You might know Lisa Katayama from her articles on Popular Science, Wired and Fast Company - or perhaps she taught you "everything you ever wanted to know about the birth city of Godzilla, Gundam, all-you-can-eat shabu shabu and panty vending machines" on her blog TokyoMango. It's clear that Katayama has a true passion for Japan, where she spent the first 18 years of her life, so when disaster hit the country last March, she knew she couldn't just stand idly by. Her desire to do something led her to create We Are All Radioactive, an online episodic documentary series that follows the lives of surfers and fishermen as they work to rebuild small coastal towns that were affected by the tsunami. The series, produced with TED film director Jason Wishnow, is entirely crowdfunded, meaning that it's up to you to keep new episodes rolling out. We recently spoke to Lisa about why she decided to start We Are All Radioactive, what we can expect to see in the latest episode, and how funders can actually influence what is shown in coming episodes - choose-your-own-adventure-style. Read on to learn more!
INHABITAT: What made you decide to start the We Are All Radioactive series?
Lisa: I grew up in Japan, and my family and friends still live there — so the earthquake was really shocking to me. My first instinct was to fly back and “help” somehow — then I realized that the best way I could contribute to post-earthquake Japan was to tell the human stories behind the disaster. A friend of me and Jason’s told us about Motoyoshi, so we went out there last June to meet everyone. We didn’t really have a story or agenda in mind, but we brought a camera and a voice recorder and started to shoot interviews as we got to know the residents.
INHABITAT: One of the aspects that makes We Are All Radioactive unique is the fact that the “crowd” (followers and funders) has the ability to influence the next video. Could you tell us a little more about that?
Lisa: One of the perks on our IndieGoGo campaign is “choose your own adventure” — for $500, you get to propose ideas to the directors about what direction a future episode should go in, or what questions you want answered through the film.