A Muslim registry is the first step in repeating history. Don’t turn against each other out of fear. #Dontnormalizehate
Interview with Director Aya Tanimura
Congratulations! Why did you make your film?
During the election process, a lot of the policies and ideas that were being discussed as well as the growing sense of division and unease was a motivator for us to create a piece that could act as a warning as to what the consequences could be should we continue down this path
Imagine I’m a member of the audience. Why should I watch this film?
I think knowing and having an understanding of our history and where we came from is a good way to learn from past mistakes. This piece gives you a very small portion of US history that is now deemed a national embarrassment and something that we can all learn from and make sure we do not repeat again.
How do personal and universal themes work in your film?
We wanted to showcase a personal account of history, a macro account if you will so that it would be easier for the viewer to understand that this really happened and that the people who it happened to were just like you and me. Giving it this personal spin, I think allows the viewer to put themselves in the shoes of Haru and therefore history and gain a better, more intimate and therefore emotional account of what happened. This then lends itself to revealing that this tragic history could be repeating itself to another marginalized group - Muslim Americans and then on an even larger scale, to any minority group on the US.
How have the script and film evolved over the course of their development and production?
The concept was firmed up within a 24 hour period - as soon as we figured out the structure of what it was we wanted to make it was just about casting and making sure we were able to find the right person to tell their internment story. It was imperative to all of us creating the PSA that whomever was going to be the interred woman be someone who was in fact interred and that the Muslim American actress be authentic too. We were very lucky to have Haru Kuromiya lend her story to us for this project and to have had the amazing actress Hina Khan come on board too.
What type of feedback have you received so far?
It really has been polarized (just like the country seem to be right now) - it's a range of people loving it and thanking us for speaking up, to the other extreme where we have received death threats and people telling is that we created propaganda and that Muslims should in fact be interred.
Has the feedback surprised or challenged your point of view?
In this day and age of internet where people can protect their identities and therefore say whatever they feel like with the safeguard of an avatar, we knew we would receive some negativity, however I don't think we were expecting the level of hatred and blatant racism that we have seen and experienced. It has been an eye opener for sure!
What are you looking to achieve by having your film more visible on www.wearemovingstories.com?
We deliberately created the PSA not as an anti Trump piece but as a unity piece - it's about coming together as humans and not acting out of fear. To being accountable for our actions and why it is we choose to act a certain way. We hope that by watching this Public Service Announcement, some people will see the correlation between the atrocities of Japanese American internment and second guess sanctioning any discrimination against any minority groups in the future.
Who do you need to come on board (producers, sales agents, buyers, distributors, film festival directors, journalists) to amplify this film’s message?
So far we have done everything on our own and the PSA has almost half a million views which is great. We have been very fortunate in that a lot of media outlets picked up on it and wrote articles about the piece which has been really helpful so I think we are trying to keep the momentum going and would love to include the piece in festivals, lectures, more news outlets, radio etc. Anything that can help reach a wider audience.
What type of impact and/or reception would you like this film to have?
We would love for this to be a starting point to open up the dialogue between the two opposing sides of the country - the left and the right. I think if we can make the discussion about basic humanity and civil rights and look at history and learn from it then that would be a great start.
What’s a key question that will help spark a debate or begin a conversation about this film?
Why was the internment of Japanese Americans during WW2 sanctioned by the US government and why was nothing done to stop it at the time?
Would you like to add anything else?
We were so fortunate enough to have an incredible team come on board and work for free and donate their time and talents to make this PSA. I would love to credit them if possible.
Directors - Aya Tanimura & Tim Nackashi
Producer - Mari Rivera
Exec Producer - Katy Perry
SFX MAKEUP - Tony Gardner
DP - Lowell Meyer
EDITOR - Celeste Diamos
MUSIC - David Frank Long
SFX MAKEUP - Alterian Inc.
POST PRODUCTION PROVIDED BY - Coyote Post
What are the key creatives developing or working on now?
Tim Nackashi and I are represented by RSA (Ridley Scott Associates) and we mainly create music videos and commercial work which is what we are currently doing. Our work can be seen on the Black Dog/ RSA Site which is here...http://www.blackdogfilms.com/us/directors/
Interview: January 2017
We Are Moving Stories embraces new voices in drama, documentary, animation, TV, web series and music video. If you have just made a film - we'd love to hear from you. Or if you know a filmmaker - can you recommend us? More info: Carmela