- Gil Asakawa, Nikkeiview
TSURU Article, Discover Nikkei
TSURU Article, My Big Apple NY
TSURU Article, Asian American Press
The support we have received from everyone is remarkable. Words can't express how excited we are.
BUT WE STILL NEED YOUR HELP!
We are more focused than ever. Now the question is, HOW MANY STRETCH GOALS CAN WE ACHIEVE? Through your love and support, we can take this film to the next level. Let's keep the ball rolling!
Here are the stretch goals:
- ACHIEVED! $16,500 - PROP UPGRADE! We will be able to pay for props at a student discount from the Universal Studios lot.
- ACHIEVED! $18,000 - COSTUME UPGRADE! We will be able to rent authentic 1940's costumes from Western Costume Company.
- ACHIEVED! $20,000 - PROFESSIONAL MUSIC RECORDING! We will be able to rent a discounted professional recording studio for a day to record our phenomenal cellist Christopher DeFazio, winner of the Pasadena Showcase House Competition - Strings Category. For more information, CLICK HERE.
- $23,000 - FILM FESTIVALS OVERSEAS / HELP US FILM AT THE ACTUAL MANZANAR INTERNMENT CAMP! We will be able to take TSURU to film festivals in other countries. This potentially includes Japan, France, Canada, Italy, and Germany. AND we will be able to potentially film at MANZANAR NATIONAL HISTORIC SITE, the location of the actual Manzanar War Relocation Center.
Tsuru takes place during WWII in May of 1942 - a time of serious racial prejudice. As over 120,000 Japanese Americans are being evacuated and forcibly interned by the U.S. Government, an elderly Japanese couple, the Ikedas, are in hiding, residing in a neglected shack in the middle of a California canyon. Mariko, the wife, is doing her best to keep her ill husband Yoshio in good health.
Their lifeline? A young American nurse. Giving them the supplies, food, and medicine needed to survive. As another wave of Japanese Americans are being evacuated, suspicions arise when FBI agents and military personnel are unable to find the Ikeda couple.
We will be shooting the entire film in BLACK AND WHITE. We do this for two reasons:
1) We want to resemble the films of the era. We want to be as true to the time period as possible.
2) And we want to strip away the color - accentuate the bleakness of what our characters are experiencing.
One of the main themes throughout the film is the tsuru - “crane". As a symbol of long life and good luck, tsuru is used in the story as a gesture of gratitude from character to character. (The term "tsuru” is also part of my middle name “Tsuruo,” a name passed down to me from my grandfather.)
Despite the climate of racial discrimination and wartime hysteria, there were sympathizers who risked public scorn and even physical danger to defend and support the Japanese. Tsuru presents this perspective along with a unique Japanese American perspective - that of hideaways - to approach the narrative from multiple points of view.
We are interested in using the resources we have to tell a story that will aid in bringing awareness to the incarceration of Japanese Americans.
We are interested in following characters isolated both physically and socially.
And we are interested in exploring issues of intolerance, civil rights, and the responsibilities of citizenship in our increasingly global society.
As so eloquently put by Michi Nishiura Weglyn in her book Years of Infamy,
"...we hope this uniquely American story will serve as a reminder to all those who cherish their liberties of the very fragility of their rights against the exploding passions of their more numerous fellow citizens, and as a warning that they who say that it can never happen again are probably wrong."
Tsuru is my senior-year project at Chapman University's Dodge College of Film and Media Arts. As a Japanese-American, I feel this is a very personal story - a story in which I finally get to put years of learning into a project that exemplifies a part of my heritage. My brother, Timothy Bright, and I wrote the script together. We have gathered an incredible cast and crew we are very excited to work with...
Playing the role of Mariko is TAKAYO FISCHER (Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End, Moneyball). Takayo was a former incarceree of Fresno Assembly Center in California, and Jerome and Rohwer Camps in Arkansas. The role of Yoshio will be played by KEN TAKEMOTO (Transformers: Dark of the Moon). Ellis will be played by NICOLE STARRETT. And James Fitzgerald will be played by MICHAEL TOMSU.
And our talented CREW...
Despite receiving professional equipment from Chapman, telling this story requires over $23,000.
This will allow us to:
-secure a location at the prestigious Canyon Ranch Studio
-cover accommodation and travel costs
-pay for insurance
-rent two 1940s trucks
-rent additional camera and sound equipment
-rent a generator truck
-feed the cast and crew
We also have STRETCH GOALS. Please check them out at the top of the page!
For LARGER DONATIONS and more information on the film, check out our prospectus and feel free to pass it on: TSURU SHORT FILM PROSPECTUS
Let's share this story with the world!
Risks and challenges
As with any film, we face many uphill battles to get our film made, and recreating the 1940s in 2014 is definitely one of them! However, we are excited to make this film, tell this story, and work with fantastic talent.
Once we go into production there's always the concern about locations or casting falling through and having to reschedule, but we have a great team on board! We don't anticipate this happening at all. We will get the film done and you will get you your backer rewards as promised!Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (35 days)