FILM: A Song For Manzanar To Be Featured At 2014 Women’s Independent Film Festival in Santa Monica, CA

The following is a press release from filmmaker Kazuko Golden.

A Song for Manzanar, a short film produced and co-directed by recent Columbia College of Chicago graduate Kazuko Golden, has been accepted and awarded in the Women’s Independent Film Festival. The movie will premiere on Saturday, November 8, 2014, at 8:00 PM at The Promenade Playhouse in Santa Monica, California (see map below).

A Song for Manzanar is based on chapters of a novel being completed by Yoshimi Golden. The film draws upon a true story about the forced internment in 1942 of a young Japanese American father, mother, and their toddler son in Manzanar Concentration Camp located in the Owens Valley near Lone Pine, California.

The film was shot in two locations: a beautifully reconstructed teahouse and Japanese-style garden in Pasadena, which is twenty minutes from Downtown Los Angeles, and at the Manzanar National Historic Site, which is 220 miles north of Los Angeles on U.S. Highway 395.

The film depicts the relationship between the protagonist who is in Manzanar and her younger sister who is in Hiroshima, Japan during World War II. The closeness of the sisters is shown in glimpses of childhood experiences, a conversation as young women, and the dogged effort of the older sister to get a letter out of the camp to her sister in Hiroshima.

The film’s release at this time anticipates the 70th anniversary of the young family’s release in March 1945 from the camp, and of the formal closing of Manzanar and nine other major concentration camps scattered in desolate areas throughout the western United States. These camps held some 120,000 Japanese and Japanese Americans—none were charged or convicted of any wrongdoing; their ancestry alone was used as justification for removal and incarceration.

2015 is also the 70th anniversary of the dropping of the atomic bomb on Hiroshima on August 6, 1945, an event that, though not depicted in the film, affects the lives of the two sisters (a second atomic bombing of Nagasaki, Japan took place on August 9, 1945).

While keeping in close touch with her team of editors in Chicago as she finished her final graduate requirements in Los Angeles, Kazuko Golden raced to have the film footage edited and done in time to begin submitting her work to various festivals. She applied to film festivals with a sense of urgency. It makes her proud to be able to dedicate a film at this time to her U.S. born grandmother, Sachie Aono Yoshimura, who grew up in Hiroshima and who serves as the basis for the protagonist in A Song for Manzanar.

Kazuko Golden, the author Yosh Golden, several family members, and the film crew gave their hearts to this project. In a prayer for peace and humanity, Kazuko and the film crew are proud to be able to launch this film during this time.

Tickets to the film festival went on sale on Friday, October 31, 2014 and can be purchased at the Women’s Independent Film Festival web site. For more information, contact Kazuko Golden via e-mail at


Promenade Playhouse, Santa Monica, California via Google Maps

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2 Responses to FILM: A Song For Manzanar To Be Featured At 2014 Women’s Independent Film Festival in Santa Monica, CA

  1. Tadashi Kishi says:

    I am curious as to what the song and the novel will reveal for I was also imprisoned at Manzanar.

    • Thank you for you question. For me the song was about hope, inspiring hope for the younger generations, and passing on the traditions of the past. With the support of Scott Nagatani and Marisa Kosugi I brought forth images of that…I hope.

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