Description

FROM STAGE TO SCREEN “Visas and Virtue” began as a one-act play written by Tim Toyama, and directed by Tom Donaldson. It enjoyed a successful run at The Road Theatre company in North Hollywood, California, from November 1995 to January 1996. The play was subsequently presented by the Jewish Federation, the Anti-Defamation League, the Japanese American National Museum, and the Japanese American Cultural and Community Center in Los Angeles. Through these performances and post-play discussions, it became clear a wider audience needed to be reached. The first draft of the “Visas and Virtue” screenplay was written in February, 1996. Soon after, Cedar Grove Productions was formed to produce the filmed adaptation. The company’s name honors Mr. Sugihara, and comes from the literal translation of sugi, meaning cedar, and hara, meaning field, or grove. “Visas and Virtue,” the film, was directed by Chris Tashima, who originated the role of Sugihara on stage. Tashima co-wrote the screenplay with stage director Donaldson. Chris Donahue, a graduate of the American Film Institute, joined the team as Producer, having recently co-produced the feature “Entertaining Angels: The Dorothy Day Story.” Playwright Toyama served as Executive Producer. The original stage ensemble of Lawrence Craig, Susan Fukuda, Diana Georger and Tashima all reprise their roles in the film. Actress Shiuko Hoshi (“Come See the Paradise,” “M. Butterfly”) was brought on board to narrate, as the voice of Yukiko Sugihara. Veteran cinematographer Hiro Narita, A.S.C. (“The Rocketeer,” “James and the Giant Peach”) served as director of photography. Film editing was done by Irvin Paik, currently of the editing staff of the acclaimed television drama series, “ER.” All staff, crew, and cast members, professional and non-professional alike, donated their services, volunteering their valuable time and talents, to make this production a reality.