanese people more involved in their cause. “If we create a bridge and make more connections, we can make our presence stronger in Asia,” she added. Participants are also encouraged to donate as part of the NPO’s fundraising campaign for rainforest conservation.
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