"VISAS AND VIRTUE" - The Creative Team - synopsis | cast | creative team | to order


CHRIS TASHIMA (Director, Co-screenwriter) Chris studied film production at U.C. Santa Cruz where he wrote, produced, directed, and edited several narrative shorts including "Delta's Children" (8 min.) and "Old Shoes" (12 min.). Continuing his film studies with Visual Communications' Narrative Filmmaking Workshops he wrote, produced, directed, and edited "Chisai Samurai" (11 min.) and co-produced "Honorable Mention" (15 min.). For Actor/Director Mako he served as producer of Jon Shirota's play "Maui, December 7, 1941" at the Inner City Cultural Center. Chris also has designed sets for numerous stage productions around Los Angeles, garnering a Drama-Logue Award for "Into the Woods" and Theatre LA's prestigious Ovation Award for "Sweeney Todd," both at East West Players. He is a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences where he serves on the Executive Committee of the Short Films and Feature Animation Branch.

Director Chris Tashima and extras on the set.

CHRIS DONAHUE (Producer) Chris divides his time between narrative film, documentaries, and teaching. He recently completed the feature film "Straight Right" and is in post-production on the documentary "Forgotten Heroes: The Filipino-American Veterans' Struggle For Justice." He teaches at the American Film Institute and Loyola Marymount University. For Paulist Pictures he worked as Director of Development and co-produced "Entertaining Angels: The Dorothy Day Story," a feature starring Moira Kelly and Martin Sheen. Before moving to Los Angeles, Chris received two consecutive-year New Orleans Press Club Awards for the documentaries "Russia: A Prison of Nations" and "Nicaragua: A Land Divided." Through PBS affiliate work he was selected as a Corporation for Public Broadcasting Fellow at WGBH in Boston. He serves as a Trustee for the Humanitas Prize, is a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, and holds graduate degrees from the American Film Institute and the Jesuit School of Theology in Berkeley, California. Director of Photography, Hiro Narita, and extras on the set

TIM TOYAMA (Producer) "I first heard of the Sugiharas on National Public Radio in the fall of 1994. I was absolutely astonished and moved by the story, first by the compelling humanitarian aspect of what the Sugiharas did, and then by the fact that I had never heard of it. I wrote the play because the Sugihara story embodies the values of courage, compassion, integrity, giving, and respect for human life. I believe it's a story that relates to today -- we all live in communities of different races and cultures and it's necessary for everyone to live and work together, regardless of background and heritage. I also wrote the play in order to spread the story of the Sugiharas, hoping it will inspire people to do the right thing."

TOM DONALDSON (Co-Screenwriter) Tom has worked in theater, television, and film since studying directing at the University of Texas in Austin, and training at the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art. He directed the New York premiere of John McGrath's "Events While Guarding the Bofors Gun," in Los Angeles, Pirandello's "Six Characters in Search of an Author" (DramaLogue Award) at East West Players, and the original staging of "Visas and Virtue" for The Road Theatre in North Hollywood. His acting credits include Broadway ("The Crucifer of Blood"), Off-Broadway (Classics Stage Company), touring (John Houseman's Acting Company), and regional theater (Oregon Shakespeare Festival). Film and television appearances: "Like Jake and Me," "Heaven's Gate," "Crossroads," "Babylon 5," and "NYPD Blue." He was a consultant for six years for the Union Center for the Arts which recently opened in downtown Los Angeles and is the new home for both Visual Communications and East West Players.

Director of Photography, Hiro Narita, and extras on the set.

HIRO NARITA, A.S.C. (Director of Photography) Upon earning his B.F.A. at the San Francisco Art Institute, Hiro worked at a design firm until he was drafted into the Army and served as a Designer/Photographer at the Pentagon. When he returned to the Bay Area, he entered the film business. Since then, he has been a partner in the film company, Pictures & Words, while shooting feature length projects including "James and the Giant Peach," "Star Trek VI," "The Rocketeer," "Blue Yonder," "Never Cry Wolf," and "Farewell to Manzanar."

Scott Nagatani & Irvin Paik

IRVIN PAIK (Editor) Irvin has worked in editing at Paramount, Universal, and Warner Bros. on television shows and feature films, including "Airwolf," "Texasville," "China beach," "Voyagers," "big Top Pee wee," as well as movies of the week. Over his long career, Irvin has also worked as an actor, playwright, cameraman, and post production supervisor. As a lieutenant in the military, he wrote and directed films in Hawaii, Vietnam, and military posts in the southern United States. He has published two articles on Asian American stereotypes in "Roots: An Asian American Reader," and "Moving the Image." He is presently working on the acclaimed network drama series, ER. Scott Nagatani (background) & Irvin Paik

SCOTT NAGATANI (Composer) Scot has composed for numerous films including "Redress: JACL Campaign for Justice," and "Maceo, Demon Drummer from East L.A." He has been well versed in classical piano literature since childhood, and also has jazz and pop experience. He specializes in adapting/arranging large orchestral scores for musical theatre performance, and has over 40 musical production credits. Hewas recently honored with a Cultural Heritage Award from the Japanese American Historical Society of Southern California.

YUKI NAKAMURA (Production Designer) Yuki, a graduate of UCLA, works in both television and films. He has worked on ABC's "Land of the Lost" for two seasons and is currently working on a suspense movie "Dark Red" as an art director. He also produced "Japanese Short Stories, " which Mako directed, for KCRW this year. In addition to his theatre, television, and film credits, he coordinated the skydiving tam for the 1988 Seoul Olympics' opening ceremony, and is currently working on a theme park project in Japan.

NAOMI YOSHIDA RODRIGUEZ (Costume Designer) Naomi recently earned her M.F.A. with an emphasis in Costume Design at California State University, Long Beach. She has designed for the Long Beach Playhouse Studio Theater ("Shadowlands"), East West Players ("Sweeny Todd" and "Cleveland Raining"), The Colony Studio Theater ("The King of Hearts" and "The World of Ray Bradbury"), and Children's Theater Network. Her last film project was "National Lampoon's Last Resort." She currently teaches Costume History and various fashion classes at El Camino College. She has won a Theatre LA Ovation Award, four Drama-Logue Awards and received a nomination for a Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle Award for her costume design work.