Two Japanese Canadian directors explore North American and Japanese history and heritage. One discovers a history of martyrs, the other discovers surprisingly high rates of interracial marriage.
Dir. Louise Noguchi | Canada 2010 | 28:00 | English and Japanese w/ English subtitles | Director in attendance
Director Louise Noguchi travels to the shrines of martyred “heroes” in North America and Japan. At the landmarks in her ancestral countries, she discovers meditative spaces as well as violence in their histories and in the present. Visiting the Martyrs’ Shrine in Midland, Ont., she remembers the slain Jesuits, Jean de Brébeuf and Gabriel Lalemant. She tours the shrine to Catherine Tekakwitha in Upstate New York, where the 17th-century Mohawk Aboriginal converted to Catholicism with a zealousness that brought on her own death. In Japan, Noguchi travels to the historic home of General Nogi and his wife, who both committed ritual suicide. On a trip to Tokyo, to the controversial Yasukuni shrine, she witnesses a demonstration protesting the site’s commemoration of Japan’s militaristic past. Through her visits to shrines, discussions with other visitors and commentary from experts, Noguchi exposes the horrific pasts of the peaceful landmarks in her native countries.
Toronto-born Louise Noguchi received her MFA from the University of Windsor and her AOCA from the Ontario College of Art and Design in Toronto. She is currently a professor in the Art and Art History program, a collaboration between the Sheridan Institute of Technology & Advanced Learning and University of Toronto Mississauga, where she teaches photography and performance-based art. Noguchi uses photography, sculpture, video and other media in her work, which has been exhibited in Canada, US, Europe and Japan.
ONE BIG HAPA FAMILY
Dir. Jeff Chiba Stearns | Canada 2010 | 48:00 | Director in attendance
It was at a family reunion that Hapa filmmaker Jeff Chiba Stearns realized that everyone in his Japanese Canadian family married interracially after his grand- parents’ generation. This event led him to embark on a journey of self-discovery. This live-action animated documentary explores why almost 100% of Japanese Canadians are marrying interracially, the highest out of any ethnicity in this country, and how their mixed-race children perceive their multiracial identities. The stories from four generations of a Japanese Canadian family come to life through the use of innovative animation techniques.
Jeff Chiba Stearns is an independent documentary and animation filmmaker from Kelowna, B.C., of Japanese and European heritage. A graduate of the Film Animation program at the Emily Carr Institute of Art and Design, he founded Meditating Bunny Studio Inc., which specializes in animation, documentary and experimental films. Stearns is also a college animation instructor and has written and lectured on filmmaking and animation, as well as multiracial identity and cultural awareness.