I'll just start with some of the work I'm currently doing as part of my college coursework, a short film project. I decided to tackle a subject that had been knocking around in my head for some time. The only US territory to ever be occupied by an enemy power, Kiska Island in Alaska. An extremely remote island near the arctic circle that housed a navy weather station, it was occupied in 1943 by Japan. Some saw it as a plan to island-hop to the North American continent, some saw it as merely a diversionary action away from Midway. What followed was a full campaign to retake the island, in which 300 Americans and 2,300 Japanese died.
In any case, one interesting historical anecdote caught my attention: All 7 of the Americans on the island surrendered, but one escaped, ran off into the depths of the island, only to give himself up 40 days later, on the brink of starvation. What motivates these kinds of actions? Every option he had was one of futility, yet he chose to test his own endurance on something impossible. My search for this man's name has so far been fruitless, leading me to believe that perhaps it's an apocryphal fiction, but like Plutarch said, never let the truth get in the way of a good story. This kind of subject matter, besides the romanticly evocative images that come to mind when one thinks of a modern war in a desolate place even by Alaskan standards, and its overlooked status, opens up a lot of interesting issues that I've had to deal with in my fascination with Japanese culture. No one from my family participated in the Pacific War, I was never affected by it. All I have known in my lifetime is Japan as a friend. Yet only 60 years ago America and Japan were engaged in one of the most brutal, bloody conflicts mankind has ever seen. The only nuclear weapons ever used against human beings. Hatred and ferocity, camps on both sides brutalising the percieved enemy. Yet I feel none of this emnity, and I have no interest in hearkening back to a jingoistic past of 'USA USA!'
Anyway, I digress.
Here's a photo of the actual island, at least the northern part, that has an extinct volcano.
Click these for a larger version.
Here's the first bit of visuals I did for this piece. I moved away from this look fairly quickly.
The second one moves closer to the kind of look I'd like for this film to have. A real thickness to the atmosphere, and a sense of the cold low sun, with a barely visible threat looming.
Here'es the latest image. A bit more of the island's landscape can be seen here. In reality, it graduates south from a snow covered volcano to more barren areas, dotted with lakes and the occassional bit of scrubby grass. Probably my favorite image of the bunch. Also the most colorless, and the one that most strikes fear into me at the thought of translating it to an animated film...
Bit of an odd first post, but I'll do more later, hope someone likes these.