Keeping The Faith In Hollywood!

Keeping The Faith In Hollywood!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

The Japan Disaster and Hollywood

A magnitude 8.9 earthquake hit Japan 3/11/11 at 7pm Pacific time causing large damage in the most earthquake prepared country in the world. The earthquake was quickly followed by a huge tsunami in the coastal Sendai that caused cataclysmic damage despite an advance nation-wide tsunami warning system. Large fires quickly broke out in the area and power and heat blackouts worsened the condition of survivors as the temperature dropped below freezing. The U.S. military sent support ships filled with supplies, aid and soldiers and relief agencies like the Red Cross, NGOs and many other western nations also arrived to help find those lost and to help survivors.

Unbelievably, the back-up cooling system of Japan's nuclear plants did not kick in resulting in over-heating of the core rods a mere 2 days after the earthquake and tsunami. There are increasing reports of release of nuclear radiation in the area and a few nations recalled their relief teams for fear of exposure. Videos and pictures from the disaster shows wide-spread and heart broken devastation and reports of 1800 confirmed dead and at least 10,000 people missing.

Amazingly, the Japanese people have lived up to their reputation as being a people who can endure quietly but I can see some cracks beginning especially with the strong ongoing after-shocks, the 1,000 dead that washed up on the shores and the growing nuclear situation as more nuclear plants failed or were aflame. I am praying very hard for the Japanese people and I am hopeful that every American give a strong Christian response of love, prayer and aid/financial giving to support the Japanese people. Certainly the numbers of those affected in Japan pales in comparison to the horror that was (and to some point still is) the Haiti earthquake disaster, but with nearly half a million people displaced, the growing nuclear threat and the vast infra-structure rebuilding task ahead, Japan and the 5th greatest world/national economy could be in serious crisis for years to come.

We at Ecclesia are praying for the Holy Spirit to comfort and strengthen the Japanese people during this time and the church leadership is praying about what the church's official response would be. Many Japanese Christians, churches and International Christian Missionaries are playing an important role in the rescue and recovery process and many are reporting a rise in spiritual reflection and requests for prayer. The Baptist Press reports the baptism of Saito and his wife, a recent Japanese Christian convert, one week after the disaster.

California's Response:
Here in Hollywood, we prepared for tsunami effects that traveled all the way from Japan through the Pacific. Some damage was seen in Hawaii and in coastal areas of California but only to a small extent. However, recent rumors of radiation traveling here has led to a run on potassium iodide pills. Also, questions about the seismic safety of California's nuclear plants have come up as California and Japan both havelarge earthquake faults. As usual, everyone reminded us that "the big one" is about due for us so we must be prepared.

Hollywood's Response:
Entertainment industry wide, national and local news reporters raced to Japan to cover the story as reports of Sony studios stocks falling admidst the world-wide stock market fall. Many stars were in Japan during the earthquake and tweeted about their experiences as they made it back to home soil. Some comedians and singers in L.A. are doing shows to raise money for Japan but reports are coming in that other actors and entertainers got into deep water for insensitive comments about the tradedy.

Salt in the Wounds:
While many in Hollywood sent their prayers and support to the Japanese people, ascorbic comedian, Gilbert Godfrey, lost his job as the Aflac duck after tweeting insensitive comments about the Japan disaster on the social network site Aflac does most of it's business in Japan so the company gave a strong response to the comments. Rapper, 50 cents, also put in his malacious 2 cents worth in a twitter post that insulted women and the Japanese situation.

On the scripted side of the bi, the NBC TV show, The Event, returned to NBC's line up with a story line of nuclear plant disaster in California that hit a little too close to home for my liking. Some movies due to film in Japan have been placed on hold for the time being.

On hold/filming on location

The movie, Hereafter, closed its run in Japan b/c of opening tsunami scene
Disney store sales and Tokyo Disneyland revenue fell

International box office sales have fallen everywhere but especially in Japan, as expected

Hollywood reporter

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