Report: "Filming 3.11: Accumulated Layers of Small Stories" (Nov 6, 2016)



This year's screening and discussion hosted by YIDFF's 311 Documentary Film Archive welcomed a large turnout despite it being a five-hour long event on a chilly Sunday afternoon. The audience was committed, traveling long distances to attend, some from Sendai and even Tokyo.

After the introduction of the 311 Documentary Film Archive and its current activities, we screened video interviews with 311 survivors, _Anohi o ikita watashitachi - daigakusei ga kiku shinsaitaiken_, which was made by the first year students of Tohoku University of Art and Design in 2015. Student filmmakers joined three panelists on stage to discuss the film. The debate included sharp criticism from a survivor of the 2011 tragedy, and urged deep thought on the difficulties of conveying the experience of a catastrophe to others, and the role of the audiovisual media with its limitations. Yamauchi Hiroyasu, curator at Rias Ark Museum of Art, spoke about the importance of audiences giving thought to who a film was made for, and filmmakers to contemplate who their audiences are. He also emphasized the role of artistic expression and discussion in connecting with memory and sensory impressions, if fiction and nonfiction films are to be used effectively in hazard education. Suzuki Mikiko provided observation from her field work with disaster survivors in Koriyama, that their sense of today's reality differs from what official sources are putting out. Sociologist Kanebishi Kiyoshi spoke about the interviewers' responsibility in conducting research, and the importance of continuing to look at the subconscious and sentiments of survivors, as embodied in ghost stories, dreams, and such.

So now we turn to the mirror and ask: who does the documentary film archive serve and what should its role be? We are hoping to continue thinking about this through further discussion with experienced professionals from various fields.

*You can read the details of the event here.

(Hata Ayumi, 311 Documentary Film Archive, YIDFF Office)