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Cincinnati World Cinema, in collaboration with
the Japan America Society of Greater Cincinnati
An Evening with Japanese Filmmaker Toko Shiiki

Saturday, November 9, 7:30 pm
The Garfield Theatre   719 Race St, Cincinnati, 45202
Director Toko Shiiki and composer Erik Santos attending,
sharing two short documentaries:
Passing the Baton and Over the Sky
The Garfield Theatre   719 Race St, Cincinnati, 45202


    JASGC and CWC welcome photographer/filmmaker Toko Shiiki and composer/sound engineer Erik Santos to Cincinnati for the regional premiere of two uplifting short documentary films about the resilience and determination of the Japanese people in the wake of disaster. They will make the evening extra special as they share first-hand observations and perspective.

    In 2011, Japan was hit with a triple whammy – an epic (9.0) earthquake off the coast followed by a massive tsunami that devastated entire communities. As a result, power failed at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant, triggering a meltdown and release of radioactive material.
    Worldwide, the increasing frequency and severity of natural disasters — hurricanes, earthquakes, tornados, tsunamis, wild fires and floods — receives constant coverage by the 24/7 media. What was initially rare is now everyday news.

    Filmmaker Toko Shiiki took a different approach in chronicling the aftermath of disaster in Japan. Rather than a graphic reprise of devastation, she traveled to Fukushima to focus on the survivors. Toko spoke one-on-one with individuals asking about their attitudes, how they were coping and their goals for the future. Her intimate conversations revealed a renewed sense of purpose in Japanese lives, colored by hope and determination. The lesson is uplifting and universal – the survivors could be anywhere, dealing with coastal upheaval in Japan; the ravages of fire, flooding or hurricanes in the USA; or disasters world-wide.
    Presenting Two Films about the people of Fukushima, with intro and Q&A by Shiiki and Santos...
  • The first film is Passing the Baton, a 21-minute short doc about a centuries-old family business threatened with extinction because of the disaster. Niida-Honke is an organic sake brewery in Fukushima, which was finishing a new series of sake for their 300th anniversary when the nuclear accident occurred. Yasuhiko Niida, the 18th president & chief brewer at Niida-Honke, faced a fight-or-flight decision — continue brewing their award-winning sake in Fukushima, or, due to the stigma of perceived radiation, shut down or relocate. He chose to stay, rebuilding his business and rebuilding his community.
  • The second film is Over the Sky, a 41-minute short doc about the importance of music in the lives of school children and residents of Fukushima. Haramachi Daiichi Junior High School was forced to evacuate the city after the nuclear accident. Shortly thereafter, music teacher Kazuyo Abe and her students began band practice anew, in a makeshift space in a different locale. With only a few months to prepare, they entered the National Junior High School band competition — and they won! A moving testament to the spirit and resolve of teacher and students alike, determined to live their lives to the fullest.

Yasuhiko Niida       Kazuyo Abe

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Documentary screenings and discussion with director Toko Shiiki and composer Erik Santos
  • Passing The Baton, in Japanese with English subtitles, 21 minutes
  • Over The Sky, in Japanese with English subtitles, 41 minutes

  • Saturday, November 9, 7:30 – 9:00 PM
Theatre opens at 7:00; seating at 7:15, film starts at 7:30.
THE GARFIELD THEATRE, 719 Race St, Cincinnati 45202.  Learn more
TICKETS:   Online and (859) 957-3456.
Adult general admission, $10 advance, $15 door.
JASGC members, Student & ArtsPass general admission, $8 advance, $12 door; must show valid ID upon arrival.
Advance sales cut off four hours before show time; thereafter tickets available at the door (unless sold out in advance).
Parking Options     Google Map     Drone View
Ample parking at affordable rates —  1,700+ garage spaces within two blocks ‐ Gramercy Garage (next door, enter via Race, 7th or Elm streets), Garfield Garage (9th St., next to the Phoenix) and Macy's Garage (7th Street). Another 363 surface lot spaces within a couple blocks, plus numerous on-street meters. Other transport options include the Street Car, Metro, Tank, Uber, Red Bike, etc.
ADA ACCESS: We have completely revamped and improved ADA access, with a direct path to wheelchair spaces and companion seats (no outside transit, no ramps, no stairs). Individuals using walkers or wheelchairs should call ahead to let us know your screening date and time, (859) 957-3456.
Across the street from the Garfield, you'll find the Butcher & Barrel, home of delicious shareables, salads, entrees and desserts, plus excellent wine, craft beer and mixed drinks. CWC patrons will receive a 15% discount on their order, excluding beverages.
Enjoy a pre- or post-film meal or coffee and dessert, or hang at the bar. You'll need your online ticket purchase confirmation or ticket stub from the event – discount valid only for the date of attendance at the Garfield.
Hours: TUE-THS - Dining, 5-10 pm; bar 3:30 - midnight. FRI-SAT - Dining 5-11 pm; bar 3:30 - 2:30. SUN - Dining 5-9 pm; bar 3:30 - 1-pm. Advance reservations recommended – (513) 954-8974. Check out the menus and photos: thebutcherbarrel.com.
or call (859) 957 3456.

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Toko Shiiki and Eric Santos will introduce the film and lead the post-film discussion.

 TOKO SHIIKI was born and raised in Japan and spent most of her life in Tokyo before moving to Michigan in 2005 to study photography in college. After graduation, she became a freelance photographer and won multiple photography awards.
    Toko has nurtured her passion for narrative photography – images that tell stories, primarily about people, inspired by life experience. Her success with a camera led to a natural extension – documentary filmmaking sharing the stories of unique individuals and their resilience in the face of adversity.

ERIK SANTOS is a composer, multi-instrumentalist, singer, producer and teacher, who is active in many musical genres, from rock and jazz, to classical, to electronic, world music, and music for theater and dance. He is the Chair of the Composition Department at University of Michigan School of Music, Theatre, and Dance.
    Santos has received commissions, prizes, fellowships, and other recognition for his concert music, including the Charles Ives Scholarship and the Charles Ives Fellowship from the American Academy of Arts and Letters as well as awards from Broadcast Music Incorporated (BMI), the MacDowell Colony, the Bozeman Symphony, the Civic Orchestra of Chicago, the Rackham Graduate School of U-M, and the Music Teachers National Association (MTNA).
    More recently, Santos has shifted to presenting music in venues other than a classical concert hall — dance clubs, street corners, radio, theaters, churches, museums, cafes, car stereos, movies, Internet, iPods, etc. — where there is more emphasis given to the interaction of music with other spontaneous sensory elements, involving listeners at the hub of a trans-dimensional experience. His recent creative activity has been focused on songwriting, interdisciplinary work with Japanese Butoh troupe Dairakudakan (avant-garde dance/theater), the alternative Japanese/English rock band October Babies (co-founded with Toko Shiiki), and sound/music production for the full-length movie Threshold: Whispers of Fukushima.

     In 2005, Santos and Shiiki formed an upbeat band called October Babies, which has performed a large variety of original multi-cultural and multi-lingual dance songs in America and Japan. They are affiliated with the local Ann Arbor music label/collective Oddfellow Music. Having completed four albums, along with music videos with October Babies, Santos and Shiiki became interested in filmmaking, which led to their documentary projects.
    The creative relationships formed with music and filmmaking have continued to grow. In 2016, Santos and Shiiki co-organized a partnership with The University of Michigan Center for World Performance Studies, The Center for Japanese Studies, and The School of Music, Theatre & Dance, to invite the fiery Japanese youth drum ensemble Yamakiya Taiko to perform the University of Michigan for The Fukushima Tribute Concert/Residency. This week-long event began with a thunderous concert at Power Center, and continued with a bunch of rousing Taiko workshops around campus and around town. The ensemble premiered a new work Santos wrote for them and a cadre of U-M student drummers, called "Armadillo Flow."

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 JETRO CHICAGO     The Japan External Trade Organization connects businesses with the resources they need to successfully expand to Japan. Since 2003, JETRO has supported more than 15,000 business investment projects and helped over 1,500 companies to incorporate their business in Japan; receive visa, immigration, and HR support; find dedicated office space; identify local government subsidies; meet Japanese business partners; and more. JETRO has six offices in the USA and a presence in 55 countries world-wide. US companies supported include Amazon, Tesla, Johnson & Johnson, and more. Learn more about JETRO.

 JAPAN AMERICA SOCIETY OF CINCINNATI     JASGC fosters business, cultural and social connections between the citizens, companies and governments of Japan and Greater Cincinnati, leading to a more productive, stable, and enriched relationship. The Society's diverse range of business, cultural and educational programs and projects exist to enrich the personal and professional lives of our members and the community at large. Learn more about JASGC.

 CINCINNATI WORLD CINEMA     Operated by volunteers who care about cinema and the community, Cincinnati World Cinema is in its 18th year of offering high quality documentaries, shorts, narrative fiction and specialty programs including festivals and classics – focusing on important and unique films that normally bypass Cincinnati. Learn more about CWC and its new home, The Garfield Theatre.

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