Steven Okazaki (born Steven Toll Okazaki March 12, 1952 in Venice, California) is an American filmmaker. He is Sansei Japanese American (3rd generation) and is based in the San Francisco Bay Area. He has received a Peabody Award and been nominated for four Academy Awards, winning an Oscar for the documentary short subject, Days of Waiting: The Life & Art of Estelle Ishigo (1990).
Okazaki started at Churchill Films in 1976, making narrative and documentary shorts. In 1982 he produced Survivors for WGBH Boston, a documentary short about Hiroshima and Nagasaki atomic bomb survivors. In 1985 he received his first Academy Award nomination for Unfinished Business, about three Nisei Japanese Americans who challenged the internment of Japanese Americans during World War II in court. In 1987 he wrote and directed the independent film, Living on Tokyo Time, which premiered in competition at the Sundance Film Festival and was theatrically released by Skouras Pictures. In 1991 he won the Academy Award for Documentary Short Subject for Days of Waiting, about Estelle Ishigo, a Caucasian artist who went with her Japanese American husband to a World War II internment camp for Japanese Americans. He continued to make documentary films for PBS and later with HBO. In 2006 he received his third Oscar nomination for The Mushroom Club, a personal documentary about his journey to Japan to interview atomic bomb survivors on the 60th anniversary of the bombing of Hiroshima. Okazaki co-received the 2008 "Exceptional Merit in Nonfiction Filmmaking" Primetime Emmy Award for White Light/Black Rain: The Destruction of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and his fourth Oscar nomination in 2009, for the documentary short The Conscience of Nhem En. Okazaki's production company, Farallon Films, is based in Berkeley, California.
Okazaki was also involved as a multi-instrumentalist in a San Francisco punk-rock music group called The Maids in 1977-1979, whose sole record, a single called 'Back to Bataan', gained some notoriety by way of later punk music compilations.
|1983||The Only Language She Knows|
|1987||Living on Tokyo Time|
|1990||Days of Waiting: The Life & Art of Estelle Ishigo|
|1993||The Lisa Theory|
|1995||Alone Together: Young Adults Living with HIV|
|1996||Life Was Good|
|1999||Black Tar Heroin: The Dark End of the Street|
|2005||The Mushroom Club|
|2007||White Light/Black Rain: The Destruction of Hiroshima and Nagasaki|
|2008||The Conscience of Nhem En|
- Steven Okazaki at the Internet Movie Database
- farallon films official site
- profile by Peter Feng at UC Berkeley Library (1996/"American Sons")
- Okazaki interview on metroactive.com (1999/"Black Tar Heroin")
- Okazaki article from The Japan Times (2006/"The Mushroom Club")
- Sundance review on indiewire (2007/"White Light/Black Rain")