Ductape Produces PSA to Support Japan Recovery Effort

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Advertising Agency Ductape produces PSA featuring Ben Stiller to raise awareness for The Disaster Emergency Relief Fund (TDERF) The international campaign included talented filmmakers from four countries.

This is not yesterday's news. It's happening now. This is Japan, now.

- Ben Stiller

On the one year anniversary of the tsunami that struck Japan on March 11, 2011 (The Great Disaster of Northern Japan-Touhoku Daishinsai) Ductape marshaled the talented international resources of New Zealand director Heath Cozens, and Co-Producers Norwegian born Natassia Malthe, Canadian Martin Skye and Australian Aramis Shannari with the generous contribution of producer/director Ben Stiller to produce an international awareness campaign. The goal: raise funds sufficient to deliver 60 tons of relief aid directly to the people of Northern Japan through The Disaster Emergency Relief Fund. http://japanwecare.org/

Director Heath Cozens, a resident of Japan, had worked with Ductape on advertising campaigns the agency had produced in Tokyo. He contacted Ductape's Executive Producer Garret Cheves with footage he'd personally shot in and around the area of Touhoku that graphically depicted the dire circumstances facing the residents of that area one year later. "I was floored," Garret remembers, "I had no idea things were still that bad."

"Japan is recovering, albeit slowly," Heath says in a Skype interview, "But the depth of the disaster is difficult to understand unless you live here--the [need] remains great, even a year out. I wanted to show the world images of where we really are in terms of rebuilding and how much their donations, no matter the size, are still very much needed."

A single dissonant note opens the spot and we find ourselves looking at a field of twisted debris that stretches to a calm sliver of sea on the horizon. One skeletal structure sags in the middle of the vast field of tortured debris, the only signpost that remains of a once vibrant fishing village. Other shots reveal more personal aspects of the devastation: a child's toy swings in a window framed with teddy bear curtains, a gas station still shelters empty cars twisted around rows of blackened gas pumps. Ben Stiller is heard in voiceover saying, "On March 11, Japan's northeastern seaboard was destroyed."

The spot then takes the viewer to a makeshift shelter in a high school gymnasium, with haunting images of Japanese survivors who have yet to find homes. Their eyes tell the whole story. Mr. Stiller continues, "This is not yesterday's news. It's happening now. This is Japan, now." The spot’s effect is chilling.

EP Garret Cheves adds, "Ben gave us all the time we needed during a busy weekend to capture an effective message. He and his staff went out of the way to accommodate the shoot, even scheduling us around his kid's birthday party!"

TDERF describes their efforts as springing from a grassroots movement, resulting in a high degree of efficiency when delivering supplies to the areas affected by the tsunami. Their website states, "that with less than $25,000 we have been able to convert that to almost $200,000 of aid delivered." An interesting aspect of TDERF is that the organization is largely comprised of expats from all over the world who are motivated not just by compassion, but also by their gratitude to the country that has become their home "and showed us so much generosity, kindness of spirit, and hospitality in the past – and not only us but the world."

The high caliber feature film crew donated their time and equipment, and the stage was donated by Red Studios, the maker of the Red camera system. Producer Martin Skye coordinated Ben Stiller's involvement from his home in Takarazuka, Japan.

Skye is dedicated to TDERF’s effort, as he discussed in an article on therecord.com, explaining why the large expat community in Japan, which includes thousands of Canadians such as Skye himself, came together to help their adopted homeland. “The Japanese took really good care of us so we want to give something back”

“Nobody knew how bad the situation really was” in the days immediately following the tragedy, said Skye.

Syke described entering the disaster zone as first driving into a “ghost town to sporadic damage to full-blown wiped off planet earth. The earthquake damage is one thing, but the tsunami pulled entire cities out to sea."

Today TDERF http://www.tderf.org continues to give voice to the victims of the tsunami and pledges to continue until the area is restored.

Ductape http://www.ductapemedia.com is a small ad agency located in Los Angeles, which began serving the community six years ago, creating content for companies like Guthy-Renker, makers of the ubiquitous Proactiv Solution. Ductape specializes in both long and short form creative and recently won a gold Addy for their St. Anthony "Shattered" spot, directed by Rocky Lane. Ductape focuses on US markets, but has also created campaigns in Japan, Germany, Australia and the UK.

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Garret Cheves
Ductape
(310) 570-2155
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