In 1915 a young, charismatic Japanese man with a mysterious past entered into the Appalachian culture of Asheville, North Carolina, is suspicioned a spy, targeted by the Klan, but perseveres with a passion for photography and the mountains he adopts, bringing to life Great Smoky Mountains National Park & the Appalachian Trail.
THE BONES OF GEORGE MASA dives deep into a man known as George Masa with groundbreaking genealogical and historical research revealing how and why he left Japan, his stormy period in the Pacific Northwest, and then his journey to the Southern Appalachian mountains where he remakes himself a talented and influential photographer, filmmaker, businessman, map maker, hiker and friend to many. The film uses a cinema verite style with passionate researchers and archivists, historians and activists in the US and Japan. Anime imagery depicts re-creations of Masa’s past and hundreds of the subject’s own photographs help to illustrate the narrative and express the timeless beauty of the region.
Ultimately THE BONES OF GEORGE MASA is about how one inspired man from Japan pushed away the fear, intimidation and loneliness of immigration to capture through his unique eyes, images of another culture and landscape that were meaningful and redemptive to him personally and influential in serving others.