March 18 – 29
At Tower City
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Run Time: 74 minutes
Fukushima, Japan has a thousand-year-old tradition of horsemanship. The Soma Nomaoi Festival is a pageant of armor, banners, and formidable equestrian skills. But modern technology brings with it modern disasters, and in March 2011 a massive tsunami caused the Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant to release substantial amounts of radiation. Less than 20 km away, 40 horses miraculously survived the tsunami. But when the government commanded people to evacuate the disaster zone, many of the horses were left behind to starve. Shinichiro Tanaka is one stubborn rancher who returns, but refuses to slaughter his irradiated livestock as ordered. Though it’s common practice to buy old racehorses, fatten them, and sell them for meat, these remaining horses are inedible. Thus they are transported to rural Hokkaido where they temporarily enjoy some equine freedom. Nature takes its course, and the festival looms. Are the horses ready to be ridden again? THE HORSES OF FUKUSHIMA is a stunning documentary that tells the story of what Japanese society lost by buying into nuclear power through the fate of these resilient animals. Note: Some scenes contain graphic animal imagery. (In Japanese with subtitles) —B.B.
Hashimoto Yoshiko, Kinoshita Shigeki
Matsubayashi Yoju was born in Fukuoka, Japan. After a period of traveling solo across Asia, he enrolled in the Japan Academy of Moving Images. In 2004 he completed his graduation film "Dear Respectful Humans," a documentary about a homeless man and started his career as an Assistant Director at a TV production company.
"Flowers and Troops" (2009), "Fukushima – Memories of the Lost Landscape" (2011), THE HORSES OF FUKUSHIMA (2013)
Tofoo Films LLC