VC’s Founders to Be Recognized, Early Films to Be Screened


From left: VC founders Duane Kubo, Robert Nakamura, Alan Ohashi and Eddie Wong back in the day.

“Community Visionaries: Visual Communications and the Dawn of Asian Pacific American Cinema,” a special screening and reception to celebrate the founders of Visual Communications, will be held on Sunday, Dec. 4, in downtown Los Angeles.

VC founding members Duane Kubo, Robert Nakamura, Alan Ohashi, and Eddie Wong will be joined by VC mainstay Alan Kondo at the Chop Suey Café, 347 E. First St. in Little Tokyo, for a brunch starting at 11 a.m.

VCers young and old will know the Chop Suey Café as the legendary Far East Café, arguably the epicenter of the Little Tokyo community along with the late, great Atomic Café, Lucy’s Coffee Shop, the old Mitsuru Grill, and other eateries. With its distinct green awning, iconic neon sign, and uniquely down-home menu, Far East has seen many VC gatherings over the years, and has even been featured in movies on many occasions.

The “Meet the Filmmakers” reception will also afford an opportunity to learn more about what VC’s founding members are doing these days, and give a glimpse into the upcoming activities VC has in store as it looks forward to its 50th anniversary as the nation’s premier Asian Pacific American media arts organization.

A selection of newly restored VC classics will be screened at the Downtown Independent, 251 Main St., starting at 2 p.m. Restored through the Academy Archives, the following films will be presented in brand-new 16mm film prints: “Manzanar,” directed by Nakamura; “Wong Sinsaang,” directed by Wong; “City City,” directed by Kubo and Donna Deitch; “I Told You So,” directed by Kondo; and “Cruisin’ J-Town,” directed by Kubo.

The “founding fathers” will share with the audience their experiences producing community-based media for a “backyard” project that evolved into a revered community and national institution.

The foursome envisioned VC as a filmmakers’ collective that sought to re-represent the history and culture of Asian Pacific Americans, use media for social change, and train future generations of Asian Pacific American filmmakers. The first such organization in the U.S., VC continues to engage in community-based filmmaking through training, education and filmmaker support initiatives, public screening and exhibitions programs including the annual Los Angeles Asian-Pacific Film Festival, and film/video preservation activities anchored by one of the largest repositories of photographic and moving image archives on the Asian Pacific experience in America.

Admission to the brunch and screening is $40. For tickets, call (213) 680-4462, ext. 58. Admission to the screening only is $10 general, $6 for students and seniors, and free for members of VC, Filmforum, and the Japanese American National Museum. For more information, visit

The Far East Café in Little Tokyo was the site of many VC gatherings.


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