Welcome Back! We are thrilled to be hosting two amazing March Screenings.
First, on Tuesday March 15 at 5:30pm at the Penn Museum’s Rainey Auditorium, we are so fortunate to host two extraordinary directors, Duane Kubo and Alile Sharon Larkin, who are key figures in two of the most important tributaries of UCLA Film School’s Ethno-Communications Program, the Asian American Media Arts organization, Visual Communications and the collective of Black independent filmmakers, the L.A. Rebellion. We will screen their short film classics: “Cruisin’ J-Town” and “A Different Image.” (Kubo is pictured above aiming the camera flanked by Alan Kondo and possibly Alan Ohashi hidden by camera and Larkin is on the far left in the photo of the women of the L.A. Rebellion above including also Stormé Bright Sweet, Melvonna Ballenger, and Julie Dash).
Then on Tuesday March 22 at 4:30pm in the Claudia Cohen Terrace on Penn’s Campus, in conjunction with Asian American Studies, we will host Robert Nakamura and Karen Ishizuka, for a screening of Nakamura’s early classic, Manzanar and a film he coproduced with Ishizuka, 9066 to 9/11. Both will be present for a conversation about the two films as well as Ishizuka’s latest book: Serve the People: Making Asian America in the Long Sixties. [Cofounders of Visual Communications, Robert Nakamura (with camera) and Duane Kubo are pictured above].
More info on the films and filmmakers below, we sooooo hope to see you both Tuesdays!
Cruisin’ J-Town: This dazzling documentary short about the formation of the jazz fusion band, Hiroshima, has been called “the closest thing so far to the definitive Sansei film” by Renee Tajima-Pena, who goes on to say, “Heavily influenced by Afro-Asian-Latin culture… (the film documents) the musical and political influences that shaped the original Hiroshima sound, with the koto…and taiko drums at the heart of the band and Asian America’s socio-political milieu at its soul.”
created Cruisin’ J-Town
while still a film student at UCLA in the Ethno-communications program. One of the founders of Visual Communications (1970), the seminal Asian American media arts group, Kubo later went on to co-direct (with Robert Nakamura) and produce Hito Hata: Raise the Banner
(1980), the first Asian American feature length narrative film. Kubo moved back to his native San Jose, CA in 1982 and started teaching at De Anza College in Cupertino, CA. He later became dean of the Intercultural/International Studies Division, teaching Asian American Studies and overseeing the Ethnic Studies and International Studies programs. Kubo is now retired from De Anza College and volunteers in San Jose Japantown by running J-Town Community TV (youtube.com/c/jtowncommunitytv)
and the J-Town FilmFest.
A Different Image: A remarkable and refreshing story of Alana, a visual artist/dancer who makes art to celebrate the expansive beauty of women of the African Diaspora…Clyde Taylor says of Larkin’s film: “Her young protagonist’s refusal to be bounded by the eroticdepersonalizations of black men and the sexist-racist codes of the American media is at once quixotic, utopian, and heroic.”
Alile Sharon Larkin: Multicultural and multi-genre artist-educator Alile Sharon Larkin shares over 30 years experience as an award-winning independent video and filmmaker (L.A. Rebellion Filmmaker). Recently retired from the Los Angeles Unified School District, she specialized in Afrocentric and global arts education across her curriculum. Her screenplay for A Different Image is included in Screenplays of the African American Experience, edited by Phyllis Rauch Klotman. She plans to devote her retirement years to her family, her art, and “the work of memory.”
Manzanar: Nakamura’s “ground-breaking personal documentary, Manzanar (1972) revisit(s) painful childhood memories of incarceration in an American concentration camp during World War II…it has been selected for major retrospectives on the documentary form at the San Francisco Museum of Art, Film Forum, and the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles.”
9066 to 9/11: This gripping documentary short spotlights, “the parallels between the post-September 11 treatment of Arab Americans and Muslims in this country with treatment of Japanese Americans after the start of WWII. Reveling striking similarities, the video addresses the mistreatment of immigrants in the United States, as well as the lack of historical memory by lawmakers and the public about America’s concentration camps during WWII.”
Robert Nakamura has been called “the Godfather of Asian American media.” A graduate of Art Center College of Design (B.A., 1966) and the UCLA Department of Motion Picture & Television Production (M.F.A., 1975), Nakamura has garnered more than 25 national awards for his films. In 1970, he cofounded Visual Communications, now the oldest community-based media arts center in the United States, where he continues to serve as a member of the Board of Directors. In 1996, he founded the UCLA Center for EthnoCommunications. In 1997, he and Karen Ishizuka founded the Media Arts Center of the Japanese American National Museum.