Mission StatementMy goal as a filmmaker is to tell deeply personal stories that explore humanity's past and inspire a better future. As a Japanese story from an American perspective, DRAGONFLY is a small step in increasing historical awareness and remembering the heritage of many Japanese and Japanese-Americans.
About The Project
DRAGONFLY is an animated short film written and produced by Julia Morizawa (Infinite Pictures) and animated by Maria Marta Linero (Roly Poly Motion). In this story, a young girl learns of her mother’s survival of the Tokyo Firebombing on March 9-10, 1945 through the eyes of her brother’s spirit.
On March 9 and 10, 1945, the United States military attacked civilians in the Great Tokyo Air Raid, which was code-named “Operation Meetinghouse.” In less than three hours, 279 to 334 (depending on sources) B-29 bomber jets dropped 1,665 tons of incendiary bombs centered on the Shitamachi district of Tokyo. By dawn, more than 100,000 people were dead, one million were homeless, and sixteen square miles of the city were completely flattened. It was the highest death toll of any air raid during WWII, including the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Although Tokyo had been bombed more than 100 times during the war, this air raid was by far the worst.
In my personal experience, as a Japanese-American child growing up in Oregon during the 1980s and 90s, little to nothing was taught about the parts of WWII that involved Japan and Japanese-Americans. I read the books “Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes” by Eleanor Coerr and “Farewell to Manzanar” by Jeanne Wakatsuki and James D. Houston, and that was the extent of my education about the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and the Japanese internment camps. Some adults I meet today have never heard of either.
I began researching and writing a story about my heritage centered around my Japanese-American paternal grandparents and my Japanese maternal grandparents approximately 15 years ago. It wasn’t until I began researching what my maternal grandparents might have experienced during WWII that I learn about the Tokyo Firebombing on March 9 and 10, 1945. DRAGONFLY is about that experience. Although based on true events, I was never able to meet my maternal grandparents, so this script is largely fictionalized. The full-length story about my family heritage is intended to be a television limited series, but is still in development and would be nearly impossible to produce without studio backing. Therefore, I have decided to create a series of shorts featuring some of the moments from that full-length story. DRAGONFLY is the first of this series.
In Komoro, Japan in the summer of 1956, Sumiko, a 10-year-old girl with the air of a tomboy but the aura of a queen, is playing on her family’s lush farmland when she captures a red dragonfly. The dragonfly guides her to the family graveyard, while her mother, Yoshiko, watches from a distance. Flashing back to Tokyo, Japan on March 9, 1945, Yoshiko, her husband, Susumu, and their rambunctious baby boy, Kiyoshi, are forced to evacuate their home when hundreds of B-29 bombers fly over the city, dropping incendiary bombs, which erupt into a massive fire. They rush toward the Sumida River with the panicked crowd, racing for their lives.
DRAGONFLY is written, produced, and directed by Julia Morizawa. Julia is the owner/founder of Infinite Pictures, an independent production company based in Los Angeles, CA, which has been creating award-winning, low-budget films since 2005. The production team also includes: Maria Marta Linero (Animation Director), Aiko Fukushima (Composer), and Hyeonji Kim (sound designer).
To read more about the Production Team, check out the TEAM page (tab above).
DRAGONFLY stars an extremely talented cast of Japanese-American voice actors including Miya Kodama (Super Ordinary, Grey's Anatomy), Erika Ishii (Destiny 2, Fallout 76, Geek & Sundry), and Thomas Isao Morinaka (Kubo and the Two Strings, Disjointed).
The voices of Kazumi Aihara (Heroes, Bones) and James Taku Leung (Big Hero 6, Abominable, Small Foot) are also featured.
To read more about the cast, check out the TEAM page (tab above).
DRAGONFLY has been acknowledged by the following screenwriting competitions:
Voice-over production for DRAGONFLY was completed in August 2019 and pre-production, including the storyboard animatic was completed in September 2020. Once funding is secured, we will jump into animation immediately which we estimate will take approximately six months. Once picture is locked, our sound designer and composer will need two weeks each. Including some padding for safety, we expect to complete the project in the summer or fall of 2021.
Fortunately, the project has not been drastically affected by COVID-19 because all of the remaining work can be done remotely. However, the pandemic has caused a number of grants to be unavailable this year and may make the success of this crowdfunding campaign more difficult.
DRAGONFLY will initially be released online in accordance with the project's SAG-AFTRA agreement. The film is primarily intended for festival release with a focus on major relevant festivals including Sundance, Cannes, and the LA Asian Pacific Film Festival. The ultimate goal is to be nominated for an Academy Award for Best Animated Short, then to use the film to pitch the full-length limited series.
DRAGONFLY is budgeted at just under $20,000. This is the bare minimum needed to complete the film. Voice-over production and development were entirely self-funded. I spent most of 2019 and 2020 applying for financing through filmmaking grants and screenwriting contests, resulting in a very small amount of funds, which I applied toward pre-production.
After fees and expenses, the $15,000 goal for this crowdfunding campaign will cover the animation (for one animator), the sound design, and the musical score. If we are fortunate enough to surpass our crowdfunding goal, the additional funding would go toward hiring a second animator or illustrator to help Maria with the huge workload, hiring live musicians to record the score, and then toward distribution costs such as film festival submissions.
If you are considering a contribution but would like information on making your donation tax-deductible, and/or would like to see additional materials for the project, please contact Julia directly at email@example.com.
If you are an Animator, Illustrator, or Matte Painter and would like to contribute to the project by offering your services, please contact Julia directly at firstname.lastname@example.org with a cover letter indicating the service(s) you are interested in offering, your resume, reel, website (if available), and rates.
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If you hit your goal, what happens to the money you make after that?
Any contributions beyond our goal will go toward improving the efficiency and quality of production. The first step in doing so would include hiring more people and expanding the size of our production team. Our first priority is to hire a second animator to help carry some of the weight with Maria. After that, additional possible investments include hiring live musicians to record the score and film festival submission fees.
What happens if you don't reach your goal?
Seed & Spark requires us to reach at least 80% of our goal for our project to be greenlit and for your contributions to be transferred to us. If we reach 80% but not 100%, any necessary production expenses not covered by this campaign will be paid for via a grant or personal loan. If we are unable to reach the 80% mark, your credit card will not be charged and the campaign incentives will not be delivered.
How does the Wishlist work?
The Wishlist is Seed & Spark's way of breaking down our project's budget so you can see exactly where the money we raise will go. At this time, DRAGONFLY is not in need of any equipment or on-set services. However, we will absolutely consider any generous offers for services, especially from animators, illustrators, matte painters, etc.
Does it cost extra to ship internationally?
Nope. The costs of our campaign incentives include estimated shipping fees.
If you have any additional questions, please do not hesitate to reach out at email@example.com.
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About This Team
Julia’s writing and producing credits include the improvised feature film “JesusCat (or How I Accidentally Joined a Cult),” which was awarded Best Comedy Feature at the Asians on Film Festival in 2014 and the Movie Heroes Rising Star Award at the Action On Film Festival in 2013; the short film “Sin & Lyle,” which earned her a Best Female Filmmaker nomination at the Action On Film Festival in 2007; the play “Twenty-Two,” which premiered at the Knightsbridge Theatre in Los Angeles in 2010; the audio drama “American Comedy Horror Story: Orphanage,” which is available worldwide on most podcast apps; and the sci-fi/adventure digital series, “Pure,” which is currently in post-production. Julia also managed the crowdfunding campaign for “Pure,” which raised just over $35,000. “Dragonfly” is her first endeavor into animation. www.juliamorizawa.com
Maria is a visual artist, born in Argentina, where she studied fine arts and animation. After graduating, she worked as an art teacher for several schools in Argentina. She began her career as a 2D animator working on films for different studios throughout Argentina and Mexico where she lived 6 years. She currently resides in Los Angeles, California and works as an independent animator and illustrator for a variety of projects around the world. Recent projects include the animation sequences for “Maari” and “Living Ubuntu.”
Born and raised in Japan, after studying at the Berklee College of Music, Aiko attended the prestigious Henry Mancini Institute, BMI Pete Carpenter Fellowship, and Sundance Institute Composer’s Lab, before relocating to Los Angeles. Recent film composer credits include “The Landlord,” “Famous and Fatal” (Lifetime Movie Network), and “The Volunteer” (Audience Network). Aiko also worked on “Leaving Neverland” (HBO), “District 9” and “The Mummy” as an orchestrator. www.aikofukushima.com
Hyeonji is a Los Angeles-based post production sound designer, editor and mixer. After she graduated Goyang Art School in South Korea, she studied post-production audio engineering at Musicians Institute in Hollywood. She has recorded several local artists and is currently working on the upcoming indie game “Catch My Tails.” She is also known for her collaboration work with graphic designer/filmmaker Alec Burns.
Miya is an (unfortunately) Fresno-born actress based in Los Angeles. A graduate of USC's B.A. Theatre program, she has also studied at The Groundlings and wrote for the 2018 CBS Diversity Showcase. She can be seen on the Season 15 finale of “Grey's Anatomy” as Emily (ABC), in the upcoming “Lost: The Parody Musical” as Sun (Whitefire Theatre), and the comedy short “Condoms & Cherries” as Clarice (Dir. Monisha Dadlani). You can hear her as Anika in the narrative audio drama “Super Ordinary” (Tandon Productions) and as Izzy in the upcoming stoner-comedy “Sword & the Stoner” (Tandon Productions). www.miya-kodama.com
Erika is an actor known primarily for her voiceover work in games and animation. Trained at Strasberg Institute and Upright Citizens Brigade, Erika performed with improv and sketch groups all over Los Angeles and built up an extensive resume acting and hosting with new media outlets including Geek & Sundry, Nerdist, Screen Junkies, Collegehumor, and The Escapist. She can be heard in leading roles in “Dream Daddy: A Dad Dating Sim,” “Mobile Suit Gundam Narrative (NT),” “Fire Emblem Heroes,” “Battlestar Galactica: Deadlock,” and “Sailor Moon SuperS,” among others. She can currently be seen in Geek & Sundry’s popular tabletop show “LA By Night: Vampire the Masquerade.” www.erikaishii.com
Thomas is an actor, writer, stunt performer, and an award-winning stage combat/fight choreographer. He earned a BA with Honors in Theatre from the University of Hawai'i, with an emphasis in stage combat and Japanese theatre, history, and classical literature. Most recently, he was blessed to have voiced a character on an episode of the serial audio drama, "Ars Paradoxica" and booked a guest star role on the Netflix show "Disjointed" with Kathy Bates. He is a proud member of SAG/AFTRA and Equity.
Kazumi has been a founding member of The Garage Theatre since 2014, where she produced and starred in the world premiere of “BLOOD,“ written and directed by two-time Golden Globe and five-time Emmy Award nominee Robert Allan Ackerman. Her first notable TV appearance was an Apple Get-a-Mac ad campaign with Justin Long and John Hodgeman. She has performed leading roles in numerous stage productions in Japan and the U.S. Her film & TV credits include “Where the Road Meets the Sun" with Eric Mabius, "American Falls" starring Vincent D’Onofrio, ”Bones" (FOX), and "Heroes" (NBC). She most recently played the role of Mamasan alongside legendary Al Pacino in a benefit staged reading of David Rabe’s “The Basic Training Of Pavlo Hummel” at The Wallis in Beverly Hills. She received her BA in Drama from the University of Montana and trained at the Lee Strasberg Theatre Institute. Kazumi is also a writer and producer. Instagram: @KazumiAihara. www.kazumiaihara.com
Originally from Manhattan, James Taku Leung is a graduate of Columbia University and a graduate of the Second City's world famous conservatory program. At barely over 5-ft tall, he is also a U.S. Marine veteran and was once named Marine of the Year. As a voiceover artist, James’ voice can be heard on feature films such as “The Dark Knight,” “Big Hero 6,” “Midway” and “Abominable” as well as video games to include “Red Dead Redemption II” and the “Call of Duty” series. His most recent on-camera appearances were on TV’s “Westworld,” “Magnum P.I.,” “Fresh Off The Boat,” and “SEAL Team.” A fun fact about James: he is the only actor in Hollywood who hosts and referees sumo wrestling shows. Outside of his professional life, he is the proud father of a toddler son and a newborn daughter. www.imdb.me/jamestakuleung, www.jamestakuleung.com
Fern Lim is an actor, producer, and overall artistic soul on a mission to infect the world with joy, delight, and good vibrations! She is based in Los Angeles and has created and performed on stages and screens all across the globe. Fern believes in the power of art to create empathy and connection in what can be a painfully divisive world, and is an ardent supporter of the creators, dreamers, and change-makers both around and within us. She’s been delving into the wild world of fully-remote filmmaking and stop-motion animation, while co-producing the comedic series Human Telegraphs, and writing the little things, a weekly newsletter full of love notes to reality (thelittlethings.xyz). Connect with her at fernlim.com and @fernlimyay.
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