© 2024 KPCW

Spencer F. Eccles Broadcast Center
PO Box 1372 | 460 Swede Alley
Park City | UT | 84060
Office: (435) 649-9004 | Studio: (435) 655-8255

Music & Artist Inquiries: music@kpcw.org
News Tips & Press Releases: news@kpcw.org
Volunteer Opportunities
General Inquiries: info@kpcw.org
Listen Like a Local Park City & Heber City Summit & Wasatch counties, Utah
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Park City local screens latest film at Santy Auditorium

"Omoiyari: A Song Film by Kishi Bashi" will show at the Jim Santy Auditorium this weekend, with a post-film discussion after Sunday's screening.
"Omoiyari: A Song Film by Kishi Bashi" will show at the Jim Santy Auditorium this weekend, with a post-film discussion after Sunday's screening.

JJ Gerber, who was raised in Park City and graduated from Park City High School, is sharing his most recent film. “Omoiyari: A Song Film by Kishi Bashi,” will make its Park City debut this weekend.

The film is part of the Made in Utah, Raising Voices series. Park City Film Executive Director Katy Wang says she was “blown away,” after seeing the film at the Mountain Film Festival in Telluride earlier this year.

“What I love about this film and why I think song film is such a beautiful kind of combination of things, is music really brings people together,” Wang said. “There are many moments in the film where Kishi Bashi is with these other communities making music and making harmony and just it's such a beautiful way of expressing the pain of the past but also hope for the future. Just, how do we change where we’re going.”

Gerber, the documentary’s producer and co-director, studied film at the University of Utah but says he learned his craft working on projects that were shooting in the Salt Lake Valley.

What started as a short film as an accompaniment to violinist and pop star Kishi Bashi’s symphony performances about executive order 9066, which removed all Japanese Americans from the west coast during World War II, became a 75-minute feature documentary that took six years to make.

“As they started filming, they kind of realized that there was a lot more to talk about than what he was planning on covering in this symphony short film,” Gerber said. “So, they started just shooting a lot. And it kind of grew into this idea about being a film about oppression. We got through our first cut and realized that it was, it was a lot. It was like about two and a half hours long, that first cut.”

The word omoiyari means to have compassion. Gerber says they titled it a song film because it’s based on the many improvisations Bashi created at several of the locations that were important to the Japanese American incarceration.

“All of those improvisations became the music of the film and the score,” he said. “So, you're literally watching him create the score of the film, as you're watching the film. And it's a beautiful way of intertwining music and storytelling.”

The film has made the film festival circuit and had its theatrical release last month. It will premiere on Paramount Plus on Nov. 21.

“Omoiyari: A Song Film by Kishi Bashi” will screen at the Santy Auditorium Friday and Saturday nights at 7 p.m. A post-film discussion with Gerber and the film’s director will take place after the Sunday 6 p.m. screening.

A trailer for the film can be found here: