Fundingworks

    Pure Land

    A spiritual journey of two Japanese Buddhists living outside New York City

    Pure Land - a Documentary Film

    A spiritual journey of two Japanese Buddhists living outside New York City and their everyday practice to awakening

     NY, United States
    This is a Fiscally-Sponsored Project

    Fiscally Sponsored by Fractured Atlas

    TARIKI

    (Please visit our Facebook project page for the translation in English, Facebook @purelandoc)

    ニューヨークは昨夜より大粒の雨が降っています。これも、季節の変わり目を告げる雨、恵みの雨だと思うと、気分もいくらか晴れやかになります。

    激しい雨の降る深夜すこし前、ドキュメンタリー映画「ピュアランド」のクラウドファンドレイジングを無事終えることが出来ました。目標金額を大きく上回る達成にスタッフ一同、喜びに満たされるとともに、撮影に向け、できる全ての準備を進めています。

    キャンペーンの立ち上げ、ピッチビデオの製作、ご寄附のご案内。全てが初めての経験で、至らない点も多くあったと存じます。冷静に振り返ると、これも必要だった、あれをした方が良かったと自分でも反省点が沢山ございます。キャンペーンを通して本当に色々なことを勉強させて頂きました。皆さまのご支援とプロジェクトをご紹介できましたご縁に深く感謝いたします。

    また、今回のキャンペーン成功は、私にとって大きな目標である、映像を用いる社会貢献に一歩近づいたことを意味します。インターネットやビジュアルメディアと共に成長される若い世代の方々にとって映像の訴える力、映像の有効活用は今後ますます評価されると考えられます。マスメディアの伝える情報だけに躍らせるのではなく、自分の目と耳でしっかりと情報を集め、自分の頭で考える力を自然に養っている世代ですので、とても期待しています。この10年間、テレビ、映画のプロの現場で積ませて頂いた経験をもとに、今後は自分のためではなく、社会のために何ができるかをじっくりと考える機会を与えて頂きました。

    話しがそれましたが、このように考えてみますと、これもいくらか他力の思想が自分のなかに芽生えているのかと思うのですが、これは名倉さんはじめ、真宗の先生方に教えて頂いたことの積み重ねであります。来月末には名倉サンガによる帰敬式を執り行って頂きます。微力ながら真宗布教に役立てるよう全力で取り組んでいく所存でございます。

    映画製作は6月までの10日間ほどを予定しております。随時、近況報告を致しますので楽しみしていてください。

    4月16日早朝
    水上雅裕

    Seiza Meditation

    Hello Pure Land supporters,

    Our fundraising will end in a couple days, and I'm pleased to announce we have reached $15,000 to cover the developing production cost. I'm terribly sorry that I haven't had a chance to thank you in person or via email. I promise that you will hear from me very soon.

    Today, I want to introduce another peek into the world of Pure Land.

    One of the most important tasks that Rev. Miki Nakura continues to work on in New York is to introduce Seiza Meditation founded and developed by Mr. Torajiro Okada. I'm aware that there is some opinion that a meditation is not really a part of Shinran's original teachings, so why is Miki dedicating his life to introduce the meditation to the West?

    Personally, I don't think I got gravitated this much to Miki's Sangha and his life work unless I was deeply touched by his belief in Seiza meditation. I have practiced the Seiza myself and I have introduced the method to my friends. Not only a few times, I took my close friends to sit down with me at the temple.

    I've recently received a comment on Seiza from my filmmaker friend, Scott Ruderman. Scott worked with us as Dop (camera person) and he sat down with Miki during the production of Pure Land. Scott said,

    "Filming with Miki brought new insight to my practice as a cinematographer. I filmed many moments of Miki in deep mediation. The subtle movements and long periods of solitude challenged me to capture a visually dynamic and telling scene. It also inspired me to start my own meditation practice. After a few lessons with Miki, my mind is less congested allowing me to focus more on the present moments in my daily life."

    Cinematography is a very intense work that you need to be able to focus in every moment, every frame, and every breath. To do this well, I personally think that you first need to calm your mind. Rushing your radical thinking is not a way to go, and thinking ahead and coming up with the strategy can be only achieved by breathing well and pumping oxygen to your brain. (Simple logic? But how many of us actually do this?)

    Whether or not you are a professional cinematographer, I believe there is a good lesson found in Scott's comment. Studying Buddhism, just like any profession, takes someone's life work, and you won't go anywhere unless you take every moment seriously. Breathing and keeping your postures is the foundation of every single activity in life. Human is a creature of mind. And ironically, keeping your mind away from your thinking is the first step to find calmness living in this crazy world. 

    Gassho,
    Nori Mizukami

    * 日本語訳はFacebook Pageで近日ご案内いたします。
    https://www.facebook.com/purelandoc/

    ご寄附の手順案内

    (If you have any friend who wants to know how to make the online donation in Japanese, please share the link below).
     
    今回反省しましたのは、便利さばかりに着目するあまり、オンライン寄附などに不慣れな方々への配慮が抜けていた点でございます。おもえば、うちの母親などもインターネットが自宅にありません、スマフォよりは対人や電話で情報取集しております。早い、便利、簡単!ばかりを気にかける都市生活に慣れてしまった悪い癖ですね。

    遅ればせながら、グーグルドライブで寄附手順を示したものを共有させて頂きました。ご必要でしたらEメールでお送りすることも可能ですので、どうぞお申しつけください。

    https://drive.google.com/open?id=0B0UyVgWhUUE1bXozR3JmVmI2b0p5bWxqbDZZcmxURk8tSnFV

    水上 雅裕

    ご寄付を賜った日本の皆様へ

    (This is a thank you mail addressed to donors in Japan)

    日本の皆様

    ドキュメンタリー映画「ピュアランド」監督の水上です。この度は、私共のプロジェクトを応援して頂き、誠にありがとうございます。キャンペーン、映画製作の運営を少人数でやっているため、お礼のご連絡が今日になってしまいました。重ねてお詫び申し上げます。今月15日のキャンペーン終了後、各位へ宛ててメールを差し上げますが、まずはこういった形でのお礼と近況報告をお許しください。

    映画製作は個人では到底実現することができない芸術活動です。皆様の熱いサポートに支えられ、当初の目標金額だった100万円を集めることができました。このお金は間も無く始まる映画製作に使用させて頂きます。また、15日までの期間に集まったお金は、当初キャンペーン第2弾として資金集めを予定していた編集費用の一部として充てさせて頂きます。

    今回のキャンペーンは僕にとっても初めての試みですが、名倉さんと恒さんの映画を見てみたい!という皆様の純粋な気持ちを全身で感じております。引き続き、全力でキャンペーンと映画製作に取り組んで参ります。映画「ピュアランド」チームを応援して頂きますよう、何卒宜しくお願い申し上げます。

    4月10日
    水上 雅裕

    追伸
    残り僅かな日数ですが、この映画にご興味がありそうな方をご存知でしたら、是非「ピュアランド」クラウドファンディングをシェアください。https://fundraising.fracturedatlas.org/pure-land/campaigns/1876

    We have reached our first goal, AND....?

    Hi Pure Land supporters!

    Thanks to your contribution to the project, we have reached our original goal of $10,000 to work on the principal photography in spring. We are so grateful for all your support and extremely touched by the pure, positive energy you brought into this film. We will do our best to create this film and deliver to you as soon as possible. 

    So, we don't have time to relax! We have already started working on fundraising for post-production, which includes editing, color grading, sound designing  and composing. Originally, I was going to create a rough cut first before we could start collecting funding for the post-production phase, but why do we wait!? We have decided to keep rolling the fundraising for the film while we work on the production. 

    So, please stay tuned with our progress. We are excited to share more with you in the near future!! 

    Director,
    Nori Mizukami 
    Introduction

    Miki Nakura is a 55-year-old Japanese Buddhist priest living not far from New York City in Fairview, New Jersey. His dedication to Buddhism, which originally started after his father’s death in his early 20s, has brought him many miracle encounters in his lifetime. One such encounter was with a 91-year-old Japanese immigrant, Toni Katz. When they met, Miki was immediately inspired by Toni’s dramatic story. 
     
     In post-war Japan, 62 years ago, Toni met an American soldier, fell in love, and moved to the Bronx, New York with their first daughter. Since that day, Toni’s life was all about being strong – as an immigrant, as a wife, as a mother and as a grandmother. She was one of the first Japanese women who married an American citizen after the war. International marriage was so rare at that time that she didn’t have many resources that made her understand different values of a traditional American family. She had to carefully judge others and surrounding situations to attain everything she needed based on what seemed right and wrong. But this strategy was often exhausting, because in reality, how things would turn out were out of her control. 

    For Toni, this chance encounter with Rev. Miki was a call to change. She started attending Miki’s services, and one day, she asked if Miki would like to live with her and her husband, Bernie. She thought living with a Buddhist priest would help her to embrace a Buddhist way of living, which later made her realize impermanency and egolessness: innumerous causes and conditions determine every existence in this universe, so nothing can be achieved by one’s self-centered mind.
     
    Miki took the offer with humility, and it’s been five years since Miki moved into Toni and Bernie's house. Every morning, Toni attends Miki’s Buddhist service in her own living room, and they meditate together. Through listening to Toni’s own interpretation of Buddhism, Miki found the Buddha-nature in Toni, which seemed to be only waiting for its full bloom. At the age of 91, Tony is experiencing her full religious consciousness for the first time. Her journey with Buddhism has just begun.
     

       
    toni and b 3.png 73.99 KB
       
    miki study 2.png 103.77 KB
     
       Toni and Bernie Katz                                    Rev. Miki Nakura

    Story

    This is a story about two Japanese Buddhists living together and their daily practice to awakening. Everyday life is full of worries, anxieties, and fears. We are living uneasily in the middle of all these sufferings. Awakening in Buddhism refers finding solutions for these matters and the state of mind, which set us free from the realistic wants and fears. 
     
    Instead of an intellectual approach to understand the awakening, we visit Miki and Toni at their home and become part of their space and time through the lens of a camera. Outside the house they live in, we see Rev. Miki’s life mission to introduce Buddhist philosophies among different communities in New York. 
     
    This film touches on Toni’s immigration story along with her exploration with Buddhism. A layer of the story, which revisits Toni’s past 60 years after her marriage, weaves present-day footage with archival photographs and Toni’s voice-over to bring light to her transformation. 
     
    Toni is fully content with this encounter with Miki and Buddhism because even at her age she could fully discover who she was and what really mattered to her. This film intends to let their present moments to roll out, and have the viewers cross over to the other side where limitedness and relativeness in our society cease to work against us. 


    The filmmakers

    Director / Cinematographer

     
    headshot_2.png 62.62 KB


    Nori Mizukami
    is a graduate of the School of Visual Arts in New York, where he earned the MFA in Social Documentary. His debut short documentary, 18 seconds, was screened at festivals throughout the United States and it won the best documentary short at the Harlem International Film Festival. Besides his career in the US, he worked on TV documentary and news programs in Tokyo at NHK, Fuji and TBS. He has been working on a number of indie film projects both non-fiction and fiction in New York, and his work has taken him to many other states and across the globe to France, Australia and Mexico. His second documentary film featuring blind photographers in New York, What's Invisible, will begin its tour to support artists with disabilities in 2018.

    You can visit Nori's website at http://www.norimizukami.com


    Producer

    ma loo.png 57.76 KB


    Ma Luyao is a documentary filmmaker, a cinema studies researcher, and a reporter for cultural events based in New York. Her first documentary short Morning (2015) was premiered at Chinese Documentary Festival and traveled to New Narratives Film Festival in Taiwan. Born in Beijing, the experience of growing up in different parts of East Asia gives Luyao a passion to learn stories of others. Recently, she produced a documentary short, Where We Live, which is about Japanese American women in New York, 75 years after the Executive Order 9066. Luyao is also the editor of Brooklyn Bleuz (2017), a web series featuring Black communities in Brooklyn.


    Director's statement

    I first met the Shin-Buddhist priest, Rev. Miki Nakura, in the summer of 2016. At a bookstore in Midtown, I came across an open invitation to a meditation gathering organized by Miki, called “quiet sitting.” That night, I wrote to him “In the search for my return to Buddhism, I’m writing to you as my thoughts naturally arise. I don’t remember since when, but I cannot avoid putting myself first living in New York City…” 
     
    Before I moved to New York five years ago to attend a film school, Buddhism was a part of my life for a long time. I had attended to two Buddhist schools in Kyoto since I was 5 years old, and growing up, I was naturally surrounded by many temples and accustomed to having a pocket to escape when life became too stressful. But after five years of living in New York City, I felt  spiritually homeless. As I was looking for space to breath, I realized that I had lost my roots to Buddhism.

    With this film, I want to suggest options to design our own life without being hindered or stressed out by what we encounter. Many of us struggle with forces outside of our control and our society that prioritizes capitalism and materialism makes us narrow our views to the outside world and eventually prevents our minds to be free. But this natural state of mind is so crucial for any creativity.
     
    I’m not suggesting a life of a monk who lives deep in the mountains. The Shin Buddhism (Pure Land Buddhism), which Rev. Miki and Toni practice, was actually founded and designed for people who lived in the city back in the 13th century. Whatever spiritual journey you choose in your life, the film Pure Land will help you to see the world through the perspective of the Japanese Buddhists who have found the gateway to emotional freedom, love and compassion. 


    Your role
     
    We started filming with Miki and Toni in April 2017, and currently we are raising funds to complete the principle photography in April and May 2018. This includes the cost of a professional sound person with equipments, the crew’s accommodations and food, their transportation and hard drives to store the footage. 

    Your donations will be allocated to the following:

    • Professional crew (1 x location sound, 1 x field producer): $5,000
    • Hard drives and media: $1,000
    • Travel, accommodations, food: $2,000
    • Admin fee (website, editing software): $2,000 

    * Breakdown of the budget in excel is available. Please simply ask for it by email, info@norimizukami.com

    Even if you cannot help us financially, please spread the word or share the link with people who might want to join the community to complete the film.


    A word on gratitude

    We immensely appreciate your support regardless of the amount of contribution. Any donation will let us to take a big step toward completion of the film. 

    Personally, I want to thank all my friends who have supported and worked on the film. I want to express my gratitude to Miki, Toni and Bernie who have welcomed me into their home and given me an access to this amazing story. 

    Developing this film, I have learned that the greatest wisdom can be found by simply listening to someone's story. My motivation to create this film is to share the wisdom with the world through language of cinema because I believe many people wonder better ways of life. 
     
    Thanks for accompanying with us for this journey, and I look forward to sharing this wonderful experience with you.

    Director/Filmmaker
    Nori Mizukami 

    Rewards

    Gassho: Greeting

    Donate $10.00 or more

    Amount over $2.00 is tax-deductible.

    Thanks for making this generous contribution! We will express our gratitude via Thank You mail and social media shout out. 

    Nenbutsu: Recollection of Buddha's name

    Donate $50.00 or more

    Amount over $10.00 is tax-deductible.

    Making a film is filmmakers' journey which you don't often see. As our deepest gratitude, you will receive behind the scene pictures of the production, so that you can check out how the film was made! Plus, thank you mail and social media shout out.


    Jihi: Compassion

    Donate $100.00 or more

    Amount over $20.00 is tax-deductible.

    As our sincere gratitude to your compassion, you will receive a Pure Land original postcard signed by the director, plus all the previous perks.

    Tariki: Other Power

    Donate $250.00 or more

    Amount over $20.00 is tax-deductible.

    Your generous donation made a difference to what we could achieve during our principle photography. Your name will be listed under special thanks in the completed film credits. Plus all the previous perks. 

    Hongan: Original Vow

    Donate $500.00 or more

    Amount over $100.00 is tax-deductible.

    We will share a link to the digital online screener once the film is completed. You can watch Pure Land at home with your family and friends! Plus all the previous perks. 

    Engi: Chance Encounter

    Donate $1,000.00 or more

    Amount over $150.00 is tax-deductible.

    We deeply appreciate your love and compassion for bringing this film together. You are now part of our creative team, who made it possible to share this experience with the world. Let's celebrate the birth of Pure Land together. You will receive an invitation to a private screening event of the completed film and after dinner with the filmmakers. Plus all the previous perks.