VIEW THESE TWO FILMS (on line), TAKE AND TURN IN YOUR NOTES, AND ANSWER THE 2 QUESTIONS BELOW as an alternative to our regularly-scheduled class meeting.

There are two great short films by TAD NAKAMURA (a UCSC alum!) that are part of his early trilogy and which I think you will like: PILGRIMAGE (2006) and YELLOW BROTHERHOOD (2003). The films are significant in terms of both their form as well as marking a next-generation of independent Asian American filmmaking.

Please take notes on: the use of music, the relationship between director and subject, how particular stories relevant to Asian Americans are opened up for a wider viewership. A) In what ways are Tad Nakamura’s films social documentaries? B) How is the cinematic technique of collage employed?


22min, Digital Video, 2006

Directed & Edited by Tadashi Nakamura –

PILGRIMAGE tells the inspiring story of how an abandoned WWII concentration camp for Japanese Americans has been transformed into a symbol of retrospection and solidarity for people of all ages, races and nationalities in our post 9/11 world.

With a hip music track, never-before-seen archival footage and a story-telling style that features young and old, PILGRIMAGE reveals how the Japanese American community reclaimed a national experience that had almost been deleted from public understanding. PILGRIMAGE shows how the annual Manzanar Pilgrimage now has new meaning for diverse generations who realize that when the US government herded thousands of innocent Americans into what the government itself called concentration camps, it was failure of democracy that would affect all Americans.


18 min, Digital Video, 2003
Directed & Edited by Tadashi Nakamura –

YELLOW BROTHERHOOD is a short personal documentary about a friendship and finding community through a self-help group turned basketball team that began in the 1960s.

Filmmaker Tad Nakamura met Brett and Khi-Min when they were six years old on a community basketball team called the ‘Venice YB’. As Tad says in the film, ‘We didn’t know what YB stood for and we really didn’t care – all we cared about was having fun.’ As they grew, they learned that YB stood for ‘Yellow Brotherhood’, a self-help group formed by a gang called ‘The Ministers’ to help youth get off drugs. Only later did they realize how the tradition of Yellow Brotherhood’s dedication to personal and political development helped them through their own problems and empowered them to carry on its legacy of creating and serving community. Features never-before-seen stills and footage of Los Angeles’ Japanese American community in the 1960s and 1970s.

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