Visual Communications, FYI Films, and UCLA Asian American Studies Center Team to Celebrate the Vibrancy and Achievement of Pacific Islander Filmmakers and Films
[LOS ANGELES] – A special program of cinematic works by and about Pacific Islander filmmakers will be showcased as part of a first-of-its-kind collaboration between Visual Communications, the nation’s premier Asian Pacific American media arts center, FYI Films, an innovative media training program for at-risk youths, and the UCLA Asian American Studies Center.
The program, “Pacific Cine Waves,” set for Friday, Aug. 25, 7 PM at the Carson Community Center, is organized by Visual Communications, FYI Films, and UCLA AASC to highlight the considerable, if unsung, range of creative expression among Pacific Islanders representing Native Hawaiian, Chamoru, Maori, Rotuman, Samoan, and other cultures. “Pacific Cine Waves” will be hosted by noted radio personality “Q” of Island Block Radio, and include live performances by The Jason J. Project, Kutturan Chamoru Foundation; and a special appearance by Samoan American Olympian Silulu A’etonu-Grey. Additional guests will be announced as they are confirmed.
“Over the years, a number of films have come and gone that have exploited or marginalized the experiences and truths of Pacific Islander and indigenous peoples,’” said Abraham Ferrer, Visual Communications Exhibitions Director. “In fact, Pacific Islander communities have nurtured creative visions and voices in cinema and television for nearly as long as independent Asian America has existed — since the 1960s, if you can believe that.
“’Pacific Cine Waves’ is our humble effort to showcase the astounding scope of artistic expression by Pacific Islander cinema artists, in all its forms — from documentary and narrative, experimental, spoken-word, fantasy, activist cinema, performing arts, and even a bit of supernatural folklore. VC, FYI Films, and UCLA’s Asian American Studies Center are thrilled to offer this exciting program for one and all.”
The program will include the following films:
NA PUA O LAKA, by Rick Chun, spotlights Sissy Ka’io, local kumu Hula (teacher of Hula) and her efforts to perpetuate the Hawaiian culture in Southern California through her focus on her male students, which harks back to the origins of the dance and breaks the stereotype of the hulas as mere exotic entertainment.
LET THE MOUNTAIN SPEAK, by Vilsoni Hereniko, is a visual poem that pays tribute to Maunakea, a sacred mountain on the island of Hawaii and the center for one of the largest conflicts presently taking place in Hawaii. LET THE MOUNTAIN SPEAK gives voice to the mountain herself through visually thought provoking images, sound and artistic storytelling through film.
Alex C. Munoz’ THE RETURN OF OUR ELDER HURAO imagines a mighty Chamoru chief who returns to the island of Guahan and mourns the loss of connection between modern Chamorus and their past customs and ancestors.
Timely in its connection to current events, Alex C. Munoz’ GUAM IS CRYING meditates on a history of colonization and resistance, a legacy that Chamorus (indigenous Guamanians) either run away from — or warily embrace.
HO'OMAU, by Layla Tripp-Hanohano, follows Kapualei Hanohano-Tripp, a young woman passionate about making a difference for the advancement of her culture. Highlighting her profession as a Hawaiian language teacher in a rural demographic, HO’OMAU observes Hanohano-Tripp as she navigates her way through career paths that allow her to influence the Hawaiian community.
SEA OF HOPE: A POLYNESIAN EXPERIENCE, by Hagoth Aiono, celebrates Polynesian culture, art, film, music, athletics, and history through a contemporary lens. Set during the 2011 Island Fest, the kaleidoscope of athletics, family, and interactions between Samoan locals and visiting participants (including Pittsburgh Steelers legend Troy Polamalu) validates the film’s key theme, "The hopes and dreams of our people, rest in the eyes of our children.”
BORN FO' BANG, a group directorial effort by youths of FYI Films Hawaii, offers a pointed look at peer pressure as a Hawaiian youth refuses to beat up a haole as part of his gang initiation, at the risk of being ex-communicated from the gang headed by none other than his older brother.
MARIA, by Jeremiah Tauamiti, is a family drama foregrounding the matriarch of a large Polynesian family who lies bedridden and silent, unable or unwilling to speak after a long illness. When a family crisis strikes, Nan Maria gets unexpected help as she struggles to reunite her fractured family.
ALL YOU NEED IS BIG AUNTIE, directed by youths from FYI Films Guam, follows a young woman enduring a never-ending array of problems on the day her family is served an eviction notice: her brother is arrested, the rent money is stolen, and she's under pressure to date the local wannabe gangsta. It's up to no-nonsense Big Auntie and a forest spirit, or duendas, to show her the right way to solving her problems.
Following the screening, Keith Camacho of the UCLA Asian American Studies Center will guide a post-screening conversation with artists of the evening’s featured films.
“Pacific Cine Waves” will be presented at the Carson Community Center, 801 East Carson Street (corner Carson Street and Avalon Blvd., three blocks south of the San Diego Freeway), Carson, CA 90745. A pre-show reception and performance in the Community Center Atrium will take place beginning at 6:00 PM. Theatre doors open at 6:30 PM; screening program starts at 7:00 PM. To RSVP, visit: pacinewaves.splashthat.com.
“Pacific Cine Waves” is generously supported by (as of August 15, 2017): FYI Films; UCLA Asian American Studies Center; Empowering Pacific Islander Communities; Guam Humanities Council; Island Block Radio; The Jason J. Project; Kutturan Chamoru Foundation; Nielsen; Pacific Islanders in Communications; Sony Pictures Entertainment.
VISUAL COMMUNICATIONS (VC) is the first non-profit organization in the nation dedicated to the honest and accurate portrayals of the Asian Pacific American peoples, communities, and heritage through the media arts. VC’s mission is to develop and support the voices of Asian American and Pacific Islanders filmmakers and media artists who empower communities and challenge perspectives. Visual Communications is funded in part by the Aratani Foundation, Asian Pacific Community Fund, California Arts Council, Department of Cultural Affairs, City of Angeles, Los Angeles County Arts Commission, National Endowment for the Arts,, and VC Stakeholders and community partners.
FYI FILMS empowers youth affected by the juvenile justice system to improve their lives and become self-reliant. Through media literacy and the creative story-telling process, youth find their voice and gain valuable skills that are transferable to all areas of their life. Founded in 2004 FYI FILMS has conducted over thirty-five films workshops with youth in LA County, Guam and Hawaii. Youth write, direct, and perform their own short narrative films based on the their own past. By making films informed by their own immediate history, the process of filmmaking helps them to gain perspective on their lives. FYI FILMS regularly screens films made by the youth to Policy Makers giving them insight into the lives of youth from economically disadvantaged communities, and thus help inform them as they craft policy regarding Juvenile Offenders. FYI FILMS is a high impact program , and through a three year study has proven to put a serious dent into recidivism rates in L.A. County. FYI FILMS looks forward to conducting its first all women's workshop in 2017.
The UCLA ASIAN AMERICAN STUDIES CENTER was established during the 1969-1970 academic year as a result of faculty, student, alumni, and community advocacy. "The Center," the founding steering committee wrote in its proposal to the UCLA administration in 1969, "will hopefully enrich the experience of the entire university by contributing to an understanding of the long neglected history, rich cultural heritage, and present position of Asian Americans in our society." Through its programs in research, teaching, publications and other endeavors, the Center has pursued its original mission, and has sought to enrich and inform not only the UCLA community, but also an array of broader audiences and sectors in the state, the nation, and internationally. The Center is funded in part by the Don T. Nakanishi Award for Outstanding Engaged Scholarship in Asian American & Pacific Islander Studies Fund; Director's Discretionary Fund; 21st Century Fund; Friends of the Reading Room; Friends of EthnoCommunications Fund; and the Asian American Studies Center Fund.
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