MANHATTAN BEACH — During AAPI Heritage Month last May, the Hermosa Beach Museum had an event showing the documentary “Grandpa Cherry Blossom” by Mira Costa High School (MCHS) student Maddox Chen.  It was a sold-out event, and many folks were not able to attend because the venue had a capacity of 150. 

The film was followed by a vibrant question-and-answer session, moderated by Mark Shoemaker of the Hermosa Beach Museum, with panelists Chen, Chuck Currier, who initiated the monument to F.M. Uyematsu at MCHS, and Mary Uyematsu Kao, granddaughter of F.M. Uyematsu. Jamie Erickson, the director and curator of the museum, graciously hosted the standing-room-only event, which was co-sponsored by MB United, a community advocacy group.

Mira Costa High School, MB United and the Hermosa Beach Museum are proud to present a new screening of “Grandpa Cherry Blossom” on Tuesday, July 18, from 6 to 8 p.m. It will be held at Mira Costa High School, in the Small Theater. Free school parking at Artesia Boulevard and Peck Avenue, next to the theater. All are welcome to this free event with light refreshments after the program. 

The program will include a question-and-answer session after the film, again with panelists Chen, Currier, and Kao; and an optional walk to the Francis Uyematsu Monument Plaque on campus. 

To reserve a spot for this event, click here.

Chen’s documentary explores the life of Francis Uyematsu, a Japanese immigrant, told through the words of Kao and Currier, a local historian and former MCHS teacher.  Uyematsu created a successful flower nursery, owning over 130 acres of land, until the Japanese American incarceration during World War II, when he was forced to sell his land.  Entire neighborhoods now sit on his former land, filled with hundreds of homes and two high schools, and the flowers he created are no longer his.

Chen is a filmmaker, animator and actor originally from New York City. He currently lives in Los Angeles. As a filmmaker and animator, his work has been recognized in numerous competitions and festivals including YoungArts and IndieFEST, and as an actor, he has been featured in several commercials.

Chen has taken the Cinematic Arts class at MCHS for four years, along with taking film courses at New York University and USC over the summer. This fall, he will be pursuing a major in film and television production at NYU. 

For more on the filmmaker, visit:

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *