Asian American Film Series

Posted on Jun 30 by SEASONS Magazine

The Santa Barbara Trust for Historic Preservation (SBTHP) presents Ninth Annual Asian American Film Series on Fridays, July 6, 13, 20, and 27 at Alhecama Theatre (914 Santa Barbara St., Santa Barbara). At all four screenings, dinner is available to purchase an hour before the screening, and a Q&A and reception follows each film. 

During the late-19th and early-20th centuries, the area in and around the Santa Barbara Presidio included communities of Chinese and Japanese, residing in what was a unique and culturally rich neighborhood. SBTHP’s Asian American Film Series includes films with themes common to the experience of these communities in the effort to connect a modern audience with the history of the Asian American experience in Santa Barbara. Film selections address a broad range of historical and modern topics, such as the internment of Japanese Americans during WWII, Chinese American adoptions, and the contributions of key Asian American figures.

Below are the movies shown on each Friday in July and a short recap provided by SBTHP:

Friday, July 6, 7 p.m.: Never Give Up! Minoru Yasui and the Fight for Justice (2017, 55 minutes, directed by Holly Yasui & Will Doolittle, Narrated by George Takei) 

This gripping documentary tells the story of Minoru (Min) Yasui. The first Japanese American attorney in Oregon, Yasui initiated a legal test case by deliberately violating military orders that lead to the incarceration of over 110,000 persons of Japanese ancestry in U.S. concentration camps.

Friday, July 13, 7 p.m.: Meditation Park (2017, 1 hour 34 minutes, Directed by Mina Shum) 

In this “love letter to Asian moms,” a devoted wife and mother (Pei Pei) is forced to reassess her reverence for her husband after she finds another woman’s underwear in his laundry.

Friday, July 20, 7 p.m.: Abacus: Small Enough to Jail (2016, 1 hour 30 minutes, Directed by Steven James) 

This riveting, award-winning documentary tells the incredible saga of the Chinese immigrant Sung family, owners of Abacus Federal Savings of Chinatown, New York. Accused of mortgage fraud by Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance, Jr., Abacus becomes the only U.S. bank to face criminal charges in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis.

Friday, July 27, 7 p.m.: Delano Manongs: Forgotten Heroes of the United Farm Workers (2014, 30 minutes, Directed by Marissa Aroy) & The Chinese Exclusion Act (2017, 30 minutes, Directed by Ric Burns & Li-Shin Yu)

Delano Manongs tells the story of farm labor organizer Larry Itliong and a group of Filipino farm workers who instigated one of the American farm labor movement’s finest hours – The Delano Grape Strike of 1965 that brought about the creation of the United Farm Workers Union (UFW). The Chinese Exclusion Act sheds a light on the important connections between the Chinese Exclusion Act and the history of American civil liberties, immigration, and culture.

This film series is made possible by the generous support of the George H. Griffiths and Olive J. Griffiths Charitable Foundation. For more information, visit or call 805/965-0093.  

Emma Sheridan


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