Documentary Film Preview


Miami, FL, May 1, 2013 – Stella M. Holmes, executive producer of the new documentary film West Encounters East, and Lowe Art Museum at the University of Miami co-hosted a première event for the film on April 30, a week before the film’s national debut.

Among dignitaries in attendance were Ambassador Hélio Vitor Ramos, consul general of Brazil, Mr. Eiichi Kawahara, Consul General of Japan, and representatives of 15 other consulates.

More than 200 guests watched a trailer for the film, which takes viewers on a journey to uncover a unique art world. It focuses on a little-known population: the Japanese Brazilians – the largest ethnic Japanese community outside Japan. It explores the cultural mix, history and tradition in the works of well-known Japanese Brazilian artists such as Tomoo Handa, Tomie Ohtake, Manabu Mabe, Tikashi Fukushima, Yutaka Toyota, Flavio-Shiró, Takashi Fukushima, Kazuo Okubo, Jum Nakao, Catarina Gushiken, among others. The story of these multicultural artists celebrates the fruitful aesthetic engagement of Japanese identity with Brazilian nationality.

The trailer was followed by “Art-Historical Crossroads,” a lively and informative discussion between Cornell University Professor Pedro Erber, PhD, who specializes in Brazilian literature, intellectual history and visual culture, and Takashi Fukushima, one of the artists featured in the film, whose father was one of the founding members of the Japanese-Brazilian art movement in São Paulo.

“Bridging cultures through art has always captured my soul, especially cultures that are so vastly different,” says Ms. Holmes, whose experience of growing up with a Paraguayan mother and Argentine father gave her valuable insights into the issues and challenges examined in this film.

A reception catered by AB Catering, with entertainment by koto player Yoshiko Carlton, a native of Kagoshima, Japan, who has been studying the koto since the age of nine, and jazz pianist Michael Orta, associate professor and director of jazz performance at Florida International University, concluded the evening.

West Encounters East, which will be shown on more than 180 public television channels across the country, debuts nationally on public television (WPBT/Channel 2 in South Florida) on Monday, May 6 at 9:00pm and encores on Friday, May 10 at 10:00pm. Production of the film was made possible with support from Maria Estela Santacruz.

Stella M. Holmes, an art historian and collector for more than two decades, makes her home in Miami, where her creativity and passion continue to enrich the community’s cultural institutions. She is benefactor of the Stella M. Holmes Art Research Center at the University of Miami’s Lowe Art Museum, where she is a member of the Director’s Circle and principal supporter of ArtLab, an exhibition program launched by the Lowe and the Art & Art History Department of the University of Miami to provide students with hands-on experience in curating museum exhibitions.

The Lowe Art Museum is located on the campus of the University of Miami at 1301 Stanford Drive, Coral Gables.