Private Project


A young girl trapped within Japanese-American internment finds solace in painting flowers. Her colorful creations come to life and light up her world for a fleeting moment.

  • Lisa Maeda
  • Denise Anger
  • Project Type:
    Animation, Short, Student
  • Genres:
    Historical, Animation
  • Runtime:
    3 minutes 52 seconds
  • Completion Date:
    January 1, 2021
  • Production Budget:
    10,000 USD
  • Country of Origin:
    United States
  • Country of Filming:
    United States
  • Language:
  • Film Color:
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
    Yes - Savannah College of Art and Design
Director Biography - Lisa Maeda

Lisa Maeda is a Japanese-American 2D animator and visual development artist. She directed Hanami as part of her senior thesis at Savannah College of Art and Design, assisted by the animation department at the Atlanta campus. Shaped by both Western and Eastern types of storytelling, Lisa is hoping to bridge these two influences into nuanced animated filmmaking.

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Director Statement

Hanami is a project very near and dear to my heart, for a multitude of reasons. This is my first major project with dozens of student hands on the team at any given time. It gave me, the classically introverted Asian-American young woman, a long term position of creative leadership and confidence that I’ll carry for the rest of my life.

Against my better judgement, I’ll admit that Hanami was a film that I conceived apprehensively. Part of being Japanese-American is knowing that this story is important and deserves to be told, but struggling to fight the urge to keep it inside. Going against the grain is discouraged in my culture. More than anything, I sought to celebrate the artistic parts of our culture in spite of the nudges to "fit in" post-confinement. My primary inspirations for this film is my knowledge and familial history with Japanese-American internment camps, as well as the persisting attitudes against “the other” in America today. Hanami heavily referenced the book “Gaman: Arts and Crafts from the Japanese-American Internment Camps” by Delphine Hirasuna, and photography by Dorothea Lange to capture visual authenticity bound to the Japanese-American experience.

For many Japanese-American internees, fighting boredom was key to survival. Although materials were sparse, many took up arts and crafts to pass the time - many of it inspired by traditional Japanese methods. This film is an ode to those creatives who sought comfort in their own identities, despite being persecuted for it.