After the Great East Japan Earthquake and resulting nuclear disaster of March 11, 2011, dozens of documentary filmmakers headed north to the devastated Tohoku region, specifically the hard-hit coastal areas of Fukushima, Miyagi and Iwate prefectures. One filmmaker, however, had already been filming there for years: Miyagi native Kazuki Agatsuma.

Starting as a student at Tohoku Gakuin University in 2005, Agatsuma had traveled regularly to Hadenya, a tiny fishing port in Miyagi Prefecture, to study the O-sususama, a festival held annually on the second Sunday of March. For three years he also shot footage that became the basis for his 2014 documentary "The People Living in Hadenya."

The tsunami, however, destroyed all but one of the village's 80 homes and killed 16 residents. New York Times reporter Martin Fackler, visited Hadenya soon after and wrote admiringly about how the villagers "drew uniquely on the tight bonds of their once-tidy village" and "quickly reorganized themselves."