Feeling a Little Stuck Right Now? If you’re anything like me, you may be feeling a bit nostalgic. We’ve made it through two years of Covid – through masks, hand sanitizers, online shopping, toilet paper shortages, restaurant closures, testing, online schooling and working from home. (Whew!) We’ve endured quarantines, shutdowns, feelings of isolation, and more at-home time than we’ve ever known! Do you stop and think, “What did I accomplish the past few years?” Banish those thoughts! You’ve accomplished SO much! You withstood the challenges of a global pandemic. Moreover, you adapted, you overcame, and you’re right here – ready to shape 2022 into whatever you want it to be. There’s a chance that you’re already going into 2022 thinking, “What else could possibly go wrong this year?” Let’s shift that mindset! Let’s kick off the year with dreams instead of dread. Stay Focused and Stick to It As you jump into spring 2022, think about the story of Hachiko, who spent nearly TEN years full of hope, waiting to be reunited with his dear professor. His time spent at the train station was not always peaceful however. He faced teasing, taunting and what we call “bullying” these days. Even part of his ear got bit off. But that didn’t stop Hachi. No way. Each new day, he returned to faithfully wait for Professor Ueno. Just like Hachi, you can adopt the mindset that every single day is a fresh reset. By staying focused on what you love and commit to, day by day, you’ll be closer to your ultimate goal. Think of it as YOUR year of hope and transformation. Jumpstart Your Life with a Fresh New Page I love the joy of buying a new planner for the year. It’s definitely a “The world is my oyster” moment for me. A fresh calendar year opens up 365 days of unlimited possibility. You get 12 fresh months, 52 weeks to create whatever you set your mind to. By sending in a new magazine’s customer survey, I won 2 first-class plane tickets, plus hotel, to Japan. And it was the first time I entered a sweepstakes! The main thing is to TRY. What’s more, if events aren’t going your way, you can always alter your focus, tweak your goal or simply start anew tomorrow, next week, or even right now! After, you can simply check it off your action list as “done.” Next! That’s progress. My “Crazy” Hachi Mission An example: one morning, a crazy idea pops into your head. Lately, you’ve been thinking back on your best (canine) friend. You admired his calm demeanor, his poise even. Your life was crammed full of endless activity. Chatter. Yet, nothing seems to faze him. Instead, a calm energy emanated from your furry companion. As you moved around the house, he followed but never intruded. You were overwhelmed by his unconditional love. His loyalty. And that’s exactly the moment I decided to make the film Hachi: A Dog’s Tale. I wanted others to share in the profound and emotional serenity I had with my Hachi. I wanted to help all the animals in need, chained up, without food, wandering the streets, in abusive and life-threatening situations. Because they deserve better. Animals have the purest of souls. And because they don’t have a voice, I was going to speak for them. And that became my mission. Today, on Amazon, over 15,000 viewers share how Hachi: A Dog’s Tale affects their lives. Your Guide for Living the Hachi Life Life is too short for years of monotone gray days. Too short for wishy-washy ideas. Too short for a life without exhilarating purpose. It’s time to have fun, infuse your life with personality and dazzle your days (and nights) with sparkle. Start by taking that first step. That’s how my adventure with Hachi began. And now I’ve created an easy way to jump-start your journey. Increase your confidence, silence your critics and conquer fear with my free “Be Hachi. Be Happy.” ebook guide. Easy yet powerful bite-size tips to boost productivity and joy and eliminate overwhelm. Tick, tick, tick…what are you waiting for? Another year to pass you by? Jumpstart your journey right now!
No matter how you’re spending your holidays this year, one thing’s for sure: LOVE is everywhere — and it’s growing! Yes, 2020 has been a difficult year to say the least. But, in the midst of all of its trials, many of us have had the realization that NOW is the time to really start living the life of our dreams (or even in our wildest imaginations). By slowing down and turning inward, we’ve been able to use this year as an opportunity to sit still (not much choice!) and reevaluate our priorities. And, in doing so, we’ve been able to refocus our attention on what really makes our hearts soar… LOVE. Love comes in so many forms and it’s at the core of everything that brings us true happiness in life. From our family to our four-legged friends, the way we love others is so often the way we are loved ourselves. So, if our personal interactions lack for depth or passion, perhaps we need to evaluate the dynamics in our past (family, friends, environment…) and be mindful to treat others as we would like to be (the Golden Rule is alive and well!). And the More We Love, the More Joyful We feel! Even in the thick of difficulties, taking a moment to show kindness to others is the fastest way to reclaim our joy — and help others reclaim that same spark, too. As 2020 comes to a close, it’s amazing to look around and see just how much has changed in the world of Hachi. Not only has the number of Hachi friends around the world grown with abundance, but more and more people are feeling called to spread his message of loyalty and forever love. Once You’re Touched by Hachi, You’ll Never be the Same And the same is true for the love you feel — and have felt — from your own dog. Dogs have the most amazing capacity for love. So much so that it’s easy to take it for granted from time to time. But when you really sit in that endless love your dog offers you, appreciating all of it, you quickly learn just how powerful simple expressions of love are. Just being present in the moment and really listening to a conversation (instead of thinking of work projects) can make your partner feel respected and appreciated. The interaction feels so much more gratifying than spending a longer time not really “being” there. When you are reminded by your dog of just how much you are loved, you can’t help but to feel JOYFUL! So, as we enjoy the holidays and prepare for a new year, let us all remember the power of love — and the joy it’s capable of spreading if you, like our dogs, don’t hold anything back. 3 Ways to Add More Joy: 1. Rewatch “Hachi: A Dog’s Tale”! No matter how many times you’ve seen the film, there’s always a new detail you notice. And, even more importantly, a new emotion you feel. 2. Take time to really feel loved by your dog. This unconditional love has the power to be life-changing if you let it. And, the more you appreciate how your dog loves you, the more you can love those around you — and with the same loyalty and enthusiasm as your best canine friend! 3. Feel the powerful, supportive warmth of our inspired Facebook community. Just drop in and experience the friendliness for yourself. You may even decide to stay and chime in! Start living your best life — today! For more Hachi Joy, sign up here, and receive your FREE guide “7 Ways You Can (And Should Be) More Like Your Dog!”
If you could peek behind the scenes of the film Hachi: A Dog’s Tale, would you? Well, now you can with a new book titled, “Animal Stars: Behind the Scenes with Your Favorite Animal Actors.” If you head to Chapter 6, it’s written by Mark Harden, one of the talented animal trainers of Hachi: A Dog’s Tale. In detail, Mark describes the role played by each of the three “Hachi” stars. You’ll learn how he transformed the 4-year old Akita (Forrest) to look and “act” like the aged Hachi at the end of the film. The make-up transformation was incredible alone, but Forrest had to be trained to walk and move like an elderly dog. It was a stellar performance from a True Star! Mark shares how he enjoys “the audible gasp from first-time viewers when Forrest, as old Hachi, makes his entrance” in the movie. It’s one of the most emotional scenes in the film. A real tear-jerker. Hachi was one of the highlights of Mark’s career and he says, “I will pass down memories of it to my grandchildren.” Thank YOU for the memories! Are you interested in the behind-the-scenes animal action? These dog actors went above and beyond, but there’s always was a human behind it all! To learn more…
USA Today by Cindy Clark, 9/25/10– In this Richard Gere dog film, he stars as Professor Parker Wilson in Hachi: A Dog’s Tale (Sunday, 9 p.m. ET/PT on Hallmark), which is based on a true Japanese story of canine loyalty. It also marks the first family-friendly film for the 61-year-old actor. “My agent sent me the script…I don’t normally do G-rated movies, but I read the script and I was incredibly moved by it,” he says. “I have been going to Japan since I was in my 20s. I was surprised when I got this script and I didn’t know the story.” “I said I’d be happy to do this, but I’d need to produce this as well. The story is very straightforward, almost like a fable,” Richard elaborated. Film for his Son Gere also liked the idea of doing a film that son Homer, 10, could enjoy. “There’s nothing I do that doesn’t factor him in,” says Gere. “He’s the joy in my life.” Homer’s mom is Gere’s wife, actress Carey Lowell. “He’s had this wonderful dog since he was a child. We’ve had the dog since the dog was a puppy,” Gere says of their 8-year-old “kind of a Border Collie crossed with a Corgi” named Billie, after jazz singer Billie Holliday. The dog in the film, Hachi, is an Akita that Professor Wilson finds as a puppy abandoned at a train station. After a fruitless search for the dog’s owner, Wilson adopts the dog, making it part of the family. “We thought we were making a children’s movie…but it’s maybe a little too intense for young kids,” says Gere of the tearjerker. “Dealing with very big subjects and very adult stuff.” This Richard Gere dog film was made possible because of Hachi’s true, impeccable story. Without speaking to Gere in such a powerful way, our Hachi film may never have been launched.
This is no ordinary dog film. Hachiko’s true story reached from Japanese culture all the way to America where a movie was made to commemorate all he gave to society. By Dave Itzkoff, New York Times, Sept 24, 2010 – Mr. Gere said he was offered the script a few years ago, at a time when he was looking for films that his young son, Homer, could enjoy. “It had to do with these questions of life and death and loyalty,” said Mr. Gere, who in a recent telephone interview was careful not to use the word pet to describe the shelter dog his family keeps. “It does imply a hierarchy of import, doesn’t it?” Mr. Gere said. “I don’t know who’s the master of who in these relationships.” After joining the dog film in the role of the professor as well as a producer, Mr. Gere recruited Mr. Hallstrom, who had recently directed him in “The Hoax,” a 2007 film about the forger Clifford Irving. Why director Lasse Hallstrom chose Hachi Mr. Hallstrom, who broke through in the United States with his Swedish coming-of-age film, “My Life as a Dog,” in which the young protagonist is shattered to learn of the death of his family’s hound, said he was wary of taking on material that was in any way similar. “I had taken pride in being absolutely unsentimental with ‘My Life as a Dog,’ and this was a very sentimental story,” Mr. Hallstrom said in a telephone interview. But he added that he found the title character in “Hachi” as compelling as any of the humans he’d focused on in his previous films. “I don’t point fingers at the different incarnations of life,” Mr. Hallstrom said. “Whether it is eccentrics or outsiders or dogs, I want to be as truthful as possible in depicting them.” The Dogs of Hachi: A Dog’s Tale The film was shot primarily in Rhode Island, using three Akitas to play the different stages of Hachi’s life and his varying dispositions: one dog that was good at sitting calmly, a second that was trained to walk slowly and a third that “ran a lot and jumped a lot and licked people’s faces,” Mr. Hallstrom said. Mr. Gere described his introduction to his four-legged co-stars by an animal trainer as if he were being initiated into a rock star’s entourage. “He said, ‘Don’t touch them, don’t reach out, don’t even look at them in that first meeting,’” Mr. Gere recalled. “‘Just come and hang with us and be yourself.’” There was, Mr. Gere said, “a certain amount of anxiety, of would we get along? They cannot be bought.” But after about three days, he said, “One of the dogs came over and put her head right on my lap. And that was a big moment — I was accepted in the pack.” Thanks to Gere’s impact from the true tale of Hachi, he created an incredible story of love, faithfulness, and loyalty. Do you agree that Gere was perfect for his role in Hachi: A Dog’s Tale?
The Hallmark Channel acquires exclusive TV rights to the incredible true story of Hachiko, a loyal dog of Japan who waited 10 years for his owner’s return. Press Release: Hallmark Channel has acquired exclusive TV rights to the much sought after film that has become a global theatrical sensation, “Hachi: A Dog’s Tale,” and announces the film’s US Television Premiere will be seen only on Hallmark Channel, Sunday, September 26 @ 9 p.m. ET/PT, 8c. Based on a true story, and starring three-time Emmy®Award nominee and Golden Globe winner Richard Gere, three-time Oscar®nominee Joan Allen, seven-time Emmy®Award nominee Jason Alexander, and directed by three-time Oscar® nominee Lasse Hallström, the remarkable film chronicles the life of a dog who faithfully returns for his master every day for 10 years after the man has died. Michelle Vicary, Senior Vice President, Scheduling & Acquisitions, Hallmark Channels said, “I saw this film at the LA Film Festival and was immediately drawn in. Richard Gere, Joan Allen, Jason Alexander and Lasse Hallström are such gifted, talented artists and filmmakers. “Hachi: A Dog’s Tale” is a perfect fit with the Hallmark brand, and we expect audiences will be tremendously moved by Hachi’s story.”
Hachi is a household name in Japan, so it was a thrill to be invited to participate in the 2010 Skip City International Film Festival jury. Shy by nature, I was hesitant to accept at first. When I’m out and about, I can mix easily if one-on-one. But, get me before a group of people and I freeze. My teachers would tell my parents that I never said a peep. The idea of being in any type of spotlight was nerve-wracking. I came out of my shell when I left for college. It was do or die time. Would I continue to lurk in the shadows. Or, start living the life of my dreams. So, I decided to go beyond my comfort zone. And, that’s when everything got interesting! So, I put my mental house in order and accepted the invitation. The organization couldn’t have been more accommodating. It was first class all the way. From the flight to my own personal assistant to make sure my stay was seamless. She even showed me the best places to dine. Seeing the World through Films Featuring the cutting edge of digital film technologies, the festival received 810 feature and short submissions from a record high of 85 countries. The mission is to discover and support emerging filmmakers and celebrate the global recognition of digital technology. In the span of a week, the jurors watched the short list of contending films. Lots of films back-to-back. One of the main reasons I love the movies is for the chance to “live” through the eyes of others. To be in their shoes, so to say, if only for the moment. There’s no better way to expand the mind than to experience lives from a different perspective. In discovering commonality, people are more accepting of others. The human race has the same needs and desires. We just need to get pass our fears of the “different.” The Best Film grand prize was awarded to director Giorgio Diritti. His moving story depicts the life of poor town folk engulfed in the horrors of WWII. As seen through the eyes of a mute eight-year-old girl, it packs a powerful punch. Winter 1943. Martina is small child, who stopped talking since the death of her infant brother some years before. She lives in a rural area of central Italy. Her mother is pregnant again and Martina lives for the arrival of her new brother. Meanwhile, the war is getting closer and closer, forcing the people of the village to tread a difficult path, torn between the partisan brigades and the Nazi Army. On practically the same day as the birth of Martina’s brother, the SS start a massive roundup of civilians in the area, an infamous event that will come to be known as the Marzabotto massacre during which more than 770 people were killed in houses, cemeteries and churches. (Palm Springs Internation Film Festival) And The Best Director Award goes to… I was given the honor of presenting the Best Director award to Jie Liu for “Judge” during the closing ceremony event. In a small northern Chinese city in 1997, Judge Tian privately struggles with the loss of his daughter, killed by a stolen car in a hit-and-run accident. On the bench he encounters Qiuwu, a mechanic accused of stealing two cars. Perhaps influenced by his emotional state, the outwardly impassive judge imposes an almost-obsolete criminal law on Qiuwu that sentences him to death for his crime. Desperate to mitigate his sentence, Qiuwu agrees to donate his kidney to a rich businessman dying of a terminal illness, hoping at the very least that his impoverished family may profit from his demise. (Los Angeles Film Festival) After studying cinematography at the Beijing Film Academy, Liu worked as a cinematographer on Beijing Bicycle (2001), which premiered at the Berlin Film Festival. The aspiring director was subsequently invited to many other international film festivals including Karlovy Vary, Helsinki, and Toronto. He made his directorial debut with “Courthouse On Horseback” (2006) and subsequently directed “Judge” (2009). Both films were screened at the Venice Film Festival. Another Life Lesson The wide range of topics and immense talent was remarkable. To me, each story was a lesson in humanity. I thought of the intense hours involved in the dreaming, planning and actual production of each submission. I gained a new perspective from a each film. And, to think I almost passed up this opportunity. The more I venture beyond my comfort zone, the more I learn…about myself too. A popular Japanese celebrity was on the jury with me. She came up to say hello. I was surprised she remembered me. We were introduced, briefly, at the Hachi premiere the previous year. The first thing she said was, “I hear you’re engaged”! What? No way! My head spinning, I asked how she heard this. She said I’m well known in Japan due to Hachi: A Dog’s Tale. I was floored! But, that’s how I came to understand the popularity of Hachi… and also about false rumors! Another life lesson. Hachi Love is Everywhere After the awards ceremony, there was a lavish buffet and it was great fun talking to all the nominees and winners! Hachi: A Dog’s Tale is a huge hit in Japan, and I got asked lots of questions about the film. A popular meeting place in Japan, Hachi’s bronze statue at Shibuya Station is not only a landmark, but on the “must-see” list for tourists. Whenever I’m in Tokyo, visiting Hachiko’s statue is my priority. Despite my busy schedule, this time was no different. As usual, enthusiastic admirers crowded around him. There are tons of people trying to get photos with Hachi. It’s intimidating, but the positive energy that Hachi generates makes it well worth the wait. Overall, the experience was everything I could have imagined. Just seeing how many people admire Hachiko and his story made creating such a powerful movie worth it.
Heartland’s Mission The 18th annual Heartland Film Festival opened with the screening of “Hachi: A Dog’s Tale” at The Murat Centre. The ten-day line up of films and special events took place on October 15-24, 2009 with 87 different films around the world brought to Indianapolis. “We believe that one film can move us to laughter, to tears or to make a difference. Hachi: A Dog’s Tale is a film that demonstrates that One Film Can.” Heartland’s mission is to recognize films and filmmakers whose work explores the human journey by artistically expressing hope and respect for the positive values of life. These award-winning films are made up of moments that are emotional and inspiring, causing you to look at your life from a different perspective and be inspired to take action. A Whirl of Activity To start the festive event, a driver greeted me at the airport with a long limousine. It could have fit ten people. All details were covered and attended to beautifully – the flight, hotel, and warm assistance with every detail of my stay. Whisked into a reception upon arriving, every day was packed with events. I even participated in my first live TV morning show interview. I was so nervous, I can barely recall doing it. An Evening to Remember The day of the Hachi: A Dog’s Tale screening, there were two events – one was an intimate cocktail hour with the major screening donors, followed by a larger pre-screening reception where I gave a few words on stage after being introduced by the program director, Jeffrey Sparks. The Heartland Truly Moving Picture Award was presented to me by the president, Jeffrey Sparks. The screening was held in a gorgeous old theatre with tiers of balcony seating, too. After another introduction, I introduced the film that would change the hearts of those waiting to watch. Then Hachi: A Dog’s Tale screened. On the Spot After, I participated in a Q&A on stage. Footlights flooded my spot on the stage and my eyes. Not being able to see the audience, I relaxed and actually was very animated talking about my favorite topic: Hachi! I shocked myself. I’m the girl who froze up in my high school drama class and completely blanked out on my lines. Total white out. I dropped the class. But there I was, the words somehow flowed from my mouth. I was talking about my favorite subject, of course. A reception for all guests followed the screening, and I was overwhelmed with the emotional impact people felt for Hachi. Later, an usher told me one lady left the theatre crying so hard, that she dropped tissues all along the lobby! I heard many stories of how Hachi impacted people’s feelings. Do you have your story?
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