The Lower9

A Film by Matthew Hashiguchi

A Story of Home

Director’s Statement

In 1942, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt issued Executive Order 9066. This order meant that any person of Japanese heritage in the United States, even U.S. citizens, were to be imprisoned in internment camps.

For three years, both Grandparents on my Father’s side were imprisoned for having Japanese ancestry. My Grandmother’s entire family of two parents and seven children were taken from their family farm in California, where many of them were born, and placed in an Arizona internment camp.

Forced to sell their home, farm and possessions, my Grandmother and her family received a check in exchange for all their property. When they went to deposit the check, it bounced along with their entire life savings.

My Grandmother’s family was stripped of everything. Their possessions, lives and freedoms were stolen. They were humiliated and reduced to last-class citizens.

This event, which occurred when my Grandmother was just a teenager, not only affected her but also impacted her children and her grandchildren. As a child growing up in Cleveland, Ohio, I heard this story many times over. It created a lasting impression in my mind that I was different from everyone else; that my family was different.

When at the homes of friends I catch myself looking at their family photographs. In one instance I saw a photograph of my friends grandmother shooting archery as a young girl. It was seeing this photograph that made me realize how different my family and is. During the early 1940s, when the grandparents of others in my generation were enjoying their teen years, mine were in internment camps, fenced in, imprisoned and unable to leave.

I personally don’t know what it feels like to lose my home, possessions or way of life. I’ve never experienced that. But, I’m able to understand what that experience can do to a person. Through my Grandmother I’m able to see the pain of losing everything. What happened to her as an 18-year-old teenager is still being felt as an 85-year-old Great-Grandmother.

The citizens of New Orleans and the Lower Ninth Ward are experiencing a similar situation. For many of them, Hurricane Katrina took away everything. They were forced from their homes and swept away from their friends and families. It was their Executive Order 9066. I’m certain that the impact of Hurricane Katrina will still be felt in the following generations of victims and their families.

When thinking of the Lower Ninth Ward, our thoughts are immediately tainted. The neighborhood and culture has been exploited, transformed and molded into a product of Hurricane Katrina. It’s become a tourist destination where strangers view Hurricane Katrina’s destruction without even knowing what was actually lost. It’s been stripped of its character, personality and pride that was once full and deeply rooted in New Orleans’ Lower Ninth Ward.

The Lower 9: A Story of Home will look beneath the devastation of Hurricane Katrina to reveal the beauty and culture of the Lower Ninth Ward. I am not looking for tears or sadness, rather community, culture and family. I seek to reveal the disruption and displacement that has struck New Orleans’ Lower Ninth Ward, with the intention of bringing support to their struggles. The world needs to know what was lost in order to understand the importance of bringing it back.

Matthew Hashiguchi
Director




THANK YOU TO OUR DONORS AND FUNDERS

THE CAUCUS FOR PRODUCERS WRITERS AND DIRECTORS FOUNDATION
Roslyn and Don Hashiguchi
Rita and Randy McMillion
James Bailey
Zack Harold
Ally Cannon
Carol Jenkins
Zarni De Wet
Ellen Hashiguchi
Andrew Barnes
Vanessa Rees
Eric Lovell
Jackie
Michael Criste II
Blair Dowler
Anna Phillips
Rochelle Davis
EJ Ulery
Paige Lavender
Bonnie Thomas
Ryan Merrill
Cristina Quinn
Trevor Liam Byrne-Smith
Mark Hashiguchi
Penny Dawson
Kimberly Bosely
Nathaniel Hansen
Liz Vacovec
Ericka Nelson
JoAnna
Melissa Campbell
Amanda Hutchinson
Dawn Jackson
Anissa Reynolds
Monica Orosz
Rachel Rynderman
Irene Kato
Steve Barrish
Bobbi Martin
Melissa Rogers
Halle Smith
Carm Kofron
Sacha Lively
Beth Balaban
Amanda Neville
Rachel Carney
Melissa Graham Russell
Mary Byrne
Richard A Garcia
Addy Liftin
Courtney Elson
John Ulery
Shaheen Samavati
John Temple
Justin Weaver
Lauren Blinn
Maria Diorio
Colin Mills
Andrea Morales
Betsy Greer
Amanda Schwartz
Aaron Trahan
Megan Bowers
Jerrie Asbury
Oana Ghiocel
Nicole Prowell
Jenn Kundrach
Lianna Philipps
Marisa Sarringhau
Kimberley Reynolds
Justin McMillion
Elliot Destino

James Bailey
Zack Harold
Ally Cannon
Carol Jenkins
Zarni De Wet
Ellen Hashiguchi
Andrew Barnes
Vanessa Rees
Eric Lovell
Michael Criste II
Blair Dowler
Jackie
Anna Phillips
Rochelle Davis
EJ Ulery
Paige Lavender
Bonnie Thomas
Ryan Merrill
Cristina Quinn
Trevor Liam Byrne-Smith
Mark Hashiguchi
Penny Dawson
Kimberly Bosely
Nathaniel Hansen
Liz Vacovec
Ericka Nelson
JoAnna
Melissa Campbell
Amanda Hutchinson
Dawn Jackson
Anissa Reynolds
Monica Orosz
Rachel Rynderman
Irene Kato
Barrish $45
Bobbi Martin
Melissa Rogers
Halle Smith
Carm Kofron
Sacha Lively
Beth Balaban
Amanda Neville
Rachel Carney
Melissa Graham Russell
Mary Byrne
Richard A Garcia
Addy Liftin
Courtney Elson
John Ulery
Shaheen Samavati
John Temple
Justin Weaver
Lauren Blinn
Maria Diorio
Andrea Morales
Betsy Greer
Amanda Schwartz
Aaron Trahan
Megan Bowers
Jerrie Asbury
Oana Ghiocel
Nicole Prowell
Jenn Kundrach
Lianna Philipps
Kimberley Reynolds
Justin McMillion
Elliot Destino
Rita McMillion
Roslyn Hashiguchi