PICTURES FROM A HIROSHIMA SCHOOLYARD: SEEDS OF HOPE
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Director / Co-Producer

Bryan Reichhardt

Producer

Shizumi Shigeto Manale



Director / Co-Producer

Bryan Reichhardt

Bryan Reichhardt is an award winning producer and director who has extensive experience in documentary production. He has produced and/or directed programs on everything from migratory birds ("Flying Home" winner of the Videographers Award) to an interactive, on-line documentary on an African American one-room school house in rural Virginia ("Waterford's Second Street School"). He has worked as a producer/editor at CNN and has produced multiple series for the DIY Network as well as two documentary series for the CPB/Annenberg Channel - "Reactions In Chemistry" and "Democracy In America."

Bryan was born and raised in Northern Virginia. He attended James Madison University and began his production career as Assistant Studio Manager for a small cable access station in Reston Virginia where he directed hundreds of studio productions.

Early in his career he won a cable Ace Award for directing "Shizumi Dance Theater" a documentary/performance program. He was nominated for another Ace for his program "The New You" which documented a innovative welfare program in Alexandria Virginia. In November of 2001 Bryan traveled to Pakistan for the U.S. State Department to produce segments about the Afghan relief efforts on the Pakistan/Afghanistan border. While there he was able to secure interviews and go places that had been off limits to other crews. The segments aired on many world networks including CNN, Rueters and the BBC.

Most recently Reichhardt completed the independent film Barnstorming, a truly American story of friendship, fun and flying that tells the story of a unique annual event where a group of antique planes land in a farmer's field in Indiana and put on an impromptu air show. The film is getting rave reviews from around the world.

In 2006 he collaborated with Shizumi Manale for the second time to produce and direct Geisha: An Artist's Journey a documentary which follows the Japanese-American performance artist as she explores the enigmatic world of Japanese Geisha. This one-hour program premiered at the National Geographic Society headquarters in March of 2006 and was featured in the 2007 Santa Barbara International Film Festival. It is still airing on PBS stations around the country.

Reichhardt's production company, Boru Television, operates out of Silver Spring Maryland serving both broadcast and industrial clients.

Website


Producer

Shizumi Shigeto Manale

Shizumi Shigeto Manale is a performing artist, choreographer, educator, and film producer born in Hiroshima and raised in Osaka, Japan.

"Pictures from a Hiroshima Schoolyard" marks her third and most ambitious film collaboration with Bryan Reichhardt of Boru Television.

Several years ago during a visit to All Souls Unitarian Church in Washington, D.C., she discovered the remarkable artworks featured in the film. Since then, Shizumi has worked tirelessly to locate, establish connections with, and learn from the original Japanese artists and teachers who are now in their 70s and 80s.

Shizumi's experience in the medium of film traces back to 1974, when she received a grant to attend the University of California at Berkeley. There she wrote, choreographed, directed and danced in the film "Prejudice Against Love."

Another film project focused on dance, "An Artist's Loneliness," was featured in the Vincent Van Gogh Film Festival at the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam in 1986.

In 1990, Shizumi first collaborated with the director of "Pictures from a Hiroshima Schoolyard," Bryan Reichhardt. His film about Shizumi's performing arts works, "Shizumi Dance Theater," won that year's cable television's Award for Cable Excellence (Cable ACE) for excellence in dance and drama.

This collaboration was followed by the documentary film, "Geisha: An Artists Journey," which was developed to explore the vanishing world of the geisha and inspirations for Shizumi's own art. Shizumi coordinated filming in Hiroshima, Kyoto, Osaka, Tokyo and Nara in Japan. The film, which premiered at the National Geographic Society, was first broadcast in 2007 on PBS television, where it continues to be shown each spring, and was featured in the Santa Barbara International Film Festival.

Shizumi's primary artistic discipline is dance. She has trained in two separate forms of Japanese traditional theater--Kyogen and Noh--which were perfected during the Muromachi period (1336-1568), and Nihon Buyo (jiuta mai style), a refined dance that has developed over the course of four centuries and is intended for entertainment on stage.

Shizumi also studied dance with the San Francisco Ballet and theater at San Francisco State University.

Shizumi is involved in many activities in the Washington, D.C. area where she now lives. She has served as an artistic consultant for the National Cherry Blossom Festival for the past seven years, including coordinating a "Zen Garden Exhibition" at the National Geographic Society in 2007.

Shizumi continually works to introduce Japanese culture to young people and others. She is the founder and an artistic director, and choreographer of Shizumi Kodomo (Children) Dance Troupe, which provides children ages 3-18 the opportunity to learn Japanese traditional and modern dance and to perform at such major venues as the Kennedy Center. In 2009, she choreographed the Kodomo Dance Troupe's performance at the Smithsonian Institution on the eve of President Obama's Inauguration.

Shizumi also developed and produced the dance/theater piece "Kakurembo/Hide and Seek" for a Japan tour of deaf and hard of hearing students from D.C.'s Gallaudet University and choreographed Silver Spring, MD based Lumina Studio Theater's production of "Shogun Caesar"--a version of Shakespeare's Julius Caesar set in feudal Japan. Her assistance with the play "Nora's Lost" at Yorktown High School in Virginia led to the school becoming regional champions of the VHSL One Act Play Competition.

As a rostered artist of the arts education organization Class Acts Arts, Shizumi travels to schools and other organizations across the Washington, D.C. region to provide children and others with a wide-ranging introduction to Japanese culture.

In addition to her dance performances, educational programs on Japanese culture, and film projects, Shizumi is currently working on a manuscript about the life of a seven-year-old Japanese girl who grew up in Hiroshima after World War II.


Producer's Note

Why I Want To Make the Film "Pictures from a Hiroshima Schoolyard"

By Shizumi Shigeto Manale

To me, these drawings and calligraphy by Hiroshima schoolchildren are evidence of a miracle that opens the door to another level of human kindness.

I first saw these drawings together with three hibakusha (atomic bomb survivors)--Mr. Yoshio Sato (75 years old), Shotaro Kodama (76 years old), and Kazuhiro Yoshimura (65 years old)--from Hiroshima and Nagasaki. We were at All Souls Unitarian Church in Washington, D.C. on August 9, 2006.

The drawings had been carefully removed from a neat paper cardboard box. Though slightly damaged by mold and moisture, they still, surprisingly after 59 years, expressed the energy and excitement of the school children in Hiroshima who had created them long ago.

I knew immediately that these drawings had to be preserved in order to keep alive, not only the hopes and dreams of the artists, but the history of a tragic historical period recorded by these children. It would be critically important to start the restoration and preservation work as soon as possible.

As I removed the drawings from the box, they looked as colorful and alive as if the children had just finished them! I was stunned and could not find a word to express this miracle.

Looking at these drawings triggered the memories of one of the hibakusha, Mr. Yoshio Sato. Though currently living in Tokyo, he talked about his childhood memories and Hiroshima as if he was back in the city.

Then, questions arose. Since these pieces dated from 1947, we could not help but wonder if Hiroshima was enjoying the cherry blossoms at the time as was depicted. Was the city this beautiful? Was the amusement park still there?

Photos of Honkawa Elementary School in 1947 show us devastating ruins, including school windows and doors with glass blown out. But what the students drew was what their hearts saw.

Another hibakusha could not help but be inspired by these children as he silently stared at their drawings. Another kept taking pictures to preserve their liveliness.

It was an inspirational moment for everyone in the room that day---as if a life treasure had been found. Especially for a Japanese person like myself, it is easy to relate to the feelings expressed by these children, to be inspired and to feel sympathy. But there is a more universal meaning in these drawings, a specific perspective that transcends a particular place.

It is the responsibility of our generation to preserve the history found here and pass it on to future generations. By restoring and preserving these drawings, we will also pay tribute to the kindness in the hearts of ordinary Americans and members of a small church in Washington, D.C. in 1947, during this most difficult period in the relationship between the U.S and Japan.

In order to make more people aware of the drawings and the story behind them, as well as demonstrate their relevance for our society and the world today, a documentary film seemed the best medium. In this film we will interview surviving child artists from the school in 1947 as well as members of All Souls Unitarian Church whose vision to aid children in Hiroshima led to the artwork--and who continue educational and peace-building work today.

The film will provide a first-hand account of the artwork of Japanese school children who survived the bombing of Hiroshima and also the compassion this attack stirred in members of a church in Washington, D.C. at that time. Fortunately, in the winter of 2007, members of All Souls Unitarian Church found the funds to restore these pictures. When I heard about their efforts, I felt they had bestowed kindness on my own children. It is a deeply moving story, and the artwork created by these children, victims of one of the most devastating human-made disasters in history, speaks to us still.

The aim of this educational effort titled "Pictures from a Hiroshima Schoolyard" will be to allow children and the community at large to see how life transcends adversity, whether it is physical or emotional. By offering a look at this tragic episode in history, the film will offer children a new perspective on their lives today. This project salutes Japan's role as a leader in the movement for world peace as the only people who have suffered from the use of nuclear bombs in time of war.

In the past several years since beginning work on this project, I have been able to locate 21 of the artists of the drawings in Japan, two in America and also 2 of their former teachers. We were able to film in Hiroshima during the summer of 2007 and, with support from a US-Japan Foundation grant, again in Hiroshima and the U.S. in 2009-10. We have interviewed more than fifteen people, including American witnesses of the history behind these pictures.

By presenting this documentary film "Pictures from a Hiroshima Schoolyard" to American and Japanese audiences, we hope to instill a sense of responsibility for preserving history, learning from the lessons of the past, and fostering peace and harmony in today's world.

Shizumi Shigeto Manale
Shizumidance@starpower.net

  

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Copyright (C) 2012 PICTURES FROM A HIROSHIMA SCHOOLYARD.