APA Spotlight

"APA Spotlight" is a regular interview series on 8asians.com by Koji Steven Sakai interviewing Asian American community leaders from around the country.
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Filmmaker Derek Shimoda, June Bride: Redemption of a Yakuza

One of my favorite Asian American documentaries is The Killing of the Chinese Fortune Cookie, so when I heard the filmmaker, Derek Shimoda, was making another doc, I wanted to find out more. I had an opportunity to sit down with Derek and ask him 8Questions.

Derek Shimoda is a Los Angeles native. He produced the feature film In My Life as well as the acclaimed documentary Secret Asian Man, an official selection of the Sundance Film Festival. He wrote, produced, and directed the film Autonomous Soul, which won the Visionary Award at the Pan African Film Festival (PAFF). Over ...

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Claire Mix, Producer/Writer/Director of Gila River and Mama: The Ruth Mix Story

The first national organization to speak out against the illegal incarceration of Japanese Americans during World War II was the Quakers. The Quakers have a long standing commitment to progressive causes. Many don’t know this but they were one of the first groups to fight to abolish slavery and have advocated for women’s rights and later civil rights as well. (To see some of the causes they are currently fighting for, click here.)

Although the Quakers were the only national group to come out against the Japanese American concentration camps, that’s not to say that all the ...

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Sonia Sakamoto-Jog, Executive Director, Toronto Reel Asian International Film Festival

Sonia Sakamoto-Jog (pictured on the left) joined Reel Asian as Executive Director in May of 2009 after graduating from the MBA program at the Rotman School of Management at the University of Toronto.Prior to being hired at Reel Asian, she worked at Maximum Films International (now a division of Entertainment One) where she was involved in all aspects of acquisitions, marketing, and sales. Her previous experience includes two years working as a strategy consultant for a branding agency in Tokyo, and contracts with both the Toronto International Film Festival and the Just For Laughs Festival in Montreal.

The Toronto ...

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Helen H. Ota, Artistic Director, Cold Tofu

Helen H. Ota is the Artistic Director of COLD TOFU, the nation’s premier Asian American comedy improvisation group. A member since 1993, she has performed in and produced numerous COLD TOFU improv and sketch shows.

She is also the co-founder of Yes, And…Productions which produced Songs for a New World at the Tateuchi Democracy Forum in Downtown Los Angeles. They are currently working on a new musical which will make its world premiere in 2012. Helen is also a performing member of the Grateful Crane Ensemble whose mission is to present educational and theatrical programs in appreciation for ...

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SHOKORA's Junichi Hernandez Yoshikai

Last year I was lucky enough to be invited to Japan and meet with other Nikkei (Japanese migrants and their descendants) from around the world. As an Asian American, I admit I sometimes forget that there are people of Asian ancestry who live in Mexico. In fact, there are strong nikkei communities throughout the Americas. The biggest Nikkei population (outside of Japan) is in Brazil (with the United States coming in second).

One of the people I met in Japan was Junichi Hernández Yoshikai, a talented singer from Mexico who sings in Spanish, English, and Japanese. I would describe ...

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