Film by Arts Division Dean continues to gain recognition and spark conversation

Dean Celine Parreñas Shimizu
Celine Parreñas Shimizu, film scholar and filmmaker, is Dean of the Division of Arts at the University of California at Santa Cruz. (Photo by Carolyn Lagattuta)
Arts Division Dean Celine Parreñas Shimizu in conversation with Pixar’s Jonas Rivera and Krissy Cababa.

Since its premiere in May, 80 YEARS LATER, a feature film by Dr. Celine Parreñas Shimizu, UC Santa Cruz’s Dean of the Division of the Arts, has been shown at countless film festivals across the U.S., Canada, and Europe, and continues to garner praise during the 80th anniversary year of the incarceration of 120,000 Japanese Americans in World War II. 

Winner of Best Historical Documentary at the Toronto Documentary Film Festival this past July and Best Documentary Feature at the Lonely Seal International Film Festival in October, the film explores the racial inheritance of Japanese American family incarceration during World War II through multigenerational conversations with two survivors and their descendants, both of whom have Bay Area roots including Parreñas Shimizu’s own father-in-law, Dr. Tadashi Robert Shimizu.

For the film, Parreñas Shimizu employed a distinctive approach, gathering children and grandchildren around the two elders to explore, in conversation with one another, the impact that Executive Order 9066 has had on all of their lives—the loss of their Japanese names, rituals, and language or the way trauma is passed on in the ability to express love. The result is a moving and tender portrait of these families as they share memories both painful and joyous, reflect on the inheritance of their histories, and process these together to form a new understanding of themselves and one another. 

This lens on multiple generations particularly struck Jonas Rivera, the multiple Oscar Award-winning Executive Vice President of Film Production at Pixar, who recently hosted a private screening of 80 YEARS LATER at Pixar’s studios on October 27 and joined Parreñas Shimizu and Pixar Associate Producer Krissy Cababa for a Q & A. 

“I love your choice to interview someone, always flanked by other generations and family members, almost like they are listening with us,” commented Rivera, whose credits include Up, Inside Out, Toy Story 4, and Soul. “The echo through generations in time is really powerful.”

“This movie is so personal for me,” said Cababa, who is part Japanese and has worked on Coco, Brave, Luca, is the producer of the SparkShorts series, and associate producer of the upcoming 2023 feature Elemental. “It’s a reminder about how important the human experience is and underscores how important it is to make sure that the art we are making and putting out into the world has an emotional core. There is a human behind every story. How do we create empathy and understanding and make people feel?” 

Rivera also reflected on the influence a movie like 80 YEARS LATER has on his work. “When I see your films, I think about moments of human authenticity,” he said. “Even though we make animated films set in fantastic worlds, we want audiences to connect to people, so watching a film like this makes me think of the tools you need to do that.”

Further screenings this year of 80 YEARS LATER are scheduled at the Las Vegas International Film Festival, Bangkok International Documentary Film Festival, Asian Film Festival in Los Angeles, and at the Culver City Film Festival where Parreñas Shimizu’s film The Celine Archive won Grand Prize in 2021. The film will also screen next month in the Bay Area at the Silicon Valley International Film Festival. 

80 YEARS LATER has also been shown in K-12 public schools in St Louis, MO and Cincinnati, OH.

To watch Parreñas Shimizu’s full conversation with Pixar’s Jonas Rivera and Krissy Cababa, click here.