For Akiko Kuraoka, filmmaker, lecturer and freelance French translator, films have always been her passion. Over a span of nearly four decades, Kuraoka has made three documentaries and is now deep into her fourth. Her films have dealt with chromium pollution, nuclear radiation, war, and the displacement and suffering of people living intimately with those dangers.

Though she produced all three films and co-directed one of them, Kuraoka says filmmaking is not her job. Nor is it her hobby.

She makes her films, which have garnered attention and awards at festivals in France, Scotland, Germany, Hong Kong and throughout Japan, out of a sense of personal responsibility and from a sustained anger at injustice. "We have to be responsible not only for our own life," she says, "but also for others' lives."