Artists' Television Access

ATA @ SF Public Library (Screening at Chinatown Branch)

Saturday, August 19, 2017, 2:00 pm, Free

The Fall of the I-Hotel (Curtis Choy, 1983) 58 minutes, color
On August 4, 1977, thousands of people surrounded the International Hotel at Kearny and Jackson Streets, taking a last stand against powerful real estate interests to try and prevent the displacement of a thriving community. The Fall of the I-Hotel documents the culmination of a decade-long battle to save the International Hotel, whose residents, mostly Filipino and Chinese seniors, struggled to save their homes, aided by extensive support from community groups, activists, and residents citywide.

Filmmaker Curtis Choy beautifully lays out the history and way of life of the elders living in the hotel through interviews and archival photographs, then guides a vérité immersion in the protests themselves. The nighttime cinematography in particular is extraordinarily
rich on the 16mm print we’ll be showing. The film’s depictions of evictions, police/protestor face-offs, and the forced transformation of a neighborhood make The Fall of the I-Hotel as relevant as ever today.

preceded by

Chinatown: Portrait of a Working Community (Alan Ohashi, 1978) 14 minutes, color
This production of the Association of Chinese Teachers looks beyond the neon and gift shops of San Francisco’s densest neighborhood to examine what life is like for its inhabitants. A musical score by Dan Kuramoto of the jazz group Hiroshima and cinematography by Curtis Choy help it rise above standard didactics. Choy’s footage of International Hotel protests gives an early glimpse of the topic he’d grant greater depth in The Fall of the I- Hotel.
Sewing Woman (Arthur Dong, 1982) 14 minutes, b/w
On the surface this is a straightforward account of the life story of one of the many women working in Chinatown garment factories 35 years ago. A narration delivered over images of her workspace as well as an array of archival photographs tells us the alternately harrowing and heartwarming details of her life growing up in pre-Communist China, her arranged marriage into a “Gold Mountain family” and subsequent emigration to San Francisco. But the final moments of this Oscar- nominated short made by a San Francisco State University student (who’d later go on to create many documentaries & the book Forbidden City, USA) raise more questions than answers about this woman’s life.

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