Tadashi Nakamura was not home when the Sundance
Film Festival, the largest independent film
festival in the United States, called to say that
his and producer Karen Ishizuka’s documentary
film Pilgrimage had been selected out of
5,000 Short Film submissions for Sundance’s 2008
festival. “It was unbelievable, I was in total
shock!” Nakamura says about hearing the message.
“I picked up the phone and called them right
a film with powerful rare footage of the Japanese
American evacuation and imprisonment during World
War II, also shows select 1960s student protests
and third generation (Sensei) Japanese Americans
learning about their history. Especially memorable
in Pilgrimage is footage of the first
Manzanar pilgrimage in December 1969 when
approximately 150 young Japanese Americans
traveled to Manzanar, the infamous concentration
camp where Japanese Americans were interned during
World War II. The Manzanar Committee has now
sponsored the annual pilgrimage for more than 38
Tadashi Nakamura after receiving his director's
badge at the film festival.
[Photo courtesy Tad
California Civil Liberties Public Education
Program (CCLPEP), a project of the California
State Library, funded Pilgrimage in 2006.
“CCLPEP helped me accomplish my goal - to
re-tell the [the Japanese American internment]
camp story in a way that would speak to youth,”
says Nakamura. “It was very satisfying that Pilgrimage
was one of the 83 films Sundance selected,” says
producer Ishizuka. “CCLPEP provided the first
funding for Pilgrimage and gave critical
support in eventually getting the lessons of [the
internment] camp out to schools, communities and
film festivals around the world, including
kudos for Pilgrimage
has earned moving praise from Sundance filmgoers.
“[Pilgrimage was] easily the most
impressive short I saw while at Sundance … a
retelling of the civil rights movements
Japanese-Americans waged to get recognition of
World War II internment. … It’s a great story,
1970s history told with 21st century music," said a filmgoer from Oxford University Press.
“Pilgrimage made me cry — which is
difficult for me in 22 minutes! …The film feels
like an Asian hip-hop music video, and explores
the tragic history of the Japanese concentration
camps in California during World War II,"
said a staff person from Sacramento’s KVIE
more information about Pilgrimage, please
contact Karen Ishizuka at (310) 413-7440 or email
information about the CCLPEP program, please
contact Christopher Berger, library program
consultant, California State Library, at (916)
653-8313 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org.