U.C. student's film screens at Sundance

A film created by a University of California, Santa Cruz graduate Social Documentation Program student will be featured at the Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah, beginning today, according to university officials.

Tadashi Nakamura's documentary film “Pilgrimage,” which tells the story of Japanese Americans reclaiming a World War II concentration camp at Manzanar, will be screened in the short film category four times during the festival between today and Jan. 27, university officials reported.

Nakamura, 27, began research for the film after graduating from the Asian American studies program at the University of California, Los Angeles in 2003, according to university officials.

His father and maternal and paternal grandparents were incarcerated in the Manzanar internment camp, located about 250 miles northeast of Los Angeles, the university reported.

“Pilgrimage” explores how Manzanar was changed “into a place of empowerment” by Japanese American activists who were inspired by other social movements of the 1960s, the university reported. The film also “draws

parallels between the treatment of Japanese Americans during World War II and the harassment of Arab Americans in the post-9/11 era,” according to the university.

“My father's generation inspired the older generation to talk about what happened. My role, my generation's role, is to make it relevant to what's going on in the world now,” the filmmaker said. “I think the older generation appreciates me trying to tell their story to the next generation that's coming up.”

Nakamura's 22-minute film was chosen along with 83 films from 17 countries out of more than 5,100 submissions.

“It's pure luck that I'm an emerging filmmaker at this time.

Getting into Sundance gives someone like me encouragement and confidence. I'm taking it as a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity,” Nakamura said.

Nakamura, whose graduate thesis project is a film biography of Japanese American musician Chris Iijima, is scheduled to graduate the UCSC program this year, according to the university.

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