Hatta, Kayo 1958(?)-2005

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HATTA, Kayo 1958(?)-2005

OBITUARY NOTICE—See index for CA sketch: Born c. 1958, in Honolulu, HI; drowned in a swimming pool, July 20, 2005, in San Diego, CA. Filmmaker, director, and author. Hatta was a noted independent filmmaker best known for her 1994 movie Picture Bride. Though born in Hawaii, she grew up in New York City, where her family had moved when she was six. She inherited her interest in photography from her mother, and this led to her interest in film. Hatta graduated from Stanford University with an English degree in 1981, then studied filmmaking at the University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA), completing her M.A. in 1991. Her first film was a short titled Otemba ("Tomboy"), which was declared to be one of the "defining moments in Asian American cinema" by the Pan-Asian Filmmakers Foundation. Despite this success, Hatta had to overcome immense obstacles to finance her next movie, Picture Bride, because she did not wish to make it a commercial endeavor. Working with her sister Mari, she slowly raised the funds through grants and working various odd jobs, including as a model and as an assistant to documentary filmmakers Pat Ferrero and Felicia Lowe. Eventually, she and Mari raised a few hundred thousand dollars, and managed to enlist the acting talents of such famous Asian thespians as Toshiro Mifune and Akira Takayama. Miramax studio agreed to finance the movie's distribution after a showing at the Cannes Film Festival. Picture Bride was then released to critical acclaim and won the Audience Award from the Sundance Film Festival. After this accomplishment, Hatta worked as a teacher at UCLA and also coorganized the 16th Annual San Francisco International Asian-American Film Festival. Her final film was another short feature titled Fishbowl that had a March 2005, premiere at the San Francisco International Asian-American Film Festival. The Public Broadcasting Service also agreed to broadcast the movie on television.



Los Angeles Times, July 29, 2005, p. B10.

New York Times, July 31, 2005, p. A21.