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2017 Seattle Asian American Film Festival

Documentary

  1. BATTLE GROUNDS: THE HARD HITS OF FEMALE POPPERS

    Devon de Leña / Shorts / United States / 2016 / Documentary / 36 mins
    Facing both isolation and sexism within the street dancing community, Angel Alviar-Langley decides to organize the first international dance battle for female-identified poppers in Seattle.

  2. BREATHIN’: THE EDDY ZHENG STORY

    Ben Wang / Features / United States / 2016 / Documentary / 60 mins
    Arrested at 16 and tried as an adult for kidnapping and robbery, Eddy Zheng served over 20 years in California prisons and jails. Ben Wang's BREATHIN': THE EDDY ZHENG STORY paints an intimate portrait of Eddy--the prisoner, the immigrant, the son, the activist--on his journey to freedom, rehabilitation, and redemption.

    Preceded by: DIGGING TO CHINATOWN


  3. Coming Full Circle01

    COMING FULL CIRCLE: THE JOURNEY OF A TRANSGENDERED KOREAN ADOPTEE

    Larry Tung / Shorts / United States / 2016 / Documentary / 24 mins
    What is it like to go "back" to a country you never knew? Pauline Park was born into a poor family in post-war Korea. Adopted by white American parents, she left Korea as a 7-month old baby boy and grew up in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. 54 years later, she embarked on a journey of discovering and connecting to her past, where her birth name literally means "the second son." This film follows Pauline as she visited Korea for the first time after she left.

  4. DANCING THROUGH LIFE: THE DOROTHY TOY STORY

    Rick Quan / Shorts / United States / 2016 / Documentary / 25 mins
    Ninety-nine-year-old Dorothy Toy Fong is a living dance legend. She began at a young age after a vaudeville theater manager noticed her dancing in front of her parent's restaurant. During the 1930s, 40s and 50s, she teamed up with Paul Wing and would become the most famous Asian American dance duo in this country's history. Known for dancing on her toes, she developed a unique, athletic style of performing. Toy and Wing were pioneers, performing on Broadway and in Hollywood films. They were also the first Asian Americans to dance at the London Palladium. Dorothy, whose real last name is Takahashi, continued to perform during World War Two, although her parents and relatives were all sent to an internment camp in Topaz, Utah. From the 1960's to the mid 70's, Dorothy managed and performed with her Oriental Playgirl Revue, which traveled throughout the U.S., Canada, Europe, South America and Asia. She also ran a dance studio in the basement of her Oakland home, where she taught hundreds of children how to dance.

  5. Digging to Chinatown01

    DIGGING TO CHINATOWN

    Barre Fong / Features / United States / 2016 / Documentary / 41 mins
    On May 4, 1887, San Jose, one of the largest Chinatowns in the West was destroyed by arson in the furor of the anti-Chinese movement. But the Chinese refused to be driven out. Their ally, John Heinlen, fought opposition from City Hall and angry citizens, to build a new Chinatown on his property. The Chinatown, Heinlenville, lasted for 44 years in the era of nativism and the Chinese Exclusion Act. With restrictions on Chinese labor due to the Chinese Exclusion Act, Chinatown ended during the Depression in 1931, and became the City’s corporation yard. Heinlen’s Chinatown was forgotten until a redevelopment project for Japantown uncovered foundations of a historic Chinatown. Through rarely seen historic photos, footage of the excavation and interviews with archaeologists and descendants, DIGGING TO CHINATOWN is the story of people’s struggle against Asian exclusion, of battles lost and won that define our society and identity today.

    Precedes: BREATHIN’: THE EDDY ZHENG STORY


  6. EBB AND FLOW

    Shelly Solomon / Features / United States / 2016 / Documentary / 77 mins
    EBB AND FLOW follows ninety-three-year-old Jerry (Eiichi) Yamashita’s recounting of the family history to his son Patrick as they cook Japanese oysters around a campfire. Relying on Jerry’s memories and the help of rare archival footage, beginning with his father Masahide’s decision to immigrate to America from Japan in 1900, the Yamashitas' journey spanning three generations of entrepreneurial spirit in the face of endless struggle and uncertainty, is revealed. Today Masahide is just beginning to be recognized for his very important pioneering efforts to save the shellfish industry from complete collapse in the 1930s with a Japanese oyster. The Yamashita family story is an inspiring one, but at the same time a cautionary tale about how a society can turn against its immigrants in challenging times, and is as relevant today as ever. Were it not for Masahide, today’s thriving shellfish farming industry with its legions of passionate oyster connoisseurs may never have come to pass in the United States. “Ebb and Flow”... is the finest documentary on the story of a Japanese-American family I have seen to date. —David Yamaguchi, North American Post Newspaper, Seattle Co-presented by: JACL Seattle and Pacific Coast Shellfish Growers Association.

    Preceded by: THE ORANGE STORY


  7. GAYSIANS

    Vicky Du / Shorts / United States / 2016 / Documentary / 12 mins
    Five queer and trans Asian Americans from New York City explore their relationships with their family and culture in this illuminating patchwork documentary.

  8. GOOD LUCK SOUP

    Matthew Hashiguchi / Features / United States / 2016 / Documentary / 63 mins
    "I don't want to be Japanese!" filmmaker Matthew Hashiguchi recalls yelling at his father. Growing up Japanese-American in a white Irish-Catholic neighborhood in Cleveland, Ohio, Matthew wondered what made him different. Years later he set out to document his family's experiences of being Japanese in America before, during, and after World War II. GOOD LUCK SOUP explores several generations assimilating into a new culture while preserving their own. The family takes us on a warm, honest, and sometimes shocking journey of prejudice and triumph. Beginning with the family's arrival in the early 1900s, we encounter the Japanese Internment Camps during the war, a post-war welcome extended by Cleveland, and the different views and challenges each generation faces. Good Luck Soup is eaten on New Year's to bring hope and luck for the year. By partaking in this GOOD LUCK SOUP, we hope to continue to grow towards acceptance.

    Preceded by: ONE-TWO-ONE-SEVEN: A STORY OF JAPANESE INTERNMENT


  9. I HATE BIG PHONY

    Milton Liu / Shorts / United States / 2016 / Documentary / 33 mins
    For all intents and purposes, 2015 was seemingly a banner year for Korean American singer/songwriter Bobby Choy (aka Big Phony). His melodic and quiet songs had garnered him a following as he performs at SXSW while also starring in his first feature film. However, returning back to the States from living abroad in S. Korea, he wonders, has he made the right decisions in life? Is he his own worst enemy?

  10. MASSIVE MONKEES: THE BEACON

    Shannon Gee / Shorts / United States / 2016 / Documentary / 30 mins
    The Massive Monkees crew started in the mid-90s as a group of kids bonding around a love of hip-hop and dance at a local rec center. After winning world championships and achieving many other accolades in the bboy community, the crew now runs their own studio, The Beacon, in the heart of Seattle, where they teach, mentor, and inspire people of all ages.