Film to find stories behind tsunami debris
A ball. A boat. A little girl’s sandal. Filmmakers are working to find — and tell — the stories behind some of the items that have washed up on North American shores after the deadly 2011 tsunami in Japan.
“Lost and Found” aims to reunite items discovered by beachcombers and others who feel compelled to return them to their rightful owners, co-director John Choi said.
A trailer for the film, which still is being produced, features two men affected by the items they’ve found. John Anderson found a volleyball on a beach in Washington state, and Marcus Eriksen, head of an expedition that sailed from Japan to Hawaii to look for tsunami debris last year, found part of a boat. The items haven’t been linked to their original owners yet.
“It was just like, Whoa, oh man! There’s one of them balls with all the writing on it,” Anderson says in the clip. “I’m more interested in the story behind it. You know, I would sure like to know what happened to these people.”
Eriksen said when his team first saw the boat, there was initial excitement, “because we had been watching the ocean for a few weeks, wondering what’s out there. But when we approached this, it went from fascination and excitement to, like, the sobering reality that this was someone’s property, and we were very quickly filled with compassion about ... who lost this boat.”
“They didn’t lose it,” he said in the clip. “It was taken from them by natural disaster.”
Monday marks the two-year anniversary of the disaster, which devastated a long stretch of Japan’s northeastern coast and killed thousands of people.
The Japanese government estimated that 1.5 million tons of debris was floating in the ocean in the immediate aftermath of the tsunami, but it’s not clear how much is still floating.