Directed by Yurugu Matsumoto, “Talking to the Starry Sky” is based on the true stories of persons with disabilities affected by the tsunami and the people who sought to assist them.

The 10th annual Glennfest will present two Japanese films about the earthquake and tsunami that struck the Tohoku region a decade ago at the Southeast Japanese School and Community Center, 14615 Gridley Rd. in Norwalk, on Sunday, Oct. 17.

The schedule is as follows: Doors open, 1:30 p.m.; sponsor trailers, 1:45 p.m.; Glennfest announcement, 1:50 p.m.; screening of “Letter from Fukushima,” 1:51-2:01 p.m.; Glennfest announcement, 2:03 p.m.; screening of “Talking to the Starry Sky,” 2:06-4:10 p.m.

The Great East Japan Earthquake occurred on March 11, 2011. Though this unprecedented disaster caused more than 18,000 people to be declared dead or missing, it is not well known that the mortality rate of people with disabilities was twice that of people without them. “Talking to the Starry Sky,” directed by Yurugu Matsumoto, depicts this little-known fact through a fictional narrative based on the true stories of witnesses whose accounts were collected in the areas hit.

The community workshop Aogiri, located in the city of Rikuzen Takada in Iwate Prefecture, managed to escape the direct damage caused by the tsunami, but its members became discouraged due to the loss of their colleagues. The woman who was directing the workshop strove to cheer up those members and began working hard to enable them to get back to regular life as soon as possible.

In this situation, the Japan Disability Network, which was about to start support activities in cooperation with support groups from all over Japan, received information that persons with disabilities in the disaster areas had disappeared, and also was confronted with the mysterious fact that no people with disabilities were found in any of the evacuation centers they visited.

At the same time, people in the city of Minami Soma in Fukushima Prefecture were forced to evacuate due to the nuclear power station accident. However, representatives of the community workshop Crossroad House have continued to support persons with disabilities who were left behind because they could not leave by themselves while fighting the hazards of radioactivity.

A scene from “Letter from Fukushima.”

The workshop needed to obtain information on disabled persons in emergencies in order to confirm their safety, but it was not disclosed because of laws protecting personal information. Thus, laws protecting human rights became a hindrance for people working to save the lives of disabled persons.

“Letter from Fukushima” is an award-winning animated short by L.A.-based filmmaker Yiran Wang. A boy from Fukushima sends a letter to express his love of his home. After the Fukushima nuclear disaster, many children cannot go back to their homes and are having health concerns. This film aims to raise social attention to the plight of these kids.

For ticket reservations, email Use promo code SEJSCC. Include your name, email address, and number of tickets.

For more information on the film festival, which runs from Oct. 5 to 17, visit

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