By Brett Callwood
The Gardena Valley Japanese Cultural Institute will host an AAPI Heritage Month Short Film Screening and Panel Discussion on Saturday, May 20, from 2 to 4 p.m., at the GVJCI Main Hall, 1964 W. 162nd St., Gardena.
Five artists will present their films: Teresa Matsushima with 40 14 Tango in Torrance, Robert Shoji with The Fourth March, Steve Nagano with Here in Manzanar, George Wada with Honor, Recognition, and Respect, and Don Bannai with Kubota To The Chinese Poets Detained on Angel Island.
The screenings will be followed by a panel discussion and Q&A session with the five filmmakers.
The JCI said that Don Bannai (Kubota to the Chinese Poets Detained on Angel Island) combines his curiosity about people and their stories with a new way to move our communities forward through documentaries.
“After 30 years of wandering the desert, living in Las Vegas, he has ended up back in Gardena,” they say. “In the future he hopes to be involved with projects that recognize the contributions of those who built the foundations of our communities.”
Teresa Takaki Matsushima (40 14 Tango in Torrance) was born in the Windy City and grew up in Gardena.
“A diehard Bruin, she married her main squeeze, Bob, has two grown kids, loves snuggling her grandkids, talking story over steamy matcha, and arranging flowers. A retired nurse practitioner, she has served with medical missions on three continents. 40 14 Tango In Torrance, her second film, chronicles her Mom’s memories fading to gray.”
Steve Nagano (Here in Manzanar) is an 11-year resident of Little Tokyo and has been involved in various community organizations through the years. He remains involved with the Little Tokyo Community Impact Fund, the LT Historical Society, Nikkei for Civil Rights & Redress (NCRR), and Visual Communication’s Digital Histories.
“Moving to Little Tokyo has placed us within a community that seemingly never ceases to have something going on and we have participated in many either as a spectator or more often than not, as a volunteer.”
Robert Shoji (The Fourth March) holds a lifelong interest in music and the creative arts.
“After parlaying his engineering degree from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo into a successful career in consumer electronics he is now focusing his creative talents to tell his own story in film and music.”
Finally, George Wada (Honor, Recognition, and Respect) is a semi retired Aerospace engineer.
“He has been fortunate to participate in various films as a cameraman, produce films through VC Digital Histories and has an affinity to conduct interviews. His family is supportive as long as he does not include them in his films.”
Tickets are $15 per attendee, and pre-registration is required. Visit www.jci-gardena.org/gvjci-upcoming-events.html. Contact the Gardena Valley JCI at 310-324-6611.