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‘Haikus on a Plum Tree’ Uses Puppets to Recount History

'Haikus on a Plum Tree' Uses Puppets to Recount History

Here’s your daily dose of an indie film in progress — at the end of the week, you’ll have the chance to vote for your favorite.

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Haikus on a Plum Tree

Logline: A film about my Italian family’s imprisonment in a Japanese war camp during WWII, blending documentary, puppetry & family history.

Elevator Pitch: My film touches upon a still obscure chapter in Japanese history, and does so through the extraordinary experience of the Marainis, a family of important cultural influence in Italy and beyond. My mother, Toni Maraini, and my aunt, acclaimed Italian author Dacia Maraini, were only 2 and 7 years old when they entered the first prison camp in 1943 with their parents, anthropologist Fosco Maraini and Princess Topazia Alliata. My grandmother Topazia’s war diary is the only known and published account of an Italian woman in one of those camps.

Production Team: 

Mujah Maraini-Melehi, Director/Writer/Producer
Deborah Belford de Furia, Co-writer
Maura Morales Bergmann, Cinematographer
Susanna Scarpa, Editor

About the Film: Every child of a survivor understands that there are wounds and responsibilities that find their way to the next generation. In the camp, my grandfather chopped off his finger with an ax, an act that probably saved his family and one that has always both terrified and fascinated me. I grew up listening to this and other family anecdotes — powerful, profound stories of hunger, courage, honor and sacrifice. Through a blend of documentary, puppetry and family history, I want to tell the extraordinary story of my family’s survival and what that legacy means to me today.

Current Status: Fundraising on Kickstarter

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