HISTORIC LAZO DOCU-DRAMA COMPLETES FILMING
Stand Up for Justice, a docudrama about a young Latino who goes to Manzanar concentration camp with his Nisei friends, completed filming on December 12, 2002. The film was directed by John Esaki and produced by Amy Kato. Principal cast members included Alexis Cruz as Ralph Lazo and Chad Sakamoto, Brittany Ishibashi, and Marcus Toji as Ralphs teenage friends. Actors Emily Kuroda, Tim Toyama, Ciro Suarez, Ron Martinez, Hiro Ueno and Takayo Fischer were also featured in the production. Key scenes were shot at the train museum in Fillmore, California and at the Manzanar National Historic site.
Ralph Lazos life has generated much interest among members of the Japanese American community and others interested in history, civil rights and community relations. Over 100 persons volunteered to be extras in the film, friends and businesses generously donated meals for the cast and crew, and the production members worked at reduced rates or volunteered their services to assure that the filming phase of the story was completed. Individuals belonging to groups such as the Manzanar Reunion Committee, the Manzanar Pilgrimage, East West Players and Cedar Grove Productions served as consultants to the project.
The morning film shoot at the Fillmore train museum was a true display of community involvement. With only five hours available for filming, the Stand Up for Justice project initiated the day at 4:00 AM at Visual Communications for the costuming, hair styling and make-up of the more than 80 extras and actors. At the same time, the crew and supporting services assembled at the train station to prepare the site for filming. By 5:45 AM the first busload of extras had left for Fillmore. NCRR volunteers helped with set-up and brought and served food to project participants all morning long.
MARKETING AND PROMOTION
John Esaki and Amy Kato assembled a professional cast and crew that worked tirelessly during production. Because there was a time gap between the filming of the train scene at Fillmore and the remainder of the scenes, John and Amy had to assemble two separate production units. Among the crew, Janice Tanaka and Moises Velez, the Production Managers, admirably brought together the daily logistical elements. Michael Chin served as DP for the train scene and Dean Hayasaka was the DP for the other scenes including the difficult Manzanar outdoor scenes. Naomi Yoshida Rodriguez was the Costume Designer for the train scene and Steven Lee headed the Costume Design department for the second production unit. Kumiko Sato was chief of the Hair/Makeup department for the train scene while Cindy Nakadaira was the Head Hairstylist and Heema Arie the Head Make Up Artist for the rest of the film. Sound Mixer for the train scene was Jon Oh and Curtis Choy mixed the sound for the second production unit. Art Director for both units was Akeime Mitterlehner. The First Assistant Director, Ken Wada, who helped to produce a Day of Remembrance during the 1990s, kept both crews on schedule.
NCRR and Visual Communications have had a long history of work together. NCRRs Education Committee collaborated with Visual Communications to preserve, summarize, and index the thirty-five-hour videotape of the 1981 Los Angeles Commission on Wartime Relocation and Internment of Civilians Hearings, and the relationship continued with the Lazo film.
With the filming completed, post-production begins soon. Members of the post-production team will weave the raw footage into the 30-minute Stand Up for Justice docu-drama. Music, historic film footage from World War II, and titles will be added to maximize the artistic impact of the film. Because the costs of filming a period piece exceed that of a more contemporary story, additional funds will need to be raised to cover the costs of post-production.
Stand Up for Justice has received grants from the federally funded Civil Liberties Public Education Fund and the California State Civil Liberties Public Education Program. In addition, Eastman Kodak donated the super-16 mm film stock used in filming the docu-drama. Gratefully, donations have also been received from numerous individuals and organizations.
Because the two civil liberties grants and donations thus far received do not cover the total projected cost of producing Stand Up for Justice, more funds need to be raised. Your help is needed to complete this important film. For more information, e-mail NCRR at firstname.lastname@example.org or the Lazo project at email@example.com. Send tax-deductible donations to NCRR at 231 E. Third Street, Suite G-104,
Los Angeles, CA 90013 and indicate that the donation is for Stand Up for Justice.