Film and Television

For Asian American entertainment, 2020 marks a new beginning — but the beginning of what exactly?, part 2

Editor’s Note: This is the second of a two-part series. Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders in franchise entertainment — and AAPI franchises While movies and television have been steadily reorienting around multimedia franchises for a long time, this past decade marked a sort of point of no return, in which almost every major Hollywood release […]

ENTERTAINMENT RE-ORIENTED: For Asian American entertainment, 2020 marks a new beginning — but the beginning of what exactly?

Editor’s Note: This is the first of a two-part series. When we talk about eras in entertainment media, we often define them by decades. Eighties movies, sixties rock or ‘90s video games. This is ultimately pretty arbitrary, of course — when the calendar flips from December 1999 to January 2000, what’s happening in film, books […]

Performing artists hopeful amid uncertain future and potential devastation

With theaters shuttered and live audiences reluctant to gather, the performing arts sector has suffered considerably since the pandemic has prompted most people to stay at home. For Asian Americans, the issue is no different, and some fear devastation if things do not improve. Ethnic Media Services reported that the arts sector has lost $12 […]

Claudia Kishi is the coolest girl in the club

I was 17 when I moved to Oakland, Calif. to attend college. Since I needed to supplement my work-study income, I went to check out the career center job bulletin board, which was shingled with index cards and Xeroxed fliers fringed with phone numbers to call. By pure stroke of luck, I was hired by […]

Docuseries offers fresh look at Asian American experience

“Asian Americans,” a five-hour film series chronicling the contributions and challenges of the fastest-growing ethnic group in America, is being shown this month on PBS during Asian Pacific American Heritage Month. Personal histories and new academic research cast a fresh lens on U.S. history and the role Asian Americans have played in it. Renee Tajima-Peña, […]

Film uncovers little-known story of music in camp by incarcerated Nikkei

“For Joy,” a film by Julian Saporiti and the No-No Boy project, tells the little-known story of a Nikkei teenager who sang with a jazz band formed in the World War II concentration camp for Japanese Americans at Heart Mountain, Wyo. The story also sheds light on a hidden history — the music played during […]

WHEN ‘THEN’ MEETS ‘NOW’: Film examines bonds made in Crystal City camp, lessons for today

How is “now” — meaning the Trumpian era where government officials criminalize immigrants and asylum seekers from non-Aryan countries — connected to “then” — the World War II period when people of Japanese descent from the West Coast and Latin American countries were incarcerated in United States-style concentration camps? To find out, join three men […]

Entertainment Re-Oriented: From scarcity to abundance: APIs on screen through the decade

I have a memory from approximately three decades ago — when I was in elementary school — that’s surprisingly vivid still today. I was sitting in front of the TV and something came on the screen that prompted me to call to my brother, who was in the kitchen, to hurry back and look. “Chris,” […]

AMC’s ‘The Terror: Infamy’ weaves a ‘seductive creepiness’ into the WWII incarceration story

AMC’s supernatural television anthology, titled “The Terror: Infamy,” opens with a Japanese woman putting on make up and then sticking a chopstick into her hair. I groaned. Was this going to be another series where cultural appropriation was the norm, I wondered? We never see white people stick forks or spoons in their hair. Then, […]

‘Kikan — The Homecoming’ retraces a San Francisco Nikkei tale

Japanese American filmmaker Kerwin Berk plans to premiere his latest film “Kikan – the Homecoming” Aug. 18 in San Francisco’s Japantown. Set in the 1940s, Berk tells the story of Jimmy Ibata (Ryan Takemiya), a Japanese American soldier returning to America after fighting in Europe with the 442nd Regimental Combat Team. “Kikan” features a multi-generational cast of Japanese Americans directed by the director of “The Virtues of Corned Beef Hash” and “Infinity & Chashu Ramen,” two films predominantly set in the ethnic enclave. The Nichi Bei Weekly interviewed Berk, a Sansei, about his latest film.

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