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An American Mosque is a film about Islam in America, religious intolerance, and the interfaith response to an historic hate-crime. When the Islamic Center of Yuba City, California, was burned to the ground in 1994, it was the first arson to destroy a mosque in US history. At the time, this incident was largely ignored. Now, decades later, this symbolically important story is revisited. Late one night, arsonists broke into the newly-constructed mosque, doused prayer rugs with gasoline, then lit the building ablaze. The mosque was reduced to ashes and an investigation ensued.
AOKI chronicles the life of Richard Aoki (1938-2009), a third-generation Japanese American who became one of the founding members of the Black Panther Party. Filmed over the last five years of Richard's life, this documentary features extensive footage with Richard and exclusive interviews with his comrades, friends, and former students. Viewers will learn about Richard's childhood in a WWII Japanese American concentration camp, growing up in West Oakland, and serving eight years in the U.S. military. The film explores previously unknown facts about the formation of the Black Panther Party such as how Richard became intimately involved in its founding and contributed the first two firearms to the Party.
This film documents the large-scale migration of Chinese to California during the Gold Rush of the 1850s and the central role that these immigrants played in developing the American West by building the first Transcontinental Railroad and transforming California into the breadbasket of the nation. Their landmark legal battles to overcome discrimination helped to develop U.S. civil rights law, setting key precedents and expanding the definition of what it means to be an American.
Corner Store is the true story of Yousef Elhaj; beloved shop owner, Palestinian immigrant and long-distance father. Ten years ago, Yousef left his wife and three small children in Palestine to start a new life for them all in San Francisco. For the past decade he has worked day and night to build a small business, save money, and become part of his adopted community while still trying to stay connected from afar. The film profiles Yousef's life in San Francisco and the challenges of the immigration process for his family. It then follows his journey back to his fractured homeland to finally reunite with his wife and kids. But a lot has changed, and Yousef must confront the current realities in both his family and his country and decide if a new life in America is really still the right path for them to take.
The struggle for Muslim women's emancipation is often portrayed stereotypically as a showdown between Western and Islamic values, but Arab feminism has existed for more than a century. This groundbreaking documentary recounts Arab feminism's largely unknown story, from its taboo-shattering birth in Egypt by feminist pioneers up through viral Internet campaigns by today's tech-savvy young activists during the Arab Spring. Moving from Tunisia to Egypt, Algeria, Morocco, Lebanon and Saudi Arabia, filmmaker and author Feriel Ben Mahmoud tracks the progress of Arab women in their long march to assert their full rights and achieve empowerment. Featuring previously unreleased archival footage and exclusive multigenerational interviews,
KUKAN, a landmark color film that revealed the atrocities of World War II China to audiences around the world, was the first ever American feature documentary to receive an Academy Award in 1942 and was considered lost for decades. When filmmaker Robin Lung discovers a badly damaged film print of KUKAN, she pieces together the inspirational tale of the two renegades behind the making of it -- Chinese American playwright Li Ling-Ai and cameraman Rey Scott.
When we think of Asian America, Cleveland is not the first place that comes to mind for most people. In GOOD LUCK SOUP, filmmaker Matthew Hashiguchi shows us why this often overlooked part of the country is as important as others in understanding the Asian American story. The journey for the Hashiguchi family begins with Matthew's grandmother, Eva, who moved to the Cleveland area following her family's internment during World War II. Though she and many other Japanese Americans were invited to the area, assimilating, working and living there was an ongoing struggle.
MA'O Organic Farms, in the historical marginalized rural community of Wai'anae, O'ahu, is the site of a groundbreaking youth leadership program that has impacted the lives of hundreds of Hawaiian youth. This short documentary provides an intimate look at the MA'O program through the stories of three of these youth, sisters Miki, U'ilani and Sheila Arasato.
Asian Americans are the best-educated and highest-income ethnic group in the United States. They are often referred to as the "model minority," suggesting that all Asians are successful in school and in life. But Southeast Asian Americans have some of the lowest high school completion rates in the nation. Visit Long Beach, California -- the city with America's largest Cambodian community -- to find out why this educational crisis is occurring and what people are doing about it.
This groundbreaking documentary dissects a slanderous aspect of cinematic history that has run virtually unchallenged from the earliest days of silent film to today's biggest Hollywood blockbusters. Featuring acclaimed author Dr. Jack Shaheen, the film explores a long line of degrading images of Arabs - from Bedouin bandits and submissive maidens to sinister sheikhs and gun-wielding "terrorists" - along the way offering devastating insights into the origin of these stereotypic images, their development at key points in US history, and why they matter so much today.
When Salma, a young Muslim girl in a south Indian village, was 13 years old, her family locked her up for 25 years, forbidding her to study and forcing her into marriage. During that time, words were Salma's salvation. She began covertly composing poems on scraps of paper and, through an intricate system, was able to sneak them out of the house, eventually getting them into the hands of a publisher. Against the odds, Salma became the most famous Tamil poet: the first step to discovering her own freedom and challenging the traditions and code of conduct in her village. Salma has hopes for a different life for the next generation of girls, but as she witnesses, familial ties run deep, and change happens very slowly. SALMA helps us understand why the goal of global education of girls is one the most critical areas of empowerment and development of women worldwide.
A comprehensive look at media stereotypes of Asian and Asian American women since the silent era. From the racist use of white actors to portray Asians in early Hollywood films, through the success of Anna May Wong's sinister dragon lady, to Suzie Wong and the '50s geisha girls, to the Asian-American anchorwoman of today, this fascinating videotape shows how stereotypes of exoticism and docility have affected the perception of Asian-American women.
The Speed Sisters are the first all-woman race car driving team in the Middle East. Grabbing headlines and turning heads at improvised tracks across the West Bank, these five women have sped their way into the heart of the gritty, male-dominated Palestinian street car-racing scene. Weaving together their lives on and off the track, SPEED SISTERS takes you on a surprising journey into the drive to go further and faster than anyone thought you could.
An intimate portrait of a family in rural Indonesia grappling with poverty, mental illness, and participation in the sex trade. Shot over the course of 12 years, the film centers on Iman Rohani, a former civil servant struggling with a mental disorder, who takes in Tri, an unwed pregnant teenager 30 years his junior. Iman refuses to marry Tri, which would have made her an accepted member of the village. Instead, the couple are scorned by the other villagers and become isolated. Over time, trapped by traditional values that stigmatize their relationship, Iman and Tri sink even deeper into destitution and make a series of choices that lead Tri into a life a prostitution and violence.
Much media coverage, however, is incomplete at best, failing to take account of either the complexities or the historical background of this pivotal region. For most of us, the real story of the Middle East remains untold. What made this crucial geopolitical area what it is today? What forces and factors underlie what we read in the news, and what drives the current challenges the Middle East both faces and poses? In coming to terms with the present and future of the Middle East, an understanding of its history is not only highly valuable, but essential.