For filmmaker Tadashi Nakamura, grassroots activism starts with
understanding the roots of ordinary people who, when they come together with a common vision, can do the extraordinary.
Tadashi Nakamura is a 30 year old, fourth-generation Japanese American and second-generation filmmaker. Besides carrying on his parents’ work – his mother is writer/producer Karen L. Ishizuka and his father is director Robert A. Nakamura – Nakamura seeks to tell his community’s history to a new generation.
Nakamura recently completed A Song for Ourselves, the third film of a documentary trilogy about the early Asian American Movement. Currently screening in festivals and colleges around the U.S. and Canada, the film has won twelve awards for film excellence including four for Best Documentary Short. The first film of the trilogy was Yellow Brotherhood (2003), a personal documentary focused on the meaning of friendship and community through the Yellow Brotherhood youth organization, which was formed in the 1960s to combat youth drug use. The film won Best Documentary Short at the San Diego Asian Film Festival and has been screened at film festivals, colleges, and community events across the nation.
After Yellow Brotherhood, Nakamura released Pilgrimage (2007), which chronicles the transformation of an abandoned WWII concentration camp for Japanese-Americans into a symbol of retrospection and solidarity for people of all nationalities in our post 9/11 world. Pilgrimage was one of the 83 short films (of 7,500 submissions) selected for the 2008 Sundance Film Festival and has won nine awards of excellence, including five for Best Documentary Short. With A Song for Ourselves, he continues his homage to the important early Asian-American Movement and passes on its passion in the hopes of inspiring young people to continue to work--and sing--for social justice.
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