In a New Orleans neighborhood called Versailles, a tight-knit group of Vietnamese Americans overcame obstacles to rebuild after Hurricane Katrina, only to have their homes threatened by a new government-imposed toxic landfill. The empowering story of how the Versailles residents, who have already suffered so much in their lifetime, turn a devastating disaster into a catalyst for change and a chance for a better future.
A David vs Goliath story straight from the headlines. After the 2008 financial crisis, the federal government brought criminal charges against only one bank: a family business in New York’s Chinatown. Little did the DA know that Chinatown protects itself, and that the Sung Family was driven by the honor and mission of its founder and his three unyielding and extraordinary daughters.
Based on true events, Lyle Nomura is a star pitcher forced to leave behind a college scholarship when he and his family are suddenly interned at the Topaz Utah internment camp. As the Nomura’s start their own baseball team, tensions build to a final showdown with a rival team led by a racist prison guard.
We would all be so lucky to know a Grace Lee Boggs: activist, feminist, author, and longtime advocate for the rights of African Americans, who have in turn embraced her and her husband, fellow activist James Boggs. Shot over a decade in Boggs' home city of Detroit, AMERICAN REVOLUTIONARY offers a reverential and critical overview of her ideas and accomplishments, the living testament to her words: "You don't choose the times you live in, but you do choose who you want to be."
When a stripper is murdered in LA’s Little Tokyo, Japanese American detective Joe Kojaku (James Shigeta) and his partner Charlie Bancroft (Glenn Corbett) are assigned to the case—but their investigation is soon complicated by both romantic rivalry and racial tension.
The ultimate testament to galvanizing the grassroots, THE DEBUT came out of nowhere to become one of the highest grossing self-distributed films in the US and a cornerstone of Asian American film. In this coming-of-age feature, Ben, a talented and ambitious high school senior, grapples with his Filipino heritage and his own American dreams in a series of conflicts that culminate on his sister's eighteenth birthday party.
Cigar-chomping, union veteran Larry Itliong organized a group of 1500 Filipinos to strike against the grape growers of Delano, California, and instigated one of the American farm labor movement’s finest hours – The Delano Grape Strike of 1965 that brought about the creation of the United Farm Workers Union (UFW) — beginning a collaboration between Filipinos, Chicanos, and other ethnic workers that would go on for years.
One of the 2013’s most powerful documentaries chronicles Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Jose Antonio Vargas’ coming-out as an undocumented American through an essay published in the New York Times, his shaky self-discovery as an activist and symbol, and perhaps most crushingly, his learning how to be a son to a mother he hasn’t seen since she let him go nearly 20 years ago.
In this road-trip comedy, Farah, a woman in her twenties, tries to lose her virginity while campaigning across America for presidential candidate John Kerry in 2004.
In 1966, Deann Borshay Liem was adopted by an American family and sent from Korea to her new home in California. There the memory of her birth family was nearly obliterated, until recurring dreams led her to investigate her own past, and she discovered that her Korean mother was very much alive.
Set in 1995 Seattle, this short follows the trials and tribulations of a Cambodian hustler named Rocky Mang who gets a wake-up call when a barista accepts his invite for a date.
This fascinating documentary examines the history of the nation’s premiere all-Chinese nightclub, Forbidden City, a popular San Francisco nightclub during the 1930s. Like the Cotton Club of Harlem which featured America’s finest African American entertainers, Forbidden City gained an international reputation with its unique showcase of Chinese American performers in eye-popping, all-American extravaganzas.
A look at one of Asian American cinema's most fascinating and elusive figures, the savvy and dandyish director Esther Eng, who as a queer, female director in California in the 1930s-40s was so far ahead of her time we're still struggling to keep up.
On April 29, 1992, Eli will get a black eye and “gook” scribbled on the hood of his car, reminders that he’s not wanted in the neighborhood where he owns a shoe store. In that store, on this day, with the Rodney King verdict playing on TV, he and others in the community are going to confront the pain festering on both sides of the graffiti.
Join us in week 3 for a special Q&A discussion between filmmaker Justin Chon and Pac Arts Founder Lee Ann Kim! Stay tuned for more details and the registration link.
At a Vietnamese refugee camp in California circa 1975, Tai Tran (Don Duong) sees an opportunity to improve communications and living conditions by working with a local military officer.
On Sep 25,1993, Yoon Myung and Tai Sook Suh's pursuit of happiness in America quickly became riddled with misfortune when their son Andrew shot and killed his older sister’s fiancé at his sister’s bidding. As the Suh’s complex history unfolds, this seemingly open and shut case grows more insidious as issues of assimilation, tradition, and justice raise questions of guilt, innocence, and the illusive gray area in between.
As idyllic Hawaiian songs reveal hidden resistance, a taxi dance hall sets the stage for a tense encounter between a beautiful native Hawaiian singer and a haunting returned soldier with a few dance tickets to spend.
Chances are you have not heard of Filipino American Richard Adams and his Australian husband, Tony Sullivan. This is their powerful love story culminating in the first federal lawsuit seeking equal treatment for a same-sex marriage in U.S. history.
Join us on Wednesday, May 13th for a Q&A with filmmaker Thomas Miller and special guest Assemblymember Todd Gloria! Stay tuned for more details and the registration link.
In February 2012, Harvard alum Jeremy Lin went from undrafted benchwarmer cut from multiple NBA teams to the overnight inspiration to underdogs everywhere, and headliner of the global phenomenon called Linsanity. LINSANITY is only partially about basketball and the charismatic Asian American kid armed with faith, family, and undeniable skills. It’s also about how everyday people can defy expectations and become extraordinary.
At age 21, sculptor and architect Maya Lin designed the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C. while still an undergraduate at Yale. The film tells the gripping story behind the Vietnam Memorial and explores a decade of Lin’s creative work including the Civil Rights Memorial, the Yale Women's Table, and the Juniata Peace Chapel — and her ability to address major issues of our times through the healing power of art.
Three young skateboarding friends bond together to escape volatile families in their Rust Belt hometown. As they face adult responsibilities, unexpected revelations threaten their decade-long friendship.
After moving from Calcutta to New York, members of the Ganguli family maintain a delicate balancing act between honoring the traditions of their native India and blending into American culture. Although parents Ashoke (the late Irrfan Khan) and Ashima (Tabu) are proud of the sacrifices they make to give their offspring opportunities, their son Gogol (Kal Penn) strives to forge his own identity without forgetting his heritage.
In this thrilling stranger-than-fiction documentary, a squadron of military-minded Hmong men in California plot to stage a coup in their estranged homeland with the help of the US government and its AK-47s. Filled with wily characters and pixelated evidence, this is both a documentary about secret wars and an edge-of-your-seat mystery.
At 14, Kulap discovered that the man she called father was in fact not. Now a successful entertainer, Kulap embarks on an investigatory quest that takes her to the Mekong, in search for keys to disentangle family secrets and the decade-long rift between Kulap and her mother.
Helmed by four award winning cinematic voices, these four short docs map multiple San Diego’s — all distinctly Asian American. A 2008 University City plane crash that casts a somber shadow over a military city. City Heights mortuary workers who help refugee families grieve. The electric immigrant space of a karaoke-restaurant in National City. And interviews at a South Bay 20th high school reunion that reveal that memories are not always reliable.
Close out May Madness on Sunday, May 31 with a Q&A featuring filmmakers Norbert Shieh, Quyên Nguyen-Le, and RJ Lozada with guest moderator Erin Chew. Stay tuned for more details and the registration link.
An expansive and moving documentary chronicling the life and political career of Patsy Mink, from her beginnings on a sugar plantation in Maui, Hawai‘i, to her four decades as an elected official of the U.S. House of Representatives.
Inspired by the true stories of Hawaii's picture brides, with only a picture in hand, a spirited young woman leaves behind all she knows in Japan for the far-off islands of Hawaii - and an arranged marriage with a man she has only known through photographs and letters.
Join us on Thursday, May 7th at 6:30PM PT for a Q&A with producer Lisa Onodera moderated by Artistic Director Brian Hu!
By chance, director Ali Kazimi stumbled upon hours of home movies from 1936-1951 shot by Silas Fung, a commercial artist obsessed with the Chicago World’s Fair and the ceaseless documentation of his own family. The resulting documentary is a loving and invaluable portrait of middle-class Chinese America in the Midwest during the Depression era.
Tule Lake is where the troublemakers were held. These were the incarcerees who spat at the government’s insidious loyalty questionnaires, who banded together and sought a collective voice against injustice, and who seriously questioned the flag that cast an agonizing shadow over their families. It is the untold story of courage, controversy, and anger in a "jail within a jail."
Inspired by the site of pilgrimage in India, SANGAM depicts the struggle to maintain faith in the reality of the American Dream. From the late director of Patang (The Kite).
Don’t you forget about 1986, when the Latin Lover collided with the punk and the pastor’s daughter on a Seoul summer camp for overseas Korean youth to discover their roots. And by roots, we mean soju, laughs, and that weird science of young love.
With Southern California flair and DIY punk aesthetics, SOME DIVINE WIND confronts identity crisis through Ben, an American-born young man of mixed parentage who is forced to confront the trauma inflicted on his family in World War II when his American father confesses that he was part of the bombing mission that destroyed Ben's Japanese mother's village.
Newly restored! Set in a mining town in the 1880s, THOUSAND PIECES OF GOLD portrays the real-life story of Lalu (Rosalind Chao), a young Chinese woman who is trafficked to a nefarious saloonkeeper in Idaho's gold country. Eventually Charlie (Chris Cooper), a man of different ilk wins her in a poker game and must slowly gain her trust.
It’s 1979 and Sami arrives in the U.S. with a leisure suit, a new job, and a suitcase full of expectations. He loses two of those three within hours of touching down, so it’ll take grit, ingenuity, and some hilarious friends to get back on his feet and, if the stars align, impress his sweetheart back in India.