Kayo Hatta, an independent filmmaker whose 1995 film “Picture Bride” won an audience award for best dramatic film at the Sundance Film Festival, died July 20 in a drowning accident in the San Diego, Calif. area. She was 47.
Hatta chronicled Hawaiian sugarcane plantation life in the early part of the 20th century in “Picture Bride.” Hatta, who directed and co-wrote the movie, told the story of a poor Japanese woman who emigrates to Hawaii to enter a marriage with a plantation worker based on an exchange of photographs.
Hatta graduated from Stanford University with a degree in English and received a master’s degree in film from UCLA.
She recently completed a 30-minute coming-of-age film called “Fishbowl” based on the writings of Hawaiian author Lois-Ann Yamanaka. Much of the film’s dialogue is in the local pidgin language.
“Fishbowl” premiered in March at the San Francisco Asian American Film Fest and is scheduled for broadcast on PBS later this year.
She is survived by her fiancé, Douglas Hetrick, her mother, three sisters and three half sisters.