I am pleased to announce that my new film, God's Children:Forgotten Children Part 2, has finally been completed. We started to live in the Payatas dump for location hunting in February 2000 and began looking for children suitable as protagonists of the film. The search turned out to be a long process and it was not until July when we finally got around to start shooting. A week into filming, however, the dump collapsed and killed many people. It was 8 am on July 10th, 2000,
What does God want us, the crew, to film?
We had planned to make a documentary film on disabled children living in
the dump. As we spent time with the disabled children and their families day after day, however, I found that the boundary between the abled and the disabled began to disappear in my mind. Perhaps I had come to feel towards the disabled children in such a natural way as their family members did.
This is why both the disabled and abled children are the protagonists of this film.
In my previous film, Scavenger: Forgotten Children, the story focused on the everyday life of the scavenging children. During the shooting of God's Children, five days after the collapse the garbage stopped coming in . The residents of the dump thus lost their means to earn their living.
Contrary to my anticipation, however, all of them continued to live there with their heads high. Their family ties strengthened and their willpower was evident.
We filmed the beauty of each moment and weaved a film with numerous such moments. I believe that the viewer of this film will experience for themselves what we went through during the six months on location shooting.
Finally, I want to stress that I have learned a lot from the residents of the dump.
When I first went to Smoky Mountain for my last film, my first impression was that the place was hell. Now I have different opinions about the dumps.
People living in the dump are simply the people who happen to work as scavengers.
They are no different from anyone else in the world as human beings. As I have written above, the residents in Payatas dump are proud people who continued with their lives even after the garbage, their resource, disappeared. I personally do not think that the Japanese people are superior to them. Rather, I don't feel the way in which many Japanese people live today is right.
I believe that film can move people and thus can make a change happen to make the world a better place. Based on this belief, I will continue making films. It does not matter how much perseverance it will take. I will make my next film whatever it takes.
1958 Born in Sendai, Miyagi Prefecture,
1976 Graduated from Second Miyagi
Prefectural High School.
1978 Entered the School of Economics at
Left before gaduating.
1979 Joined Shuji Terayama's Tenjo Sajiki
theater group and trained as an actor
for 3 years.
1984 Began working in cinema at Dentsu Film.
1986 Began directing TV commercials for a prominent Japanese
designer fashion brand,arrston volaju, and promotional
videos for Keith Harring.
1988(Sept.) Moved by the sight of Manila's working children and
decided to make a film about them.
1989(Jan.) Began preparations for a documentary film about the
children living near the garbage dump in north Manila
named Smoky Mountain.
1989(Mar.) Began shooting.
1991(Aug.) Finished filming and returned to Japan with his Filipino
wife and two children.
1992(Dec.) Returned for 3 months to hte Philippines for additional
1994(July) Completed Scavengers, a full length documentary in
1995(May) Re-completed Scavengers.
2000(Feb.) Started living in the Payatas dump and worked on
2000(July) Began shooting.
2001(June) Completed God's Children.
Forgotten Children - Scavengers
[ Forgotten Children has received numerous awards including. ]
44th International Film Festival in Mannheim-Heidelberin 1995 (Germany) "Best Documentary"
Eco-Media International Ecological Film Festival in 1995 (Germany)"Hoimar von Ditfurth Prize".
Earth Vision International Film Festival in 1995 (Japan)"Social Ecological Film Prize"
Encontros internacionais de CINEMA in1996 (Portugal), "Best Documentary".
CinemAmbiente International Environmental Film Festival 2002 (Italy)
Grand Prix at feature film section
Internationale Film Festspiele Berlin 2002 (Germany) Official Selection
World Film Festival of Montreal 2002 (Canada) Official Selection