Last December Culver City native Tadashi Nakamura pulled off one of the biggest surprises of the Gotham Independent Film Awards in New York City when he was awarded the prestigious Audience Award for his latest documentary Jake Shimabukuro: Life on Four Strings.
He beat out heavyweights 12 Years A Slave and Fruitvale Station. Life on Four Strings premiered last year but will be re-broadcast nationwide on PBS May 9 at 10p (check local listings).
Produced on a shoestring by two of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting minority consortia, the Center for Asian American Media and Pacific Islanders in Communications, Jake Shimabukuro: Life on Four Strings was definitely the underdog contender at the star-studded event. Its win bolsters the Gotham Awards mission of honoring and showcasing independent films even as most of the films under consideration that evening had significant financial support by the film industry. Broadcast nationwide on PBS this past Spring, Life on Four Strings, a heartfelt documentary on the internationally-renown ukulele virtuoso Jake Shimabukuro, however did not go unnoticed by filmmaking giant Francis Ford Coppola who said, "Life on Four Strings" is very enjoyable, and also touching and real."
Nakamura was born and raised in Culver City – in the same house that now acts has his editing studio – having attended Farragut Elementary School, Culver City Middle and High Schools. "I am always proud to represent Culver City," said the former captain of the CCHS varsity football team. Nakamura's previous award-winning films include: A Song For Ourselves (2007), Pilgrimage (2005) and Yellow Brotherhood (2003).
Nakamura's current projects include a fifty-year retrospective of Asian Pacific Islander independent film and a documentary on youth depicting ancient Hawaiian legends in graffiti art. Jake Shimabukuro: Life on Four Strings and Nakamura's other films can be seen www.tadashinakamura.com .