Robert Nakamura


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Born on July 6, 1937, in Venice, California, Bob Nakamura has been called "the Godfather of Asian American media." A graduate of Art Center College of Design (B.A., 1966) and the UCLA Department of Motion Picture & Television Production (M.F.A., 1975), Nakamura has garnered more than 25 national awards for his films. His ground-breaking personal documentary Manzanar (1972) revisited painful childhood memories of incarceration in an American concentration camp during World War II, and it has been selected for major retrospectives on the documentary form at the San Francisco Museum of Art and the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles.

In 1970, he founded Visual Communications, now the oldest community-based media arts center in the United States, where he continues to serve as a member of the Board of Directors. In 1996, he founded the UCLA Center for EthnoCommunications. In 1997, he and Karen Ishizuka founded the Media Arts Center of the Japanese American National Museum.

Nakamura's is the first recipient of the Steve Tatsukawa Memorial Award for outstanding achievement and leadership in Asian American media, and in 1994 the Asian Pacific American Coalition in Cinema, Theatre & Television of UCLA named the �Robert A. Nakamura Award� in his honor. In 1997, the Smithsonian Institute presented a retrospective of his work, and in 1999 he was named to the endowed chair in Japanese American studies at UCLA.

[Source: adapted from UCLA Asian American Studies Center's website]