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Lemuria Project (2009-2013)

A creative experience designed to give children an escape from their life-threatening medical conditions through the creation of fantasy art and filmmaking.

Lemuria Project provides an artistic platform for children with cancer to express themselves through multimedia production, fantasy art, and creative play. We provide a production experience that will take them far away from the thoughts of their life-threatening medical conditions and treatment schedules. 


Lemuria Project places a movie production team at the childrens fingertips to co-design their characters, costumes, props, and the fantasy worlds they will travel to. Working directly with each member of the team to create their own fantasy art inspired imagery. Engaging their imaginations as they become the hero in their very children's story and behind the scenes film. 


James founded the project in 2009 after volunteering with the Hawaii Children's Cancer Foundation on their Awareness Campaign. It broke his heart to see how difficult it is for these familys who have children with cancer and the challenges they are up against. From finacial turmoil to pay for all the hospital bills and mediacl treatements, to children who live in a world of medical jargon and extended hospital stays. Not to mention the families that loose children every day. These children don't get to play like the healthier children do. They no longer have that luxury that most of us parents take for granted...happy healthy children. He knew he had to do something and what better way than to become the heros and heroines of their imaginations, but in real life, reflecting the strenth and power of who they truly are inside.




Way beyond a 'day of dressup', Lemuria Project is a healing experience that engages imagination, empowers creativity, and reinforces their hero within when they need it most. 


For more information visit

To make a tax-deductable donation visit our fiscal sponsor page at Fractured Atlas

The Heros and Heroins

Queen Kaela

In 2005 , Kaela was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia at the young age of 5. She was in treatment until she was 7, when it went into remission.  


 In 2009 Kaela became the fist participant of the Lemuria Project. We featured Kaela and her sister Lily for their image as "queens from 2 different universes coming together". Lily does not have any medical conditions, but we wanted to include her in the process because we felt that the siblings needed some extra attention too. Their production included a custom designed dress by fashion designer Erin Ludolph and personalized makeup by celebrity makeup artist Kecia Littman.


Kaela is now a healthy full-fledged teenager and her cancer has been in remission since 2008. She enjoys surfing, hanging with friends and driving her parents crazy

Xander was born in the Netherlands in 2002. From a young age he had a vibrant imagination and would make up different voices to go along with his imaginary characters. He then started to develop a passion for drawing his own fantasy characters making up the story lines.


At the age of 8, Xander came home from school one day and asked his mom and dad if they also had a large lump on their neck. A few weeks later he was diagnosed with a rare form of Hodgkins Lymphoma in stage 2, rare as less than 10% of people get this type and rare because it’s not normally found in children his age.


Xander started his chemotherapy in June 2010 and began drawing an army of cancer fighting dragons, Xander’s Dragons. That all came to an abrupt stop when one of the chemo medicines affected his taste and smell, making it impossible to draw as the smell of the paper made him sick.


After a long stretch of Chemotherapy he overcame his cancer and it went into remission. However, a year after filming lemuria project his cancer returned and he went back into full chemotherapy treatment for 7 months.



In 2014 he triumphantly beat cancer for a second time during post production and once again his cancer is in remission..a true hero. Since participating in the project Xander began taking acting classes, making props and had a speaking role on Hawaii 5-0! Go Xander!! Now he is back to his healthy but busy life as a theater actor and pre-teen.

Xander the Dragon Rider

Behind The Scenes of Lemuria Project


Dreams Come Alive For Sick Keiki

By Rasa Fournier


November 5, 2014


What got you interested in using your photography and filmmaking talents to help people with life-threatening illnesses?


I am a freelance commercial photographer and Photoshop artist by trade. Outside of work, I’ve always given back to the community. It began when I was young. My mom volunteered all over the place and I had to go with her. At the time, most of it wasn’t much fun for an 8-year-old, but I saw how it really helped people...

Video project's goal is to help sick kids

By Nadine Kam 

Honolulu Star Advertiser

Nov 04, 2014


James Anshutz was breezing along in his own world of art and commercial photography when, in 2007, a photo project changed the direction of his life."It started with a First Friday gallery show for the month of October. I was asked if I could do something for Breast Cancer Awareness Month," he said.... 

The Ripple Effect: The Lemuria Project

Manifold Magazine

Jennifer Ginsberg

James Anshutz can’t readily remember what kind of cancer the children have that he’s helped transform into goddesses and dragon riders. He just sees them as kids.

​“I want to give them the chance to play,” said Anshutz, a Honolulu-based photographer who is spearheading The Lemuria Project. This multimedia, interactive project transforms children who have potentially terminal illnesses into characters of their imagination....


Pecha Kucha Presentation on The Lemuria Project (audio + slides)

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