Correction: An earlier version stated the film screenings will begin on Saturday. The showings will be held from Sunday, June 9.
Two films about the Japanese American experience during World War II will be screened from June 9 to 14 at the Downtown Independent, 251 S. Main St. in Downtown Los Angeles.
“American” (2018), a short film directed and co-written by Richie Adams, stars George Takei (“Star Trek”) and Leonardo Nam (“Westworld”) in a story about a 94-year-old veteran who works as a volunteer at the Japanese American National Museum. He encounters a mother and her daughter, which triggers events that happened in his past, including his time as a young man in an American concentration camp and later serving with the 442nd Regimental Combat Team in Europe.
The cast includes Samira Izadi, Michael Hagiwara, Araceli Prasarttongsoth, Ivan Shaw, Keong Sim, Marilyn Tokuda, Ivan Shaw, Rachel Michiko Whitney, Sahil Ganatra, Ulf Bjorlin and Jake Oelman.
“Proof of Loyalty: Kazuo Yamane and the Nisei Soldiers of Hawaii” (2017), a documentary produced and directed by Lucy Ostrander and Don Sellers, tells the story of a Japanese American who played a crucial strategic role in World War II. He and his fellow Nisei from Hawaii combatted prejudice and discrimination to serve their country. Their extraordinary service, mostly untold, ultimately changed the course of U.S. history.
Kazuo Yamane’s father came to Hawaii in the late 19th century with nothing and built a successful family business. His eldest son, first educated in the discriminatory school system in Hawaii, eventually graduated from Waseda University, the Harvard of Japan, and returned to Hawaii just before the Pearl Harbor attack.
Drafted just before the war, he became part of what would be the War Department’s most successful social experiment, taking Nisei troops from Hawaii and forming the 100th Infantry Battalion, a unit made up entirely of Japanese Americans. Their success was spectacular.
Yamane was plucked from their ranks for his exceptional knowledge of Japanese, which would lead him to the Pentagon, to a secret facility in northern Maryland, and finally to serving under Gen. Eisenhower in Europe. Most importantly, he would identify a secret document that would help to shorten the war in the Pacific.
Showtimes: Saturday and Sunday at 6 p.m.; Monday through Friday at 4 p.m. For more information, call (213) 617-1033 or visit www.downtownindependent.com