The Search For Onoda - Documentary

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Searching for Onoda is a documentary film about a man who continued to fight a war for thirty years after it had ended , a man who fought for a country that had forgotten him, and who dreamt of a family who all thought he was dead.

Hiroo Onoda was twenty-two years old when he was posted to the small island of Lubang, south-west of Manila, Philippines. It was 1943, and the Second World War was nearing an end. After the Americans arrived on Lubang and Japanese soldiers had suicided or surrendered, Onoda continued to lead four men, conducting guerrilla warfare and eluding authorities; Onoda's orders were to never surrender, he kept his orders until March 1974. Onoda was fifty-two years old when he surrendered.

In this film, we journey back into the jungles of Lubang, trekking the hills and caves, to where Onoda had survived for almost three decades. Venturing onto the farms and homes of the islanders, they revisit their encounters with the Japanese officers they called The Devils of the Mountains, and through interviews with the islanders who lost brothers, fathers,uncles and cousins at the hands of Onoda and his men, this film looks at the individual lives affected by war and the continuing hardships faced by the islanders of Lubang.

Journeying between past and present, we move from the jungles of Lubang to Onoda’shometown, to where Onoda spent his youth and to the home he now resides as an elderly man.

Through a collection of interviews with family members, islanders and local authorities we will recreate a time when there was no such thing as surrender, and innocence was lost on the small island of Lubang.
Lubang Island is where my mother grew up, it's where many of my family members still live and where Onoda spent three decades of his life.
I have a personal connection to the island that sustained Onoda, and also to the people who's lives were affected during his hideout.
As I near my 30th year on this planet, I am overwhelmed to think that the years I have spent enjoying life - is the same amount of time Onoda spent his in hiding, in fear, in delusion, sleeping amongst leaves with his gun by his side. Dreaming of home.
In 2008 I purchased my own camera and paid my own way overseas to do interviews in the Philippines with family members. Some of that footage will make the final documentary, but I need to get more in depth interviews with islanders, local authorities involved in the search and hopefully even speak with Onoda himself.
We will also need to shoot re-enactments as there will be dramatised scenes needed to take us back to late 1940's through to early 1970's.
Funding will help us get the extra footage we need to tell this story, and conduct interviews in the Philippines and Japan.

Most importantly, funding will also give back to the island of Lubang by providing families and children with items such as food hampers over the Christmas period, personal care items and medicines.

Some Of My Previous Work

You can see my credits on IMDB however there are none for the role of documentary director or producer.

This is my first film outside of highshool, University or post-graduate school.
I have made silly short films about tigers and old men, docos about poo farms and housing affordability.
Nothing like a story that spans 60 years across jungles and seas.

This is a massive leap for me but I know I have the support of my filmmaking community of friends and colleagues who can help steer me the right way, give me tips on guerilla filming and even lend me their ears.

I also co-Produce Saturday Breakfasts on 2SER

The Challenges

This film is going to be made regardless of whether we can achieve the pozible funding goal, the road there will just be longer and a little steeper.

I have already purchased airfares overseas to the Philippines and Japan, so regardless of funding goals I am determined to go over and do the interviews with islanders and Onoda.

The funding will enable me to hire better equipment (otherwise I will be using my old Canon XM1) and do more interviews around various places in the Philippines. It will also mean I can pay for translators and reimburse those who give me their time as tour guides or hosts.

Importantly, the funding will also mean I can give back to the island of Lubang.

on 10th Nov 2013 at 1:00pm. The payment portal is closed now.
A$5 +Thank you so much. You will get a big thanks on our facebook page!
0 Chosen | 10 AvailableEst. delivery is September 2014
A$10 +Thank you. You have just purchased personal care items for a child on Lubang Island. You will also get a big Thank You on our facebook page
9 Chosen | 11 AvailableEst. delivery is January 2014
A$15 +Huge Thank You! You have just purchased new school shoes for a child on Lubang. You will also receive a Thank You on our facebook page.
4 Chosen | 16 AvailableEst. delivery is January 2014
A$20 +Maraming Salamat po! You have just given personal care items and school stationary for a child on Lubang. You will also get a big Thank You on our facebook page
10 Chosen | 30 AvailableEst. delivery is January 2014
A$30 +You are amazing! You have just purchased mosquito repellents and cough medicines for a family in Lubang. You will also get a personal Thank You on our facebook page.
9 Chosen | 21 AvailableEst. delivery is January 2014
A$50 +Maraming maraming salamat po! Your generosity has just given an entire family a hamper for Christmas. This includes foods and basic medicines to see them into the New Year. You will also receive a Thank You in the Film Credits and a BIG thank you on our facebook page.
13 Chosen | 7 AvailableEst. delivery is January 2014
A$75 +Your generosity will not only feed a family over the Christmas period but also provide the children with new school shoes! We cannot thank you enough. You will get a Thank You in our Film Credits and on our facebook page
1 Chosen | 19 AvailableEst. delivery is January 2014
A$100 +MARAMING SALAMAT! Your super generosity has provided a family with food and medicines for Christmas and New year. You have also ensured that we can give back to those on Lubang who have helped us with their time and efforts as tour guides, translators or reseachers. You will get a MASSIVE Thank you in our Film Credits, and a special invite to our first screening* * Screening locations TBC. Filmmaker does not take responsibility of transport for the supporter.
7 Chosen | 18 AvailableEst. delivery is January 2014
A$200 +WOW. Your generosity has allowed us to not only give back to the community of Lubang through hampers for families and care packages for children but also hire the equipment required for a high quality production. You will receive and Invite to our first screening* and a Thank You in our film credits. * Screening locations TBC. Filmmaker does not take responsibility of transport for the supporter.
1 Chosen | 19 AvailableEst. delivery is December 2014
A$500 +You have blown us away. Thank you. You have made many children and families on Lubang very happy with your generosity. Your kindness will not only provide for the community but will enable a higher quality film from production through to completion. You will receive exclusive updates as we are filming plus a special invite to the screening* and your own copy of the film. * Screening locations TBC. Filmmaker does not take responsibility of transport for the supporter.
1 Chosen | 7 AvailableEst. delivery is July 2014