Director: Jim Choi
Cast: David ‘Mas’ Masumoto, Nikiko Masumoto, Marcy (Thieleke) Masumoto, Korio Masumoto
Changing Season: On the Masumoto Family Farm is a documentary making its international premiere at the Reel Asian Film Festival 2015. Its a love letter to the vanishing family farm. Despite the fact that starting and maintaining a farm is an uphill battle that many people would not voluntarily choose, the Masumoto family has managed to grow their farm in California’s Central Valley on adversity, discrimination, and dreamers.
The Masumoto Family Farm was bought by David ‘Mas’ Masumoto’s grandfather, to his grandmother’s chagrin, after being released from an internment camp after World War Two. What started as a cheap, dry, and infertile land is now a Certified Organic farm that’s increased in size. Nikiko Masumoto, Mas’ daughter, hopes to be the fourth generation owner, but, on top of discrimination, she has to overcome her father’s health issues and severe drought precipitated by the changing climate.
The documentary is primarily narrated by the convivial and eloquent Mas and Nikiko. While following Mas’ tutorial and transfer of power to Nikiko, we learn about the past and pending future. Their love, passion, and commitment to their farm and family are enviable and contagious. The audience is enveloped in it and invited to invest and take action against the very universal struggles the family’s facing, particularly climate change. The beauty of California is on full display and is far more appealing than the more expensive celebrity filled California ads. Director Choi did a great job of editing and connecting different scenes, allowing the work to speak for itself. I give it five out of five stars.