Sunday, November 19, 2017

Zan (HIFF 2017) - Documenatry Review

The Documentary: Zan

The Director: Rick Grehan

The Story: This film follows imageMILL’s Yu Kisami as he brings us on a journey of discovery, aided by NGO NACJS. We meet the people who are working tirelessly to protect this beautiful part of the world, a natural heritage for Japan.

The Review:
Before this documentary, I don't believe I had ever heard of a dugong before although now I am rooting for their safety and the protection of their habitat. Rick Grehan's original goal for this film was to actually see one of these rare creatures in person and to come away with some even more rare images he could share with the world. What he found was the ongoing construction of a U.S. military base that is destroying the offshore area that the final remaining dugong are trying to live out their lives.

The stunning cinematography really shows off the coastal beauty of Okinawa and had me thinking about booking a flight for a return trip to Japan. When it comes to telling the story, the narrative is a little choppy and the editing cold use some help but Grehan still manages to get his point across. There is a daily battle being waged between the citizens of Okinawa and a government that seems determined to ruin a coastal region with unnecessary construction and disregard for the environment.

The Verdict:
Zan is an important documentary that sheds some light on a very serious tragedy taking place regarding a type of animal that is nearly extinct. The dugong is a very important piece of culture and history and would be a horrible loss if we never get to see or interact with them again.

Check out the documentary's official website for more info and how to help.

Zan is an official selection of the 2017 Hawaii International Film Festival. coverage of the 2017 Hawaii International Film Festival.

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