Q: How did you find the three families that are in the film?

A: The great challenge of this film was that instead of just going to Japan and interviewing Brazilians there, or providing information and statistics, we wanted to follow people’s entire immigration experience from the beginning. Ana Paula and I wanted to find would-be migrants while they were still in Brazil – to hear their hopes and expectations as they prepared to make the journey – and then follow them to see what would happen when their dreams were confronted by the harsh reality of working in Japan. To find the participants, we went to places in São Paulo where people would go if they were preparing to move to Japan: employment agencies, Japanese language classes, and NGOs that host workshops about working in Japan. We interviewed dozens of families – some of them decided not to migrate, or didn’t get their Japanese visas, or decided to quit the documentary – and we ended up following five families in Japan for the first two years. Three of those families made it into the final film, including one family that we followed until 2015. Actually, that last family was already in Japan when we met them in 2006, but they were very expressive in sharing their story, and they also had lots of home videos that they shared with us.