Abolition, Not Assimilation: Christine Choy and Third World Newsreel

When 12 May 2021
6:00PM - 8:00PM
Where Third World Newsreel
545 Eighth Avenue, Suite 550,
New York, NY 10018
United States
Asian Pacific media event featuring a panel with filmmaker Christine Choy and rare virtual streaming of four of her early films.
About this event

What: Abolition, Not Assimilation: A Retrospective of Christine Choy and Third World Newsreel

When: Zoom Panel with Christine Choy, JT Takagi, and more on May 12, 3 PM PST/6 PM EST

Virtual Streaming May 1st-12, 2021 on Eventive, part of the Asian Pacific Virtual Showcase. Note: you need to scroll down to the next to last part of the site for the Third World Newsreel /Choy films.

RSVP will give you links the Zoom webinar and remind you of the Eventive site.

Christine Choy has long demonstrated an abiding concern for the voices of the disenfranchised and a keen eye for the difficult intersections of individual and national histories, race, and class. Choy’s Academy-nominated Who Killed Vincent Chin? (1987, with Renee Tajima-Peña) brought the murder of Chinese-American Vincent Chin to national consciousness and mobilized a generation of Asian-Americans to push for civil rights and political representation.

We are pleased to present four films directed by Christine Choy and produced by Third World Newsreel, a vibrant survey of Choy’s experimental and activist lens.

Teach Our Children (1974, with Susan Robeson) captures the Black radical spirit of the Attica Prison Rebellion

From Spikes to Spindles (1976) shows Chinatown grassroots organizing around police violence and gentrification.

The destructive legacy of American empire and Cold War militarism in Vietnam and Korea in Bittersweet Survival (1982, with JT Takagi) and Homes Apart: Korea (1991, with JT Takagi).

Rather than asking what it takes for Asians to be good Americans, these films interrogate the legacies of incarceration and imperialism that all Americans inherit; rather than assimilation, these films point us to the necessary abolition of prisons and military bases. Choy’s lens never loses sight of what is human and universal, whether it is the loss of a loved one or searching for home—but these things are never subordinated to the political, nor can they be thought of outside of a political context. In this way, Choy’s films are a valuable lesson in how to think productively about identity and politics today.

Curated and panel moderated by Peter Kim George.

Panelists will include: Christine Choy, Devika Girish, Ju-Hyun Park, Sarah Ahn, JT Takagi.

Program co-presented by Third World Newsreel and Visual Communications, with the collaboration of the Documentary Forum at CCNY. Additional co-sponsors: the Asian/Pacific/American Institute at NYU and the Asian American and Asian Research Institute, CUNY (AAARI).

Questions to workshop@twn.org

*This is part of the Asian Pacific Virtual Showcase being presented by Visual Communications with Third World Newsreel and other partner groups to reflect a diverse set of API histories and experiences in the US, Canada and Oceania. Many of the films will stream between May 1-31. This showcase is part of the effort to exhibit actions towards diversity, equity and inclusion, and the power of media to help dismantle supremacist structures.

Asian American filmmaker Christine Choy co-founded Third World Newsreel in 1972 with fellow filmmaker Susan Robeson. During her tenure, Choy directed documentary films on the 1971 Attica prison uprising, the life of women in US prisons and the history of social activism in New York City’s Chinatown, as well as documentaries on the division of the Korean peninsula and Namibia’s struggle for independence from South Africa, among others. After leaving Third World Newsreel, Choy went on to produce and direct more than 70 works and earned an Academy Award nomination, along with Renee Tajima-Peña, for their historic documentary WHO KILLED VINCENT CHIN?

Peter Kim George is a film critic, lecturer in Korean Cinema, and playwright based in NY and the UK. He is a member of New York Film Festival’s Critics Academy in 2019 and Berlinale Talents Press in 2021 with bylines in Hyperallergic, MUBI Notebook, Reverse Shot, and Film Comment. Peter holds a PhD in English Language and Literatures from Brown University.

Devika Girish is the co-deputy editor of Film Comment magazine and a Talks programmer at the New York Film Festival. She is also a contributor to the New York Times, the New York Review of Books, Sight & Sound, Reverse Shot, the Criterion Collection, the Village Voice, CinemaScope, and other publications, and has served on the selection committees of the Mumbai Film Festival and the Berlin Critics’ Week. Her work has been recognized with a 2018 National Arts and Entertainment Journalism Award and a 2019 Southern California Journalism Award, among other honors.

Ju-Hyun Park (they/them) is a writer of the Korean diaspora and a member of Nodutdol for Korean Community Development. They currently reside in Lenape lands known as Brooklyn. Nodutdol (Korean for “stepping stones”) is an NYC-based, multigenerational organization of Koreans struggling for decolonization in Korea and here on Turtle Island. Nodutdol was founded in 1999 and has worked for more than 20 years to advance peace and reunification in Korea, and contribute to local and global people’s struggles against war, racism, and all forms of social and economic injustice.

Sarah Ahn has been active in organizing with Korean, Chinese and Latino workers at Flushing Workers Center since 2014. FWC has been fighting wage theft and sweatshop conditions facing workers and aims to unite workers from all industries and backgrounds to address the root cause of our deteriorating working and living conditions. She lives and works in Queens.

Organizer of Abolition, Not Assimilation: Christine Choy and Third World Newsreel

Third World Newsreel is a progressive non profit media center that focuses on media by and about people of color and social justice issues, through distribution, production, exhibition and training.  Its training workshops have trained thousands of filmmakers over 4 decades. TWN is supported in part by the National Endowment for the Arts, the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and the New York State Legislature, public funds from the NYC Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the NY City Council, the Peace Development Fund and individual donors.  www.twn org

The Documentary Forum at CCNY is dedicated to supporting the creation, exhibition, and study of documentary film, journalism, and non-fiction visual story-telling through multi-platform media, and building a bridge between the college’s media-making community, the Harlem community in which it resides, and a growing international online audience. documentaryforum.org

Visual Communications (VC) works to develop and support the voices of Asian American and Pacific Islander filmmakers and media artists who empower communities and challenge perspectives. Founded in 1970, with the understanding that media and the arts are powerful forms of storytelling, Visual Communications creates cross cultural connections between peoples and generations. The organization has created award-winning productions, nurtured and given voice to our youth and seniors, promoted new artistic talent, presented new cinema, and preserved our visual history. www.vcmedia.org

For more information please click here.

Image courtesy of the event organizer.