Hidden Histories and the Power of Narrative Film: Telling the Story of Japanese American Incarceration and Beyond
Saturday, July 23 at 1:30 p.m.
Village East Cinema – 181-189 2nd Avenue (between 11th and 12th Streets)
Admission: $15/$11 seniors and students
The troubling story of Japanese American incarceration during WWII is an important but often glossed-over part of American history. As part of the Asian American International Film Festival, Hidden Histories and the Power of Narrative Film commemorates and explores this complicated history through four short films, coupled with a post-screening discussion. These films are unique in their creative use of narrative techniques to bring audiences into the emotional core of powerful first-person stories.
The screening will be followed by a discussion about Japanese American incarceration and how this history is still relevant today.
THE ORANGE STORY
Erika Street (dir.)//Narrative//2016//13 minutes
February 1942. President Roosevelt signs Executive Order 9066, which authorizes the forced “relocation” of 120,000 ethnic Japanese from their homes and into incarceration camps throughout the U.S. The Orange Story follows the experience of Koji Oshima, the proud owner of a small corner grocery store in the Bay Area, but he must now abandon everything and report to an assembly center. On “evacuation day,” Koji waits in line at the local bus depot, along with hundreds of men, women, and children of Japanese descent. Armed soldiers herd the people forward for processing, tagging, and boarding. Before Koji boards the bus, he has a chance to buy some oranges from the little girl by the bus. Koji offers his money to the little girl only to discover that she charges two different prices, one for “Americans” and one for “Japs.”
A SONG FOR MANZANAR
Kazuko Golden (dir.)//Narrative//2015//18 minutes
A Song for Manzanar is based on chapters of a novel being completed by Yoshimi Golden. The film draws upon a true story about the forced internment in 1942 of a young Japanese American father, mother, and their toddler son in Manzanar Concentration Camp located in the Owens Valley near Lone Pine, California. The film depicts the relationship between the protagonist who is in Manzanar and her younger sister who is in Hiroshima, Japan, during World War II. The closeness of the sisters is shown in glimpses of childhood experiences, a conversation as young women, and the dogged effort of the older sister to get a letter out of the camp to her sister in Hiroshima.
Hayley Foster (dir.)//Animation//2013//11 minutes
A young Japanese American girl struggles with discovering her identity, heritage, and the loss of her connection to her past in the context of the Japanese American internment of World War II.
Robin Takao D’Oench (dir)//Narrative//2015//15 minutes
George, Akiko, Kaori, and Kazuo return to their former house in the summer of 1945, following the end of World War II and the closure of the Japanese American internment camps. Arriving home, they find the house ransacked by vandals and in a state of disrepair. Emotions flair and each individual member of the family reacts differently to the homecoming. While rebuilding their home, the family is able to recover a “takarabako” – a chest of memorable items that had to be left behind before the evacuation, bringing the family closer together. As the day draws to a close, there is a glimmer of hope that the future holds better days. TADAIMA honors the legacy of Paul Takagi, 92-year-old former internee, WWII veteran, Berkeley Professor Emeritus, and the Director’s grandfather. The film stars Toshi Toda (PEARL HARBOR, LETTERS FROM IWO JIMA), Vivian Umino, Mackenyu Maeda, and Jordyn Kanaya.
JASON MATSUMOTO – EXECUTIVE PRODUCER, THE ORANGE STORY
Jason Matsumoto is a fourth-generation Japanese American from Chicago. Both sides of his family came to the city after resettling from WWII incarceration sites. Jason has directed and produced two short documentary films commissioned by the Japanese American Citizens League. He is the director of Chicago’s Ho Etsu Taiko Ensemble.
ERIKA STREET – DIRECTOR/CO-WRITER, THE ORANGE STORY
Erika Street is a producer and director of documentaries, short films, radio programs, and educational videos. Erika’s directorial debut, The Closure Myth, was broadcast nationally on LinkTV and internationally on Al Jazeera English. Her short fiction film Inside took the Honorable Mention prize at the Speechless Film Festival and was nominated for a Maverick Movie Award for Best Picture. As an associate producer and editor at the Emmy award-winning studio Log In Productions, Erika contributed to several documentaries that address issues surrounding incarceration and historical memory.
KAZUKO GOLDEN – EXECUTIVE PRODUCER, PRODUCER, CO-DIRECTOR, A SONG FOR MANZANAR
Kazuko Golden, the Marketing Assistant and Assistant to the EVP at CODEBLACK Entertainment, a division of Lionsgate Entertainment, earned a Masters of Fine Arts degree in Creative Producing from Columbia College of Chicago and a Bachelors of Fine arts from Earlham College in Peace and Global Studies and Sociology/Anthropology.
YOSH GOLDEN – EXECUTIVE PRODUCER, WRITER, AUTHOR OF ADAPTED MATERIAL, PUBLICIST, A SONG FOR MANZANAR
Yosh Golden’s work on diverse subjects sporadically appears in a weekly publication, Illinois Times. Most of her writing has focused on family, which includes her parents, ten siblings, three daughters, two grandchildren, a devoted spouse, and remembered ancestors. Several unpublished manuscripts are being compiled for a book-length publication.
ROBIN TAKAO D’OENCH – DIRECTOR, TADAIMA
Robin Takao D’Oench was born and raised in New York City and is a New York University Tisch: School of the Arts and Stern: School of Business Graduate. Robin’s short, TADAIMA, was an official selection at more than forty international film festivals, won numerous awards, and competed against Academy Award Winner STUTTERER at the 2015 Rhode Island International Film.
CLAIRE BROOKS – PRODUCER, TADAIMA
Claire Brooks is a creative producer from New York City. She is a graduate of NYU’s Gallatin School of Individualized Study, where she crafted an interdisciplinary degree titled “Film, Storytelling, and the Global Imagination.” Claire has worked with Broadway producer Eric Falkenstein, London independent producer Alexandra Stone, and HBO Family and Documentary producers Lisa Heller and Amy Schatz.
Presented by Asian CineVision, AAIFF is the first and longest running film festival in the U.S. devoted to films by and about Asians and Asian Americans. The 39th installment runs from Thursday, July 21 through Saturday, July 30 at Village Cinema East, Asia Society, Museum of the Moving Image, and Flushing Town Hall. To see the entire lineup of films and to purchase tickets, please visit AAIFF’s website.