The internment of Japanese Americans during World War II is a profound chapter in American history that many have never heard about.
After Pearl Harbor was bombed, many Japanese Americans from Los Angeles and in states along the Pacific Coast were sent to 10 “relocation centers.” In addition to being denied due process, most lost their homes and property.
Their only crime was being Japanese American and co-producers David Ono, ABC7 Eyewitness News anchor, and Jeff MacIntyre are telling this story through their documentary “Witness: The Legacy of Heart Mountain.”
Through the largest private collection (over 2,000) of photographs taken at Heart Mountain, interviews with Southern California internees and descendants such as Judge Lance Ito and Brian Kito of Fugetsu-Do, and a visit to the actual camp site, this documentary brings a powerful message of what can happen when civil liberties are traded for fear and discrimination.
On June 19, the Television Academy announced the 66th annual Los Angeles Area Emmy Award nominations with “Witness” receiving a total of four — one for Arts and Culture/History and three craft nominations, one for Ono for Outstanding Writer-Programming and two for MacIntyre for Outstanding Editor-Programming and Outstanding Videographer-Single-Camera Programming. The awards will be presented on July 26.
“Witness” has received the Radio Television Digital News Association’s (RTDNA) Edward R. Murrow Award and the RTDNA’s National Unity Award, which honors outstanding achievements in the coverage of cultural diversity in the communities the recipients serve.
To further educate the public on this important issue, the pair has created a new website to share information on what happened in Heart Mountain through newly discovered documents from the camp and the War Relocation Authority, as well as various organizations such as the Heart Mountain Wyoming Foundation, the Japanese American National Museum, and Washington State University.
Ono and MacIntyre are also offering their new one-hour expanded DVD through their website at www.heartmountainfilm.com/.
The show has received great reviews from screenings in Los Angeles, Portland, Washington, D.C. and Wyoming, and has aired on KABC-TV in Los Angeles and KGO-TV in San Francisco.
The pair is looking forward to screening this documentary throughout the U.S. to shine light on one of the darkest chapters in American history in hopes this tragedy never happens again.