New Documentary Gives Viewers Inside Look into Japan: Searching For The Dream Debuts on DVD

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Compelling documentary explores Japan on the brink of cultural change, now available on DVD.

When filmmaker Mark Joseph sat down to interview the late George Gallup Jr. for his then talk show "The Interview" which aired on Japan's NHK network throughout the 1990's he had no idea that a friendship would develop that would one day lead to the two collaborating on a documentary film. Although Gallup has since passed away, that collaboration, "Japan: Searching For The Dream" is finally set to be released. Together with filmmaker Bill McKay, Joseph and Gallup first asked penetrating questions of the Japanese people in a series of public opinion polls supervised by Gallup himself. Working off of that data, the filmmakers then created the documentary.

"In my 50 years of polling there is no study that I would consider as important as this one, because it provides insight into a fascinating culture," noted Gallup of the research, before his passing.

Is the sun rising or setting on the Japanese dream? A people who once drew their identity from a sense of community and belonging find themselves going their separate ways. Many are discovering their individuality, but in the process are abandoning the common values and shared ideals that produced the post-war miracle of Japan. It is a culture divided between a heritage of unifying, if not rigid, social principles in conflict with a younger culture's quest for Western ideas and unrestrained freedoms. Japan today is a nation at the edge, redefining itself, reinterpreting its past in light of its future and searching for its dreams.

The film is a passion project of producer Mark Joseph who has produced feature films like Doonby, Reagan, Max Rose, Frank vs. God and others and participated in the development and marketing of 40 feature films including The Passion of The Christ, The Chronicles of Narnia, Ray and others. Joseph grew up in Tokyo, Japan as the son of American parents who had settled in Tokyo shortly after World War II and the project reflects his interest in Japan and desire to communicate that to the outside world. Joseph stays connected with Japan on regular trips there and screens his films for members of the Japanese parliament. He also launched the Hiroshima International Film Festival which takes place each year in Hiroshima, Japan.

"I am thrilled that this film is finally being released," noted Joseph. "We have worked on it for many years and are pleased that it will finally be released on DVD. We hope it will help the world understand Japan better."

What emerges from the film is a self-portrait painted by the Japanese themselves of the hopes, dreams and challenges facing the great nation of Japan. The film follows the lives of several traditional and non-traditional Japanese including a disc jockey, a Lesbian couple searching for acceptance, a fitness instructor, a music producer and others in an attempt to capture the Japanese heartbeat.

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Bethany Thompson
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