Centering the Masses: Little Tokyo Adjacent
Visual Communications will highlight its award-winning filmography of documentary, experimental, animated, and narrative films examining the relationship between APA peoples and communities. Looking at other communities of color adjacent to Little Tokyo, we will assemble a two-part program that celebrates all the aspects that make Little Tokyo a vibrant community. Moreover, we will examine the causes that threaten it.
All events below will be at 341 FSN (341 E 1st Street, Los Angeles, CA 90012).
FREE ADMISSION. Capacity is limited. Informal seating is available on a first come, first served basis.
PROGRAM ONE | Saturday, April 13, 2019 | 2 PM
THE SOUND OF PLEASURE
(United States, 1990) Dir.: Eddie Wong
Visual Communications co-founder Eddie Wong profiles Chinese musical traditions as they are transplanted and flourishing through three generations of Chinese American musicians in San Francisco. The film follows the evolution of traditional Chinese music in the United States using a diverse range of interview and performance footage, ranging from traditional Chinese opera and Cantonese music groups like the Chung Wah Music Club to the influences of contemporary experimental and modern jazz composers as Jon Jang.
HARAÑA PROJECT/PASSPORT TO MY HEART
(United States, 2010) Dirs.: PDUB Productions
A unique collaborative hybrid documentary in which youth media makers through Los Angeles’ Pilipino Workers Center learn about the history of the uniquely Filipino courtship practice known as haraña, and then are invited to improvise a home-made play utilizing this endangered Filipino art form.
(United States, 1991) Dir.: Carlos Avila
Set in 1943 Los Angeles, this moody black-and-white production from Carlos Avila (GRIMM, FOTO NOVELAS, PRICE OF GLORY) chronicles a Mexican American boy's coming of age as he deals with a segregated swimming pool amid race riots and home-front war anxiety. A Visual Communications fiscally-sponsored project.
PROGRAM TWO | Saturday, April 27, 2019 | 2 PM
WHEN YOU’RE SMILING: THE DEADLY LEGACY OF INTERNMENT
(United States, 1999) Dir.: Janice D. Tanaka
WHEN YOU’RE SMILING is the first comprehensive account of the resettlement of the Japanese American community after internment during WWII, told through the filmmakers own family's struggle during the harsh post-camp years. The community seemed to put their unjust incarceration behind them but in reality, class, race, religion, stereotyping, lack of ethnic values, emotional and familial distance caused a serious identity crisis.
Also included will be:
BY GEORGE! (work-in-progress)
Part of a longer piece being worked on by the director, BY GEORGE profiles George Izumi, owner of Grace Pastries in Los Angeles’ Crenshaw District. Director Tanaka’s WIP project will tell the story of the Black/Japanese America intersection that took part during the 1960s/1970s, where African Americans and Japanese Americans alike found a place of shared identification.
RT: Approx. 10 mins.
PROGRAM THREE | Saturday, May 4, 2019 | 3 PM
(United States, 2005) Dir.: Robert C. Winn
GRASSROOTS RISING examines the resurgence of community-based labor organizing and the role that APAs play in a movement characteristic of working-class communities of color. Heartrending stories of working life, family, and community organizing are intertwined with evocative murals and rare archival photographs of the Asian immigrant experience and a lyrical narration written and performed by Alison De La Cruz.
PROGRAM FOUR | Wednesday, May 22, 2019 | 7:30 PM
SOMETHING’S ROTTEN IN LITTLE TOKYO
(United States, 1977) Dir.: Visual Communications, project directors Duane Kubo, Eddie Wong
A VC staff production that indicts the social and market-driven forces that conspire to displace low-income Little Tokyo residents from the only homes and community they knew.
(United States, 1986) Dir.: Naomi Hirahara
A VC-produced documentary that profiles two Asian American middle-aged men who face the depletion of low-cost housing, forcing them to find ways to survive in downtown Los Angeles’ Little Tokyo and Chinatown. This documentary is a poignant view of a segment of Asian American underclass rarely talked about.