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"Changing Season: On The Masumoto Family Farm" Documentary To Air Nationally

Mas and Nikiko Masumoto

David Mas Masumoto starts with a question when talking about the new documentary about his family's farm. He asks, "How many harvests do you have left?"

The Masumoto family is known throughout the country as one of the nations foremost producers of organic peaches. But also known for their literary pursuits and intellectual pursuits which combine in this new documentary "Changing Season: On the Masumoto Family Farm."

The documentary airs nationwide on PBS stations in May, including in Fresno on Valley Public Television. There will aso be a local screening at the Maya Cinema near Fresno State on April 27. 

What’s the experience been like watching yourself in this documentary?

NIKIKO: “Film is not a medium that I am used to working with and so it’s this interesting dance between seeing yourself from the outside, which you never get to do because you live your life in your body. It’s this really fascinating witnessing of an archive of yourself, kind of like time travel. And then at the same time it’s a really intimate experience because you can hear people in the audience laughing or getting excited or sighing. It’s been amazing to experience life unfold as it did through the documentary . . .  and getting to reflect on what we say ‘we work on a family farm.’”

"It's really a story about what's next. It's not like one leaves and the other begins. There's this constant process of more and more nexts at that point. And Marcy and Korio are witnessing all this because we're all working on this together." - Mas Masumoto

MARCY: “It was enlightening even though we live with each other (laughs) on a daily basis. To see our family both as individuals and interacting collectively on the screen is a unique experience. It conjures up all these feelings of pride, humility, embarrassment occasionally. They capture the idiotic thing you said in that moment of your life and everybody is going to see this. Most of all it’s been an extremely positive reception that people have given us, warm feelings.”

The Masumoto Family.
Credit Courtesy of Staci Valentine.
The Masumoto Family

MAS: “It drove me nuts because when you write you do have control of the words and you can understand the pace. This was such a different process especially the style that this documentary filmmaker used, which was one where there is no narrator. We tell the story and of course my question was what story are we telling? And it would unfold as the two years of recording happened. It turns out the center was us, it was the farm and the natural story that evolved.”

KORIO: “I’ve been around different filmmakers that have videotaped us all our lives and it actually has kind of influenced my life. I want to start going into film and maybe become a newscaster and start my own station.

What was your reaction that night they showed you the rough cut of the film?

NIKIKO: “They brought the copy of the rough cut and we watched it in our living room. We could tell the filmmakers were really nervous, because one of the things about the process of making the film is you develop relationships and the filmmakers started off as strangers and throughout the course of the filming became friends, witness to our lives. I was nervous and watching the film for the first time was absolutely breathtaking. What unfolds is this stunning portrayal of the beauty of the land and the heart of our family.”

We’re talking about changing generations on the farm, how would you bring us up to date after life events after the film?

MAS: “It’s really a story about what’s next. It’s not like one leaves and the other begins. There’s this constant process of more and more nexts at that point. And Marcy and Korio are witnessing all this because we’re all working on this together.”

Ezra David Romero is an award-winning radio reporter and producer. His stories have run on Morning Edition, Morning Edition Saturday, Morning Edition Sunday, All Things Considered, Here & Now, The Salt, Latino USA, KQED, KALW, Harvest Public Radio, etc.
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