Paper Lanterns Documentary Tells Story of WWII POWs
Tens of thousands of people were killed in Japan after the United States dropped the atomic bomb on Hiroshima in 1945. Few people know that 12 American POWs were among those killed. Max Esposito (CGS’08, COM’10) has codirected a documentary, Paper Lanterns, about what it took to bring their story to light.
Esposito and his codirector, Barry Frechette, tell the story of Japanese historian Shigeaki Mori, an atomic bomb survivor who spent decades uncovering what happened to the American POWs and tracking down their loved ones to let them know. In May 2016, former President Barack Obama honored Mori’s work during a visit to Hiroshima.
Esposito first signed onto the project as the cinematographer, then took on the roles of editor and codirector. In an interview with BU Today, Esposito said, “Mr. Mori is the kind of person who is able to see the bigger picture of humanity beyond the immediacy of World War II and what happened there. That’s the big thing we hope people take away from it, that here’s a guy who was eight years old, survived the atomic bomb, and he spent 40 years finding what happened to these soldiers from another country who were trying to destroy his country.”
Paper Lanterns was an official selection at the 2016 Hiroshima International Film Festival, the 2016 United Nations Association Film Festival, and the 2016 Independent Film Festival of Boston. On May 30, the Boston Museum of Fine Arts will screen the film, followed by a discussion with Esposito, Frechette and Mori. Read more about the development of the documentary in Esposito’s interview with BU Today.