Edutainment reach - parental alienation - meline yanagihara - findmyparent

Edutainment

Reuniting families is not enough. The future FMP envisions is one in which parental alienation and abduction do not exist. Raising awareness among and empowering future generations is key to addressing the root causes of abduction and building a society that protects the best interest of children. FMP is committed to doing so through child-friendly edutainment activities that are engaging and educational for children and families.

Example of Animation

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The living room of a modest Japanese house. Lego pieces of all colors, shapes and sizes are scattered on a low row round white table. Eli, sat on a pillow, connects the Lego pieces. A man by her side, kneeling by the table. We see him from Eli’s POV. So, we do not see his face. He adds pieces to the structure Eli is building.

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What color do you want to use next, Eli? 

Eli continues to play without answering.

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Do you want the pink one?

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Eli turns toward the man holding the pink lego piece, gives him a huge smile and takes the lego, placing it in her structure. We see Eli, and hear both of them laughing.

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The structure in front of Eli is increasing in size.

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I want a yellow one now. No answer. The structure is getting bigger. Eli looks up at it with big eyes. The man beside her is gone.

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Papa?
Eli stands and turns around the table and the now gigantic Lego structure in search of the man.

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Eli keeps turning and never finding the man. She looks up. The Lego structure grows taller and taller, until it collapses over Eli. Millions of Lego pieces surround her as she flows weightless into the darkness.

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The Lego pieces assemble in the shape of a door far in front of her.

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Still flowing, she kicks and squirms and finally reaches the door, and opens it.

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Behind it, filled with white light, is a deserted train platform in Japan. At the far end of the platform, Eli sees the man. His face is not clear.

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Eli’s face lights up and she runs toward him, but her feet seem to barely move. The man at the end of the platform is crouching with his arms open as to welcome her.

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Eli is getting closer when a train enters the station.

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People flood the platform, separating her from the man on the other side.

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A woman with straight, dark hair lifts up Eli and takes her away. Eli holds her hand out toward the end of the platform where she last saw the man. She tries to call out his name but no sounds come out.

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The woman puts Eli in the back seat of the car. As she closes the door, Eli looks outside the car window, her eyes wide.

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The sounds come out faintly. the man sits in front of the train station. seems to look in Eli’s direction, but doesn’t react. The car pulls away. Eli struggles to call the man.

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Eli sits in the back seat of a moving car (the same car as in the dream sequence in the cold open). The same woman with long dark hair, Eli’s mother, drives. The clock on the dashboard shows 7 o’clock. Car radio is playing a typical morning talk show with news and Japanese music. Car pulls up in front of a simple house. Eli removes her seat belt, opens the door and climbs out of the car.

Eli’s Mother: Do you have your bento?
Eli: Yes, mommy.

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Eli’s mother drives away in a hurry. The door of the house opens and Eli is greeted by her grandmother. The latter closes the door behind.

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Students of all ages gather in front of the entrance to a public Japanese school, some are alone, some are accompanied by a parent or both, some by a grandparent, Eli and her grandmother, still holding Eli’s Hand, are in front of the school entrance. Eli looks away from the school.

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A 14 year old girl, Aneko, arrives at school accompanied by her father. Aneko hugs her father before he leaves. With a big smile on her face, she approaches a group of colleagues and they enter the school while chatting and laughing, passing right in front of Eli.

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Students assemble for the morning greeting. Eli is doing a little dance among her new classmates as they assemble, hopping from one to another. Introducing herself, Eli reaches a group of 3 girls. She stops her dance in front of them.

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The girls interrupt their conversation, and the girl in the middle, the group leader, looks Eli up and down with a straight face.

Mean Girl: What’s up with your hair? It’s so ugly!

Eli’s smile fades away as the girls walk away. All students get in position for the morning greeting. Eli Follows.

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The students start breaking formation and head to their homerooms. Eli turns and follows the train of children when she is thrown to the ground. The girls from before laugh and pass by her.

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Windows are lit. Eli’s mother pull up in front of the house, gets out of the car and walks up to the house. The door opens, and Eli and her grandmother appear on the door step. Eli exits and takes her mother’s hand.

Eli’s mother: Sorry, I am late.
Grandmother: You should find a part-time job.
Eli’s mother: I can’t do that.
Grandmother: This is what happens when you are not.

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Eli and her mother turn away and go toward the car.

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Door opens, lights come on. Eli bursts inside and throws her used backpack by the door. Her mother follow, calmly closes the door behind her and hangs Eli’s backpack. The house is a they typical Japanese modern yet modest house of a family with low income. The living room area is a bit messy. Eli roams around, calling her cat.

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Door opens, lights come on. Eli bursts inside and throws her used backpack by the door. Her mother follow, calmly closes the door behind her and hangs Eli’s backpack. The house is a they typical Japanese modern yet modest house of a family with low income. The living room area is a bit messy. Emi roams around, calling her cat.

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Eli’s Mother: Dinner’s ready!

Int. Eli’s house – Kitchen – Night

Two plates on the tale. Eli’s favorite food. Yay!

Eli’s mother: I thought you’d like this.

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Eli enjoys her meal. Her mother eats slowly. How was school today? Did you have fun? Eli focuses on her plate.

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Did you make any new friends? Eli stares down her plate, plays with her chopsticks, grabs another bite. Her plate is almost empty, puts the chopsticks down.

Eli’s Mother: What? You are not going to finish?
Eli: Can I go play a little with my Lego before bed?
Eli’s mother: No, it’s late. We have to get up early.

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Cheerful screens, kids running around, playing together or with their parents. Some parents sit on the side benches and look after their children, talk to each other or read. Eli’s mother sits on a bench, phone in hand, she checks her bank account balance, which is low. Eli approaches running.

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Eli runs way. Her mother looks absently in the distance. Eli struggles to climb the rope ladder, she goes up by a bit, then climbs down. Next to her is another girl playing with her father. Eli watches as she holds his daughter while she grabs the rope.

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Eli runs way. Her mother looks absently in the distance. Eli struggles to climb the rope ladder, she goes up by a bit, then climbs down. Next to her is another girl playing with her father. Eli watches as she holds his daughter while she grabs the rope.

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Father in park: That’s it. Now, put your right foot through the next loop and press up. Great! Look how far you have gone! Wanna go higher?
Girl in park: I want to go on the slide now.
Father in park: OK, jump, I will catch you!

The girl jumps with confidence in her father’s arms. He twists fast. The girl screams cheerfully. They stop and he puts her down.

Father in Park: Race you to the slide?

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Lunch break is over and students clean their homerooms and common areas. Eli is part of the group of students cleaning the common areas. The bully girls are part of her group. They are accompanied by older students from Aneko’s class, her included.  Eli washes the floor when the bully girls push her behind the stadium. The mean girl who bullied her the other day approaches her while the other two keep guard, the mean girl pulls Eli’s hair. Eli is scared.

Mean girl: Your hair is so annoying. I hate it.

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The main girl pulls on Eli’s hair again and pushes her to the ground. A large shadow appears from behind the mean girl, she turns and sees Aneko. Two heads taller than her, fixing her. Her friends are no longer there.

Aneko: You better leave her alone.

The mean girl leaves without no other word. Aneko helps Eli up.

Aneko: Are you okay? I am Aneko. What is your name?
Eli: Eli.

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Eli: She said my hair is ugly.
Aneko: Well, I think your hair is beautiful. Live a wavy ocean. Those girls are just super jealous of you.
Eli: You think?

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Eli doesn’t answer. She twists a stand of hair around her index finger.

Aneko: You know my parents dont live together either.
Eli: Really?
Aneko: Yes, they split up for years ago.

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Eli: But I saw you with your daddy the other day.
Aneko: That’s because this week I am saying with my dad, and next week I’ll be with my mom.

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Eli listens carefully.
Aneko: Do you know where your daddy is now?
Eli nods no.
Aneko: You never talk to him with your mommy?
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Oh no, mommy says we’re not suppose to talk about him.

Aneko: You know, I bet your daddy has curly hair like yours.
Eli: I don’t remember.
Aneko: If you want to, you can look for your..

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Eli combs her wet hair, she wears a bathrobe or pajamas. Because of the water, her hair looks darker and falls straight. Eli makes faces, like playing a role, imaging she is Aneko. A strand of hair curls back up, then another strand curls up, as her hair starts to dry. She can’t make.

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Eli: I hate my hair.
Eli’s mother: Stop it, stop throwing things, You’re going to break something. Enough.
Eli: I hate my hair! Why is my hair different?
Eli’s mother: Your hair is fine! Stop acting like a brat. What do you want me to tell you? What do you want me to do? Stop crying and go to bed!

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Emi leaves the bathroom, eyes full of tears.

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Eli’s bedroom. The lights are off except a nightstand lamp. She crawls into bed, face toward the wall. Misty jumps on the bed and curls up in Eli’s arms. Eli sobs silently and pets misty, giving her a kiss from time to time.

Eli: You have such beautiful fur, Misty. So soft, you love me, don’t you? Girls at school are mean. They made fun of my ugly hair. Mommy doesn’t understand. My hair is not like hers. I am ugly, I wish daddy were here. He wont understand Aneko said maybe he has curly hair. I don’t remember, do you,

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Misty jumps on the floor and goes back to the glass door. Eli crawls to the door, opens it and sits on the doorstep (shot from behind Eli). The full moon shines bright. Eli and Misty’s silhouettes are darker, surrounded by the moonlight. Eli’s curls reflect the moonlight. Misty sits next to her, as Eli gently pets her head.

Eli: The moon is so beautiful tonight. I wonder if Papa is looking at the moon too.

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Interested to contribute to our edutainment work?