Master of the Sky: The Life and Art of Sam Koji Hale


The documentary short is a compelling portrait of an inspiring and innovative artist transcending the boundaries of puppetry and filmmaking.

With his epic mythological storytelling, distinct mixed Japanese American aesthetic, and unique blend of live action tabletop puppetry and CGI animation, Sam Koji Hale leads a new generation of puppeteers who embrace film as he brings to fruition his vision and first feature Yamasong: March of the Hollows.

But such hybrid innovation came as a result of alienation. As a mixed race Japanese American growing up in Kansas, Sam felt different. The arts are what allowed him to overcome the pain and isolation of living in-between races, cultures, and identities. With the ever growing multiracial population in the United States, Sam’s story is one of many to be told and embraced.

To keep updated on Sam’s feature:

On the red carpet with Sumiko Braun and Sam Koji Hale at the Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival.

Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival (Los Angeles, CA), 4/2016
Association for Asian American Studies Annual Conference (Miami, FL), 4/2016
University of California Los Angeles Center for EthnoCommunications (Los Angeles, CA), 4/2016

Directed, Edited, and Produced by  |  Sumiko Braun
Featuring  |  Sam Koji Hale
Assistant Editors  |  Robert Penna and Laurel Directo
Camera  |  Sumiko Braun
Additional Camera  |  Laurel Directo
Additional Footage  |  Sam Koji Hale, Mighty Pug Studio, Dark Dunes Productions, On Ensemble, Hillendfilms, and Matthew Hensley
Online Editor  |  Christopher Woon
Music  |  Stereo Alchemy and On Ensemble
Special Thanks  |  Julie Braun, Kekoa Braun, Mathew Braun, Sam Koji Hale and the Hale family, Gena Hamamoto, Shoji Kameda, Walt Louie, Tadashi Nakamura, Jon Oh, Sultan Saeed Al Darmaki, Garett Stevens, Renee Tajima-Peña, Mighty Pug Studio, Dark Dunes Productions, On Ensemble, Stereo Alchemy, the team behind Yamasong: March of the Hollows, UCLA Department of Asian American Studies, and the UCLA Center for EthnoCommunications

Made with support of the Center for EthnoCommunications Documentary
Completion Fellowship