THE MANZANAR FISHING CLUB began as a lecture, walking tour and artifacts exhibit to raise awareness of the internees who slipped away under the cover of night to find freedom and adventure matching wits with the prized trout of the Sierra Nevada's high-altitude lakes and streams.
This creative treatment of actual events is the brainchild of cinematographer-turned-director Cory Shiozaki. An avid fisherman whose parents were among the 120,000 Americans of Japanese descent who were rounded up in the immediate aftermath of Pearl Harbor, Cory has spent the past six years chronicling the untold story of this overlooked chapter in U.S. history.
The project moved to the next level when fellow anglers and video production company principals Lester Chung and John Gengl proposed interviewing the surviving internee fishermen for a documentary film.
Writer Richard Imamura pored over hours and hours of interviews and expanded the project from a 22-minute short into a feature length documentary. His script brought together what Shiozaki had intuitively known all along — that all of the fishermen's stories touched, in one way or another, on a yearning to be free.