“ONLY THE BRAVE” director-writer Lane Nishikawa and producer Eric Hayashi have been friends since college and professional collaborators for 20 years.
Hayashi was a founding member of the Asian American Theater Company in San Francisco and served as its first Executive Director.
In 1985, Nishikawa became the company’s Artistic Director, and in 1990 Hayashi began his tenure as Artistic Director with AATC. Together they were responsible for presenting and co-producing more than 30 theatrical runs annually – including performances by Culture Clash, Karina Epperlein, Chicano Secret Service, Thick Description and David Cohen; “The Project X Series” featuring Ernesto Sanchez; dialogues with writers David Henry Hwang & Luis Valdez; and “Tsunami,” a solo performance festival featuring Amy Hill, Canyon Sam and “Charlie” Chin, among others.
During that time, Hayashi also produced the national and European tours of Nishikawa’s critically-acclaimed one-man shows and helped adapt “I’m on a Mission From Buddha” for airing on PBS in 1991. He directed the theatrical version of that show.
In 2000, Hayashi served as the line producer on Nishikawa’s second film, “Forgotten Valor,” which won the award for Best Short Feature at the Hawaiian International Film Festival a year later.
In 1993, he left the Asian American Theater Company to join the national staff of the National Endowment for the Arts in Washington, D.C. as the Assistant Program Director of the Theater Program, where he was responsible for managing an $8.3 million grant program budget with over 300 grantees annually.
Two years later, Hayashi was made the Executive Director of the Kansas Arts Commission, responsible for a full-time staff of seven and an annual budget of more than $2 million. During his tenure, he also redesigned the state agency’s granting programs and created and formed the Arts Industry Partnerships program. While there, he was a board member of the Kansas Film Commission.
From there, he became the Interim Director of the accredited Institute for Teledramatic Arts & Technology at California State University, Monterey Bay, a school that integrates the disciplinary practices of film, television, video, radio and theater. He simultaneously served as the Director of Digital Stage and Screen Productions (which produced such broadcast programs as the weekly television show, “Quest for Excellence”) and as the Interim Director of CSU’s state-of-the-art World Theater.
In 1999, Hayashi relocated to Los Angeles to serve as the Executive Director and chief executive officer of the Japanese American Cultural & Community Center and its 880-seat Japan America Theater, Isamu Noguchi designed Plaza, George J. Doizaki & Community Galleries, Franklin D. Murphy Library, Memorial Court and James Irvine Japanese Garden. The JACCC is a major presenter of international work from Asia, and is a core developer of domestic work by Asian American artists.
Most recently, he was the Arts Division Manager for the City of Walnut Creek’s Arts, Recreation & Community Services Department. In the position, he was responsible for a $10.2 million biennial budget; oversight of a major regional performing arts facility with four theaters and a resident repertory company; the city's Visual Arts Program, including the regional Bedford Gallery; and the city’s Civic Arts Education Program, which offers over 600 classes on two campuses.
Hayashi holds a B.A. in Film/Creative Arts from San Francisco State University. He is currently a member of the executive committee of the Board of Directors for the Western States Arts Federation, a funding and service organization covering the 12 western states.
Hayashi’s four uncles, the Yoshino Brothers, all served as members of the Military Intelligence Service (MIS), U.S. Army or the Merchant Marines during World War II.