The unsung heroes of storytelling are the local producers we rely on to find the people and places for a compelling tale. Having reported in more than 20 countries, Aya Asakura stands far and above – her big heart and steely determination underpin her strong instincts and meticulous attention to detail – ensuring every story is an engaging one.
It is rare to find someone who not only understands the story but also the art of storytelling. Aya’s passion, commitment and unique outlook inspire me to capture the best possible images.
I have recently worked with Aya on a new landmark series for BBC called Human Planet 2 ‘Rituals’. Aya did an outstanding job for us. She has a very rare combination of journalistic and organisational skills. She has a reporter’s nose for a story, a director’s eye for a sequence, and the finely-tuned diplomatic and language skills required to manage the trickiest of contributors. For our series she has negotiated extremely delicate and complex access into the secretive world of a Shinto ritual called Oto Matsuri. She has also researched and set up various other key shoots in our series. With her intuitive understanding of stories, people and politics, she has successfully steered us through a complex web of relationships with both subtlety and grace. She is clearly a great asset to any production.