Reviews & Quotes | Manzanar Diverted

Zac Zimmer, Literature | University of California, Santa Cruz
Manzanar, Diverted tells the story of a place where the diversion of water has turned a stewarded landscape into an engineered disaster zone…. And yet, the film shows us that the majestic landscapes and soundscapes of Payahuunadü are also spaces of rememory and healing, of alliances and action. Gone are the times—if they ever existed—when a place like that can mean one and only one thing.”

Janet Walker, Department of Film and Media Studies | University of California, Santa Barbara
Manzanar, Diverted tells California’s origin story of water and power from its liquid substrate through sedimentary layers of Indigenous dispossession, Japanese-American incarceration, and environmental depredation. And yet people and communities abide and organize, and watersheds and mountain peaks declare themselves through Kaneko’s gimlet-eyed cinematography. This is a gorgeous cinematic work: fully intersectional, fully ecocentric, and eminently just.”

David N. Pellow, Dehlsen Chair of Environmental Studies | UC Santa Barbara, and author of What is Critical Environmental Justice?
Manzanar, Diverted is a moving presentation of the complexities and inspiring possibilities of the intertwined struggles for racial and environmental justice. Ann Kaneko is a master filmmaker and storyteller with a rare skill for illustrating what intersectionality, collaboration, and allyship can look like in the lives of everyday people seeking to honor our memories and histories so that we may chart a more just, equitable, and sustainable future.”

Renee Tajima-Peña, Filmmaker and Professor of Asian American Studies | UCLA
"Ann shares my conviction that the legacy of our parents’ World War II experience speaks urgently to institutional and structural racism, past and present…The film brings together a broad range of communities, whose stories of forced removal and colonization link them together in a historical struggle for water and land….I know of no other film that takes on this ambitious task, tying together these varied strands of history into a single, commanding narrative that makes the story of Manzanar an argument for urban residents to protect and conserve resources, particularly water, as we face a potential environmental crisis."

Catherine Gudis, Associate Professor of History and Director, Public History Program | UC Riverside
"The film sharply critiques the forms of state violence and racial injustice that have created the environmentally degraded landscape of Payahuunadü/Owens Valley…The project makes abundantly clear the ways in which race and capital together have shaped fundamentally inequitable patterns of global development."

“A fascinating documentary looking at Los Angeles' fraught history of how it gets its water sources..”

Linda Lin Grigsby | Pacific Citizen
“Call her a contrarian. Kaneko always tries to push the boundaries of storytelling.”

Big Sky Documentary Film Festival
“A poetic layering of an intergenerational group of women from three communities as they defend their water, their history, and their culture, from the urban demands of the city of Los Angeles.”

Dora Segall | Washington City Paper
“Provides a perspective on water use that could benefit much of us in the United States.”

Cynthia Lee | UCLA Newsroom
“An enlightening documentary about the Owens Valley’s sad legacy of colonization, racism and environmental assault, as well as the 21st-century fight to preserve the valley’s land and water resources.”

The Rafu Shimpo
“In this fresh retelling of the L.A. water story, Native Americans, Japanese American incarcerees and environmentalists form an unexpected alliance to preserve Payahuunadü (Owens Valley), “the land of flowing water.”

Mark Horiuchi | International Examiner
“It’s a powerful, emotional journey at times, but one that is well worth the watch.”

Dana Arviso | International Examiner
“This documentary felt timely when it premiered in 2021, but…it also feels especially relevant…as we watch the unfolding events of the Russian attack on Ukraine… When we speak of the sentiment of “Never Again”, it reminds us of the importance of solidarity across people and nations so that we might never allow our governments to commit these types of crimes against humanity using the justification of war.”

Isabella Durgin | Daily Bruin
“Rather than keeping with revisionist history, Manzanar, Diverted portrays the values of the Valley’s history through the lens of the people who have lived the story of Payahuunadü.”

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