Chris Tashima's Day of Independence inspired by True Story of a Japanese American Familys Internment Camp Experience
Helmed by actor/director Chris Tashima, Day of Independence takes place in a Japanese American internment camp and tells the story of one familys experience and reveals the courage, determination, and sacrifices they and many other people of Japanese descent faced during World War II. This short narrative film premieres on PBS this May as part of the Center for Asian American Media's lineup of films for Asian Pacific American Heritage Month. (Check local listings.)
In 1942, President Roosevelt signed Executive Order 9066, which made possible the forcible removal of more than 110,000 people of Japanese ancestry from the West Coast of the United States to various internment camps located in remote areas, surrounded by barbed wire and guard towers. Their stories remain relevant, especially in light of todays post-9/11 racial profiling of people of Arab descent.
Day of Independence is based on the experience of Tim Toyamas grandparents who were forced to leave their home and live in a relocation camp during World War II. They returned to Japan on a prisoner exchange ship. Toyama is one of the screenwriters for the film. The poignant story of Zips and his family shows the challenges that families faced and the quiet dignity which enabled them to survive the experience of being unjustly imprisoned. At the end of the film, viewers are told that the people who were interned never received a trial and none were ever convicted of sabotage or espionagea sobering reminder of how easily ones civil liberties can be violated.
The Center for Asian American Media (formerly known as the National Asian American Telecommunications Association) has a new director. A fond farewell to Eddie Wong and a hearty welcome to Stephen Gong. Gong, 53, joins the Center after working for 18 years at the University of California, Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive, most recently as the Deputy Director. He has a degree in English from UC Berkeley and attended graduate school in cinema studies at the University of Southern California. www.asianamericanmedia.org.