“To Be Takei,” Jennifer Kroot’s documentary about actor, activist and social media star George Takei, opens Friday, Aug. 22, nationwide, including the following California theaters:
• Sundance Sunset Cinema, 8000 W. Sunset Blvd. (between Laurel and Crescent Heights), West Hollywood. Info: (323) 654-2217, www.sundancecinemas.com
George and Brad Takei will be in attendance at the 7 and 9:45 p.m. screenings.
• Laemmle Playhouse 7, 673 E. Colorado Blvd., Pasadena. Screening tonight at 9:55 p.m. Info: www.laemmle.com
• Sundance Kabuki Cinema, 1881 Post St., San Francisco. Info: www.sundancecinemas.com
Director Kroot will participate in an intro and Q&A at the 7 p.m. show on Friday and Saturday and the 4:50 p.m. show on Sunday, and will give an intro to the 9:30 p.m. show on Friday and Saturday and the 7 p.m. show on Sunday.
The film will also be screened one night only on Thursday, Aug. 28, at 7 p.m. at the Christopher B. Smith Rafael Film Center, 1118 Fourth St., San Rafael. Info: (415) 454-1222, http://rafaelfilm.cafilm.org
For a complete schedule of screenings, visit www.tobetakei.com.
Over seven decades, Takei boldly journeyed from a World War II internment camp, to the helm of the starship Enterprise, to the daily news feeds of millions of Facebook fans. The film chronicles this star’s playful and profound trek for life, liberty, and love.
Best known for playing Sulu on the original “Star Trek” TV series and six movies that followed, Takei is unlikely social media royalty. Unofficially dubbed the “King of Facebook,” he counts over 5 million fans in his online empire — including Trekkies, Howard Stern listeners, and the LGBTQ community — who devour his quirky mix of kitten jokes, “Star Trek” references, heartfelt messages, and sci-fi/fantasy memes.
Takei and his longtime partner Brad Altman were married in 2008 at the Democracy Forum of the Japanese American National Museum and became the first same-sex couple to appear on GSN’s “The Newlywed Game” and the second to appear on the British game show “All-Star Mr. and Mrs.”
An outspoken advocate for civil rights, Takei has used his unmistakable baritone in several satiric PSAs, including one in response to Tennessee’s infamous “Don’t Say Gay” bill that encourages viewers to say, “It’s OK to be Takei.” His current projects include the musical “Allegiance,” drawn from his experience of growing up in the internment camps, and the recently published “Oh Myyy! There Goes the Internet.”
Kroot directed the documentary feature “It Came from Kuchar” about the legendary underground filmmaking twins George and Mike Kuchar, which premiered at the 2009 South by Southwest Film Festival and won Best Documentary at the Chicago Underground Film Festival and Boston Underground Film Festival. She also wrote, directed and starred in the gender-bending sci-fi narrative feature “Sirens of the 23rd Century,” shown at Frameline in San Francisco in 2003.
She has received grants from the Andy Warhol Foundation, Creative Work Fund, Frameline, the Pacific Pioneer Fund, California Civil Liberties Public Education Program and the Fleishhacker Foundation. Kroot is a Bay Area native and studied film at the San Francisco Art Institute (SFAI), where she now teaches film. She has been a guest lecturer at Stanford and Denver University.