Released in September of 2012:
Ainikien Jidjid ilo Boñ
(The Sound of Crickets at Night)
An elderly nuclear survivor from Bikini Atoll summons a mysterious ancient deity to help reunite his family.
A full-length feature film in the Marshallese language (with English subtitles)
Directed and produced by Jack Niedenthal and Suzanne Chutaro
Original screenplay by Jack Niedenthal
Filmed entirely in the Marshall Islands on Majuro Atoll and Bikini Atoll
1 hour 20 minutes
Salome Fakatou, Banjo Joel, Alson Kelen, Jack Niedenthal & Karen Earnshaw
September 7, 2012, Marshall Islands Resort, Majuro, Marshall Islands
For more information about the people of Bikini Atoll:
"This small and remarkable film is one of the year’s
most engaging under-the-radar gems."
-Phil Hall, Film Threat, October 2012
THE SOUND OF CRICKETS AT NIGHT
is rich with culture, heart, and intelligence.
-Martin Wong, Co-founder of Giant Robot Magazine, May 2013
Of the nearly 200 films from 27 countries that were submitted to the Guam International Film Festival, only 53 films
were chosen for last weekend’s festival. These films put hundreds of actors and actresses from all
over the world into the spotlight at the Guam festival. From all of these films, Guam festival
organizers honored Salome Fakatou, a 10-year-old Bikinian girl from the Marshall Islands, with the
Grand Jury Award for Achievement in Acting for her
starring role in Ainikien Jidjid ilo Boñ (The Sound of Crickets at Night).
-Marshall Islands Journal, October 4, 2012 (read full article)
THE SOUND OF CRICKETS AT NIGHT was named
on one of independent film website Film Threat's lists as a Top Film of 2012
"Marshall Islands-based filmmakers Jack Niedenthal and Suzanne Chutaro recall the subtle cinematic style of Satyajit Ray
with a provocative and moving drama that weaves three stories of loss and rue into a memorable work of art."
The film screened at 7 PM on Friday, September 14th at the Tribeca Cinemas in NY City.
The film screened in Los Angeles on Wednesday, May 8, 2013 at 7 PM at the CGV Theaters in Los Angeles, CA
The film screened on June 21, Opening Night of the Pasifika Film & Arts Festival, at Studio 2204, Sydney, Australia
March 28, 2015
Interview on March 28, 2013 with Jack Niedenthal on Radio Australia regarding The Sound of Crickets at Night
showing at the LA Asian Pacific Film Festival
Ainikien Jidjid ilo Boñ (The Sound of Crickets at Night) Trailer
I'd like to take this opportunity to commend you, your staff and cast for a job well done on your
latest production. The film had me in tears at some points because old man Jebuki reminded
me so much of my late grandfather Jormea Leviticus. His cries to return to home sweet Bikini
were heard up until he could no longer speak. I take pride in knowing and learning about
my roots and this movie was an absolute pleasure to watch. As I sang along to the Bikinian Anthem
I had to wipe a few drops from my cheeks along the way, and I have you to thank for that.
It was a blessing to see my family members whom were casted and an even more beautiful sight
to see the deceased acknowledged as well.
One day everyone will know our story.
-Bikinian Student (Arizona) Daulleh Leviticus Andrew, July 2013
The new film by Jack Niedenthal and Suzanne Chutaro, The Sound of Crickets at Night,
marks a new chapter in the history of Marshallese film. This meditation on loss and emotional deprivation
represents the first attempt to articulate on the screen the pain the Marshallese have endured
for generations and continue to endure in the 21st century. It is also a movie that is both beautifully
imagined and sensitively composed: attributes that make it the first cinematic
poem to come out of the Marshall Islands, and the single most ambitious film originating in this country to date...
What both domestic and foreign audiences will come to recognize by the end of this film is
that the history of Marshallese exile is not merely history; it is also the present.
-Peter Sutoris, Filmmaker (The Undiscovered Country), August 2012
Read full review
THE SOUND OF CRICKETS AT NIGHT skillfully balances deadly radiation with the supernatural,
family dysfunction with innocence, and isolation with inner peace. The results are oddly charming yet shadowed by darkness so that it never becomes cloying.
It recalls the restrained wonder of renowned Thai director Apichatpong Weerasthakul, as further tempered by the darkness of David Lynch.
The fantastic, arty, and appeal is further carried out by a cast of local, nonprofessional actors playing themselves.
A priest plays the priest, while city workers and council people take on similar roles... What really makes the movie work is kids acting like kids
— a miracle even in films with big budgets...
THE SOUND OF CRICKETS AT NIGHT is rich with culture, heart, and intelligence.
-Martin Wong, Co-founder of Giant Robot Magazine, May 2013
Read full review
Marshall Islands-based filmmakers Jack Niedenthal and Suzanne Chutaro
have created a provocative and moving drama
that weaves three stories of loss and rue into a memorable work of art...
They brush across profound emotional issues – family
disintegration, isolation, loss of self-identity and homeland,
and the embrace of faith when man-made solutions fail – and
plumb their territory with a low-keyed
sensitivity that echoes the classic works of Satyajit Ray...
Although the cast is made up of nonprofessionals, the ensemble is first-rate...
This small and remarkable film is one of the year’s most
engaging under-the-radar gems.
-Phil Hall, Film Threat, October 2012
"The Sound of Crickets at Night is part folk tale, part history lesson and part spiritual parable...
Charming... Very well done... Pretty amazing...
...I give it high marks both for the impact it makes as
a narrative and its use of a history that’s quickly falling towards the way of myth."
-Misty Layne, Rogue Cinema, December 2012
The film features beautiful original music... and was filmed on Majuro Atoll and Bikini Atoll. Marshallese...
are finally able to see a film in their language that deals with local issues.
-Robin Menken, Cinema Without Borders, June 28, 2013
I was inspired by The Sound of Crickets at Night. Your film is quietly hypnotic and
no doubt inspired by the nuances of being a true resident of the Marshall Islands.
-Benito Bautista, award winning filmmaker from the Philippines (Harana, Boundary), October 2012
The characters touched my heart and soul, reminding me of the sad beauty of what we all crave for --
the simplicity of the gift and pureness in relationships.
In this case, it is of the strong bond, love and commitment between a grandchild and grandparent...
The very nature of the child's openness and hospitality is what drew me into the story,
inviting the audience to experience the wonder of dreams, trust and love.
Sam Mabini, Ph.D., Senator, 31st Guam Legislature, December 2012
I just wanted to say how much I enjoyed the film tonight. There's a lot of culture flowing around New York,
and much of it is produced by an established industry of creative intellectuals.
A lot of their output is cranked out rapidly, and only by slowing way down,
slower than the industry allows, is it possible to see how much of it is fluff --
just another "project" hot off the assembly line. In comparison,
your movie was really a breath of fresh air, inspiring.
-Ben Weisgall, New York City, September 2012
The Sound of Crickets at Night was just such a soulful film
that enters the body and makes wonder solid. BRAVO!
-Robin Martin, Actress & Screenwriter, New York City, September 2012
The film, a touching re-visioning of an ancient creation myth made relevant to contemporary life in the Marshall Islands
(and for all of contemporary life, I would argue), puts this far-flung place and its people back into
the global discussion of the social and environmental fall-out…
What a profound accomplishment!
--P. K. Harmon, poet and author of What Island, from Serving House Books and
"The Sound of Crickets at Night” delighted me with its stunning photography, accomplished acting,
mesmerizing music and engaging story line. It's entertaining to see contemporary footage
from these tiny islands blended with engaging mythology. Having dived Bikini's wrecks in 2001,
I am always eager to "be taken back," but this film really "took me aback!"
-Dianne Strong, Author, Witness to War: Truk Lagoon's Master Diver Kimiuo Aisek, Guam, October 2012
"Microwave Films provides the Marshallese with stories that feed their souls,
and I am certain they feel enriched and empowered."
-Vilsoni Hereniko, Filmmaker, The Land has Eyes (a 2004 Sundance Int. Film Festival selection), Hawaii, October 2012
"The Sound of Crickets at Night is wonderful!
I love how the film intertwines modern day Majuro with Marshallese legend.
The music is amazing and the young actress stole my heart.
This film is a great vehicle for teaching our current generation the effects of the U.S. bombing of Bikini."
-Rebecca Lathrop, Principal of the Majuro Cooperative High School, Majuro, October 2012
The Sound of Crickets at Night is marvelous in its rich exploration of the links between the spiritual and the earthly,
the magic and the mundane, and the old and the young.
The film is a splendid achievement and it is one that the Marshall Islands should be proud of and embrace...
-Dartmouth College Professor Andrew Garrod, June 2013
My family enjoyed Ainikien Jidjid ilo Boñ. I was pleasantly surprised because
my son, Lotijar, came straight from the movie and Googled
and You-Tubed Bikini Atoll and kept asking questions. Kommol tata for a fun and informative movie!
-Yoko Lokboj, Hawaii, October 2012
"Hundreds of Marshallese turned out to watch
The Sound of Crickets at Night at the Hawaii International Film Festival last week...
Beautiful local music, skilled photography and a great supporting cast made this
film a total delight while addressing serious issues of life in the Marshall Islands today."
-Caroline Yacoe, Hawaii, October 2012
read full review
-Ruth Choulai, Pasifika Film Festival, June 2013
"...Thank you for the screening of The Sound of Crickets at Night at our college.
I am delighted that so many students were in attendance!
I totally enjoyed my evening as I reflected on my readings of Joseph Campbell, Frazer, and T.S. Eliot."
-The Dean of Undergraduate Studies, Dr. Mandana Nakhai (PhD in English), February 2015
I can't believe that you were able to make a film of this quality for that amount of money (~$5000).
-Dr. Matthew Bolton, English Department, Organizer of the Concordia College film series, February 2015
Interview with Jack Niedenthal and Suzanne Chutaro about Ainikien Jidjid ilo Boñ (The Sound of Crickets at Night)
September 22, 2012.
Interview with Co-director, Co-producer of Ainikien Jidjid ilo Boñ (The Sound of Crickets at Night)
Jack Niedenthal on Radio Australia, August 24, 2012 (18 minutes)
Follow-up interview with Jack Niedenthal on Radio Australia, August 28, 2012 (5 minutes)
Interview with Co-director, Co-producer Jack Niedenthal on Radio New Zealand, August 2, 2012
Follow-up interview with Co-director, Co-producer of Ainikien Jidjid ilo Boñ (The Sound of Crickets at Night)
Jack Niedenthal on Radio New Zealand, August 26, 2012
For Your iPod:
Ainikien Jidjid ilo Boñ (The Sound of Crickets at Night) Soundtrack
From the award winning creators of the film Lañinbwil's Gift
comes a film that explores the tribulations of a family of nuclear survivors from Bikini Atoll.
Ainikien Jidjid ilo Boñ (The Sound of Crickets at Night) is the story of a family displaced as a result of
nuclear testing on Bikini Atoll and now living in exile on Ejit Island on Majuro Atoll
in the Marshall Islands.
Kali, a darling-though-curious 10-year-old Bikinian girl, watches in dismay as her mother
and father argue bitterly, then finally separate and leave the island.
Left alone to care for her elderly grandfather, Jebuki, who has been hiding a life-threatening illness,
Kali deteriorates, refusing to eat, work or play. Fearing for his granddaughter’s wellbeing,
Jebuki makes a desperate decision to summon Worejabato, an ancient deity from Bikini Atoll.
Appearing in the form of an unshaven American stranger, Worejabato washes up on the
beach on Ejit Island, and is discovered by Kali. The deity immediately begins
to weave his way into Kali's life, but wishes from Worejabato do not come for free.
What will Jebuki promise to Worejabato to ensure Kali’s happiness?
(Summary from the 2012 Hawaii International Film Festival program)
Microwave Films of the Marshall Islands is a community based NGO film production company
in the Marshall Islands.
Actors in this film are mostly from the Bikinian
community that resides in exile on Ejit Island of Majuro Atoll.
Contact Jack Niedenthal with questions about Microwave Films of the Marshall Islands
or Ainikein Jidjid ilo Boñ: firstname.lastname@example.org
Salome Fakatou stars as "Kali," the older sister and Jebuki's granddaughter.
Salome won the Grand Jury Award for Achievement in Acting at the 2012 Guam International Film Festival for her role in this film.
|Banjo Joel, a Bikinian Councilman, stars as "Jebuki," a Bikinian elder and grandfather ("Jima") of Kali and Mani.|
|Alson Kelen, the former Mayor of Bikini Atoll, stars as Worejabato the Reef God.|
|Jack Niedenthal, who also co-directed, co-produced and wrote the screenplay, is the Trust Liaison for the people of Bikini and stars as The Stranger.|
|Karen Earnshaw stars as First Mate "Becky Albright" from the Yacht Seal.|
|Niten Anni stars as "Kwelik," one half of the ancient Bikinian Cojoined twins.|
|Iohaan Anjolok stars as "Kweiar," the other half of the ancient Bikinian Cojoined twins.|
|Phil Okney stars as Captain "Bart Albright" of the Yacht Seal and Becky's husband.|
|Tolfina Fakatou stars as "Mani," Kali's younger sister. She is her younger sister in real life too.|
|Cathy Joel stars as "Lorita," the daughter of Jebuki and the mother of Kali and Mani. Randy Bourn stars as "Taka," Lorita's husband and the father of the girls.|
|Edward Bejiko stars as a "traditional healer," and Casey Jacklick stars as a younger version of old man Jebuki.|
|Mike Trevor stars as "Tom Barnes," the US Embassy Desk Officer.|
|Danny Mino (left) and Nicky Debrum star as Majuro Policemen.|
|Jukulius Niedenthal and Souviner Ned star as a taxi driver and his passenger.|
Rimon Juda stars as an office worker at the Bikini Atoll Town Hall.
Unfortunately, Rimon passed away just after the film was released. He was a very funny person and always had a way of making us all laugh. Shooting this scene was a lot of fun.
|(L to R) Momo Melson, Mottu Lejjena and Lulani Ritok star as the counter girls at Bilimon's Store. Lulani also was the lead singer for most of the songs for this film.|
|Maureen Joel, Erica Capelle, Bilma Melson and Ruthline Anien star as, well, naughty girls!|
|Patrick Chen stars as the Bank of the Marshall Islands Manager.|
|Matiti Johnson stars as the Bank of the Marshall Islands Loan Officer.|
|Hinton Johnson, the Clerk of the Bikini Council, stars as a Bikini Councilman.|
|Jason Aitap, a Bikinian Councilman, stars as the Ejit Island Health Aid.|
Lannij Johnson, the Reverend on Ejit Island, stars as the Reverend on Ejit Island.
Bill Weza starred as the EZ Price Mart store manager.
Bill died the week before he was to watch this film for the first time. When we talked to him about having a role in our movie, he requested that his young son Bobby appear in the film with him. Bobby Weza is pictured here with his arms crossed on the left. Bill was a huge supporter of our projects and never said "no" to anything. Everyone in the Marshall Islands loved him, as did we.
|Jack filming Alson Kelen on Bikini Atoll.|
|Co-Director & Co-Producer Suzanne Chutaro and Phil taking a pizza break on the Yacht Seal.|
|Actors and crew on their way back from a day of filming on Ejit Island.|
|Jack and son & Asst. Cameraman Jukulius on the Yacht Seal|
|Opening Night crowds. Over 500 people watched the first evening of shows. September 7, 2012.|
Opening Night crowd gets ready to watch Ainikien Jidjid ilo Boñ. September 7, 2012.
|Jack and Suzanne with the Atlantis Award for Foreign Feature Films won at the Moondance International Film Festival in New York City in September of 2012.|
|The line of movie-goers at the 2012 Guam International Film Festival for the showing of the Sound of Crickets at Night in October of 2012. Hardly a seat was empty.|
|Salome Fakatou is presented with her Grand Jury Award from the 2012 Guam International Film Festival for Achievement in Acting by Microwave Films Co-director and Co-producer Suzanne Chutaro.|
|Salome Fakatou with Jucooli'O and Regina Niedenthal at the 2012 Hawaii International Film Festival in Honolulu for the encore showing of the Sound of Crickets at Night in October of 2012. This was Salome's first trip to Hawaii.|
|Outside the Dole Cannery Stadium 18 Theaters at the 2012 Hawaii International Film Festival before the encore showing of Ainikien Jidjid ilo Boñ (The Sound of Crickets at Night). Actresses Karen Earnshaw & Salome Fakatou with Jack Niedenthal and Jack's grandson Jucooli'O.|
|The long line of movie-goers for the first showing of Ainikien Jidjid ilo Boñ (The Sound of Crickets at Night) at the 2012 Hawaii International Film Festival in Honolulu in October of 2012. Both shows had almost every seat filled!|
|On May 8th, 2013, The Sound of Crickets at Night showed at the prestigious Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival. We were honored to be chosen to participate in this event. The smiles on the faces of the Marshallese and other Pacific islanders who attended our film that night has been our greatest award to date.|
GOLDEN HONU AWARD:
L to R: Jack Niedenthal, Karen Earnshaw, Alson Kelen, Banjo Joel and Salome Fakatou receive the Golden Honu Award for Best Family Feature Film from the 2013 Big Island Film Festival in Hawaii.
Ij Yokwe Lok
(Traditional Marshallese song, former National Anthem of the Marshall Islands)
Performed by Lulani Ritok
Music and Words by Nelu Debrum
Peformed by Nelu Debrum, Lulani Ritok, Joseph Katjang and Jorkeim "JB" Bunglik
Bwod Kein Am
Words and Music by Les Anjolok
Peformed by Lulani Ritok, Joseph Katjang and Jorkeim "JB" Bunglik
Words and Music by Ri-Karere Ran
Performed by Ri-Karere Ran
Ij Jab Ber Mol
The Bikinian National Anthem
Words and Music by Lore Kessibuki (Written in 1946)
Performed by Banjo Joel