“ONLY THE BRAVE” is the first motion picture to dramatize the story of the legendary 100th/442nd Regimental Combat Team from the perspective of the men who actually lived it.
Written and directed by one of the country’s leading Asian American artistic voices, Lane Nishikawa, this landmark contribution to our understanding of this often overlooked chapter in American history would not have been possible without the contributions of numerous individuals and companies.
Funding was made possible through an initial grant of $100,000 from the California Civil Liberties Public Education Program, as well as a unique partnership with the National Japanese American Historical Society in which additional monies were raised through equity partners and donations from hundreds of families of the 100th/442nd.
“ONLY THE BRAVE’s” extraordinary international cast of actors worked for less than scale to ensure that this film could be made – so that the injustices faced by Japanese-Americans during World War II will never occur again.
Producers Karen Criswell, Eric Hayashi and Jay Koiwai toiled tirelessly for over two years, during which they have played an instrumental role in every aspect of the production – from fundraising through post-production and beyond.
Allowing the film to be shot on a limited budget without compromising its production values, various companies either discounted or donated their services, facilities, or equipment. Among them were NBC/Universal Studios for access to its back lot locations, sets, lighting, props, and staff expertise; Kodak Film for an additional 30 reels to supplement the film purchased; Panavision for use of its state-of-the-art Super 16 cameras at less than its usual rates; and the New Otani Hotel in Los Angeles for 100 complimentary room nights to house the cast and crew.
No less important were the remarkable contributions of the film score by composers Dan Kuramoto and Kimo Cornwell, performed by Asian-American fusion band Hiroshima; cinematography by Michael Wojciechowski (whose previous credits include “Searching for Debra Winger”); art direction by two-time Emmy nominee Alan Muraoka; hair and makeup design by two-time Academy Award nominee Linda Arnold; costume design by veteran Larry Velasco; military technical assistance by Dan King and former Marine Sgt. Quay Terry (a medal recipient for service in Operation Iraqi Freedom); and special effects by William Dawson and Barry McQueary.
As important were the many volunteers who turned out to help the filmmakers recreate the convincingly realistic battle and wounded field hospital scenes – thanks to the help of First Assistant Director Ken Wada and Extras Coordinators Mike Iwamasa and Andrew Chang, who contacted Asian American Studies groups on college campuses and other organizations.
Principal photography for “ONLY THE BRAVE” took place over 18 days in Los Angeles – ten on the Universal Studios back lot for the exterior of the French town, six days at Ernest Debs Regional Park in Pasadena for the battle scenes, and two days at the George & Sakaye Aratani Japan America Theater’s large 30’ x 60’ stage for the internment camp and other flashback scenes.