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17 AAIFF Tour Compilation Tape Feature Films
1. Small Pleasure
Director Keith Lock; 86minutes, 1992-93, Feature Film
A young, ambitious woman, determined to make the most of her new life in Tornto, is contrasted with her roommate, also a recent immigrant, but one who still clings to the traditions in the old world. (film.com)
2. Broken Journey
Director Sandip Ray; 83 minutes
A wealthy doctor has a dramatic change within when confronted by the extreme poverty of village India. He is confronted with the paradox of advances in medical practice on the one hand and the value of life of the poor on the other. The resultant questioning of medical practice, bourgeoise values and compassion for the poor forms the story of this film (Ray Family/Satyajit Ray Film and Study Collection)
3. The Soul Investigator
Director Kal Ng; 82 minutes
Yuan is an ordinary salaryman whose world is shaken when he loses his job, and finds a mysterious bleeding wound on his hand that does not heal. His crisis becomes more and more unnerving, as he realizes that his doctor, his wife, even his mistress, are unable or unwilling to see the wound. (film.com)
4. The Guyver
Director Steve Wang; 123 minutes
Based on the Japanese comic-book character created by Toshiki Takaya, this hyper-kinetic science fiction fantasy plays like a live-action cartoon. (allmovie.com)
Director Jason Hwang; 34 minutes, 1982, Documentary
A visually thoughtful piece which examines the personae of Asian Americans, looking at the unpredictable relationship between inner identity and external pressures to be “Asian” and/or “American.” Including footage of an “African Chinese” and a “Caucasian Chinese,” Afterbirth portrays cultural and national identity as nonabsolute concepts.
a.k.a. Don Bonus
Producer/Director: Spencer Nakasako, Director: Sokly Ny; 55 minutes, 1995, Documentary
This hour long documentary looks into 18 year old Sokly “Don Bonus” Ny’s struggles to graduate and survive his complicated life during his senior year of high school. This film is a powerful self-portrait of a young Cambodian immigrant growing up in today’s America and of America itself, growing up in the 90′s.
All Orientals Look the Same and Black Sheep
Producer/Director: Valerie Soe; 1 1/2 minutes/6 minutes; 1986/1990; Experimental/Documentary
All Orientals Look the Same: This video turns this racial myth on its head, provoking the viewer to confront stereotypes and prejudice about Asian and Pacific Islanders.
Black Sheep: Utilizing short vignettes, Soe recounts the story of her “black sheep” uncle to explore the implications of difference within and without marginalized culture.
Director: Steven Okazaki; 41 minutes, 1995, Docu-drama
American Sons is a provocative examination of how racism shapes the lives of Asian American men. Actors Yuji Okumoto, Kelvin Han Yee, Lane Nishikawa, and Ron Muriera tell real stories based on interviews with Asian Americans throughout the country. They express the issues of hate violence, the stereotypes placed on Asian American men, the model minority myth, and the deep psychological damage that racism causes over generations. The film presents a painful and angry view of American life never before explored in a film or television program.
Anatomy of a Spring Roll
Directors: Paul Kwan & Arnold Iger; 56 minutes, 1993, Documentary
This extraordinary film distills the immigrant experience of adapting to one’s new country while longing for the sounds, tastes, and smells of the home left behind. It includes images of cooking in a San Francisco kitchen, street vendors simmering their soups, and bustling markets, all of which portray the communal nature of preparing food in Vietnamese culture. An undercurrent of longing for the motherland also runs through this nostalgic film.
Ancestors in the Americas (Asian American History Series)
Director: Loni Ding; 64 minutes, 1997, Documentary
Part One: Coolies, Sailors, Settlers
The untold story of how Asians, including Filipino, Chinese, and Asian Indian, first arrived in the Americas. Crossing centuries and oceans from the 16th c. Manila-Acapulco trade to the Opium War to 19th c. plantation coolie labor in South America and the Caribbean.
Part Two: Chinese in the Frontier West, An American Story
The illuminating second episode of Ancestors series, from the 1850s to 1880s, chronicling the arrival of Chinese to Gold Rush era California and their venturings in the frontier west from Oregon and Washington, to Idaho and Montana, Wyoming and South Dakota. Their labor, community building, and activism in the courts of mid-19th century America for justice and equality, has far reaching consequences for all who followed.
Producer/Director: Michael Cho; 20 minutes, 1991, Documentary
Animal Appetites is a wry look at the 1989 Long Beach trial of two Cambodian immigrants charged with killing a dog for food. With over 99 million cattle and 5.7 billion chickens consumed per year in the U.S., this humorous video poses the question, “Why all the fuss over one dog?” The story follows their trial on animal cruelty charges and examines the law prohibiting consumption of pets, passed as a result of the case.
Art to Art: Expressions of Asian American Women
Producer: Valerie Soe; 30 minutes, 1993, Documentary
A collaborative project between filmmakers, painters, and sculptors, this is the first video production focusing exclusively on contemporary Asian American women artists. Appropriate for all disciplines concerned with issues of identity and aesthetics. Features are visual artists Pacita Abad, Hung Liu, Yong Soon Min, and Barbara Takanaga, profiled by film and video artists Christine Chang, Christine Choy, Karen Kaul, and Chuleenan Svetvilas.
Producer/Director: Kip Fulbeck; 38 minutes, 1990, Experimental
This autobiographical collection of 25 short stories by Fulbeck examines his relationship to society and family as a Chinese American/Amerasian. The stories follow his life from childhood through college, including growing up in an all-white elementary school and his first date with an Asian woman. Insightful, provocative, and humorous.
The Basement Girl
Director: Midi Onodera; 12 minutes, 2000, Short Film
A young woman finds solace in her basement apartment after a lover has left her. With only junk food and a television to comfort her, she embarks on a journey of self discovery and emerges a new independent person.
Being Hmong Means Being Free NEW!!
Wisconsin Public Television | Documentary | 2000 | 56 mins
Being Hmong Means Being Free highlights the history, culture and identity of the Hmong immigrants who have settled in the United States between 1975 and the early 1990s. The documentary looks at Hmong life in this county as seen through the eyes of the program host, seventeen year-old Lia Vang. (Wisconsin Public Television)
BBQ Muslims/Death Threat
Director: Zarqa Nawaz; Short Films
Through humor and the absurd, Zarqa Nawaz spins two entertaining vignettes sure to stimulate dialogue about how the “terrorist” stereotype has the power to influence society as well as its victims.
BBQ Muslims (Canada, 1995, 5 minutes, Satire) In the days following the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing, there was a media frenzy pointing fingers at the North American Muslim community. Several weeks later, Oklahoma police arrested and convicted Timothy McVeigh, a white American. The cruel irony of that historic moment inspired this offbeat tale of two Muslim American brothers backyard barbecue mishaps.
Death Threat (Canada, 1998, 19 minutes, Satire) The story of a young Muslim woman who has written an appallingly bad Harlequin-type novel and is struggling to find a publisher. Depressed, frustrated and irritated after receiving her fifty-ninth rejection, she decides that controversy is the only way to catch a publisher’s eye; but her exploitation of cultural stereotypes eventually backfires on her.
Between Two Worlds: The Hmong Shaman in America
Producers: Taggart Siegle, Director & Dwight Conquergood; 25 minutes, 1985, Documentary
This film gives an intimate account of the life and work of a Hmong shaman transplanted from the mountains of Laos to Wisconsin. It documents ancient shamanistic rituals and ceremonies such as animal sacrifice and trance-like healing.
The Bhangra Wrap
Director: Nandini Sikand; 20 minutes, 1994, Documentary
An energetic documentary about a vibrant South Asian youth subculture that fuses hip hop, rap, and Bhangra music. Based in Toronto and New York, Bhangra is a mix of old and new, and is symbolic of universal cultural transformation for new generations.
Black Haired and Black Eyed
Director: Julie Whang; 9 minutes, 1995 b&w
Bloodlines: a medical mission to Iloilo, Phillippines
Producer/Co-Director: James Espinas, Co-Director/Editor: Timothy Kiley; 53 minutes, 2004, Documentary
Bloodlines chronicles the 2003 medical mission of the Philippine Medical Society of Northern California (PMSNC). Volunteer doctors, nurses, and support staff travel to Iloilo, a province in central Philippines, to serve an impoverished community that lacks access to basic healthcare. Working with limited time and resources, the volunteers struggle to meet the needs of thousands of patients, experiencing moments of inspiration and heartbreaking choices along the way.
Blue Collar and Buddha
Director: Taggart Siegel; 57 minutes, 1988, Documentary
A provocative profile of a Lao community which faces an openly hostile, racist environment in Rockport, Illinois. Local Euro American citizens, frustrated by economic depression and angry about losing the Vietnam war, confront recent immigrants who are trying to preserve their native culture and Buddhist religion.
Director: Marlon Fuentes; 60 minutes, 1995, Docudrama
This personal and poignant docudrama portrays the Filipino experience at the 1904 St. Louis World’s Fair, telling its story from the point of view of a present-day Filipino immigrant in the U.S. whose grandfather, Markod, was exhibited as an Igorot warrior at the Fair. It chronicles Markod’s experience, one of eleven hundred natives brought to America to be part of the “Philippine Reservation.”
Director: D.W. Griffith; 90 minutes, 1913, color tinted
Richard Barthelmess gives a sensitive portrayal of a Chinese man who travels to England to spread the pacifist teachings of the Orient. Lillian Gish plays a 15-year-old street urchin who longs to escape her miserable experience.
Bruce Lee Meets Snoop Doggy Dogg
Producer: Tou Ger Xiong; 30 minutes, 1997
Hmong performer, Tou Ger Xiong, uses storytelling, rap, and breakdancing to help educate audiences about the experience of being Hmong in America. As a four year old, Xiong immigrated from Laos during the Vietnam War to Minnesota. He begins his story in the refugee camps to his life today in America. Xiong recounts his first day of school, his early awareness of racism, and the stress of biculturalism among first generation Hmong Americans. He closes with a traditional Hmong folktale. Following the performance are interviews of various audience members. (See also “Hmong Means Free” by same artist.)
Bui Doi: Life Like Dust
Producers: Ahrin Mishan & Nick Rothenberg; 28 minutes, 1994, Documentary
Inside the mind of Ricky Phan, currently serving an 11 year sentence for armed robbery in a California state prison. Through the integration of memories and recent experience, the film forces us to ask ourselves which is more violent: fleeing from a war-ravaged country or trying to survive in an alien western culture? Bui Doi is an expansion of the award-winning short film Giang Ho: Crazy Life.
Cambodian Doughnut Dreams
Director: Charles Davis; 27 minutes, 1990, Documentary
As a result of the Pol Pot regime in Cambodia, 45,000 Cambodian refugees fled in 1979 and resettled in Los Angeles. Many opened up doughnut shops. Today, 80% of the doughnut businesses in Los Angeles are run by Cambodian refugees. This film powerfully documents stories of three Cambodian doughnut business owners in L.A., all of whom see themselves primarily as “survivors” of the Pol Pot regime. They reveal stories of starvation, illness, and the painful separation of families.
The Children We Sacrifice
Director: Grace Poore; 61 minutes, 2000, Documentary
The Children We Sacrifice was shot in India, Sri Lanka, Canada and the United States. It is a powerful documentary about incestuous sexual abuse of the South Asian girl child. Insights into the far-reaching psychological, social and cultural consequences of incest are accompanied by thoughtful assessments of strategies that have helped adult women cope with childhood trauma. This personal and collective letter from South Asian incest survivors and their advocates is a validation of their struggle and a compelling charge to protect future generations of children.
Director: Yeung Chi-kin; 91 minutes, 1992, Foreign/Erotica
Director: Eric Lin; 50 minutes, 1999, Drama
Nightmares of demons and cannibalism plague a young waitress as activists protest Chinese restaurants for killing and preparing live animals. Part ghost story, part political statement, Eric Lin’s debut feature pays tribute to Chinatowns by immersing itself in cultural identity, local politics, folklore and the details of its neighborhood life. Asserting that these communities are more than just tourist attractions and restaurant ghettos, “Chinatown” maps out its own urban eco-system whose economic livelihood is constantly prey to the agendas of outside interest groups.
The Chinatown Files
Director: Amy Chen; 57 minutes, 2001, Documentary
An excellent documentary about the discrimination of Chinese immigrants during the 1950s and 60s, largely due to the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882. The Chinatown Files provides first hand accounts of seven men and women’s experiences of being hunted down, jailed, and targeted for deportation in the United States.
“An excellent case of history shedding light on important current civil liberties and freedom of expression issues.” -Diane Weyermann, Sundance International Documentary Fund
The Color of Honor
Producer/Director: Loni Ding; 90 minutes, 1988, Documentary
A vivid, collective portrait of the Japanese American experience in WWII, including an introduction to the evacuation and internment of Japanese Americans in the U.S.. In this film, Loni Ding features the 442nd Regimental Combat Team, the most decorated military unit in U.S. history, the Military Intelligence Service (MIS), the linguists who decoded Japanese military plans, and the thousands of draft resisters and army protesters who challenged the constitutionality of the internment camps.
Coming Out, Coming Home, Asian and Pacific Islander Family Stories (A/PI- PFLAG Family Project)
Director: Hima B.; 44 minutes, 1996, Documentary
This video is an effort to break the isolation of Asian and Pacific Islander families with lesbian, bisexual, gay, and transgender children and help communicate within the family and broader community on this controversial topic. It features interviews of one Filipino and three Chinese families and a dialogue among parents of these gay children. The families talk about shame, grief, love, growth, the importance of family, and how they handled their conflicts around homosexuality.
Director: Jennifer Christine Yang Hee Arndt; 60 minutes, 1998, Documentary
Crossing Chasms is a documentary about Jennifer Arndt, a Korean adoptee, who returns to her birth country seeking answers to the complex questions surrounding her adoption. In her search to define her identity, she walks through her past to understand the present. On this journey, she meets seven other Korean adoptees who share their experiences as she tries to track down her own biological family. Through these stories, we learn about the complex issues facing Korean adoptees through their own voices.
Dan Kwong Excerpts
Dancing Through Death: The Monkey, Magic, & Madness of Cambodia
Director: Janet Gardner; 56 minutes, 1999, Documentary
“This is the story of Thavro Phim, who came of age under the Pol Pot regime and lost his father, brother, and grandfather to the blood thirsty Khmer Rouge. What kept him whole after the ordeal was his Buddhist faith and dedication to Cambodian classical dance where he performs the role of Hanuman, the white monkey. We follow Thavro from California to the Kingdom of Cambodia, a country still in turmoil, for bittersweet reunion with his family and teachers.”
Daughter from Danang
Directors: Gail Dolgin & Vicente Franco; 83 minutes, 2002, Documentary
Heidi seems like the “all-American girl” from small-town Pulaski, Tennessee. Born Mai Thi Hiep in Danang, Vietnam, she was the daughter of a Vietnamese woman and American serviceman. At the end of the war, rumors spread that racially mixed children would be persecuted. Fearing for her daughter’s life, Heidi’s mother placed the 7 year-old on an “Operation Babylift” plane to the United States. Twenty-two years later, longing to connect with her roots, she embarks on a journey that takes her to Vietnam. There she is reunited with her birth mother and her Vietnamese family. What seems like a happy ending quickly turns into a heart-wrenching clash of cultures.
David Wong Louie “Pangs of Love”
November 13, 1992 Book Reading
Although PANGS OF LOVE is the title of this collection and one of the short stories contained within, it could easily be used for every tale in this book. The stories all concern love and nearly every character experiences it as a pang. It is the type of love experienced by people alienated by culture, language, and generation. (Magill Book Reviews)
Director: Richard Fung; 30 minutes, 1995, experimental narrative
The Displaced View
Director: Mido Onodera; 52 minutes, 1988, Documentary
The documentary depicts the journy of a Japanese American woman in search of herself through her grandmother, who is the last of her family born in Japan. Images of old photos, movies, and experimental film techniques emphasizes the isolation the granddaugther feels as a japanese woman who cannot speak the Japanese language. Onodera focuses on Japanese women as the preservers of their traditional culture and the erosion of culture through assimilation. The Japanese American identity is revealed through bridging generation gaps.
Do 2 Halves Really Make A Whole?
Producer/Director: Martha Chono-Helsely; 30 minutes, 1993, Documentary
This video features the diverse viewpoints of people with multi racial Asian heritages. African and Japanese-American poet and playwright Velina Hasu Houston lives an “amalgamated existence” and encourages others to take pride in all that they are. Performance artist Dan Kwong constantly struggles with two strong and often conflicting Asian heritages, Japanese and Chinese American; Chinese Japanese Chicano Scots storyteller, actress, and performance artist Brenda Wong Aoki uses her unique ethnic mix to intersect social circles. (2 copies)
Dollar A Day, Ten Cents a Dance
Producer/Director: Geoffrey Dunn & Mark Schwartz; 29 minutes, 1984, Documentary
Enticed by the promise of jobs and fair wages, 100,000 Pinoys (Filipino Americans) immigrated to the U.S. between 1924 and 1935 to toil on California’s farmland. Because of the exclusion of Filipino women’s immigration and U.S. anti-miscegenation laws, they survived the loneliness of racial discrimination by creating close-knit bachelor societies and entering into common law marriages where cockfights, poker games, and dance halls served as their entertainment.
Eagle Against the Sun
Director: John Akahoshi; 27 minutes, 1992, Drama
“Eagle Against the Sun” follows the story of Helen Nakamura, a vivacious 17-year-old Japanese American high school senior, in the days immediately preceding and following the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. Introduced as a typical teenager dealing with modest concerns like fitting in with her peers and finding a date for the school dance, Helen, overnight, becomes the victim of racial taunts at school; potential dates shun her and her family’s farm is vandalized. Suffused with youthful innocence yet tempered with righteous indignation, “Eagle Against the Sun” stands as a sharply observed reminder of the human toll discrimination and internment took on the lives of Japanese Americans during World War II.
The Fact of Asian Women
Director: Celine Parreas Shimizu; 27 minutes, 2002, Documentary
“Contemporary Asian American female actors re-enact scenes from popular Hollywood films. Featuring three generations of Asian American femme fatales in Hollywood, the film re-examines the fantastic figure of the “lotus blossom” and “dragon lady” exemplified in the roles played by Anna May Wong in the 1920s’-1940s, the “prostitute with a heart of gold” embodied by Nancy Kwan in the 1960s’ and the contemporary “dominatrix” Lucy Liu. Performing these characters, young contemporary actors collide with the “ghosts” of Asian women in Hollywood through the revised endings of their major films performed on the streets of San Francisco . The actors then discuss sexuality in their roles and in terms of their own self-formation as actresses of color.”
The Fall of the I-Hotel
Producer/Director Curtis Choy; 58 minutes; revised 1993 (1983), Documentary
This film brings to life the battle for housing in San Francisco. The brutal eviction of the I-Hotel’s tenants in 1977 ended a decade of spirited resistance. Almost 20 years since the International Hotel’s demolition, the former site of the heart of Manila town and home to more than 10,000 people in the 1950’s, is still vacant. Many of its surviving elderly residents still seek low cost replacement housing. This film resonates very clearly in the 1990’s as homelessness becomes a facet of life in many cities today.
A Family Gathering-Point of View: Days of Waiting (Gift to Asian Am from Paul Kasuda)
Director: Lise Yasui; 30/60 minutes, 1993, Documentary w/Study Guide
A personal look at the repercussions of historical events. Through a striking mix of home movies, photographs, family interviews, and archival materials, a third generation Japanese American shows us that journeys into the past can bring greater understanding of self and identity to the present.
Fated to be Queer
Producer: Pablo Bautista; 25 minutes, 1992, Documentary
In this more-than-a-coming-out-video, four charming and articulate Filipino men illuminate some issues and concerns as gay people of color in San Francisco. They share personal perspectives on family, cultural heritage, and racial stereotyping.
First Person Plural
Producer/Director: Deann Borshay Liem; 60 minutes, 2000, Documentary
“In 1966, Deann Borshay Liem was adopted by an American family and was sent from Korea to her new home. Growing up in California, the memory of her birth family was nearly obliterated until recurring dreams led Borshay Liem to discover the truth: her Korean mother was very much alive. Bravely uniting her biological and adoptive families, filmmaker Borshay Liem’s heartfelt journey makes First Person Plural a pognant essay on family, loss, and the reconciling of two identities.”
Producer/Director/Writer Author Dong, 56 minutes, 1989, Documentary
It was the swinging ’30s. The big bands of the ’40s. It was San Fancisco nightlife. Baghdad by the Bay… and the crowds were packing the nation’s premiere all-chinese nightclub, Forbidden City.
Part That’s Entertainment and part PBS, Forbidden City, U.S.A. takes a dazzling and humorous look at this forgotten chapter of entertainment history. The “Chinese Fred Astaire,” the “Chinese Sohpie Tucker,” and the “Chinese Sally Rand” are just some of the players that take you back in time when the only Chinese were known for were chop suey joints and laundaries.
See and hear rare performances long burried in vaults and private collections. These include new prints from 35mm nitrate negatives and music from vintage 78 records. From tap dancers to bubble dancers, from “Some of These Days” to “Alexander’s Ragtime Band.” It’s all here… With a new angle!
Producer/Director: Robert A. Nakamura; 30 minutes, 1983, Drama w/Study Guide
Set in a convalescent home, a mysterious patient with a penchant for Shakespeare reaffirms the joys of living despite the presence of old age and death. He proves that there is a method to his “madness” and teaches staff and residents that life, even in the shadow of death, is to be enjoyed and lived to its fullest.
Producer/Director: Joyce Lee; 11 minutes, 1994, Short Film
A Chinese American woman is confronted by two African American men while riding a commuter train. Their exchange portrays difficulties and tensions between cultures, then reveals thought-provoking possibilities for human relationships. An excellent short narrative for discussions about cross- cultural understanding, communication, and stereotypes.
The Global Assembly Line
Producer/Director: Lorraine Gray; 60 minutes, 1986, Documentary
“Traveling from Mexico’s Northern border, from Silicon Valley to the Philippines,The Global Assembly Line takes viewers inside our new global economy. A vivid portrayal of the lives of working women and men in the “free trade zones” of developing countries and North America, as U.S. industries close their factories to search the globe for lower-wage workforces. We take a rare look at the people who are making the clothing we wear and the electronic goods we use–as well as the business decisions behind manufacturing–on the global assembly line.”
Director: Kim Su Theiler; 14 minutes, 1994, Short Film
Drawing from personal experience, Kim Su Theiler’s first film is an evocative and poetic drama about historical and cultural disorientation. A woman returns to Korea looking for her birth mother, having come to America as a child adoptee. A powerful short film about the nature and texture of being a foreigner.
Hapa: One Step At A Time
Producer: Midori Sperandeo; 2001, 27 minutes, Documentary
A first person documentary about what it means to be biracial and living in America today. Midori Sperandeo explores self discovery, identity, and offers perspective on being hapa. Through interviews, she presents an overview of the struggle of being hapa and explores the evolving acceptance of ethnically mixed race people in a growing multicultural society.
Here and Now
A Here and Now is an Asian American theatre troop that uses it’s art to tell a story here in America.
History and Memory: For Akiko and Takashige
Director: Rea Tajiri; 32 minutes, 1991, Documentary
An avant garde film about Tajiri’s family’s experiences as Japanese American interned in U.S. concentration camps. Exploring the memories of a place she has never visited but of which she has a memory, this experimental video surveys the impact of images on our lives and draws from sources such as Hollywood’s Yankee Doodle Dandy and Bad Day at Black Rock and U.S. Defense Department newsreels and relocation propaganda. (2 copies)
Honor Bound: A Personal Journey
Producer/Director: Wendy Hanamura; 56 minutes, 1995, Documentary
During WWII, second generation Japanese Americans were fighting on the European front. They showed their loyalty on the battlefields as they fought to overcome the stigma of Japan’s attack on Pearl Harbor. The 100/442nd Regiment suffered the highest rates of casualty and became the most recognizable unit in American history. Meanwhile, back at home, their families were forced to leave their homes and relocate into internment camps. This film tells their story through memories and archival footage.
Hmong Means Free: Profile of Tou Ger Xiong
Video of Hmong cultural and bilingual storyteller, rap artist and actor Tou Ger Xiong. (See also “Bruce Lee Meets Snoop Doggy Dogg” by same artist.)
Hmong Tapestry: Voices from the Cloth
Producer: Hmong American Partnership, St. Paul, MN; 67 minutes, 1991, Performance
Created by more than 60 members of the Hmong American Partnership’s Youth Program under the mentorship of director Michael Lenzen and playwright Jaime Meyer, the past and present of the Hmong people are woven into a dramatic and entertaining tapestry of personal stories, history, music, and traditional folktales in this play. Seen by over 5,000 people in the Twin Cities area in the spring and summer of 1991, the play received rave reviews. It was performed in Madison in late 1991. (2 copies)
Hmong Youth in Transition
Producers: Mark Niu & Brian Vue; 30 minutes, 1992
Documentary of Hmong youth in Wisconsin (particularly at UW Madison). Class assignment for Asian Am 101. Extremely well done.
Homes Apart: Korea
Directors: J.T. Takagi & Christine Choy; 55 minutes, 1984, Documentary
A documentary of one man’s journey to find a lost sister in North Korea and the filmmakers journey to understand the Korean division from both sides of the border. Representing the first time an independent crew has been allowed to film both sides of the demilitarized zone, the result is a provocative personal and historical look at one of the last divided countries of the world. (2 copies)
I’m on a Mission from Buddha
Producer: Lane Nishikawa; 60 minutes, 1991, Performance
Critically hailed performance artist Lane Nishikawa explores Asian American identity and issues in the 1990′s in this acclaimed and explosive one-man show. The themes of assimilation, conflict, and prejudice are examined in a series of vignettes ranging from comic sketches to dramatic historical/ political pieces.
Japanese American Women: A Sense of Place
Producer/Director: Rosanna Yamagiwa Alfaro; 28 minutes, 1992
The stereotype of the polite, docile, exotic Asian woman is shattered in this documentary in which a dozen women speak about their experiences as part of the “model minority.” This film explores the ambivalent feelings the women have both towards Japan and the United States. The underlying theme is the burden of being different. An uneasy feeling prevails of being neither Japanese nor American, and the documentary ultimately becomes the story of Japanese American women and their search for a sense of place.
The Jew in the Lotus
Producer/Director: Laurel Chiten; 60 minutes, 1998, Documentary
In 1990, eight Jewish delegates traveled to Dharamsala, India to meet with the XIV Dalai Lama of Tibet and share the “secret of spiritual survival in exile. When writer Rodger Kamenetz was invited to go along to chronicle the event, unexpectedly, his whole life changed. Kamenetz begins an intense personal journey that leads him back to his Jewish roots. As he discovers, sometimes you have to go far away to find your way home. Inspired by Kamenetz’s best-selling book, award winning filmmaker Laurel Chiten’s (Twitch and Shout) new documentary engages the viewer on two equally absorbing levels. It documents an historic meeting between two spiritual traditions, and it tells a resonant story of personal loss and redemption.
Just Stand Still
Director: Kip Fulbeck; 20 minutes, 1990, Documentary
The life of Fullbeck’s aging and senile Chinese grandmother and her relationship with her family and children is documented in this short film. Focus on the cultural, familial, and ethical ramifications of committing her to an American nursing home. (2 copies)
Kelly Loves Tony
Producer/Director: Spencer Nakasako; 57 minutes, 1998, Documentary
She’s a straight A student; he’s trying to leave gang life behind. A camcorder becomes both witness and confidante for these markedly singular yet utterly typical teens as they self-document the trials of growing up too fast and too soon in urban America. Emmy award-winning filmmaker Spencer Nakasako deftly guides this video diary of a young Southeast Asian couple wrestling with the demands of love, parenting, dreams, and disillusionment in the nebulous cultural zone between first and second generation immigrant life.
Knowing Her Place
Director: Indu Krishnan; 40 minutes, 1990, Experimental/Documentary
Profiled: an Indian woman who has spent much of her life in the United States. In examining her relationships with her grandmother, mother, and son, the video reveals not only the challenges immigrants face in trying to establish a cultural identity but those that women face in establishing their own personal identities.
The Life of Reverend C.C. Hung: Find a Need and Fill It
30:00 mins; 1989
Originally aired on public television in Washington D.C. as part of the Urban Odyssey Series, this film documents the life of Rev. C.C. Hung, 1935 founder of the Chinese Community Church.
The Love Thang Trilogy
Director: Mari Keiko Gonzalez; 12 minutes, 1994, Short Films
Just a Love Thang, Skydyking, and Eating Mango, by New York video artist Mari Keiko Gonzalez, are three sensual four minute vignettes portraying aspects of Asian Pacific lesbian lifestyles and concerns. Positive, political, educational, and uplifting, this pioneering work makes visible a “sisterhood” usually grossly stereotyped if not simply overlooked.
The Life of Reverend C.C. Hung: Find a Need and Fill It
30 minutes, 1989
Originally aired on public television in Washington D.C. as part of the Urban Odyssey Series, this film documents the life of Rev. C.C. Hung, 1935 founder of the Chinese Community Church.
Director: David Cronenberg; 101 minutes, 1993
A French diplomat falls prey to a Chinese double agent in a chessgame of cultures that involve both the politics of the east and west and of male and female.
Producer/Director: Marlo Poras; 72 minutes, 2002, Documentary
“Mai’s America is a personal journey that defies all expectations. Mai, a smart, vivacious, and resilient Vietnamese teenager, travels to America for her senior year of high school, shouldering her family’s high expectations and her own visions of western-style success. Yet, nothing in Mai’s wildest imagination could prepare her for what she finds in rural Mississippi, where encounters with white Pentecostal and black Baptist host-families, a local transvestite, and South Vietnamese immigrants challenge her long-held ideas about America, the concept of freedom, her identity and even her homeland of Vietnam.”
Maya Lin: A Clear Strong Vision
Director: Freida Lee Mock; 98 minutes, 1995, Documentary
1995 Academy Award Winner for Best Feature Documentary on architect Maya Lin. (2 copies)
Maxine Hong Kingston: Talking Story
Director: Joan Saffa; 60 minutes, 1990, Documentary
An excellent documentary on the life, works, and cultural tradition of Chinese American author Maxine Hong Kingston. Kingston was born to immigrant Chinese parents in Stockton, California. She uses images, stories, and memories of her family’s past to create her highly acclaimed works of literature. Issues such as racism and multicultural development are topics in discussion. There are interviews with other Asian American artists and authors; Rupert Garcia (a childhood friend), Jade Snow Wong, Victor Wong, John Leonard, Amy Tan, and David Henry Hwang.
Mighty Warriors of Comedy
Director: Sung H. Kim, 56 min, 2006
The funniest sketch comedy troupe you’ve never heard of. A documentary on the ingenuity of the 18 Mighty Mountain Warriors. The documentary focuses on the struggles of long-time Asian American Comedy Troupe The 18 Mighty Mountain Warriors.
Miss India Georgia
Producer/Director: Daniel Friedman & Sharon Grimberg, 56 minutes, 1997
Miss India Georgia follows four contestants during the hectiv weeks leading up to Atlanta’s annual South Asian beauty pageant. In discussions with their grandparents about arranged marriages, in quarrels with their boyfriends, and in revealing conversations with Indian and non-Indian friends, these young women disclose the comlexity of their feelings about growing up in the U.S. as children of immigrant parents. Sometimes funny and sometimes sad, the stories of these resilient teenagers teach us that each individual’s experience of “Americanization” is unique. (Urban Life Productions)
Director: Christine Choy; 80 minutes, 1987, Documentary
A richly textured video documenting life in the Mississippi Delta, where Chinese, African Americans, and whites all lives in a complex world of cotton, work, interracial marriage and racial conflict. (2 copies)
Mitsuye and Nellie
Directors: Allie Light & Irving Saraf; 58 minutes, 1981, Documentary
The lives of Asian American poets Mitsuye Yamada and Nellie Wong, first published in the 1970′s. (2 copies)
Director: Valerie Soe; 20 minutes, 1992, Interactive Video Installation
A personal view of interracial relationships between Asian Americans and non-Asian Americans. Soe combines interviews with over 30 concerned individuals, text, and clips from science fiction films, and classic miscegenation dramas. (2 copies)
Director: Julie Mallozzi; 65 minutes, 2004, Documentary
Three Cambodian-American teenagers come of age in a world shadowed by their parents’ nightmares of the Khmer Rouge. Traditional Cmabodian dance links them to their parents’ culture, but fast cars, hip consumerism, and new romance pull harder. Gradually coming to appreciate their parents’ sacrifices, the three teens find a senes of themselves and begin to make good on their parents’ dreams.
Monkhood in Three Easy Lessons
Directors: Dan Kwong; 1993, Performance Video
This video is a recording of a performance by artist, Dan Kwong. He tackles issues of the Asian American male identity–geeks and studs, heroes and nerds…
Monterey’s Boat People
Directors: Spencer Nakasko & Vincent DiGirolamo; 29 minutes, 1982, Documentary
This film examines the tension between the established Italian fishing community and the recently arrived Vietnamese fishermen in California’s Monterey Bay peninsula. Monterey’s Boat People documents a specific facet of anti-Asian sentiment and the conflicts faced by an industry that is also fighting for survival.
My America: or Honk if You Love Buddha
Director: Renee Tajima-Pea; 87 minutes, 1997, Documentary
In her irreverent new documentary, the Academy Award nominated filmmaker Renee Tajima-Pea (“Who Killed Vincent Chin?”) recalls her childhood travels in the days when you could cross five state lines without ever catching a glimpse of another Asian face. Returning to the road more than 20 years later, she finds that new immigration has suddenly put Asian Americans on the map. Guided by her metaphorical “road guru” the actor and ex-Beat Generation painter Victor Wong, Tajima-Pea sets out to search for the new identity that will arise from the multiculti milieu that is America at the end of the 20th century.
My Brown Eyes
Director: Joy Koh; 18 minutes, 1994, Short Film
A young Korean boy rises early and prepares for his first day of school. Clever and resourceful, he is also dutiful to his parents who work late at night. After preparing their breakfast and his own lunch, he sets off to school. None of his preparations, however, can help with his big handicap-he can’t speak English. A poignant and touching story of immigrant life as told from the point of view of a child.
New Hmong Life in America (Hmoob Lub Neej Tshiab Nyob Hauv Ameslikas)
40 minutes; Dane County Hmong Video Project
This film is produced by a group of local Hmong refugees about the opportunities and difficulties facing their people in this country. Through interviews and coverage of various aspects of life in America, this video deals with such topics as education, jobs and training, legal matters, shamanism, and the difficult issue of cultural survival in America.
The New Puritans: The Sikhs of Yuba City
Directors: Ritu Sarin & Tenzing Sonam; 27 minutes, 1985, Documentary
Forced economically from their farms in the state of Punjab, the first Sikh immigrants came to California in the early 1900s, creating a rural life that mirrored their native India. This film lucidly portrays the cultural and generational conflicts faced by all immigrant groups.
Nobuko in A Grain of Sand
15 minutes excerpt from 1 hr 30 min show perferomed at Los Angeles Theatre Center, 1995 (2 copies)
None of the Above
Director: Erika Surat Andersen; 23 minutes, Documentary
None of the Above is a documentary about people of mixed racial heritage based on the filmmaker’s own search for identity and community. Ms. Andersen, whose mother is (Asian) Indian and father is Danish American, explores her “own personal hangup” by finding others in the same ambiguous category. Included in the film is a woman of native American, African, and European ancestry and a woman of Japanese and African American ancestry.
Not a Simple Story/Out in Silence
Director: Christine Choy; 37 minutes, 1994
These two videos present APAs, gay and straight, male and female, who have courageously gone public about being HIV positive in order to dispel the myth that Asian Americans do not get AIDS.
Not a Simple Story takes us to Hawaii where we meet Robin, the widowed mother of a young child. Still mourning her husband who died of AIDS, she is the only Asian female AIDS activist. Shocked when she was diagnosed with HIV, she now worries about her daughter’s future.
Out in Silence is a portrait of Vince, an aspiring singer from San Francisco. He recalls how his initial realization of being gay led him to drop out of his community, leave his close-knit, conservative family and drift to Hawaii and then New York. Learning that he was HIV positive was a shocking surprise and made him realize how little he knew about the disease. He now educates Asian Americans by performing with a gay theater group and lecturing to students.
Not Black or White
Producers: Leilani Abad & Dean Yamada/Director: Anna Kang; 1999, 19 minutes, Documentary
A candid look at three Asian American women who aren’t geishas, hookers, or bikini-clad masseuses. “Not Black or White examines the stereotypical ways in which Asian women have been depicted in the media and how three nationally acclaimed Asian American actresses challenge and defy those concepts in their creative work and careers. Featuring interviews with cartoonist/actress Lela Lee (Angry Little Asian Girl); writer/actress Amy Hill (All American Girl, Next Friday); and actress Ming-Na (ER, The Joy Luck Club, Mulan), these provocative and spirited profiles demonstrate how these particular artists struggle to define themselves and their own creative agendas.
1000 Pieces of Gold
Director: Nancy Kelly; 105 minutes, 1991, Feature Film (Gift from Amy Ling)
The true story of a Chinese American pioneer woman. Sold into slavery by her father, Lalu Nathoy travels to the U.S. and works in a saloon until she is won in a card game. She becomes Mrs. Charlie Bemis and a respected homesteader on the Salmon river in Idaho. Starring Rosalind Chao of The Joy Luck Club.
Of Civil Wrongs and Rights: The Fred Korematsu Story
Director: Eric Paul Fournier; 60 minutes, 2000, Documentary Fred Korematsu was probably never more American than when he resisted, and then challenged in court, the forced internment of Japanese Americans during World War II. Korematsu lost his landmark Supreme Court case in 1944, but never his indigantion and resolve. Of Civil Wrongs and Rights is the untold history of the 40-year legal fight to vindicate Korematsu–one that finally turned a civil injustice into a civil rights victory.
Perpetual Emotion 101/102
Compilation of Short Films
Perpetual Emotion 101/102 showcase the youthful excitement, energy and creative promise of a new generation of film and video makers. Asian Pacific American student groups and college residential education programs will be able to refer to these collections, and teachers will discover the anthology titles to be potent supplementary materials for academic courses ranging from Asian American Studies to the social sciences and humanities.
The perfect introductions to the best in recent independent cinema from the Asian Diaspora, Perpetual Emotion 101/102 touch upon a wide range of topics and feelings, including amusing meditations on identity, heartbreaking evocations of childhood, and powerful narratives hinged upon painful decisions to stand up for oneself and for what’s right. Impressive on their own, together these calling cards attest to the vitality and range of a movement swelling with talented representatives from our many communities.
Perpetual Emotion 101
Director: Carolynne Hew
Canada, 1996, 8 minutes
Peer pressure and media imagery influence a young girl’s fluctuating opinions of her looks and self-worth.
Director: Greg Pak
USA, 1997, 11 minutes
A young man squirms out of a heated discussion about pregnancy with his girlfriend by making a mouse hunt his top priority.
Kung Pao Chicken
Director: Richard Kim
USA, 1997, 6 minutes
How a Chinese chef revolutionized American culture and proved that the chopstick is mightier than the fork.
Lessons in Defensive Driving
Director: Carla San Diego
USA, 1998, 6 minutes
An ordinary trip to the DMV becomes a downward spiral into spiritual gridlock when the oppressions of road etiquette take their toll upon the nicest guy on earth.
Director: Quentin Lee
USA, 1995, 35 minutes
Freshman year provides the backdrop for the romance between two young men determined not to let their dramatically different pasts dictate their future together.
Perpetual Emotion 102
A Thousand Birds and a Pair of Shoes
Director: Oliver Tan
USA, 1996, 12 minutes
Happy to Get Her is a hyper-romantic world where origami cranes symbolize eternal love and shoes are clues that bad luck’s just outside the door.
Director: Jane E. Kim
Canada, 1998, 12 minutes
The simpler pleasures and fragile innocence of childhood are brutally robbed from a girl during an afternoon of play.
Director: Avie Luthra
USA, 1998, 14 minutes
Desperate to keep his business afloat, an Indian shopkeeper reluctantly discloses a customer’s secret love affair to her criminal brother who “protects” the establishment.
Director: Jennifer Phang
USA, 1999, 24 minutes
A sister and brother turn a dysfunctional family dinner into an unappreciated coming out party when each try to proudly share details of their sexual lives with their homophobic mother.
A Personal Matter: Gordon Hirabayashi vs. the United States
Producer: John de Graaf with the Constitution Project; 30 minutes, 1992, Documentary w/Study Guide
During WWII, Gordon Hirabayshi refused to be interned on the grounds the Executive Order 9066 violated his constitutional rights. This acclaimed video shows a personal look at basic protections of the Constitution such as due process of the law and individual rights.
The Price You Pay
Producer/Director: Christine Keyser; 29 minutes, 1988, Documentary
The Price You Pay explores the rich cultural heritage of the Vietnamese, Laotian, and Khmer people, and conveys in very humane terms the pain and frustration of resettlement.”-KQED- TV, San Francisco
The Princess of Nebraska
Producer/Director: Wayne Wang; 80 minutes, 2008
A China born 18-year-old finds herself four months pregnant. She interrupts her studies to travel from Nebraska to San Francisco to determine what to do about her pregnancy. It is a revealing look at a young woman growing up under the new economic prosperity of China over the last 20 years.
Rabbit in the Moon
Director/Producer: Emiko Omori; 85 minutes, 1999, Documentary/Memoir
Rabbit in the Moon is a documentary/memoir about the lingering effects of the WWII internment camps of the Japanese American community. It is also the story of two sisters, both former internees, filmmaker Emiko Omori and writer Chizuko Omori, who revisited the absence of this vital history in their lives while searching for the memory of their mother. Visually stunning and emotionally compelling,Rabbit in the Moon examines issue that ultimately created deep rifts within the community, reveals the racist subtext of the loyalty questionnaire and exposes the absurdity of the military draft within the camps. These testimonies are linked by the filmmakers’ own experiences in the camps and placed in a larger historical context by the voice of the director, Emiko Omori.
Regret to Inform
Producer/Director: Barbara Sonneborn; 1998, 72 minutes, Documentary
Ten years in the making, what initially began as a letter from the filmmaker to her late husband evolved into an Oscar-nominated film and a powerful statement on the personal toll of war. Twenty years after her husband Jeff was killed in the Vietnam War, director Barbara Sonneborn embarks on a journey through a country whose mesmerizing landscape is still filled with the psychic remnants of war. Interwoven with the record of her personal odyssey are remarkably honest interviews with widows from both sides of the conflict. Accompanying Sonneborn is Xuan Ngoc Evans, a South Vietnamese widow and refugee to the US, who further illuminates a world collapsed by war.
Remembering Wei Yi-Fang, Remembering Myself
Director: Yvonne Welbon; 30 minutes, 1995, Experimental Documentary
Remembering Wei Yi-Fang, Remembering Myself is an autobiographical experimental documentary about the artist’s experiences as an African American woman living in Taiwan for six years. Recreations of time and place are presented through memories, historical documents, photographs and videos and film footage, moving from the artist’s ancestral home in Honduras to South Dakota to Chicago to Taipei, Taiwan creating intersections between these cultures.
Producer: National Film Board of Canada; 30 minutes, Documentary
First- generation Chinese Canadian film maker Michelle Wong returns to her birth place, St. Paul Alberta, to get reacquainted with her aging grandparents. Her visit becomes an emotional journey into the past and into herself as she documents their stories and lives.
Roots in the Sand
Director: Jayasri Majumdar Hart; 57 minutes, 1998
This film paints a Wild West that demanded not only physical stamina but an indomitable spirit as well. Hart chronicles the life of Purn Singh, an immigrant from the Punjab region of India during the early years of this century to southern California ’s desert region Imperial Valley . He and other Punjabi imimgrants faced racism, miscegenation laws, and a mob of Anglo farmers seeking vengeance for a murder of their own. This documentary challenges prevailing impressions of the rugged frontier by enriching the landscape with stalwart Sikh, Moslem, and Hindu setllers in this Mexican-Punjbai version of “taming of the Wild West.”
Director: Christine Choy; 39 minutes, 1993
“The April 29, 1992 Los Angeles crisis underscored the voicelessness and invisibility of Korean Americans in U.S. society. If represented at all, they have been viewed as aliens to American culture, all alike and caring only about themselves. Over half the material losses were sustained by Korean Americans Sa-I-Gu brings these faces back, exploring the perspectives of immigrant women who comprise more than half of Korean American shopkeepers.”
Sally’s Beauty Spot
Director: Helen Lee; 12 minutes, 1990
Sambal Belacan in San Francisco
Director: Madeleine Lim; 25 minutes, 1997
This film uniquely combines interviews, newsreel footage, richly-textured scripted scenes, and poetry, and uses this mixed- genre to visually convey the multi-layered existence of immigrant lesbians of color living in the U.S. today. This beautifully shot film examines how lesbian sexuality, cultural identity, and immigration status raise pertinent questions about belonging. It speakes compellingly for a community whose voice has seldom been heard.
Sea in the Blood
Director: Richard Fung; 2000, 26 minutes, Documentary
Essayist and filmmaker Richard Fung has created a lyrical and touching personal documentary on living close to illness. Using old home movie footage from the fifties shot in Trinidad , England , and Canada , he traces his family’s encounter with thalassemia (“sea in the blood” in Greek), a blood disease considered rare in Asians at the time. “Sea in the Blood” seamlessly meshes this with a trip Fung takes in 1977 from Europe to India during which he meets his partner, Tim. The death of his sister, Nan , from thalassemia occurs while he is away. The filmmaker examines his feelings about this loss and places it within the context of his partner Tim’s life with HIV/AIDS.
Searching for Asian America
Producers: Sapana Sakya, Donald Young, Kyung Yu; 90 minutes, 2003
Producer/Director: Arthur Dong; 14 minutes, 1982
Sewing Woman tells a universal story of one woman’s journey from an arranged marriage in old China to life as a garment factory worker for over 30 years. The film maker’s mother, Zem Ping, narrates this superb film in an intimate, yet powerful voice. Her reflections reveal the inner strength which helped her overcome U.S. immigration policies, family separation, and the hard life of a first-generation immigrant.
Shaolin Ulysses: Kungfu Monks in America
15 Director/Producor: Mei-Juin Chen and Martha Burr; 53 minutes, 2003, Documentary
The famous fighting monks of China’s Shaolin Temple have seen a resurgence throughout the world aided in part by the popularity of kungfu movies among the hip-hop set and films like The Matrix and Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. This documentary follows a handful of Shaolin monks who have brought kungfu and Zen Buddhism to America, chronicling their adventures in New York City, Houston, and Las Vegas. Coming from a small Chinese village, they cross the vast divide between East and West. Their quietly heroic stories reflect a unique version of the American Dream, Shaolin style. Will they change America? Or will America change Shaolin?
Shoot For The Contents
Director: Trinh T. Minh-ha; 101 minutes, 1991, Documentary
“Reflecting on Mao’s famous saying, “Let a hundred flowers blossom and a hundred schools of thought contend,” Trinh T. Minh-ha’s film—whose title refers in part to a Chinese guessing game—is a unique excursion into the maze of allegorical naming and storytelling in China . The film ponders questions of power and change, politics and culture, as refracted by Tiananmen Square events. It offers at the same time an inquiry into the creative process of filmmaking, intricately layering Chinese popular songs and classical music, the sayings of Mao and Confucius, women’s voices and the words of artists, philosophers and other cultural workers. Exploring color, rhythm and the changing relationship between ear and eye, this meditative documentary realizes on screen the shifts of interpretation in contemporary Chinese culture and politics.”
Silence Broken: Korean Comfort Women
Director/Producer/Writer: Dai Sil Kim-Gibson; 1999, 57 minutes, DocumentaryA powerful and emotional documentary by film about Korean women forced into sexual servitude by the Japanese Imperial Army during World War II. Silence Broken dramatically combines the testimony of former comfort women who demand justice for the “crimes against humanity committed against them, along with contravening interviews of Japanese soldiers, recruiters, and contemporary scholars who deny the existence of comfort women or claim that these victims “did this for money.” The film clearly details that what comfort women want today is not financial compensation, but a measure of personal honor and vindication in the form of an official apology from Japan.
Silence Broken seeks to shatter the half-century of silence regarding these forgotten victims of war. The individual testimonies in the film, combined with rare archival footage and dramatized images, create a collective story which embodies the spirit and fortitude of all comfort women.
Silent Sacrifices: Voices of Filipino American Family
Director/Producer: Patricia Heras; 25 min, 2001, Documentary
An insightful study of Filipino American family dynamics and psychologies, Silent Sacrifices delves into the cultural conflicts Filipino immigrants and their American-born children encounter on a daily basis. Frank discussions between teens, young adults and their parents reveal how issues of ethnic identity and opposing Filipino and American values contribute to youths’ bouts with depression, prenting difficulties and intergenerational misunderstandings.
Intent on breaking the silence that allows dysfunctions to develop, Silent Sacrifices and its accompanying educational guide offer an invaluable starting point for enhancing family communication within one of the country’s fastest growing demographics.
Slaying the Dragon
Exec. Producer: Asian Women United; Producer/Director: Deborah Gee; 60 minutes, 1988
Slaying the Dragon is more than an inventory of demeaning images of Asian women. It also cautions against a too willing acceptance of seemingly ”positive depictions [It] includes an assortment of women who speak with insight, indignation, and humor about their experiences.”
Director: Midi Onodera; 3 minutes, 2001, Short Film
A memoir of blindness and racial insight, Slightseer is visually stunning and imaginative.
“A Slice of Rice, Frijoles & Greens,” “A Grain of Sand,” and “To All Relations”
Excerpts from Great Leap, 8 min
Director: Arthur Jafa; 26 minutes, 1995
When two friends meet in a crowded Manhattan restaurant, the conversation takes an unexpected and intimate turn. Speaking from their experiences as a Japanese American man and an African American man, writers David Mura and Alex Pats share personal and provocative stories that range from reading Fanon to reading Meryl Streep’s face. Throughout their dialogue, they provide insights into the complicated issues around race and masculinity. Award winning producer and cinematographer Arthur Jafa (Daughters of the Dust, Crooklyn) directs this beautifully shot and visually inventive film.
Something Strong Within
Director: Robert A. Nakamura; 40 minutes, 1994, b&w and color footage
Something Strong Within is a video production that was created for the exhibition “America’s Concentration Camps: Remembering the Japanese American Experience,” featuring never-before-seen home movies of the forced removal and incarceration of Japanese Americans during World War II.
The Story of Vinh
Director: Keiko Tsuno; 60 minsutes, 1990
A compelling examination of the Vietnam War’s complex legacy through the eyes of Vinh Dinh, the son of a U.S. serviceman and Vietnamese mother. After leaving a refugee camp in Thailand, Vinh arrives at J.F.K. airport dazed, speaking no English and with minimal education. The myth of the American Dream and the “valedictorian” stereotype of Amerasians is exploded as the film follows Vinh on his journey from Vietnamese to American culture, from youth to manhood, and from false dream to harsh reality. (2 copies)
Talking Story-Maxine Hong Kingston
Director: Joan Saffa; 60 minutes, 1990
The principle themes and concerns in Maxine Hong Kingston’s books-her views in Chinese and American culture, feminism and pacifism, and the importance of ghosts, mythology, and dreams-are explored in this personal look at her life and work. Narrated by Tony award wining actor B.D. Wong
Ten Cents A Dance (Parallax)
Director: Midi Onodera, 30 minutes, 1986
“Onodera’s three-part reflection on contemporary sexuality and communication uses a split screen device with a new twist. In the first segment, two women awkwardly discuss their mutual attraction; the second depicts anonymous bathroom sex between two men; the third is an ironic episode of heterosexual phone sex.”
There Is No Name For This
Directors: Ming-Yuen S. Ma & Cianna Pamintuan Stewart; 49 minutes, 1997, Documentary
How can you tell someone that you are lesbian, gay, or bisexual when you don’t have the words? What happens to your family when you come out? Is it necessary to talk about these private issues in public? What does it mean for Chinese and Chinese Americans to accept gays, lesbians, and bisexuals in their communities? Community- wide discussion was sparked when the Gay Asian Pacific Alliance and Asian Pacific Sisters marched in San Francisco’s Chinese New Year Parade. This film incorporates this event and over two dozen interviews to examine the private and public repercussions as Chinese and Chinese American lesbians, gays, and bisexuals to come out across cultural and language barriers.
A Thousand Years of Good Prayers
Producer/Director: Wayne Wang; 83 minutes, 2007
A woman in her early 40s moves from China to America to start a new life. Her father comes to visit her because of her recent divorce. Their social and generational conflicts end up revealing the darker lies and cover ups within her family during the Cultural Revolution.
Too Much Air to Breathe
The rise of Communist power in Laos in 1975 resulted in a Lao migration from the country. 5,000 Laotians resettled in Washington D.C. This film focuses on the Temple Wat Lao Buddhavang, a Buddhist temple 50 miles west of Washington D.C. in rural Fauquier County Virginia . The temple is the basis of community for the Laotian immigrants, providing a sense of “home,” friends to socialize with, and familiar traditions, as well as opportunities to teach the younger generation about Lao culture. The temple is a welcome respite from life in America , a land that is “too big,” and where there is “too much air to breathe.”
Directors: Paramita Parasher & Deb Ellis; 32 minutes, 1989
This experimental documentary looks at the life of Manjula Joshi, an Indian woman who works making poori bread in a Chicago restaurant. Women’s roles in traditional culture, the value of women’s labor, and the experience of immigration are addressed by competing images, words, and text.
Uncommon Courage: Patriotism and Civil Liberties
Producer/Director: Gayle K. Yamada; 2001, 57 minutes, Documentary
A dramatic and moving documentary,Uncommon Courage, tells the story of the Military Intelligence Service (MIS) during World War II and the occupation of Japan. Many Japanese American MIS soldiers fought for the United States in the Pacific interrogating Japanese soldiers, translating documents, and infiltrating enemy lines. Ironically, at the same time, their families back home were interned and isolated in imprisonment camps stripped of their civil rights.
Producer: Nicole Newham; 13 minutes, 1993
George Oiye, a Japanese American soldier who helped liberate people from Dachau in 1945, and Yanina Cywinska, then a 16 year old prisoner in the death camp, reunite some 40 years after WWII. A powerful and intimate reflection of the depth of the human spirit and the ability to transcend cultural differences.
Director: Jari Osborne/Producer: Karen King; Canada, 48 minutes, Documentary
A multi-layered documentary and endearing tribute to the filmmaker’s father, Alex Louie, a Chinese Canadian veteran of World War II whose story – along with that of many other Chinese Canadian vets – have been silenced until now. Told in the voice of a grateful daughter, the film retells Louie’s experiences growing up in Vancouver’s Chinese ghetto. In a time of blatant segregation echoing the Jim Crow laws of America’s Deep South, Chinese Canadians were denied basic civil liberties such as the right to vote and right to serve in the military during World War II. Louie recounts how finally – in desperate need of secret agents who could blend into Japanese society- the Canadian Army was forced to recruit soldiers who were Chinese-Canadian to carry out top-secret missions behind enemy lines in Southeast Asia. Sworn to secrecy for decades, the filmmaker’s father and his fellow veterans now vividly recall their war stories. Unwanted Soldier is the untold story of young Chinese-Canadians proudly fighting for a country that had always rejected them, finally receiving recognition and long over-due. This heroic military service finally won provincial voting rights for Chinese Canadians in British Columbia.
Voices Unheard Sisters Unseen
Director: Grace Poore; 76 minutes, 1995, Documentary
In this video, “battered women provide information not only as “talking heads” but also as poets and journal writers. Some of the women communicate as performance artists. Others speak as advocates working to change the way the system treats women seeking safety and justice. By using multiple forms of expression, Poore intends to emphasize that women are more than survivors or victims, we are also vibrant people who have transformed terrifying personal experiences into political activism and/or creative work.”
Director: Producer/Director: Dai Sil Kim-Gibson; 59 minutes, 2003
With Us or Against Us: Afghans in America
Director: Kenneth Krauss and Mariam Jobrani; 27 minutes
When the Soviets invaded Afghanistan in the late 1970s, many Afghans fled leaving behind homes, possessions, and sometimes family members. Many settled in Fremon, CA, which became the center of a community of 15,000 exiled Afghans. After September 11th, these Afghan-Americans found themselves caught in a cultural crossfire as their adoptive homeland was at war with their native land.
Who Killed Vincent Chin?
Directors: Christine Choy & Renee Tajima-Pe’a; 82 minutes, 1988, Documentary
This Academy Award nominated film relates the stark facts of Vincent Chin’s brutal murder by disgruntled auto workers in Detroit who assume he is Japanese and the cause for their employment frustrations. Chin’a murderers receive only a small fine for their actions which propels the Asian American community in an unprecedented civil rights protest.
Who’s going to Pay for these Donuts Anyway?
Producer/Director: Janice Tanaka; 58 minutes, 1992
This video presents clear evidence of the profound effect of the internment on generations of Japanese Americans. It chronicles Tanaka’s fifty year personal search for her father, whom she had not seen since age three. As a young man, the FBI arrested him for opposing the internment and diagnosed him as schizophrenic with paranoid tendencies. Tanaka finally finds him in a half-way house for the chronically mentally ill in L.A.’s skid row.
Why Is Preparing Fish a Political Act?
Director: Russel Leong; 20 minutes, 1991
A reflection on legacies of struggle, power, and self- determination. The video portrait of Asian American poet and activist Janice Mirkitani, author of Shedding Silence, begins with a remembrance of the poet’s Issei grandmother.
The Woman Who Made Swell Donuts
Toshio Mori & Janette Brisk; 8 minutes
An interpretation of a short story by the same name in Toshio Mori’s Yokohama, California, this brief video was produced by Janette Brisk, a student in Amy Ling’s Asian American Literature 270 class.
Xiao-Lei Wang Colloquium
March 4, 1993
Writer/Director: Chris Chan Lee; Producers: Chris Chan Lee, David Yang, Rita Yoon; 1996, 90 minutes, Drama
Sin Lee is a Korean American teenager who gets robbed while working alone at his dad’s grocery store. Already feeling pressure to prove the worth of his general existence, he is unable to face his father about the loss. His buddies rally together and scheme to recover the money before sunrise. Cast: Michael Chung, Burt Bulos, John Cho, Jason Tobin, Angie Suh, Mia Suh, Mary Hen, Lela Lee, Soon-tek Oh, Emily Kuroda, Amy Hill.
Yuri Kochiyama: Passion for Justice
Director/Producer: Rea Tajiri & Pat Saunders; 1993, 57 minutes, Documentary
For over forty years, the work of this tireless political activist has touched thousands of lives in diverse communities across the United States. Yuri Kochiyama’s story begins with her internment as a young woman during World War II. She has been involved with worldwide nuclear disarmament, the Japanese American Redress and Reparations Movement and the International Political Prisoner Rights Movement. A follower and friend of Malcolm X and a supporter of Black Liberation, Mrs. Kochiyama was at the Audubon Ballroom when he was assassinated.