From left: "Manzanar Fishing Club" director/producer Cory Shiozaki, music composer Bill Ungerman and writer/producer Richard Imamura.

SACRAMENTO — The Asian Pacific Islander Legislative Caucus presents the first annual API Caucus Film Festival, sponsored by the Asian American Education Institute, on Wednesday, June 20, at the Crest Theatre, 1013 K St., Sacramento. Doors Open at 5:30 p.m.

Two award-winning documentaries about critical historical events that shaped today’s Asian and Pacific Islander American community will be screened:

• “Vincent Who?” at 6 p.m. In 1982, at the height of anti-Japanese sentiments arising from massive layoffs in the auto industry, Vincent Chin, a young Chinese American, was brutally beaten to death by two unemployed auto workers who thought he was Japanese. In the trial that followed, the attackers were fined $3,000 and given three years probation without any jail time. This case then sparked a civil rights movement for the APIA community. Produced by Curtis Chin and directed by Tony Lam, this film acts as a reminder of this important case.

• “Manzanar Fishing Club” 7 p.m. Manzanar was one of the 10 concentration camps where over 100,000 Americans of Japanese ancestry were incarcerated during World War II. This movie uses the realities of imprisonment as a context in which stealthily sneaking out under barbed wire and trekking to the Eastern Sierra Mountains to fish was a demonstration of the human spirit yearning to be free. Directed by Cory Shiozaki.

Community Sponsors: Asian and Pacific Islander Capitol Association, APAPA (Asian Pacific Islander American Public Affairs Association), CAIR (Council on American Islamic Relations) Sacramento Valley, and Sacramento Regional Coalition for Tolerance.

Tickets (limited seating): For more information, contact Andrew Medina at or (916) 319-3686.

Final Leg of Phase 1

“The Manzanar Fishing Club” comes to Sacamento on the heels of its opening in Hawaii — where the low-budget film about the Japanese American internment beat out a pair of Hollywood blockbusters in Week 1 at Honolulu’s Kahala Theatre.

“We’ll be sharing the bill with ‘Vincent Who?’ \Both films explore the injustice and tragedy of anti-Japanese sentiment, and we’re honored to be selected for the inaugural API Caucus Film Festival along with a distinguished work that has withstood the test of time,” said writer-producer Richard Imamura.

The screening coincides with the final leg of Phase 1 of “The Manzanar Fishing Club’s” ground-breaking theatrical release, which began on March 30 in Los Angeles at Laemmle’s Monica 4, and marked the first time a documentary about the internment debuted with a regularly scheduled full-week engagement. Since then the untold story of the stealth fishermen at the World War II prison camp in eastern California has played in multiple theaters in Northern and Southern California, as well as Seattle and Hawaii.

Most recently, “The Manzanar Fishing Club” opened in Honolulu at the Kahala Theatre on the same weekend as “Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted” and “Prometheus.” The box-office leaderboard after the first week listed “Manzanar” first, followed by “Madagascar” and “Prometheus.”

The filmmakers’ “platform release” strategy, which has proven successful for many independent productions, is designed to capitalize on good reviews and word-of-mouth in order to expand the film’s reach into additional markets.

“It’s a slow, labor-intensive process,” explains executive producer Alan Sutton, “but the only way to go for a socially conscious film like ‘The Manzanar Fishing Club.’ We look forward to opening in other cities across the country as audience awareness builds. At the same time, we’re gearing up for a multi-platform video release.”

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