The Los Angeles premiere of “Lil Tokyo Reporter” will be held at the newly renovated Downtown Independent Theater (former Linda Lea Theater) adjacent to Little Tokyo on Saturday, Feb. 23, at 251 S. Main St.
Screenings are at 12:30, 1:30, and 2:30 p.m. A Q&A session with the film’s director, producers and actors will follow the last screening with light refreshments. Tickets are $9 general, $7 for seniors and students.
Low-cost parking will be available next to the theater.
Filmed in downtown Los Angeles, “Lil Tokyo Reporter” was inspired by the life and major community contributions of newspaper publisher Sei Fujii (1882-1954). The story covers a week in 1935 Little Tokyo, where Fujii confronts the corruption that threatens the livelihood of his community.
The cast includes lead actor Chris Tashima, who directed, wrote, and starred in the Academy Award-winning film “Visas and Virtue.” The cast includes television actress Keiko Agena (“Gilmore Girls”), Eijiro Ozaki (“Letters from Iwo Jima”), and other noted actors from Japan and America.
Fujii came from Japan in 1903 and graduated from USC Law School in 1911, but could not become a lawyer because he was not a citizen. He teamed with classmate, civil rights attorney J. Marion Wright, to assist the Japanese community on racially discriminatory legal problems and issues for over four decades.
Together, they won the U.S. Supreme Court Case in 1928 that allowed Japanese doctors to construct the Japanese Hospital of Los Angeles. In 1952, they won the California Supreme Court Case overturning the California Alien Land Law.
“The purpose of this film is to help open minds to the early historical contributions of Asian American pioneers,” said the director, Jeffrey Gee Chin.
Sponsored by the Little Tokyo Historical Society, the film project recently received a $5,000 grant from the Union Bank Foundation.
Premieres of the film were held in Pasadena and Huntington Beach last year.