Manilatown is in the Heart
Directed by: Curtis Choy
Runtime: 47 min
Website: Official Site
In his latest film, activist, media artist and documentarian Curtis Choy pays his respects to the manongs, a generation of Filipino men that immigrated to California in the 1920′s and 30′s, settling within the Central Valley and San Francisco and coming of age during the Depression, World War II and Philippine Independence. Leaning on each other during these turbulent times, this bachelor society found a family and community, while decades passed in the pursuit of social justice in their workplaces and homes.
Our guide along the way is writer, musician and community activist Al Robles, who selflessly spends his days with this disappearing subculture, filling the roles of social worker, friend and son, and immortalizing the lives of the manongs through poetry, spoken word, lyrics and song.
Woven throughout the film is rare archival footage, including scenes from The Fall of the I-Hotel, Choy’s previous documentary that chronicles community resistance and eventual eviction of the manong tenants from a Manilatown, San Francisco housing and community landmark. That film remains a staple in Asian American Studies courses today.
Choy, producer of the “very first Asian American Film Festival in history” who has spent the past 30-plus years recording the lives of Asian Pacific Americans from all walks of life, offers an inspiring lesson for a new generation of activists while honoring the spirited and unique lives of these grandfathers of Asian America.
— Anna Petrillo
Illustrates the effects of gentrification in Manhattan’s Chinatown as an elderly man and fellow tenants in endangered single-room occupancy building await the results of an anti-eviction lawsuit. A TWN Workshop production and part of the Call for Change Series.
A Song for Ourselves
Directed by: Tadashi Nakamura
Runtime: 35 min
Website: Official Site
2009 DC Asian Pacific American Film Festival – Best Short Documentary
An inspiring portrayal of the life and music of Asian American Movement troubadour Chris Iijima, who touched the lives of his generation as well as generations to come. Told from the perspective of friends and colleagues, his loving family, and through the eyes of the activist himself. — Grace Choi