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Extra screenings of the documentary Pilgrimage, by Tad Nakamura, were scheduled to meet the demand. (View film trailer)

November 27, 2006

Grad student's documentary premieres at Los Angeles museum

By Jennifer McNulty

A new documentary by graduate student Tad Nakamura of the Social Documentation Program in Community Studies premiered Nov. 11 at the Japanese American National Museum in Los Angeles.

More than 800 people viewed Nakamura's 20-minute film, Pilgrimage, which tells the inspiring story of how an abandonded World War II concentration camp for Japanese Americans has been transformed into a symbol of retrospection and solidarity for people of all ages, races, and nationalities. 

Two screenings were planned, but two additional shows were added to meet the overwhelming demand. The premiere was sponsored by the California Civil Liberties Public Education Program, the UCLA Center for Community Partnerships, the UCLA Asian American Studies Center, the Little Tokyo Service Center, and 12 additional community cosponsors. It was presented at the museum in conjunction with the exhibition Ansel Adams at Manzanar.

Eric Tandoc, also a graduate student in social documentation, was a principal cinematographer on the film.

Pilgrimage appears destined for screening on public television stations, as Nakamura recently received a $10,000 grant from the Center for Asian American Media to expand the documentary for public television.

The film features a hip music track, never-before-seen archival footage, and a storytelling style that features both old and new pilgrims.

"The Manzanar Pilgrimage now has fresh meaning for diverse generations of people who realize that when the U.S. government herded thousands of innocent Americans into what the government itself called concentration camps, it was failure of democracy that would affect all Americans," says a description of the film posted online. The film "brings new and much-needed insight to the lessons of the past for our post 9/11 world."

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