Visual Communications Celebrates the Vibrancy and Achievement of Japanese American Senior Citizens
[LOS ANGELES] – A special program of cinematic works by and about Japanese American senior filmmakers will be showcased as part of a collaboration between Visual Communications, the nation’s premier Asian Pacific American media arts center, and Sustainable Little Tokyo as part of opening weekend activities for Nisei Week 2018.
The program, “Home is in the Heart,” set for Saturday, August 11, 2018 at 1:30 PM and 4:00PM at 341 FSN (formerly the Matsumura Giftshop, in the heart of Little Tokyo’s historic First Street North), is organized by Visual Communications and Sustainable Little Tokyo to uplift the creative voices of seniors in the Japanese American community. “Home is in the Heart” will be hosted by Visual Communications staff and interns and feature a Q&A with the directors after the screenings.
“The concept of ‘home’ seems to be under assault, given a new wave of community redevelopment and displacement,” said Abraham Ferrer, Visual Communications Archives and Distribution Manager and Co-curator of “Home is in the Heart”. “Thankfully, the artists of our Digital Histories senior filmmaking program are able to articulate the stories that celebrate the Little Tokyo community as well as those communities of Crenshaw, East L.A., and Orange County, and tell us why these communities are valuable and worth preserving for future generations.”
Added Visual Communications’ Exhibitions Associate Yong-Yi Chiang, “We’re excited to share these special films with the audiences that come and visit Little Tokyo. The works by VC’s Digital Histories filmmakers speak to the social and cultural forces that affect Little Tokyo and the larger Asian American communities in ways that can’t be told in any form other than through cinema.”
The program will include the following films:
NOTE TO SELF, by Carol Shubin, follows 22-year old Casey’s struggle to balance responsibilities while finding joy. Reflecting on her childhood memories, Casey discovers that happiness is a choice and it’s the simple things that keep her grounded.
HOLIDAY BOWL, by Mitchell Matsumura, pays tribute to the community-favorite gathering place, Holiday Bowl. Celebrating the community that was created through food and bowling clubs, HOLIDAY BOWL reflects on the vibrant life found at the cafe from its creation in 1958 to its closing in 2000.
THE ARTS DISTRICT WITHOUT ARTISTS, by Steve Nagano, documents Little Tokyo artists in their fight against gentrification, an issue that is relevant to current events. After years of living and working in one of the first designated Artists-in-Residence buildings in Los Angeles, artists are evicted from their homes by the subsidiary of an international bank.
THE FINALE CLUB, by Robert M. Shoji, examines the confluence of music, race, and politics in 1946 that led to the inception of the Finale Club, where jazz musicians like Charlie Parker and Miles Davis began their careers. THE FINALE CLUB sheds light on a time when Little Tokyo was Bronzeville due to the displacement of Japanese Americans and racist housing policies that pushed Black Americans to fill in the vacancies left behind.
DANCING THROUGH LITTLE TOKYO, by David Osako, recounts David’s personal journey to reconnect with his roots through Little Tokyo’s Nisei Week. Through various forms of dance, a legendary Japanese choreographer, and Elvis impersonators, David creates new meaning for himself as a Japanese American.
“ON MY HONOR…” BILL SHISHIMA VOLUNTEER EXTRAORDINAIRE, by Fran Ito, celebrates the life of Bill Shishima and his continued dedication to serving his community, whether as a boy scout, teacher, docent, or tour guide. ON MY HONOR looks into Bill’s upbringing in El Pueblo, Los Angeles, and his experiences in internment camp, and how such experiences led him to become a community leader in Little Tokyo.
“Home is in the Heart” will be presented at 341 FSN, 341 E 1st St, Los Angeles, CA 90012 as part of a series of events presented by Sustainable Little Tokyo and various community partners and individuals. All films presented in this program are underwritten by grants from Sony Pictures Entertainment, the Aratani Foundation, and individual donors.
Doors open at 12:30PM; two screenings of the shorts will take place at 1:30PM and 4:00PM. A reception will be held in between screenings at 2:30PM.
To RSVP, visit: http://vconline.org/homeinheart.
For additional program information, contact: (213) 680-4462.