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Heart Mountain: An All American Town (film)

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Courtesy of Big Stagecoach Productions
View in the Densho Encyclopedia

Documentary film on the Heart Mountain , Wyoming, concentration camp written, produced and directed by Raechel Donahue that focuses on the experiences of the children in the camp.

Heart Mountain: An All American Town is based on interviews with nine Heart Mountain inmates who were adolescents or young adults during World War II. After briefly recounting their prewar lives, they recall their family's forced removal from their homes and incarceration in " assembly centers "—most were sent to Santa Anita —and ultimately at Heart Mountain. They recount both the hardships they and their families faced—the overcrowding, the cold, the lack of privacy—as well as the aspects of the camp that were like any other city of 10,000 people. The core of the film features stories about their childhood experiences there, including Boy Scouts, sports, movies, and other types of recreation and adventures. Inmate Shig Yabu talks about a baby bird he adopts that learns to talk and becomes a mascot for the camp and that dies just as they are leaving. The last segment of the film includes leaving Heart Mountain and returning to the West Coast , as well as the importance of preserving stories of the incarceration experience. The inmates' recollections are augmented with archival photographs and film (both government and inmate created) as well as drawings by artists including Estelle Ishigo and Willie Ito. The 2011 film was funded by grants from the Wyoming Cultural Trust Fund, Wyoming Council for the Humanities, Wyoming Community Foundation, and Wyoming Arts Council.

Authored by Brian Niiya , Densho

Might also like All We Could Carry (2011); Heart Mountain: Three Years in an Internment Camp (1997); The Legacy of Heart Mountain (2014)

Media Details
Release Date 2011
Runtime 80 minutes
Director Raechel Donahue
Producer Raechel Donahue
Writer Raechel Donahue
Starring Bill Shishima (interviewee), Joan Ritchie Doi (interviewee), Shigeru Yabu (interviewee), Kazuo Shiroyama (interviewee), Chuck Uyeda (interviewee), Donald Yamamoto (interviewee), Roy Doi (interviewee), George Fujikawa (interviewee), Ann Haru (interviewee), Nobu Shimokochi (interviewee), Norman Mineta (interviewee), Alan Simpson (interviewee), David Fujikawa (interviewee), Robert Kodama (interviewee)
Music Gary Small
Cinematography Catherine Cummings
Editing Blake Harbour
Studio Big Stagecoach Productions