I'm pleased to announce that A Japanese Funeral will be awarded the David Plath Media Award at the upcoming American Anthropological Association annual meeting. The prize committee noted:
This short documentary allows viewers to participate in a Japanese funeral following the unexpected death of a 39 year old man in his sleep. While the film shares no information about how the director came to have such open access to the event and family in question, it is an example of an aspect of ethnographic film often left undiscussed - a richness and intimacy that comes from sustained fieldwork preceding the shooting. Not only is the anthropologist there and given access once the death occurs but there is a sense that she has ties to the community that extent far beyond the three day even the film documents. In other words, the film allows one to see rather than stare at a Japanese funeral. The film should also be commended on its brevity because the disciplined editing contributes to the film being an experiential ethnography rather than an expository documentary.
The official website (with downloadable trailers) of my film is here: http://videoethnography.com/funeral/
The film itself can be purchased on Amazon.com.