2019 Films of Remembrance Filmmaker Biographies

Jon Osaki, the director of “Alternative Facts: The Lies of Executive Order 9066,” is an emerging filmmaker who has directed and produced promotional, educational, narrative and documentary films. His initial interest in film grew from his desire to share the stories of the Japanese Community Youth Council, where he has served as executive director since 1996. Over the past few years, he has had films screened at film festivals and community events across the country. As a filmmaker, Jon views this genre as the next step in his lifelong pursuit of social justice and equity.

Bill Kubota, director/producer of “The Registry,” is a partner of Michigan-based KDN Films and senior producer with Detroit Public Television (PBS). He directs local and national projects which include “The Ethanol Effect,” which aired on PBS World in 2016. Kubota directed “Most Honorable Son,” which premiered on the PBS network in 2007 and co-produced and served as director of photography of the DuPont-Columbia award-winning documentary series “Beyond the Light Switch” in 2011. Bill is currently working on short films and online reports looking at issues of immigration, housing and mass incarceration in the city of Detroit.

Steve Ozone, director/producer of “The Registry,” was born in Rochester, New York. An award-winning photographer, Ozone is based in Minneapolis, Minnesota. His work examines immigration and “the other.” A commercial photographer for more than 20 years, his work has been shown locally, nationally and is held in private collections.

Richie Adams, writer, director and producer of “American,” is an award-winning filmmaker who cut his teeth as a title designer (“Babel,” “Mr. & Mrs. Smith,” “Water for Elephants”) first under the mentorship of legendary title designer, Richard Greenberg (“Alien,” “Untouchables,” “The Matrix”), and for the past 12 years, under his own company banner, Louisiana-based River Road Creative.

As a title designer, Adams has worked with many of the great players in the motion picture industry, including Alejandro González Iñárritu, as well as newcomers like Ryan Coogler, for whom Adams designed/produced the titles and special graphic sequences (cell phone sequences) for Coogler’s Sundance Grand Dramatic winning “Fruitvale Station,” and later Coogler’s follow up hit, “Creed.”

Richie’s recent feature film “Of Mind and Music” — starring Joaquim De Almeida, Aunjanue Ellis and 2017 Oscar-Nominated Ruth Negga — played the 2014/2015 film festival circuit earning numerous audience and juried awards, as well as a nomination for the Best New Director Award for Adams at the Vancouver International Film Festival.

Shannon Gee, director of “An American Hero: Frank Nishimura,” is a producer, editor, photographer and writer with 20+ years of experience in the field of television broadcast and print/digital media. Shannon has been with the Seattle Channel, the City of Seattle’s award-winning government access channel, for over 10 years and currently serves as the general manager for the organization. While at the Seattle Channel, Shannon has earned seven northwest Emmys and the Kaleidoscope award, a national award that recognizes television stations for their coverage of diversity and equity issues.

Before joining the city, Shannon was an independent producer of television documentaries for national and local public television and cable. She also freelanced as a film writer for newspapers and Websites, including imdb.com and the Seattle Times. Shannon lives in the house she grew up in on Seattle’s Beacon Hill with her husband and their five-year-old daughter, a cattle dog mix named Jimbo, and two cats who like Jimbo more than he likes them.

Jesse Dizard, Ph.D. (University of California at Berkeley, 2003), director of “Mr. Tanimoto’s Journey,” is a cultural anthropologist and filmmaker primarily interested in controlling processes, ethnic conflict, and natural resources management. He has conducted fieldwork in North Africa, West Africa, Alaska, Asia and Europe. His current work addresses California tribal conflicts with alternative resource development projects, and environmental justice movements’ efforts to ensure clean, safe drinking water for all Californians.

Kenya Gillespie is an award-winning Japanese American filmmaker and composer living in Austin, Texas. His most recent documentary short, “The Crystal City,” was the winner of the 2018 RTF Longhorn Denius Student Showcase at SXSW. His skills span a wide range of art forms including film, music composition, performance art and multimedia projects. He is currently an MFA graduate student in Film Production at the University of Texas at Austin. He also received an MM in Music Composition from Rice University and a BA in Music from Yale University.

Hikari Sugisaki, co-director of “Beyond The Barbed Wire: Japanese Americans in Minnesota,” graduated from St. Olaf College with a Bachelor of Arts, triple majoring in Asian Studies, Philosophy, and Studio Art. As an immigrant born in Japan and raised in Chicago, she is interested in how the cultural environment, to which one is exposed, can affect individual lived reality and identity. A bilingual speaker of English and Japanese who also studies Chinese, she finds language and the culture-specific meanings it holds to be a fascinating topic. Hikari hopes to take the experience of working on this film and incorporate it into her future career pursuits, both artistic and academic.

Preeti Deb, director of “Three Boys Manzanar,” is an award-winning documentary filmmaker who believes in the power of video to inform and connect people, and motivate them to make a difference. Her experience in journalism and documentary has taught her that every single person has a unique and engaging story — it just needs to be told in the right way. Preeti is currently working on a community video art project to further explore this theme.

She has a master’s degree in documentary film and broadcast journalism from New York University. After graduating from NYU, she worked in New York on documentaries for public television. In 2008, she moved to India and started an independent film company, 517 Productions, to specialize in non-fiction content. Under this label she has produced, directed and edited documentaries, corporate films, films for nonprofits and Public Service Announcements for TV. She also taught video and documentary film. She is currently the creative producer for Micro-Documentaries, a purpose driven film company that specializes in 2- to 4-minute films.

Preeti has volunteered with nonprofits ever since she was in high school, working as a teacher, in marketing and as a video instructor for underprivileged children and disadvantaged youth.

Preeti lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with her husband Anamitra, and two little boys. When she’s not working or being a mama, she’s experimenting with new ingredients in the kitchen, watching obscure films or reading old mystery novels on the beach.