To complement its current hit production – THE JOY LUCK CLUB, the Sierra Madre Playhouse (SMP) is hosting three mid-week screenings of documentaries that illuminate the Chinese-American experience. The films will be shown over three consecutive Wednesdays, at 7 pm.

Film series curator Rich Procter describes this series as “a fascinating deep-dive into the Chinese-American experience. These three award-winning films have never been shown as a series. Together, they take the audience on a memorable journey that perfectly complements The Joy Luck Club.”

September 18 – “Tyrus” (Color. 2013, USA, 73 minutes, not rated) Writer/Director Pamela Tom presents the surprising life and career of pioneering Chinese American artist Tyrus Wong (1910-2016), who overcomes a life of poverty, racism, and discrimination to become a Hollywood legend. First, the quiet beauty of Tyrus’s eastern influenced paintings catch the eye of Walt Disney and inspire the Disney classic “Bambi.” For the next 25 years, Tyrus brings his artistry to Warner Brothers where his striking storyboards and set illustrations create the visual templates for features like The Sands of Iwo Jima, Rebel Without a Cause, William Goldman’s Harper and Sam Peckinpah’s The Wild Bunch. / Documentary Filmmaker Patrick Shen will moderate a discussion and Q&A with “Tyrus” Writer-director Pamela Tom.

September 25 – The Chinese Diaspora in San Francisco: “Forbidden City, U.S.A.” (Color, 1989, USA, 56 minutes, not rated) and “Forever, Chinatown” (Color, 2016, USA, 32 minutes, not rated) The two documentaries are nostalgic looks at 1940’s San Francisco Chinatown, the oldest and largest in the United States. “Forbidden City, U.S.A.” reveals an astonishing moment in history when Chinese-American performers created a phenomenon with a San Francisco nightclub that lured fun-seekers with the promise of Chinese-American performers showing off their dazzling show-biz skills. “Forever Chinatown” is a look at Artist Frank Wong’s exquisitely detailed dioramas of the Chinatown of his childhood. They are entry points to San Francisco Chinatown now past. / Panel Discussion: TBA.

October 2: -“Hollywood Chinese” (Color/Black-and-white, 2007, USA, not rated) – Directed by triple Sundance award-winning filmmaker Arthur Dong, this documentary weaves together a wondrous portrait of actors, directors, writers, and movie icons who have defined American feature films, from the silent era to the current new wave of Asian American cinema. Entertaining and enlightening, “Hollywood Chinese” shows how Asians have overcome racism to conjure unforgettable performances in groundbreaking films. / Cal Poly Pomona Film History Adjunct Professor Doug Cooney will moderate a talk and Q&A with filmmaker Arthur Dong.

Admission is $10 for each film, or $25 for the package of all three dates. Reservations: (626) 355-4318. Online ticketing: sierramadreplayhouse.org.

The Sierra Madre Playhouse is located at 87 W. Sierra Madre Blvd., Sierra Madre, CA 91024. Parking is available on the street or in free lots behind the Playhouse and across the street.

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