Tuesday, September 8, 2009

At the risk of being repetitive, I'd like to repeat myself.

This is my second blog for today.
I started it a while ago and it could have waited but something arrived in the mail today that is tied to this.
I don't mean to carry on about any topics too much but I'm not done with "A Letter From the Western Front" quite yet.
I had sent a message to the creator Daniel Kanemoto saying how glad I was to see the video back up after being gone for so long. I also linked him to my last blog about it.
I received this email from Dan a few days later.

Hi Tim -

Thanks for the kind words, and for helping to promote my work. I really appreciate it. I'd be happy to send you a copy of my new movie, ARTICLES OF WAR - what's your address?
Also, I recently updated my website and put up a remastered HD version of WESTERN FRONT - you can check it out at:


(Be patient - it takes a while to load!)

Hope all is well,

Isn't that nice of him? Remember my blog a short while ago about people who have a sincere appreciation for their fans?
There you have it. A wonderfully talented person who takes a couple of minutes to thank a fan.
It made my day.

I should also point out that Daniel's talents have not gone unnoticed by others who know a thing or two about talent.
In 1999 Daniel won the Gold Medal in Animation at the Student Academy Awards for "Letter from the Western Front" while at New York University.
This award is presented every year by the ​​Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.
That very same Academy that hands out that little golden guy Oscar every year.
I was thrilled when I read that.

I received the "Articles of War" DVD in the mail today. I haven't watched it yet but from the trailer (also on the website) I can tell that it's another emotional one.

I went to Dan's site and downloaded the remastered HD version of Letter from the Western Front.
While it was downloading my son Boo came into the room and asked what I was doing.
I told him that I was downloading a very special movie. I asked if he would like to see the Youtube version while we waited. He said that he did.
When I got to the Youtube page Boo saw my comment in the comments section on the page and asked "This makes you cry?"
"Every time." I replied.
He looked thoughtful after I said that.
Coincidentally, he had just finished watching "Saving Private Ryan" a short while before this.
I'm not sure how I feel about my 11 year old son watching a movie like that but my initial feeling is that it is a good thing that our kids realize the true horrors of war and how lives are really lost and affected forever.
I was about to find out that my initial feeling was pretty good.
I started the Western Front video playing on Youtube.
Boo and I watched it.
As it was starting he asked me if it is a true story.
My answer was that this particular story was not but the situation itself has been happening thousands and thousands of times for centuries and centuries all over the world.

When it was over and the end music was playing I looked at Boo.
I'm proud to say that he had tears in his eyes.
He made no attempt to hide them from me either.
He has seen me cry far too often, especially over the past year or so, and knows that there is no shame in crying.
To see that the horrors of war had this effect on him struck a chord in me that my wife and I are doing something right and are on the right track.

Back to the story...

A couple of minutes later the download of the HD version finished.
I had honestly not intended on watching it at that moment since it was bedtime.
What the heck, I thought. I wanted to see how the quality was.
Boo sat down to watch it with me.
Oh my. What a difference!
I expanded the display to cover my entire computer monitor and the image was crystal clear.
I saw images in there that I could never have noticed before. Little things that Dan and his associates must have laboured to include and assemble when creating the film but I had never noticed before.
Absolutely amazing.

I wanted you to see this film before. Now I insist that you see it in HD!

Boo and I didn't say a word for a while when it was done. But the lumps were in our throats and tears in the corners of our eyes.

One more thing of note.
I'm sure that everyone realizes the impact that music has on the emotion and intensity of things that we watch.
The music for "Letter From The Western Front" was composed by an outstandingly talented chap named Ryan Shore.
Have a look at his web site here.
A really great thing about his site is that there are .mp3's of his music which you can download.
In fact, this BlackBerry I am writing this blog has several of Ryan Shore's pieces on it.
I was happy to see that Ryan also composed the score for "Articles of War".
I know what type of emotion to expect.

I'm not going to rush into watching it but wait until I have a few minutes to sit down and watch it all, and then sit and think about it afterwards.
I want Tiny and Boo to watch it with me.

Daniel, thank you so much for sending the DVD. It will be watched many many times. I guarantee it.

And again thanks for everything that you do.

You keep making them and we'll keep watching them.

Stay well,

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