U.S. student creating film on former residents of A-bombed neighborhood

by Hiromi Morita, Staff Writer

A student at the USC School of Cinematic Arts (University of Southern California), one of the top film schools in the United States, has begun shooting a short documentary in Hiroshima about former residents of the Nakajima District, a neighborhood destroyed by the atomic bombing. On July 28, the graduate student, Paul Shepard, 26, filmed a meeting of the former residents as they engaged in work on a project to restore the appearance of their old neighborhood through the use of computer animation. Mr. Shepard plans to enter a 10-minute movie in film festivals held in and out of the United States.

Through his adviser at USC, Mr. Shepard learned of Masaaki Tanabe, 70, a former resident of the Nakajima District and the president of a computer graphics company who has been spearheading the animation project. Mr. Shepard grew interested in this effort and first came to Hiroshima this past spring. During the visit, he was shocked to learn of the true devastation wrought by the A-bomb.

Mr. Shepard has now returned to Hiroshima to make the documentary. He filmed the residents discussing the restoration of the Nakajima District through computer animation as well as their lives in relation to the bombing. He will remain in Hiroshima until August 8 to shoot footage of the Peace Memorial Ceremony on August 6 and related events.

“I want to depict the reality of war, which destroyed not only an area but its community and its families,” remarked Mr. Shepard. “I hope my film will convey the importance of peace and will interest people in the U.S. and in Europe and Asia as well.”

(Originally published on July 29, 2008)