Resistance At Tule Lake
Directed by Konrad Aderer
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Longtime video journalist and documentarian Konrad Aderer makes a critical intervention in films detailing the Japanese American experience of WWII incarceration with his compelling new feature, RESISTANCE AT TULE LAKE. Aderer’s previous film, ENEMY ALIEN (2009), documented the detainment and fight to free Palestinian activist Farouk Abdel-Muhti while also linking post-9/11 xenophobia and discrimination facing Muslim Americans to the history and treatment of Japanese Americans. With the current racially-charged political climate, RESISTANCE AT TULE LAKE is an important and timely film that disrupts the myth of a passive Japanese American population in camp and highlights the abuse those who resisted faced.
Driven by intimate, first-person accounts, RESISTANCE AT TULE LAKE captures the complexities of WWII for Japanese Americans and explores acts of resistance that have previously been stigmatized. Tule Lake, located in the Klamath Falls Basin in Northern California, just south of the Oregon border, became the heavily militarized “segregation camp” where all dissenters were sent because of its high population of “No-No’s,” people who refused to swear unconditional loyalty to the government that was imprisoning them. The U.S. declared martial law in Tule Lake and the military tortured internees, holding people in an illegal stockade for months without any charges until federal lawsuits were made. Furthermore, the government looked for legal ways to deport American-born citizens and encouraged thousands of Japanese Americans to renounce their citizenship. Japanese Americans who had never set foot before in Japan were deported there at the height of war. These moving stories are illustrated with archival footage and photos, and cut between a modern-day pilgrimage to Tule Lake led by the descendants of internees who refuse to allow this moment in history to be forgotten.
Notably, RESISTANCE AT TULE LAKE has special resonance as 2017 marks the 75th anniversary of Executive Order 9066. Many draw parallels between the past and the present, especially around the xenophobia facing Muslims living in the U.S. to the treatment of Japanese Americans, and such a film is a crucial reminder of that past and the dangers of such attitudes in informing policy and executive decisions.
— Sumiko Braun
Konrad Aderer is a documentary filmmaker and video journalist based in New York City. Konrad’s independent documentaries (lifeorliberty.org) have focused on resistance arising in immigrant communities targeted by “national security” detention and profiling. His first feature documentary Enemy Alien (2011), on the fight to free a post-9/11 detainee, was honored with a Courage in Media Award from Council for American Islamic Relations (CAIR).
Producers: Konrad Aderer, Michelle Chen
Consulting Producer: JT Takagi
Director: Konrad Aderer
Composer: Miles Jay
Editors: Konrad Aderer, Ruth Schell
Cast: Saoko Okano
Narrator: Hiroshi Kashiwagi