please see the bottom section of this article to learn how to be an “extra” in the filming of this event in our country’s history
 
The four walls of MBT have housed many successful movie screenings. A dimly lit hall, the unambiguous crunch of fresh popcorn and moving images projected on a massive screen—it’s a really great venue to watch those hard-to-find Japanese classics.

Recently, however, MBT has also played host to an exciting film production.

Rewind to Ginza 2014. Through the matchmaking talents of Dave Duerkop, I was approached by budding Chicago filmmaker Eugene Sun Park. After one of Ho Etsu Taiko’s sets in the sweltering August heat, Eugene asked if I would write soundtrack music for one of his upcoming short films. I said “yes!” and, in that moment, a wonderful relationship began.

Eugene and I are now producing a new project called “The Orange Story,” a short film that captures the emotional and trying moments of local grocery store owner Koji Oshima (played by a Chicago native, Dr. Joe Takehara, DDS) as he says goodbye to his West Coast grocery just before heading to his new “home”—an undisclosed WWII internment camp. We plan to use this professionally produced short historical fiction film in conjunction with an educational website that we are positioning for inclusion in curriculums at all levels of education. Our mission is to broadly spread this story and its timeless lessons regarding civil rights.

To date, we’ve been awarded a $160K grant by the U.S. Government through the National Park Service. We’ve built an extensive educational advisory board, have contracted a website company, created our own 501(c)(3) organization and have partnered with a number of Japanese American institutions for support and screening opportunities.

Eugene and I have even flown to New York to watch “Allegiance” and meet George Takei to discuss our project. We are encouraged that so many people believe in the importance of this project’s message and are even more grateful that MBT is providing our “production” office. What better place than these four walls to house a project that speaks to the experiences of many who still fill the halls on Sunday mornings.

We will be kicking off a fundraiser in April. Now your reaction might be, “$160K is a lot of money! Why do you need more?” Well, our grant is a 2:1 federal matching grant. This means that to unlock the $160K, we have to raise about $80K in cash or donated services. If you’d like to contribute, please contact me (jason@fullspectrumfeatures.com; 773.504.4107). If you are interested in learning more about “The Orange Story,” please visit theorangestory.wordpress.com.

by Jason Matsumoto
 

“THE ORANGE STORY” Extras Casting Call

On April 28th (Thursday), “The Orange Story” is shooting its grand finale, and we need your help! We’re recreating “Evacuation Day”, when more than 100,000 men, women, and children of Japanese descent were sent to internment camps across the western United States. To represent this historic injustice, we need extras to attend our shoot at a transportation depot. No acting experience required. Extras are not paid, but we will provide lunch, snacks throughout the shoot, transportation to and from the location (TBA), and credit in the film. The following link has all the information our extras call for “The Orange Story”: http://fullspectrumfeatures.com/casting