Host Town

Producer Yasuko Konoe.
Executive Producer Kayoko Hosokawa
Directer Ken'ichi Oguri
Production able2 production committee + Directors System
Production period Feb 2003―Jan 2004
Estimated completion date 3/Feb./2004

Synopsis

On June of this year, in Dublin the capital city of Ireland, people who have mental disabilities met to compete in athletics where the world summer event of the 11th Special Olympic Games was held. The protagonist of the film is Amy Purcell, an 18yr old female who lives in Newbridge, a small town in the suburbs of Dublin. She is a gymnast with the mental disability of Down's syndrome who actively participated in the Irish Special Olympics but is not participating in this years world event because she wasn't selected at the Ireland' qualification stage.. Although this temporally discouraged Amy, with the support of her family, she regained her normal lively spirit. The contestants from abroad participating in this year's event are also able to further their dream by participating in, "The host town program", for a few days before the games begin.

Within this program, Amy's town received the Japanese athletics. In the town various preparations for the athletics were started. A host town committee was established. Various things such as a reception ceremony, the arrangement of the townユs decoration, the recruitment of volunteers to become host families, the securing of a practice ground for the athletics and a classroom teaching Japanese was set up. Amy's family also participated in the orientation meeting for the volunteer families. Amy's gentle mother and firm-hearted father, who is a sergeant in the army, have 12 children and Amy is the ninth. Five of the eldest boys are supporting themselves however five girls and two boys are still living with the family at home. From the time when she was small Amy has had multiple operations on her neck to try and correct her cervical spine illness that can often be seen in people with Down's syndrome. She was late to start walking as a child because of this illness. Her younger sister Lindsey also couldn't walk until she was five due to cerebral palsy and even still her lower half remains paralyzed. As the parents of two disabled children, Amy's mother and father have come to battle the indifference and lack of understanding that society constantly displays towards people with disabilities.

Amy who is attending a normal secondary school undertakes training after her daily classes finish, which will prepare her for the working environment when she leaves school. Amy and her youngest sister, from around the time they were small, took lessons in Irish dancing and it was the same Irish tradition which opened its heart to the Japanese athletics at their reception party in Newbridge. She also became close with the Japanese athletics by going to see them practice and assisting them. Through this world event, which was very much supported, the athletics could shine to the best of their ability.

Amy's mother said, "it is not only competing in the Special Olympics that counts but it's the participation of the athletics in a world event which matters most". In accordance with her mothers words Amy who supported the athletics like it was herself competing in the games found a great sense of joy and fulfillment by doing this.