On Friday, July 6, the increasingly popular Asian American Film Series begins its annual run, with four films playing throughout the month at the Alhecama Theatre. The slate opens with Never Give Up! Minoru Yasui and the Fight for Justice. Narrated by George Takei, the documentary is about the first Japanese-American attorney in Oregon, who fought the WWII concentration camps decree.
Sponsored by the Santa Barbara Trust for Historic Preservation (SBTHP) — the organization behind October’s Asian American Neighborhood Festival — the film series has found an ideal home at the renovated, historic Alhecama. “We have held screenings in the Presidio Chapel in the past,” explained SBTHP Director of Programs Kevin McGarry, “which was the location of the Buddhist temple in the Nihonmachi (historic Japanese community) neighborhood in the early 1900s, but the Alhecama … is a special and appropriate place to hold a culturally inclusive program like our Asian American Film Series.” The film series is an extension of a conservation process that began in 2007, when the SBTHP acquired Jimmy’s Oriental Gardens, “the last visual remnant of Santa Barbara’s Chinatown,” said McGarry.
The other films in the series are Meditation Park (July 13), described as a “love letter to Asian moms”; Abacus: Small Enough to Jail (July 20), the Oscar-nominated documentary about the Sung family’s Abacus Federal Savings, the only U.S. bank accused of mortgage fraud in the 2008 financial crisis; and Delano Manongs: Forgotten Heroes of the United Farm Workers and The Chinese Exclusion Act (July 27), two documentaries dealing with what McGarry described as “systemic injustice toward Asian-American communities here in California.”
All screenings are at 7 p.m., with a $5 suggested donation for non-SBTHP members and boxed dinners ($8) available at 6 p.m. Call 961-5367 or see sbthp.org/aafs.