Celine Parreñas Shimizu, Dean of the Arts Division at UC Santa Cruz, will premiere her latest film at the Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival on May 12.


Kiyoko Kasai Fujiu was incarcerated in Tanforan, San Bruno during World War II.

Filmmaker and film scholar Celine Parreñas Shimizu, dean of the arts division at UCSC, premieres her new documentary at the Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival on May 12. The feature film 80 YEARS LATER explores the racial legacy of the incarceration of Japanese American families during World War II through multigenerational conversations with survivors and their descendants.

“On the 80th anniversary of Executive Order 9066 that imprisoned 120,000 Japanese Americans during World War II, families are still grappling with the legacy of their experience,” says Parreñas Shimizu. “I wanted to explore the question: how does one inherit a traumatic history through the generations? »

Parreñas Shimizu started with his own stepfather, Dr. Tadashi Robert Shimizu. A much-loved and respected chief resident at Oakland Children’s Hospital for years and an East Bay pediatrician for 39 years, Shimizu was transferred as a little boy with his family from their home in San Leandro, Calif. , at the Poston internment camp in Arizona.

Also featured is Kiyoko Kasai Fujiu who grew up in the Japanese neighborhood of San Francisco, pre-war footage of which is included in the film. Fujiu was evacuated to Tanforan in San Bruno, California, a racetrack where the family was forced to live in horse stalls. Fujiu moved to Chicago after his incarceration, before the end of the war.

For the film, Parreñas Shimizu used a particular approach, gathering children and grandchildren around these two elders to explore, in conversation with each other, the impact that Executive Order 9066 has had on all of their lives. – the choices they have made, their relationships to each other, and their own individual sense of identity. The result is a moving and tender portrait of these families as they share both painful and joyful memories, reflect on the legacy of their stories, and process them together to form a new understanding of themselves and each other. others.

Small moments take on poignant significance. Shimizu, who as a teenager after the war envied his brother for having an American first name and worked hard to excel in all things American like football, stops deep in thought when his multiracial grandson expresses his desire to s immerse in its heritage. Short scenes throughout the film of Fujiu, quite frail and elderly, lovingly cared for by his family, are the prelude to a coming together in which these next generations collectively realize their responsibility to keep his history alive as America forgets his history and that hate crimes against Asians are on the rise. .

Parreñas Shimizu’s other films, distributed by Third World Newsreel, Women Make Movies and Progressive Films, include Celine’s archives (2020) – a creative documentary that brings together animation, portraits, interviews, site visits and archival material to explore the story of Céline Navarro, a Filipino immigrant who was murdered by her community in 1932 in Northern California. Celine’s archives won the Culver City Film Festival Grand Prize for Best Documentary Feature among 8 other festival awards. Others include Birthright: mothering through difference (2009), Jthe fact of asian women (2004) and Super-Flip (1997).

Parreñas Shimizu, the first woman of color to serve as dean at UCSC, brings concerns from her artistic practice to her new leadership role at the school. “My mission is to help our faculty, students and alumni unfold the capacity of the arts to create new and needed narratives, to bring communities together, to imagine and create new real worlds that are not yet here, to to amplify an abundance of voices, and to keep the definition of the arts fervently open,” she says.

Parreñas Shimizu has launched an extensive diversity, equity and inclusion program in the division that promises to be a national model and will build on UCSC’s disciplinary arts programs, including a documentation MFA unique social opportunity for future documentarians committed to social change and to documenting the communities, cultures, issues and individuals who are marginalized in our current landscape of representation.

Learn more about 80 YEARS LATER and get details about Los Angeles Asia-Pacific Film Festival.


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