Digital Histories Filmmakers’ Works Screened at Aratani

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Alumni of the 2018-2019 Digital Histories Program at LAAPFF (from right): David Osako, Carol Shubin, Barbara Kagawa Shore, Kevin Shore, Frances Ito, Cory Shiozaki, Bonnie Berger (Shiozaki’s friend), Tracy Quan-Nichols, Robert Shoji, George Wada, instructor Joel Quizon, Mitchell Matsumura. Not pictured: George Takaki, Steve Nagano, Aimee Aiko Kurland. (Photo by Shirlee Shoji)

Visual Communications’ Digital Histories program presented short films on May 5 at the Aratani Theatre in Little Tokyo as part of the Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival.

“Digital Histories brings the unique perspectives of our older adult filmmakers and allows them to share their personal, yet universal ideas through their art,” said instructor Joel Quizon. “Death, camaraderie, displacement, personal passions, belonging, and the appreciation of the little things are given light through imaginative, thoughtful, and sometimes experimental ruminations on life lived today.”

The following films were screened:

“A Day Before I Die” by David Osako. A day’s reflections on the ineffable experiences of life and dying, expressed through the Japanese American director’s memories in and around Little Tokyo.

“Buddhahead Breakfast Club” by George Wada. The first wave of the third-generation Japanese Americans (Sansei) linked by their shared past.

“Dragon Boat” by Kevin Shore. Meet Nathan Salazar, and discover the empowering world of dragon boat racing. See what can be accomplished when the human spirit works together as one.

Director Dean Ishida and Flo Matsuda, the subject of his documentary “Flo’s Bus.” (J.K. YAMAMOTO/Rafu Shimpo)

“Gone” by Robert Shoji. This film examines the transformation of Little Tokyo and challenges us to fight and save our community’s history and heritage before it is gone forever.

“Home Is Little Tokyo” by Steve Nagano. Artist Tony Osumi reveals how the Little Tokyo mural originated, the processes involved in its creation, and the story behind its images.

“Japanese American Legacy on Wheels” by Mitchell Matsumura. The third- generation Japanese American car subculture that sprouted in the ’60s blossomed into an international craze featured in movies and celebrated in car shows.

“Just for You” by Carol Shubin. A young man questions his life’s journey searching for answers to happiness. A total stranger changes his life’s course.

“Luong Tan” by Tracy Quan-Nichols. A commercial artist who lived in Vietnam during the war now lives in Los Angeles, where he enjoys helping with art classes.

“My Resilient 102-year-old Nisei Mom” by George Takaki. A Nisei woman overcomes two major obstacles in her life.

“Sacred Rice Blessing” by Aimee Aiko Kurland. This film explores the possible sacredness of the humble grain of rice via ancient Japanese rites.

“The Little Things” by Barbara Kagawa Shore. A day meant for cleaning the garage takes an unexpected turn when an old, forgotten box is discovered. See how a dreaded task transforms into a day of joy.

“Walking the Talk” by Fran Ito and Steve Nagano. Ann Burroughs shares her journey from being a young activist in South Africa to the current president and CEO of the Japanese American National Museum.

The Digital Histories shorts were preceded by “Flo’s Bus” by Dean Ishida. For more than 15 years, 77-year-old Flo Matsuda has organized L.A.-to-Vegas buses for her friends. In the film, she struggles with the decision to make this beloved ritual her last.

The program was co-presented by Little Tokyo Service Center, OCA-Greater Los Angeles, and Tuesday Night Café/Tuesday Night Project.

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