Originally published on metropolis.co.jp on October 2012

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“It is important for us to screen the film in Japan, because the system for organ transplantation is very different here than in the US,” said director Marc Smolowitz last year at the Japan premiere of his documentary The Power of Two. One year later, the powerful work is finally set for a theatrical release in Tokyo. The premiere was also attended by Isabel Stenzel Byrnes, one half of a set of half-Japanese twins who were born with cystic fibrosis and told they might not live past their teenage years. After spending much of their early lives in hospitals, Isabel and Anabel received life-saving double lung transplants during their 20s. Anabel received a second set of donor organs when her body rejected the first transplant. The two sisters not only survived and recovered, but developed into athletes, competing the in the Transplant Games in Tokyo. They also became outspoken advocates for organ transplantation, not only in the US, but also in their mother’s homeland of Japan. The doc explores the cultural reasons for the low donor rates in Japan, and the changing of the tide with the passing of new legislation. When asked by a nurse who attended last year’s premiere how she was able to get through the recovery process, Isabel responded, “It is important to remain positive every day. As we say in the film, each breath is a miracle.”

Titled Miracle Twins in Japan, the film will screen at Shibuya Uplink Cinema from November 10. www.uplink.co.jp/miracletwins