Cinema as Sanctuary

Echo Park Film Center, Los Angeles, June-August 2017

Political documentary films take on a renewed role amid a reinvigorated rage against immigrants, refugees, and people of color in many places around the world. Through politically engaged cinematic work, many filmmakers are confronting old and new forms of racism, the deepening ungrievability of Black and Brown lives, and precarious realities faced by minority communities including indigenous peoples, the elderly, refugees, women and children. “Cinema as Sanctuary” features political documentary films that re-assert the images and stories that remind us that a compassionate world rooted upon solidarity, friendship, and collective action is possible.

Curated by Nerve Macaspac of the Echo Park Film Center (EPFC) with the support provided by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (Oscars). All screenings and workshops are free.


  • June 2 The Native and the Refugee (with Matt Peterson and Malek Rasamny)
  • June 16 Pangandoy (with Hiyasmin Saturay)
  • July 7 Laps (with R.J. Lozada)
  • July 26 K-Town ’92 (with Grace Lee)
  • August 4 Nobel Nok Dah (with Emily Hong)
  • August 19 Toward A Common Tenderness (with Kaori Oda)


  • June 3 What is a Political Film? (with Matt Peterson and Malek Rasamny)
  • June 18 Making Films that Serve our Communities (with Hiyasmin Saturay)
  • July 9 Collaboration & Co-creation in Documentary Filmmaking (with R.J. Lozada)
  • August 6 Social Justice Music Videos (with Emily Hong)
  • August 19 Pistol or Prayer: Documentary As A Way of Remembering (with Kaori Oda)

Echo Park Film Center (EPFC) is  a non-profit media arts organization committed to providing equal and affordable community access to film/video resources. Learn more about EPFC here and here.


The Sound We See: COVID Quarantine”

We captured each hour of the pandemic in places around the world, including in NYC. Brought to you by the Echo Park Film Center

Tokyo’s Vanishing Community (2017)

Through urban sensing, the film explores how development projects for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics lead to Tokyo’s ‘homeless’ communities losing their homes (20 mins)

Here, always moving (2017)

A Super 8 film that studies the differential politics of mobilities for an immigrant woman of color in New York City, through the experiences of my mother, a home care worker in her 60s who traverses Queens to Manhattan to the Bronx to care for her patients (3 mins)

City on the Move (2017)

Visual ethnography of the city, in collaboration with poet Diane Ward (8 mins)

Dance Los Angeles (2017)

Visual ethnography exploring how people move around the city, and what these movements tell us about how the future of the city and the city’s future are imagined (1 min)

The Future Takes A Long Time (2015)

A Super 8 film revisiting the sites of early gay and lesbian organizing and struggles in Los Angeles, California in the 1950s (3 mins)

Portrait of A Survivor: Sophany Bay (2011)

Cambodian-American Sophany Bay shares her experience under the Khmer Rouge, and why she decided to testify in the international criminal court after over thirty years of rebuilding her life in America (4 mins)

Featured in 89.3 KPCC

Featured by the Center for Justice and Accountability (CJA)

Featured by Khmerican

Featured in NBC News Bay Area

Portrait of A Survivor: Dr. Sophal Ear (2011)

Cambodian-American Dr. Sophal Ear, a professor of Political Science, shares his thoughts about the Khmer Rouge trials (3 mins)

Portrait of A Survivor: Sivind Tep (2011)

Cambodian-American Sivind Tep, a former French teacher in Cambodia, shares her experience under the Khmer Rouge, and why she decided to testify in the international criminal court after over thirty years of rebuilding her life in America (17 mins)

War and Hunger | Gera woi Gutasan (2009)

Trailer for a documentary exploring hunger and war. Conflict remains one of the major causes of hunger and poverty. In the indigenous communities in Talaingod, Davao del Norte, military operations have displaced thousands of Ata-Manobo driving them into severe poverty and hunger (2 mins)

We the oppressed | Gami dad Lnumfig (2009)

Documentary video submitted to the United Nations Committee for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (UN CERD) as part the Philippine Shadow Report in August 2009 (13 mins)

Uprising! | Aklasan! (2004)

The strike was a success: production stopped, plantation workers “walked out” of the fields, and hundreds of residents came out to block all roads surrounding the Hacienda Luisita, a 6,453-hectare sugarcane plantation owned by former Philippine president Corazon Aquino. They held a vigil on the first night to defend the picketline, but what happened on that night, the dawn after, and weeks following caught national and international attention (20 mins)