Despite his parents being in the film industry, Nakamura had not explored the field until his days in college. This is when he discovered film as a tool of empowering and inspiring the community. He was an Asian-American studies student, and he created his first film “Yellow Brotherhood”, which was about a youth basketball team in Los Angeles. The team mainly composed of the children whose fathers were founders of a Japanese-American anti-gang organization of “Yellow Brotherhood”. He aimed at producing films that involved and educated the youth. He observed that, watching educative documentaries can help a student to pass an examination. He used hip-hop music as soundtracks of his films as a way of attracting the attention of the youth because Hip hop music is highly associated with the youth. His thesis project was about Chris Iijima, who was a Japanese-American folk musician and Bob Dylan and Joni Mitchell both were part of the Asian American movement of the 1960s (Friedbacher & Bubert 215).
The pilgrimage was the first movie to focus on the reality of the World War II concentration camp experience that was never understood by the public. It showed how the children of the victims reclaimed the World War II camps. Pilgrimage was a film that brought into light the 9/11 world by featuring interviews with the Arab-Americans of the post 9/11 era. His father and grandparents were detained at the desolate internment camp. After the war, the government, his relatives and other Japanese-American survivors of the camps never shared their experiences in the camp. They chose to keep it as a secret as they saw it was something that was not appealing to be included in a conversation (Friedbacher & Bubert 234).
Nakamura hoped that Pilgrimage, would shed some light to past and present events to the youth and hence inspire them. He spent most of his first year finalizing the film and making it ready for distribution to schools and colleges.