Funds Needed for First Animated Feature on JA Incarceration

Preparatory study of mizuchi animation model for feature film “Topaz: Ten Meditations” in form of clay folk art artifact. Photo courtesy of Sansei Legacy Project.

ALAMEDA — A fundraising campaign is underway at Sansei Legacy Project to close a $12,000 production gap for a groundbreaking motion picture titled “Topaz: Ten Meditations,” the first animated feature-length theatrical film on the Japanese American incarceration experience.

The motion picture explores themes of loss, displacement and longings for home and sea through the unusual figure of a “mizuchi” or water dragon.

The water dragon is being brought to life through the medium of stop-motion animation by Sean Morijiro Sunada O’Gara, the film’s director at Sansei Legacy Project and a leading Sansei avant-garde filmmaker whose fine art cinematic works have been featured in international Asian American film festivals.

Topaz, one of the 10 War Relocation Authority camps during World War II, was located in Utah and held thousands of Japanese Americans who had been uprooted from the San Francisco Bay Area.