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Tsuru (film)

Short dramatic film about an elderly Issei couple whose attempt to avoid the mass roundup of Japanese Americans during World War II is aided by a white nurse. Tsuru was a senior year project at Chapman University by Chris K. T. Bright.

Shot in black in white and set in Santa Anita, California, in 1942, Tsuru begins as Ellis Fitzgerald (Nicole Starrett), a white nurse, drives down a desolate road to a remote cabin where Yoshio (Ken Takemoto) and Mariko (Takayo Fischer) Ikeda are hiding out. Ellis brings groceries and supplies and administers to Yoshio, whose persistent cough suggests tuberculosis. To thank her for her care, the Ikedas give Ellis origami cranes (tsuru). Meanwhile, MPs and FBI agents break into the Ikedas' home in search of them; one of the agents is James Fitzgerald, (Michael Tomsu) Ellis's husband. Later, at the Fitzgerald household, James wonders where Alice has been going. As the soldiers and FBI pick up other Japanese Americans in a truck to transport them to Manzanar , James sees Ellis's truck by the side of the road and goes to investigate. When he finds Ellis and the Ikedas, he decides to let them be and starts to return to the truck. But his supervisor, Agent Wilson, comes to investigate and hears Yoshio's cough. He takes them away to be incarcerated. In the film's final scene, Mariko hangs origami cranes in her barracks at Manzanar in memory of Yoshio.

Written and directed by Chris K. T. Bright, Tsuru was made with the aid of $23,000 raised in 3-1/2 days on Kickstarter. Bright and his crew filmed Tsuru over two weekends mostly at the Canyon Film Studio Film Location in the Santa Monica Mountains of Southern California. They shot the final scenes at the Manzanar National Historic Site . The film's first screening took place in Hawai'i on July 6, 2014, and subsequent screenings took place in California and at the Heart Mountain Wyoming Foundation in October 2014. The film was uploaded to Vimeo a year later.

Authored by Brian Niiya

Might also like My Friends Behind Barbed Wire (2008); Eagle Against the Sun (1993); Half Kenneth (2008)

Media Details
Release Date 2014
Runtime 22 minutes
Director Chris K.T. Bright
Producer Molly McKellar
Writer Chris K.T. Bright
Starring Takayo Fischer (Mariko Ikeda), Ken Takemoto (Yoshio Ikeda), Nicole Starrett (Ellis Fitzgerald), Michael Tomsu (James Fitzgerald), Bill Lippincott (Agent Wilson)
Music Kevin Homma
Cinematography Ben Fischinger
Editing Paul Iona