This weekend I was reminded of why I want to continue making films.
Watching Witness to Hiroshima in the Museum of Chinese in America, I sat in silence and in awe. Through watercolor paintings, former Japanese soldier Keiji Tsuchiya recounts his experience of providing relief after the 1945 U.S. bombing. He illustrates the colors of radiation and tells of the monotony, frustration and anger of burying thousands of bodies. In what seems out of place, Tsuchiya describes his life later as a scientist, learning about the horseshoe crab, a species endangered because of the loss of water in their natural habitat. He remembers that the last words of many Hiroshima victims were begging for water, and suddenly, it is clear why he is committed to saving the lives of horseshoe crabs and preserving the stories of Hiroshima victims, and in that short and subtle connection of one injustice to another, I was moved.
Witness to Hiroshima was part of the “Here…Look at Me” selection at this year’s 32nd Annual Asian American International Film Festival in New York City. A wide selection of short films captivating stories of individuals, each with complex, humorous and passionate lives including the dreamy cinematography of Waiting for a Train, which follows the heroic journey of bluegrass musician Toshio Hirano; You Can Call Me Nikkie, which portrays the simplicity of a transgender sex worker whose main goal is to please her family; and Incongruent Body, an experimental animation depicting manipulations of self-image and imperfections, just to name a few.