The Nichi Bei Foundation presents the 12th annual Films of Remembrance, a showcase of films on the forced removal and incarceration of the Japanese American community in wartime concentration camps, on Saturday, Feb. 25 at the AMC Kabuki 8 in San Francisco’s Japantown and Sunday, Feb. 26 at the San Jose Betsuin Buddhist Church in San Jose’s Japantown.
This year’s event features the event’s largest group of new films ever, with 13 films being presented in-person with panel discussions with filmmakers, and three virtual-only selections to total 16 films. All films will be available for virtual streaming (without panel discussions) from 10 a.m. Feb. 25 through 11:59 p.m. on March 12.
“With a record number of submissions for Films of Remembrance this year, it means that our Japanese American history is not fading away, that new filmmakers are showing great interest,” said Oakland-based Chizu Omori, 92, a Films of Remembrance Committee member, former wartime incarceree and co-producer of the award-winning documentary “Rabbit in the Moon.” “As someone who experienced the camps, I am gratified that our stories are being remembered, that they are recognized as important pieces of American history, reminders of the treatment of minorities in our country, and what a catastrophe our community went through.”
“Films of Remembrance is such an important event — it highlights voices and stories that are often left unexamined in the larger grand narrative of U.S. history,” said University of California, San Diego Ethnic Studies Professor Christen Sasaki, Ph.D., a longtime Films of Remembrance committee member. “These are voices that are so important for us to remember, especially in the face of the ongoing attacks against the teaching of people of color communities and other marginalized populations in our classrooms.”
“The films this year capture some new and/or unexplored issues/topics related to the Japanese American World War II incarceration,” said California State University, Sacramento Ethnic Studies Professor Wendi Yamashita, Ph.D., who is both a new committee and new Nichi Bei Foundation board member. “I think these films speak to the impact that World War II incarceration has had on not just those who lived through it, but generationally. The trauma continues to linger. These films demonstrate the need to research, explore, and creatively interpret what the Issei and Nisei experienced.”
These films especially fill a void for younger generations like Yamashita, a window into the lives of previous generations.
“As a Yonsei, I’ve always this anxiety about losing our Nisei. And as someone who no longer has living grandparents, I feel this loss even more,” said Yamashita. “I think that film is a powerful medium to continue the legacy of those who experienced the unjustness of incarceration. It teaches us about how white supremacy operates and it prompts us to question laws and policies that continue to punish marginalized peoples. These films help me feel connected to my grandparents and allow me to learn more each time.”
Films will be presented in-person from 10 a.m. to 8:15 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 25 in San Francisco, followed by a Filmmakers Reception after the Untold Stories Program at the AMC Kabuki 8, 1881 Post St., in San Francisco’s Japantown. The Filmmakers Reception will feature food and drinks, entertainment by the OWU Band (Scott Oshiro, Francis Wong and Wesley Ueunten) and UC Berkeley’s Nikkei Chorale Ensemble, and a Q&A with filmmakers. Proceeds benefit the Wayne Maeda Educational Fund.
Films will be presented from 10:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. on Sunday, Feb. 26 in San Jose, with partial proceeds from ticket sales to benefit the San Jose Buddhist Church Betsuin and the Japanese American Museum of San Jose.
Films of Resistance Program
• “We said, No! No!: A Story of Civil Disobedience” (2022, 74 min.) by Brian Maeda.
10 a.m. — Sat., Feb. 25, S.F., moderated by Chizu Omori, co-producer, “Rabbit in the Moon”
10:30 a.m. — Sun., Feb. 26, San Jose, moderated by NBC Bay Area’s Robert Handa
Rediscovering History Program
• “80 Years Later” (2022, 50 min.) by Celine Parreñas Shimizu.
• “Resettlement: Chicago Story” (2022, 16 min.) by Reina Higashitani.
• “Shikata Ga Nai (it cannot be helped)” (2022, 11 min.) by Kevin Kodama.
11:55 a.m. — Sat., Feb. 25, S.F., moderated by Wendi Yamashita, Ph.D., professor of ethnic studies at California State University, Sacramento
12:25 p.m. — Sun. Feb. 25, San Jose, moderated by Wendi Yamashita, Ph.D.
Rooted in History Program
• “Amache Rose” (2022, 29 min.) by Billy Kanaly.
• “Hakone Gardens and Executive Order 9066” (2022, 22 min.) by Curt Fukuda.
• “Sonzai” (2021, 32 min.) by Barre Fong.
2:15 p.m. — Sat., Feb. 25, S.F., moderated by Jana Katsuyama, KTVU-2 News
2:45 p.m. — Sun., Feb. 26, San Jose, moderated by Lisa Hirai Tsuchitani, Ph.D., professor of ethnic studies at UC Berkeley
The Art of Activism Program
• “Stamp Our Story” (2022, 19 min.) by Kaia Rose and Robert Horsting.
• “Honor, Recognition and Respect” (2022, 10 min.) by George Wada.
• “Point of Departure” (2022, 10 min.) by Katie Jennings, New Canoe Media.
• “Those Who Helped Us” (2022, 18 min.) by Seattle Channel.
4:35 p.m. — Sat., Feb. 25, S.F., moderated by former KPIX-TV News anchor Wendy Tokuda
5:05 p.m. — Sun., Feb. 26, San Jose
Untold Stories Program
• “Before They Take Us Away” (2022, 60 min.) by Antonia Grace Glenn.
• “When You Leave” (2022, 16 min.) by Jason Yamamoto.
6:30 p.m. — Showcase Presentation*: Sat., Feb. 25, S.F. (*$25, incl. reception), moderated by KPIX-TV News anchor Ryan Yamamoto
7 p.m. — Sun., Feb. 26, San Jose, moderated by former DeAnza College California History Center director Tom Izu
Virtual-only Program: Life After Camp
• “Enduring Democracy: The Monterey Petition” (2022, 67 min.) by David Schendel.
• “Namba: A Japanese American’s Incarceration and Life of Resilience” (2022, 45 min.) by Emily Hanako Momohara.
• “Nisei Bowl” (2019, 22 min.) by Alli Nakamura.
Ticket Prices (in-person or Streaming)
$10 – Individual in advance ($12 at the door)
$25 – “Untold Stories” in S.F., including Filmmakers Reception
$50 – All-Day Passes in San Francisco (limited to first 40), including Filmmakers Reception
$40 – All-Day Passes in San Jose (limited to 60)
$50 – All-Access Virtual Streaming Feb. 25 through March 11 (does not include discussions)
Students with ID: FREE (limited to first 30 each session in S.F.; limited to first 60 each session in San Jose). Discounts for Nichi Bei Foundation members.
Films of Remembrance is presented by the Nichi Bei Foundation.
Presenting Sponsor: California State Library / California Civil Liberties Public Education Program. Reception Sponsor: The Kinjiro and Eiko Moriguchi Fund
Media Sponsor: Nichi Bei News