LOS ANGELES — As more and more developments are popping up all over Historic Filipinotown, the entertainment industry has taken notice, and is starting to move in.
Visionary filmmaker and Hollywood powerhouse Ava Duvernay, the force behind mega blockbuster hits like Selma and A Wrinkle in Time, has set up her new home at the heart of HiFi — just across the street from the Larry Itliong building and the headquarters of the Pilipino Workers Center.
And as part of their introduction to the community, Array Alliance, Duvernay’s nonprofit arm, hosted Array 360 — a celebration of global films by women and people of color—marking the official completion of their creative campus, and the debut of the state-of-the-art Amanda Theater.
The second weekend of the film series— was dedicated to Filipino and Filipino American films.
Mercedes Cooper, the director of programming, who also gave a tour of their multi-million dollar facility, said they chose films which reflect the history of Philippine cinema, and timely issues of today.
“I started this film series today, two films that do highlight US and Philippine relations, particularly the relations to the military there. I think a lot of time people concentrate on one ethnic group of people, but sharing stories that relate to immigration across different cultures, different ethnicities is important.”
Yellow Rose, produced by Cinematografo, was one of the four feature films. Its writer-director Diane Paragas said Filipino stories need to be told and funded.
“We’re the second-largest Asian American population in this country, and we are literally and virtually invisible, as far as the media is concerned. We have a deep connection in the country and there has not been reciprocal love, particularly in the way we’re portrayed, or not portrayed at all in the media.”
The other three films, Call Her Ganda- PJ Raval’s film about the murder of transgender Filipina Jennifer Laude by an American soldier — and two classics: Minsay’s Sang Gamugamo and Kakabakaba ka ba?
But some young Filam residents here said as massive developments and gentrification moves into the Historic Filipinotown neighborhood, there is a more urgent need to protect culture and legacy.
“We are constantly worried we will get priced out, and I know folks who have been priced out, and that’s a reality not just for Historic Filipinotown, but all of Los Angeles.”
“To build community is not just to move in and show up, but also to talk learn and build and make sure we recognize that there are people who live who deserve to continue to live here.”