Celine studied psychology in Australia before moving to Canada, where she studied educational media production.
Celine has worked on award-winning documentaries and educational media in various capacities. She was videographer for Bitter Paradise: the Sellout of East Timor, directed by Elaine Briére, line producer for the educational series First Nations, the Circle Unbroken, directed by Gary Marcuse and Lorna Williams, and assistant to director Nettie Wild during post-production of her feature documentary Blockade.
As a primary school student in Indonesia, a former Japanese colony, I was taught that the Japanese history textbooks were censored, and that school children in Japan were therefore learning a different version of the war to the one I was.
In 1996, I came across Professor Saburo Ienaga’s story in a newspaper that had been left behind on a Vancouver bus. It was the first time I had heard of Japanese grassroots activism on war-related issues.
For more than thirty years, Professor Ienaga was involved in lawsuits against Japan’s education ministry, fighting for the right to mention atrocities that occurred during the Japanese colonization of neighbouring Asian countries in his high school history textbooks. Due to his failing health I was unable to interview him, but his story continued to inspire my research in Japan. It illustrates how one person’s conscience can galvanize others to take a stand.
Japan’s story was not my first encounter with institutionalized amnesia. When Indonesia occupied East Timor in 1975, our school principal visited each class, and stated, “Today we welcome East Timor back to our mother country.” It was not until a decade later, as a university student in Australia, that I came across Amnesty International reports of the horrific details of that occupation.
What one does after knowing and how one can refuse to know are the questions I wanted to pursue in Yesterday is Now. Ultimately, I see the documentary as a tale of both caution and hope.