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Stage & Studio: The story of No No Girl

Dmae Lo Roberts talks in her new podcast with director Paul Daisuke Goodman and actor Chris Tashima about their film on the fraught legacy of FDR's Executive Order 9066.

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On February 19, 1942, FDR signed Executive Order 9066, sending more than 100,000 Japanese Americans to concentration camps during World War II. To commemorate the Day of Remembrance on that day, Portland’s Japanese American Citizens League (JACL) will host a screening of No No Girl. The film tells a generational, Japanese American story intersecting ideas of identity, family, duty and the traumas of war and relocation. The executive order given 81 years ago still impacts survivors and descendants. In the film, one young daughter takes it upon herself to shine a light on their past and uncover the mysteries that have been haunting their family.

Dmae Lo Roberts talked with Paul Daisuke Goodman, the director/writer of No No Girl, about his journey as a biracial Japanese American to create his second feature film at the age of 31 while still battling two cancer diagnoses. Goodman also talks about traveling around the country to screen this film.

Actor Chris Tashima, an Oscar-winning director himself, also describes the importance of this film created by and from a Yonsei (fourth generation) experience, and the impact of working with Goodman.

Goodman, Tashima, and actor Mika Dyo will be in Portland for a talkback following the screening. The film is screening around the country.

Subscribe and listen to Stage & Studio on: AppleGoogleSpotify, Android and Sticher.
Hear past shows on Stage & Studio website. Music by Clark Salisbury.
The podcast also features audio clips from No No Girl.

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The Portland chapter of JACL will host a screening of No-No Girl followed by an interview with the director and artists:

Sponsor

Seattle Opera Pagliacci

  • February 19, 2023 at 1:30 pm
  • Lincoln Recital Hall at Portland State University
  • The event is free and open to the public.
  • More info at: https://www.pdxjacl.org/

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Paul Daisuke Goodman.

Paul Daisuke Goodman is a filmmaker and two-time cancer survivor. He began his career as a camera operator on the high seas for Discovery’s Whale Wars until his first cancer diagnosis at age 25. For the next six years he would undergo treatments for his leukemia that would achieve remission and then relapse and remission again. During that time, Goodman began writing and editing from his hospital room, and would shoot films in his months as an outpatient.

Eventually, and to the occasional frustration of his doctors, he was able to make his first feature film, Evergreen. The cast and crew would shoot on the road for 28 days, and on the 30th, he was back in the hospital for more chemotherapy. Late in 2020, and at the height of the pandemic, his leukemia would return, this time spreading to his spinal cord and brain. The initial outlook was bleak, but after the first rounds of chemotherapy, results showed the cancer responding to the treatment and set him on a road toward bone marrow transplant and recovery.

During this time, Goodman would write his second feature film, No No Girl, and through chemo, radiation, and the transplant he would find another remission and shoot the film six months after being discharged from the hospital. Today, Paul lives in Los Angeles with his fiancee and manages his own production company, Eight East Productions, named for the wing of the hospital where he made his first films..

Actor Chris Tashima in “No No Girl.”

Chris Tashima is an actor and director based in Los Angeles who has been working in theater and film for nearly 40 years. He won an Academy Award® in 1998 for the dramatic short film Visas and Virtue, inspired by the heroic actions of Holocaust rescuer Chiune Sugihara. Chris co-wrote and directed the film, and starred as the Japanese diplomat who issued transit visas allowing 6,000 Jews to escape Nazi Europe at the onset of World War II. Chris has portrayed a number of Japanese American roles in independent films, including Under the Blood Red Sun, adapted from the Graham Salisbury young adult novel, and Go For Broke – An Origin Story, from producer/screenwriter Stacey Hayashi.

Mika Dyo in “No No Girl.”

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Photo Joe Cantrell

Dmae Roberts is a two-time Peabody winning radio producer, writer and theatre artist. Her work is often autobiographical and cross-cultural and informed by her biracial identity. Her Peabody award-winning documentary Mei Mei, a Daughter’s Song is a harrowing account of her mother’s childhood in Taiwan during WWII. She adapted this radio documentary into a film. She won a second Peabody-award for her eight-hour Crossing East documentary, the first Asian American history series on public radio. She received the Dr. Suzanne Ahn Civil Rights and Social Justice award from the Asian American Journalists Association and was selected as a United States Artists (USA) Fellow. Her stage plays and essays have been published in numerous publications. She published her memoir The Letting Go Trilogies: Stories of a Mixed-Race Family in 2016. As a theatre artist, she has won two Drammys, one for her acting and one for her play Picasso In The Back Seat which also won the Oregon Book Award. Her plays have been produced in Portland, Seattle, Los Angeles, NYC and Florida. Roberts is the executive producer of MediaRites, a nonprofit multicultural production organization and co-founder of Theatre Diaspora, an Asian American/Pacific Islander non-profit theatre that started as a project of MediaRites. She created the Crossing East Archive of more than 200 hours of broadcast-quality, pan-AAPI interviews and oral histories. For 23 years, Roberts volunteered to host and produce Stage & Studio live on KBOO radio. In 2009, she started the podcast on StagenStudio.com, which continues at ArtsWatch.

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