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Where EAST meets the Northwest

DISORIENT FILM FEST. View portrayals of the Asian-American experience and support Asian-American artists at the 2018 DisOrient Asian American Film Festival, this year held April 17 through 22. Pictured are images from The Chinese Exclusion Act, which is screening on Tuesday, April 17 at 6:00pm. (Photo courtesy of the DisOrient Asian American Film Festival)

From The Asian Reporter, V28, #8 (April 16, 2018), page 11.

DisOrient Asian American Film Festival begins April 17 in Eugene

The DisOrient Asian American Film Festival, a social-justice film fest showcasing the work of independent filmmakers, begins April 17 in Eugene, Oregon. The annual event highlights portrayals of Asian American and Pacific Islander experiences at seven venues for five days. People of color are featured in every film and 18 are written or directed by women. In addition, 29 filmmakers from Hong Kong, Canada, and the United States will be in attendance.

The curated film program brings the diversity of underrepresented voices and stories to Oregon. Among this year’s featured films are The Chinese Exclusion Act, Badass Beauty Queen, The Jade Pendant, Find Me, and Who Is Arthur Chu?

Filmmaker question-and-answer sessions will promote meaningful dialog about social justice, immigration, and what it means to be American.

Accompanying the festival this year is "Architecture of Internment: The Buildup to Wartime Incarceration," a travelling display highlighting the role of Oregonians in the decision to incarcerate Japanese Americans during World War II.

The exhibit features personal letters and proclamations from Oregonians to then-governor Charles Sprague in 1941 and 1942 advocating for the exclusion and incarceration of Japanese-American Oregonians, along with his responses; blueprints of potential "Assembly Center" and "Relocation Camp" locations such as race tracks and fairgrounds; letters from Japanese Americans expressing outrage about the injustice; and more. "Architecture of Internment," which is free and open to the public, is on view April 17 through 23 at Straub Hall on the campus of the University of Oregon (UO).

Some events held as part of this year’s DisOrient Asian American Film Festival include:

The Chinese Exclusion Act

April 17, 6:00pm

Bijou Art Cinemas

The Chinese Exclusion Act, a pre-opening night film, allows viewers to see the United States grappling with deep, existential questions — Who gets to be American? How do we define citizenship? When and why ought people be blocked from coming to the U.S.? The screening also features a question-and-answer session with UO ethnic studies faculty member Lynn Fujiwara.

The Jade Pendant

April 19, 6:30pm

Bijou Art Cinemas

The Jade Pendant, the film featured on opening night, follows the journey of a young girl named Peony who escapes from an arranged marriage and lands on the foreign shores of America. A tragic love story unfolds, set against the historical lynching of 18 Chinese immigrants in Los Angeles in 1871. Following the screening is a question-and-answer session with Hong Kong director Po-Chih Leong and author L.P. Leung.

Opening night gala

April 19, 9:30pm

Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art

Following the screening of The Jade Pendant, festival-goers are invited to attend the opening night gala emceed by Brady Wakayama. The evening features the introduction of filmmakers, entertainment by Alex Dang and ChinYi Chen, and special guest speaker Vishavjit Singh — the Sikh Captain America. Refreshments are served.

Badass Beauty Queen

April 20, 11:00am & 4:30pm

Broadway Metro

Badass Beauty Queen tells the story of Anastasia Lin. Winning the title of Miss World Canada 2015, Lin was celebrated both in Canada and her birthplace of China. But when she uses her platform to speak out against China’s human-rights injustices, she comes to realize the extent of the penalties and ramifications to her and her family. A question-and-answer session with Anastasia Lin follows the screening.

"Race and Place: Racism and Resilience in Oregon Past and Future"

April 20, 1:30pm

Lane Community College

Downtown Campus, Room 114

"Race and Place: Racism and Resilience in Oregon Past and Future" is a free talk with Anita Yap and Traci Price, facilitators of the "Conversation Project." Yap and Price lead participants in a discussion that looks at how Oregon’s history of racism influences our present and asks how understanding historic and current impacts of racism in Oregon can contribute to a sense of place, the vision of the future, and how diversity and inclusion help create thriving communities.

"Asian Americans in Film & Media"

April 20, 3:30pm

Lane Community College

Downtown Campus, Room 114

"Asian Americans in Film & Media," a panel discussion with filmmakers from this year’s festival, addresses Asian-American representation during the production process and in the media landscape in general. Questions from the audience are welcomed.

The Sakada Series & Proof of Loyalty

April 21, 5:00pm

University of Oregon

Redwood Auditorium

Two documentaries — The Sakada Series and Proof of Loyalty — are screening together as part of the Saturday program. Sakadas are Filipino contract workers who immigrated to Hawai‘i between 1906 and 1946 to work as laborers for the state’s sugar and pineapple plantations. The three short films in The Sakada Series capture personal stories, struggles, and successes. Proof of Loyalty tells the story of Kazuo Yamane, a Japanese American who played a strategic role in World War II. He and his fellow Nisei from Hawai‘i endured prejudice and discrimination while loyally serving their country — and ultimately changed the course of U.S. history. A question-and-answer session with the directors follows.

Who Is Arthur Chu?

April 21, 7:05pm

University of Oregon

Redwood Auditorium

Who Is Arthur Chu? tells the story of Arthur Chu, who hacked the American institution that is the Jeopardy! game show — and won big. Leveraging his newfound online celebrity, he speaks out about social-justice issues, from misogyny to online racism in America. Director Yu Gu is featured in a question-and-answer session after the film screening.

Kuleana

April 22, 5:10pm

University of Oregon

Redwood Auditorium

Kuleana: Protect our Family, Defend this Land is a mystery/drama in which two childhood friends discover the true meaning of kuleana, the Hawaiian word for responsibility. One, a disabled Vietnam vet, must protect his family, defend their land, and clear his father’s name, while the other, who tragically disappeared at age 10, mysteriously returns to her childhood home on a mission of her own. Director Brian Kohne is in attendance for a question-and-answer session.

Find Me

April 22, 7:20pm

University of Oregon

Redwood Auditorium

Find Me, the closing night film, follows a recently divorced accountant who decides to get out into the world again to look for a co-worker who has mysteriously disappeared, leaving clues for him in National Parks across the west. The film shows the beauty, wonder, and accessibility of the outdoors as well as how these places can heal, nurture, and inspire. Director Tom Huang and producer Randy Kulina are featured in a question-and-answer session after the screening.

For more information, or to obtain a full schedule of free and ticketed events, call (541) 954-1798 or visit <www.disorientfilm.org>. To purchase tickets, visit <www.brownpapertickets.com/producer/2220>.

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