A short biographical film on the Japanese American artist and illustrator, Miné Okubo, who authored the seminal graphic memoir “Citizen 13660” (1946) which chronicled the incarceration experience at Tanforan and Topaz, Utah.
About the Director:
Yuka Murakami is an artist and filmmaker in Los Angeles, Calif. She works in the Media Arts Center at the Japanese American National Museum, and is in the MFA Film Directing program at the California Institute of the Arts. In 2020, she received an Emmy as a producer on the Artbound X series episode “Masters of Modern Design.” A featured short produced for this that she edited, “Kay Sekimachi,” was also nominated. She was a recipient of the 2021 Alison Doerner Prize for Women Pioneers in Filmmaking.
This documentary short follows the journey of five San Francisco Bay Area artists from their artist studios to the grounds of the 2018 Manzanar Pilgrimage in California. At Manzanar, they immerse themselves in the camp environment to unearth haunting voices of this WWII period of incarceration and historical injustice. The artists each bring their distinct family stories of incarceration and the effect this has had on their art into the documentary’s collective story. The Sansei women perform a series of artistic offerings and rituals to specifically honor their formerly imprisoned family members and to all who shared this Japanese American victimization. This ancestral honoring is the centerpiece and heart that carries this documentary’s story.
The impact of art in capturing — and interpreting — the tragedy of the wartime incarceration is examined in this collection of vivid and thoughtful shorts. From a hopeful and imaginative animation, to an avant garde and rare glimpse into the East Coast Japanese American experience, to a spiritual journey by artistic descendants of the camps, and finally in giving voice to a noted artist and author, these shorts take the viewer on an artistic journey into history.