Lost & Found

Watch our latest short, “Lost & Found”, which tells the story of 2 boys separated by the incarceration and reunited 70 years later.

Part I:

 

Part II:

Advertisements

“WOW!……I want to know more…”

“WOW!……I want to know more…” This was what I find myself saying over and over again each time Kimiko and I discuss this project. I am Shannon Fortune, a member of the crew and I am contributing to this blog to share a little about my experience.  Kimiko and I became fast friends when we lived in the same city, now that we are over 2,000+ miles apart, we try to speak on the phone regularly to stay in touch and keep eachother updated on our respective lives; the calls frequently end with “Oh What?! Look! We did it again! We’ve been on the phone for two hours already!”

In the early stages of this project, ideas for this documentary sprinkled our conversations occasionally, and over the past year and a half I have seen the ideas develop into real substance. Kimiko has been simultaneously creating an organization and building a team while writing and developing the platform for these stories she’s been collecting. She has hundreds of photos and research files and hours of footage, but the development isn’t limited to the tangible. She has reached out to friends, family and strangers, traveled to new places and in the process she’s truly connecting with people in a way that has been fascinating to observe. I am amazed at the momentum the project has gained, even in these early stages, each time she does more research or meets a new person, more and more history is uncovered, which leads to more research and meeting more people…etc. The plethora of information that one can uncover can be really exhilarating and also overwhelming. Kimiko’s determination and passion is inspiring and her enthusiasm is infectious!

“I can’t possibly fit everything I’ve learned in the documentary”, Kimiko says as she talks about the most recent bout of interviews. Going on almost two years now she has given me snippets of research information or relayed a personal story and each and every time I find myself saying “WOW!……I want to know more”, “Send me a photo!”, “Send me a link!” I know that she has only been able to relay a fraction of her gained knowledge and scratched the surface of the stories out there.  I cannot wait for this documentary to be finished so I can see it for myself…to flesh out the story fully.  I logically understand there is no practical way to see it all in the documentary, but this information, this material, saturated in history and rich with personal stories, is begging to be shared. I am happy to hear her response when I ask her where all of the hours of extra footage and piles of documents will go. “I can make a DVD with ‘Extras’ or post it on the website!”  Whew! OK! Let’s get on this…I want to know more…….

 

-Shannon

Share your story with us!

This is a clip of my cousin Jeff retelling what my grandparents had told him about camp life.  Notice how different their perspectives were even though they lived through it together.  Everyone has a unique story.  Unfortunately both of them are gone now and we no longer have the opportunity to ask them about their experiences.  I encourage all of you to talk to your family and get their stories so that future generations can understand where they came from.

I have noticed that when I ask people if I may interview them, the most common answer is “I don’t have any interesting stories”.  Explain to them that to our generation, ANY story is interesting because we have NO IDEA what its like to live through a World War or be incarcerated in a camp.  When I have found people willing to share, the stories that I have heard have been amazing and I am thankful that we can preserve them on camera for their kids and grandkids and greatgrandkids.

We would also love to hear your family’s story about the war, so if you are willing to share it, let us know!  You can email us directly at AmericanComplaceny@gmail.com or contact us through our “Tell Us Your Story” page.

-Kimiko

Visiting Topaz and Manzanar Relocation Camps

This summer I visited Topaz, Utah where my family was incarcerated and Manzanar, California probably one of the most famous of the 10 camps.  Initially the camps were built from the same basic design by the War Relocation Authority, but each camp took on a look and identity of its own.  Even now you can see the stark contrast between Topaz and its vast desert, flat land and tumble weeds to Manzanar’s mountainous backdrop, trees and remnants of the beautiful ponds and gardens that the former residents built to make it a home.

-Kimiko

Historical marker at Topaz Relocation Center, Topaz, Utah

Historical marker at Topaz Relocation Center, Topaz, Utah

10431451_10152168437807666_4923093409229627191_n

Topaz Relocation Center, Topaz, Utah

10484812_10152168446317666_1386219288831498016_n

Site of former War Relocation Center at Topaz, Utah

Main entrance of Manzanar Relocation Center, California

Main entrance of Manzanar Relocation Center, California

20140807_192945

Cemetery and monument at Manzanar Relocation Center

20140807_191943

What is left of a park built by the residents during their incarceration at Manzanar.