2018 Films of Remembrance Filmmaker Biographies

Abby Ginzberg | Co-Producer, Co-Director of “And Then They Came For Us”

Abby Ginzberg is a Peabody-award winning producer who has been producing award-winning documentaries about race and social justice for the past 30 years. Her film “And Then They Came for Us” has been screening at theaters and film festivals around the country after premiering at DocLands Film Festival in May, 2017. She is the co-producer and co-director of “Agents of Change,” which premiered at the Pan African Film Festival in Los Angeles and won the Jury and the Audience Award for Best Feature Documentary.

Her feature award-winning documentary, “Soft Vengeance: Albie Sachs and the New South Africa” (2014) won a Peabody award. Her work as a documentary filmmaker took her to the Academy Awards in 2012 with a short documentary film, “The Barber of Birmingham: Foot Soldier of the Civil Rights Movement,” for which she was the Consulting Producer.

Abby’s documentaries, “Soul of Justice: Thelton Henderson’s American Journey and Cruz Reynoso: Sowing the Seeds of Justice” (about an African American and Latino judge) have won numerous awards, including a Silver Gavel and CINE Golden Eagle for “Soul of Justice” and have been broadcast on public television.

She is the President of the Berkeley Film Foundation, which has granted more than $1 million to East Bay filmmakers, and is on the Boards of the Thelton Henderson Center for Social Justice at UC Berkeley Law School, The Impact Fund and the Yale Law School Visual Advocacy Project.

Brandon Miyasaki | Videographer & Editor, “Florin JACL / CAIR Manzanar Pilgrimage”

Brandon Miyasaki is the VP of marketing for the Florin Japanese American Citizens League Sacramento Valley (Florin JACL-SV) and co-president for their Next Generation youth group. His grandmother Marion Kanemoto was incarcerated in Minidoka, Idaho, before her family was shipped to Japan as part of the U.S. Government’s prisoner of war exchange. Brandon grew up inspired by his grandmother’s dedication to archiving the oral histories of more than 80 incarcerees and hopes to inspire youth involvement in social justice and civil rights for all.

He received his bachelor’s degree in Business Economics from UC Irvine and has since relocated back to Sacramento where he manages his family’s dental practice and is the owner of Shot Archives, a marketing and media creation business.

Sharon Yamato | Writer, Producer, Director of “Moving Walls”

Sharon Yamato is a writer/filmmaker who wrote, produced and directed “Out of Infamy: Michi Nishiura Weglyn” and “A Flicker in Eternity,” based on the diary and letters of WWII veteran Stanley Hayami. She is the author of the book, “Moving Walls: Preserving the Barracks of America’s Concentration Camps,” and co-author of “Jive Bomber: A Sentimental Journey,” a memoir of Bruce T. Kaji, the founding president of the Japanese American National Museum. As a consultant to the Japanese American National Museum, she has served as editor of the Museum Magazine and project director of “The Encyclopedia of Japanese American History from A to Z (revised edition),” “An American Son: The Story of George Aratani,” and “More than a Game: Sport in the Japanese American Community.” She has written articles for the Los Angeles Times and is currently a columnist for the Rafu Shimpo. She graduated from UCLA with a bachelor’s degree and master’s degree in English.

Bryan Yokomi | Director and Editor, “The Colorado Experience: Freedom & Poverty”

Bryan Yokomi is an Emmy-winning filmmaker who was born and raised in Orlando, Fla. He studied at Florida State University where he received a MFA in Film Production and BS in Communication with a Film Study minor. He now lives and works in Los Angeles.

Bryan was the lead editor of the Emmy-winning show “Cars.TV.” The show won the Outstanding Lifestyle Program Emmy.

Bryan is currently an editor at Fox Sports doing sports highlights. He is also an editor on Uproxx Reports documentaries.

Bryan is a highly skilled director and editor. He loves the art of storytelling and collaborating.

Lucy Ostrander | Producer, Director of “Proof of Loyalty: Kazuo Yamane and the Nisei Soldiers of Hawaii”

Lucy Ostrander, an award–winning documentary filmmaker began to receive accolades for her work with her Masters’ thesis from Stanford University, “Witness to Revolution: The Story of Anna Louise Strong.” The film received a national PBS broadcast, and won a Student Academy Award, the Nissan Focus Award and a CINE Golden Eagle. In 2005 she was a recipient of an Artist Trust Fellowship. Over the course of 30 years, her documentaries have focused primarily on Northwest and Asian American history and include “East of Occidental,” “Home from The Eastern Sea,” “Finding Thea,” “The Red Pines,” “Island Roots,” “Fumiko Hayashida: The Woman Behind the Symbol,” “The Revolutionary,” “Honor & Sacrifice: The Roy Matsumoto Story” (2014 Films of Remembrance selection) and “Proof of Loyalty.” 

Don Sellers | Producer, Director, Director of Photography, Writer, Editor of “Proof of Loyalty: Kazuo Yamane and the Nisei Soldiers of Hawaii”

Don Sellers has worked as a documentary film producer, director, director of photography, editor and writer. Documentaries range from nationally broadcast major PBS series, to feature length, to local broadcast. Producer credits range from historical documentaries to docudrama. He has shot in Africa, Europe, Asia and North America covering topics as diverse as meetings between Afrikaners and the ANC in West Africa, horse racing in upstate New York, papal masses at the Vatican, and murder investigations in Miami. He has edited many hour-long Frontlines for PBS, and many documentaries on Pacific Northwest history. He has taught film writing and production as a guest lecturer at Stanford University.

Ryan Kawamoto | Writer and Director of “Voices Behind Barbed Wire: Stories of Hawai‘i Island”

Ryan Kawamoto is a television and film director based out of Honolulu, Hawai‘i. He previously directed two feature films including the documentary film, “The Untold Story: Internment of Japanese Americans in Hawai‘i.” The film was commissioned and presented by the Japanese Cultural Center of Hawai‘i and ran theatrically and was broadcast on PBS Hawai‘i.

His other feature film is, “Hang Loose,” an Asian American comedy starring Kevin Wu aka YouTube Celebrity KevJumba, Dante Basco (“Hook,” “The Debut”), and Justin Chon “(Twilight,” “Gook”). The film was nominated for Best Feature at the 2012 Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival.

Ryan Kawamoto is a Yonsei (fourth generation) Japanese American and was born, raised, and continues to reside in Hawai‘i.

Marlene Shigekawa | Executive Director, Producer and Writer of “For the Sake of the Children”

Marlene Shigekawa has a broad base of experience as a producer, director, screenwriter, and diversity consultant. She has just completed her narrative script, “Hawk Dreamer, “inspired by her family’s experiences in the Poston concentration camp located on the Colorado River Tribes Reservation.

She is a published author of several books including children’s books on the Japanese American incarceration and has won awards for her feature screenplays, which cross a number of topics and genres. She is a board member and project director for the Poston Community Alliance.

As a diversity consultant, she has worked throughout the U.S. with corporate executives and school administrators and has made presentations at universities and colleges. She has a B.A. in English from the University of California and a M.S. in Counseling from California State University, East Bay.

Hayley Foster | Director, “Yamashita”

Hayley Foster is a graduate of Loyola Marymount University with a major in Animation and a minor in Asian and Pacific Studies. Growing up in San Jose, Calif., she filled her time with watching Disney movies on repeat with her sister, nurturing her love of animation and her family at a young age. From the time she could hold a pencil, Hayley was drawing and used those images to tell stories. During her time at LMU, she honed her craft in animation while supplementing art with studying abroad in Japan and taking on various minor classes in order to further research the topic of her senior thesis project.

Her thesis, a dedication to her supportive grandfather who passed away in 2008 and to a collective culture’s history that captured her fascination and sympathy, was an idea that brewed for years before coming to fruition in the form of “Yamashita.” She is currently working as a storyboard artist at Warner Brothers Animation.

Steve Nagano | Director and Editor, “Speak Out For Justice”

Steve Nagano, a former teacher, has been a longtime activist in the Southern California Japanese American community. As a member of Nikkei for Civil Rights & Redress (formerly the National Coalition for Redress & Reparations), he served as one of the project directors of the film “Stand Up for Justice, the Ralph Lazo Story” and was the graphics designer for its teacher’s guide.

NCRR, along with Visual Communications, oversaw the filming and preservation of the testimonies of the 1981 Los Angeles hearings of the Commission on Wartime Relocation and Internment of Civilians. Recently he served as the project director of the “Courage of Japanese Americans who Spoke Out” (NPS-JACS grant) project that produced the 13-DVD set of the CWRIC hearings. As a filmmaker, Nagano has shown his films at various Asian American film festivals and community events.

Holly Yasui | Producer, Writer and Co-Director of “Never Give Up!: Minoru Yasui and the Fight for Justice”

Holly Yasui, is producer, writer and co-director with Will Doolittle of “Never Give Up! Minoru Yasui and the Fight for Justice,” narrated by actor and activist George Takei and featuring Min Yasui’s lead attorney in the reopening of his case in 1983, Peggy Nagae. Will Doolittle is a professional filmmaker who has produced numerous documentaries on a variety of issues including environmental issues, farm workers and indigenous rights.

Holly is the youngest daughter of Min and True Yasui. She studied film at the University of Southern California in the 1970s, and at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Her work has focused on writing and graphic design, which she practiced and taught in Seattle, Wash. before moving to Mexico where she now lives.

Since retiring from a grassroots community development center in 2014, Holly has devoted full-time to the Minoru Yasui Tribute Project (MYTP), co-founded with Peggy Nagae. The MYTP has included the successful nomination of Minoru Yasui for a 2015 Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian honor in the nation; the designation in 2016 of Minoru Yasui Day in perpetuity by the Oregon state legislature; and the filing of amicus briefs in the federal courts, including the U.S. Supreme Court, opposing the 2017 Muslim Ban in the name of her father and all persons of Japanese ancestry who were banned from the West Coast and imprisoned inland during World War II.

“Never Give Up!” won the 2017 Multicultural Film Award of the National Association for Multicultural Education and is featured in the 2018 Smithsonian National Museum of American History “Day of Remembrance” celebration.