SAN MATEO — College of San Mateo Ethnic Studies presents the sixth annual Asian Pacific American Film Festival on May 1 and 2 at the CSM Theatre (Building 3), 1700 W. Hillsdale Blvd.

On Friday at 6:30 p.m., the 70th anniversary of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki will be commemorated with a screening of Steven Okazaki’s documentary “White Light, Black Rain,” which examines the A-bomb’s continuing impact on the survivors, known as hibakusha. The title refers to the flash of the explosion and the radioactive rain that followed.

white light black rainOkazaki won an Emmy for “White Light, Black Rain” and an Academy Award for “Days of Waiting,” a documentary about artist Estelle Peck Ishigo, who was interned at Heart Mountain with her Japanese American husband. He received Oscar nominations for “Unfinished Business,” “The Mushroom Club” (also about A-bomb survivors), and The Conscience of Nhem En.”

The program will include a performance by San Mateo Buddhist Temple’s taiko group.

Presented in partnership with Psychology/Philosophy Film Night in concert with CSM Cares.

On Saturday at 1 p.m., “Upaj: Improvise,” directed by Hoku Uchiyama, will be screened. Upaj is the Hindi word for “improvise.” The film explores the birth and journey of India Jazz Suites, a phenomenal East-meets-West collaboration featuring Indian Kathak master/guru Pandit Chitresh Das and tap star Jason Samuels Smith. Das, 62, exemplifies the elegance and mathematical precision of Kathak, a classical, storytelling dance of North India. Jason, a 28-year-old African-American tap dancer, hails from the freestyle, streetwise American tradition of contemporary tap.

When the two join forces, an unlikely friendship develops, bridging continents, generations, cultures and communities. Along the way, Das and Smith’s personal stories unfold — ones wrought with loss, struggle and perseverance. As the artists tell truths and come to terms with demons, they show us that our struggles are worthwhile, paving the way for hope and redemption.

Uchiyama was a second-place winner at the 2003 Young Director Awards for his drunk-driving PSA. His other films include the shorts “Rose,” “Faust,” and “Have You Seen My Sister Evelyn?”

On Saturday at 7 p.m., “Cruisin’ J-Town,” directed by Duane Kubo of De Anza College, will be screened, followed by a performance by Hiroshima. The 40-year-old documentary looks at Los Angeles-based Hiroshima, whose founding members — Dan Kuramoto, June Kuramoto, Danny Yamamoto and Johnny Mori — created an Asian American sound by incorporating Japanese instruments and other influences into their music.

While with Visual Communications in Los Angeles, Kubo directed a number of films, including “Hito Hata” (co-directed by Robert Nakamura), a dramatic narrative about the Japanese American experience.

A benefit for the CSM Asian Pacific American Film Festival and Kimochi San Mateo Capital Campaign. Co-sponsored with Kimochi San Mateo Capital Campaign, Sturge Presbyterian Church, San Mateo Buddhist Temple, and San Mateo Japanese American Community Center.

Admission on Friday is free. A $5 donation is requested for the Saturday matinee. For the evening screening and concert, admission is $40 general, $5 for students with ID.

Free parking is available in the Beethoven Lot (Lot 3). Warning: Do not park in Lot 12A.

For more information, contact Lewis Kawahara at or (650) 574-6614.

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