Redefining Community: The Evolution of Sawtelle Japantown

Redefining Community: The Evolution of Sawtelle Japantown

Redefining Community: The Evolution of Sawtelle Japantown is a machinima documentary (animated documentary film) about the history of Japanese Americans in the Sawtelle area of Los Angeles (now known as Sawtelle Japantown).

Public Screening Information

Article: “Sawtelle Japantown and the Future of America”

Redefining Community

The documentary is intended to appeal to people of all ages because of its engaging animation style. The movie consists of animation, historical photographs, archival video footage, and audio narration in a documentary-style format. The animation is created using the video game Minecraft, which will be used to recreate a 3D virtual environment of Sawtelle in the 1930s-70s along with animations of people living there.

Narration of the machinima comes from over 20 oral history interviews of people who resided in Sawtelle before and after World War II. The use of the oral histories as narration in the machinima brings to life the significant stories embedded throughout these first-person accounts of the history of Sawtelle. The documentary will be shown at various public presentations in the Los Angeles area.

The style of the documentary is similar to this machinima documentary that was produced by the same team: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WMK4KhMWWDY.

This project was made possible with support from California Humanities, a non-profit partner of the National Endowment for the Humanities. Visit www.calhum.org. This project is also supported by the George and Sakaye Aratani CARE grant of UCLA’s Asian American Studies Center.

For more information about the documentary, please contact us.

To help us with our phase II plan to create educational curriculum using the documentary, please consider making a tax-deductible donation via our Support Us page.

Kobayakawa Boarding House
Kobayakawa Boarding House
Kobayakawa Boarding House in Minecraft
Kobayakawa Boarding House in Minecraft