The UCLA Film & Television Archive and UCLA Asian American Studies Center celebrate the legacy of Asian American studies with the UCLA Asian American Studies Center Film Festival, which will be presented virtually over two weekends — Feb. 19–21 and 26–28.

The online program includes six features, 13 short films, one television episode and one webisode, all of which offer powerful imagery and poignant commentary about meaningful issues facing Asian American and Pacific Islander communities. Audiences will hear from filmmakers and actors about their creative journeys, as well as from scholars, artists and community leaders on themes that apply to today’s world.

“For 51 years, the UCLA Asian American Studies Center has continuously worked to give voice to Asian American scholars, students and communities so that society at large can have a deeper understanding of our experiences and perspectives,” said Karen Umemoto, the Helen and Morgan Chu Director of the Asian American Studies Center. “Partnering with the UCLA Film & Television Archive to present this festival is an opportunity for all of us to be immersed in the lives of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders through moving images.”

The virtual festival is a continuation of last year’s in-person UCLA Asian American Studies Center 50th Anniversary Film Festival, which was cut short when safer-at-home orders were implemented in Los Angeles County due to COVID-19.

Program schedule:

Feb. 19, 4 p.m. PST — “Complexities of Race”

Please note: This screening is limited to UCLA students, faculty, staff and alumni. Preorder must be made with a UCLA email address. Space is limited.

Short films: “Liquor Store Babies” (2018), “Thank You, Come Again” (2020), “The Dope Years: The Story of Latasha Harlins” (2021)

“Down a Dark Stairwell” (2021) Special sneak preview screening; space is limited and restricted to viewers within the United States. This film will premiere on PBS’ Independent Lens on April 12, 2021. In Cantonese, Mandarin and English with English subtitles.

Prerecorded conversation to follow with filmmakers Ursula Liang and Allison A. Waite. Moderated by Renee Tajima-Peña, filmmaker, UCLA Asian American studies department professor and UCLA Center for EthnoCommunications director.


Feb. 20, 3 p.m. PST — “Anna May Wong: Asian American Icon”

“Anna May Wong: The First Asian American Movie Star” (4/8/2020)

Episode of “Unladylike2020” (a series that premiered as part of PBS’ American Masters series)

“The Toll of the Sea” (1922), silent, musical accompaniment provided by Cliff Retallick. Preserved by the UCLA Film & Television Archive.

Conversation to follow with Anna Wong, niece of Anna May Wong, and Michelle Krusiec, actor, writer and director. Moderated by Sean Metzger, UCLA School of Theater, Film and Television associate dean and professor. The conversation will include the following clips:

  • “Anna May Wong Visits Shanghai, China” (5/1/1936)
    • Stock footage shot for, but never used in, Hearst Metrotone News of Anna May Wong arriving on a Dollar Line boat, surrounded by a group of cameramen and newspapermen.
  • “Hollywood: Season 1, Part 2” (5/1/2020)
    • Clips from Ryan Murphy and Ian Brennan’s “Hollywood,” courtesy of Netflix.

Feb. 21, 2 p.m. PST — “Environmental Justice and Spirit of Aloha, Part 1”

Short films: “Back to the Source” (2020), “Standing Above the Clouds” (2019), “This Is the Way We Rise” (2020)

Conversation to follow with filmmaker Jalena Keane-Lee, director of photography Chapin Hall and filmmaker Sandra Carbonell-Kiamtia. Moderated by Alika Bourgette, University of Washington Ph.D. student.


Feb. 21, 5 p.m. PST — “Environmental Justice and Spirit of Aloha, Part 2”

“Moananuiākea: One Ocean, One People, One Canoe” (2018)
Available to view between Feb. 19 and 22 on the Archive’s Vimeo page.

Conversation with filmmaker Nāʻālehu Anthony and moderator Noah Patterson Hanohano Dolim, UC Irvine Ph.D. student.

For details and to RSVP for the Zoom webinar, click here.


Feb. 26, 4 p.m. PST — “Finding Home/Lands”

Short films: “The Price of Cheap Rent” (2020), “Gone” (2019), “Reopening” (2020), “Cambodia Town: Not for Sale” (2019), “Kamaʻāina (Child of the Land)” (2019)

“Chinatown Rising” (2021)
Special sneak preview screening; space is limited. This screening is restricted to viewers within the United States.

Prerecorded conversation to follow with filmmakers Harry and Josh Chuck. Moderated by Karen Umemoto, UCLA professor of urban planning and Asian American studies and UCLA Asian American Studies Center director.


Feb. 27, 3 p.m. PST — “Visions of Fire: LGBTQ+ Voices
Program will be introduced by UCLA Film & Television Archive Director May Hong HaDuong.

Short films: “Shu Mai Online” (2020), “Razor Tongue: Episode 1” (2019), “Unspoken” (2019)

“Fruit Fly” (2009), 10th anniversary sing-along edition

Post-screening conversation to follow with filmmaker H.P. Mendoza and actress, filmmaker, producer Rain Valdez. Moderated by Sean Metzger, TFT associate dean and professor.


Feb. 28, 5 p.m. PST — “Food & Family”

Short films: “Spamfight” (2020), “Phoenix Bakery: Sweets for the Sweet” (2020)

“Final Recipe” (2013)

Prerecorded conversation to follow with Gina Kim, director/producer and TFT professor; George Huang, screenwriter and TFT professor; and actor Chin Han.


For more information and film descriptions, visit the UCLA Asian American Studies Center Film Festival website.