The Celery Fields (short)
The story circles around a young Japanese-American woman returning home, after the attack of Pearl Harbor, to her grandfather an Edo kite maker living on his celery farm in Southern California. The story draws from America’s past and shows how much is still needed today in order to combat fear and ignorance. The script is written and storyboards are drawn.
Each night Papa, a first generation Japanese Issei, has the same dream. His granddaughter Luna standing alone in a barren room lit only by candlelight. He takes her hand and together they are back home in the celery fields of Southern California flying kites. Then the kite plunges and Papa wakes up gasping for air. But on this day his dream becomes a happy reality when Luna returns bringing home a companion with her. Excited to see her and Boy, a child the same age Luna was when she left home, Papa reacquaints them with their home. Photos and memorabilia reminding them of better times. Instead of happiness, Luna and Boy are prodded back into their past and to the events that caused their separation. Papa dismisses such nonsense and focus’ only on the good times. His persistent recollection doesn’t coexist with Luna and sickens her. The more Papa persists of happier times in the celery fields and kite making, the more withdrawn Luna becomes saddening Papa. Boy steps in.
Taking Papa to the celery fields one evening Boy helps Papa recall his past and the consequences of his decision. With the attack on Pearl Harbor, Papa chooses to stay behind on his land with his wife and his acclaimed collection of kites. While Luna is forced to accompany her father (Boy) to the Owens Valley, Manzanar internment camps joining tens of thousands of Japanese families.
Defying Executive Order 9066, federal agents arrive to the celery fields to arrest Papa.Mistaking a stone for a weapon Papa is shot. It is then Papa realizes he has not rested for all these years and Luna’s visit home was only his manifestation to help him reconcile with his past, enabling him to let go and cross over in peace. Papa returns home to his bed to do just that. Luna’s work is done.
The Celery Fields is told through the simplistic style of 2D cel animation, which is intentionally designed to capture the interest of young and old alike. Building on cultural traditions of migrants and the value of immigration then and now, The Celery Fields short will be a gateway for the feature. The script has already been completed and garnished an official selection Blue Diamond Award in the Asian Film Festival in Los Angeles.