The UCLA Film & Television Archive will be presenting a virtual screening and conversation for Visions: “Gold Watch.” Momoko Iko’s acclaimed “Gold Watch” represents one of the first dramas to realistically examine the trauma caused by President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s Executive Order 9066 of February 19, 1942, which led to the forced incarceration of Japanese Americans, and legal immigrants from Japan, during World War II.
Informed by her own experience of being incarcerated at the Heart Mountain concentration camp in Wyoming at age two, Iko’s semi-autobiographical play dramatizes the plight of a hard-working Japanese American/immigrant family living in the Pacific Northwest that struggles to come to terms with the unjust and unwarranted government order that will strip them of their freedom and property simply because of their racial identity. The devastating play serves to both document the racism endured by Japanese Americans and Japanese immigrants during the war and illuminate the immeasurable toll of the still-present psychological pressures imposed on people of color in the United States by an American society that often demands cultural subjugation. Produced by television pioneer Barbara Schultz and directed by African American theater legend Lloyd Richards (recipient of the National Medal of Arts Lifetime Achievement Award), Iko’s groundbreaking drama is further elevated by transcendent lead performances from the married acting couple of Shizuko Hoshi and Mako (Academy Award nominee for The Sand Pebbles).
The screening will be followed by a panel discussion with Valerie Matsumoto, George and Sakaye Aratani Chair in Japanese American Incarceration, Redress and Community at UCLA, and Brian Niiya, Content Director for Densho, a nonprofit organization dedicated to preserving, educating, and sharing the story of World War II-era incarceration of Japanese Americans in order to deepen understandings of American history and inspire action for equity. Introduction and post-screening panel moderated by Karen Umemoto, Helen and Morgan Chu Chair and Director of the UCLA Asian American Studies Center.
Visions is a series of original American dramas intended for a general audience. Each play presented on ‘Visions’ is an original, personal work by an unknown, or little-known writer. The original episode “Gold Watch” aired on KCET, U.S. on Nov 11, 1976. The episode was preserved by the UCLA Film & Television Archive with funding provided by the NYWIFT Women’s Film Preservation Fund. The virtual event will be held Sept 2 at 7pm ET (4pm PT.) Learn more.