Farewell to Manzanar Written by Jeanne Wakatsuki and James Houston. Directed by John Korty.
In 1976, the made-for-TV film, Farewell to Manzanar, based on the book by Jeanne Wakatsuki Houston, was the first commercial film written, performed, photographed and scored by Japanese Americans about the World War II camp experience and broadcast on prime time television.
Jeanne Wakatsuki was seven years old in 1942 when her family was uprooted from their home and sent to live at Manzanar-with 10,000 other Japanese Americans amidst searchlight towers and armed guards. Although it is the story of only one Japanese American family's experiences, it has become a modern classic, often compared with The Diary of Anne Frank as an example of poignant literature about the effects of war on youth and the human spirit.
John Korty, director of The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman, championed the telling of the story in its entirety, without altering the plotline or characters to make it more palatable for a mainstream audience. He used Japanese American and Japanese actors and chose to film on site in the remains of Tule Lake and Manzanar.
Includes bonus features: Remembering Manzanar and an interview with Jeanne Wakatsuki Houston. Running time: 107 min.
Funding for the Farewell to Manzanar DVD project was provided by a grant from the California State Library through the California Civil Liberties Public Education Program. Additional support provided by the Orange County Nikkei Coordinating Council.