Interview with Screenwriter Steve Sasaki (THE CAMERA)

1. What is your screenplay about?

My screenplay is about a Japanese American woman whose son is refusing medications necessary for release from a psychiatric ward, so they can travel cross-country for her new job promotion. Mysteriously, her son knows that a camera from the time of her Japanese American incarceration (at Manzanar during WWII) is key to her release, from the bondage of a past trauma… The theme is inter-generational impacts of trauma.

2. What genres does your screenplay fall under?

Drama.

3. Why should this screenplay be made into a movie?

Many events in recent years, highlight the importance of remembering the contemptable actions taken by the US government against Japanese Americans during WWII, so nothing close is ever repeated.
But as important, if not more, is the universal theme of inter-generational impacts of personal traumas – which hopefully will breed compassion since we never know all the burdens another person is carrying.

4. How would you describe this script in two words?

Healing wounds.

5. What movie have you seen the most times in your life?

“It’s a Wonderful Life”

6. How long have you been working on this screenplay?

On and off, about 3-4 years.

7. How many stories have you written?

Tough question. Seems like there have been many more stories that have run through me, than time to fully write.
In trying to give a simple answer, I would guess 30-40.

8. What is your favorite song? (Or, what song have you listened to the most times in your life?)

I’d say, Steve Winwood is at the center of the music I respond to most.

9. What obstacles did you face to finish this screenplay?

I think I’ve discovered, a primary challenge is showing up for the discipline of writing so I can get out of the way, enough, for the best story to come through. That, and being willing to put ego aside, enough, to incorporate worthy notes.

10. Apart from writing, what else are you passionate about?

Pursuit of spiritual understandings… What’s this life thing all about, anyway? And what’s the best way to navigate this journey?

11. You entered your screenplay via FilmFreeway. What has been your experiences working with the submission platform site?

They make the process as easy as submitting directly… but then, you also have automatic tracking of your submissions, which was a great benefit, for me.

12. What influenced you to enter the festival? What were your feelings on the initial feedback you received?

The name “Diversity,” caught my attention (and the colorful page). I don’t remember what details pushed me finally decide, yes, but I think having a presence in both Toronto & LA was impressive.
The initial feedback was a HUGE PLUS! The notes actually helped me discover the final pieces of the puzzle, so I finally felt like this screenplay had become fully realized.
It was a great relief!

Watch the Screenplay Reading:

A Japanese-American woman must get her 21-year-old son to take medications now, necessary for release from a psychiatric ward so they can move cross-country for her new job promotion, but his resistance is key to her freedom from bondage, caused by past traumas.

CAST LIST:

Narration: Allison Kampf

Jean: Kyana Teresa

Actor Frank/Hirotoshi: Steve Rizzo

Guard: Bill Poulin

Doctor: Shawn Devlin

Frank: Geoff Mays

Actor Jean/Bella: Hannah Ehman

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