A Letter from the Director
My great-grandfather came to the United States in the 1920s. With the hope for a new life, he bought a home and a farm. By the 1930s he owned a grocery store and had started a family in Northern California. Following the attacks on Pearl Harbor, President Roosevelt executed Executive Order 9066, evacuating every Japanese American from the West Coast and interning them in one of twelve relocation centers scattered across the American deserts. My great-grandfather lost his farm, his store and his home. He and his family were imprisoned at the Manzanar Concentration Center in Owens Valley, California. My grandfather, Paul Takagi, was a teenager when he entered camp.
American schools do not cover the camps as part of an average curriculum, thus clouding a major chapter of American history. In school, my peers and I watched GLORY, ROOTS, HOTEL RWANDA, SCHINDLER’S LIST, and GHANDI as contextual examples to the moments in history that we were studying. The exams did not center on the films, but for the class it was an effective method of opening up discussions and informing a large body of people to these events.
I want to make this story because I feel as though many of the stories of minority Americans were not being represented on the screen or in our conversations. The surviving Nisei, the generation of Japanese Americans born in this country, are in their seventies and eighties, meaning the last of this generation of people is passing on. This film is meant to serve as a symbol of respect and acknowledgement to those people who came before us.
TADAIMA is a story about starting over. It’s about taking that “sickly pit” in the bottom of one's stomach and turning it over. The story conveys feelings of loss, displacement, racism, emasculation, confusion and frustration; above all, however, the strongest emotion that I am aiming to capture within this film is hope. Hopefully this film can be a step in the right direction of bringing a shed of clarity to what is otherwise a very dark period of American history. I want to make a short film that plays like a single scene out of a much larger picture. “Tadaima” translates to “At last, I am home.”
-Robin Takao D’Oench