Since 2010, SBTHP has presented the Asian American Film Series, an event held on Fridays in July at the Alhecama Theatre. In an effort to explore the history and cultures of the Asian communities that once thrived in and around the Santa Barbara Presidio area, the series includes films that speak to the Asian American experience in the western US. The films have addressed a broad range of historical and modern topics, such as the internment of Japanese Americans during WWII, Chinese American adoptions, and the contributions of key Asian American figures. This film series is made possible by the generous support of the George H. Griffiths and Olive J. Griffiths Charitable Foundation.

This year's series will be held virtually via Zoom. Attendees will receive a link to the screening through the chat box after a short introduction. A time will be given for attendees to return for the Q&A portion of the event.

2021 Film Selections



July 16, 2021 - 6PM

Florante, a classically trained guitarist, returns to the Philippines after the death of his father. He rediscovers the music of harana - a long forgotten Filipino serenade.

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Grasshopper for Grandpa

July 23, 2021 - 6PM

Grasshopper for Grandpa documents the story of Jimmy's Oriental Gardens, a celebrated restaurant and bar in Santa Barbara, California for more than 60 years before closing its doors in 2006 with the retirement of owner Tommy Chung.

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Sonzai: Japantown Santa Barbara

Sonzai tells the story of Santa Barbara's Nihonmachi through oral history interviews, archaeology, and the researchers who seek to understand what happened to this community. Through these strands of history, the existence of a Japanese American community interrupted by war is brought to light in the present day.

Previous Selections


Flower Drum Song

Jake Shimabukuro: Life on Four Strings

Meditation Park

I Am Bruce Lee


Patsy Mink: Ahead of the Majority

For the Sake of the Children

ULAM: Main Dish

Bittersweet Roots: The Chinese in California's Heartland


Never Give Up! Minoru Yasui and the Fight for Justice

Meditation Park

Abacus: Small Enough to Jail

Delano Manongs: Forgotten Heroes of the United Farm Workers & the Chinese Exclusion Act


Off the Menu: Asian America


My Life in China




Chinese Couplets


Transcending - The Wat Misaka Story






Jake Shimabukuro: Life on Four Strings



Anita Ho


My Grandfather’s Drum



The Cats of Mirikitani

I am Bruce Lee

Somewhere Between



Dim Sum Funeral

Of Civil Wrongs and Rights: The Fred Korematsu Story

Snow Falling on Cedars



American Pastime

The Debut

The Joy Luck Club

The Slanted Screen



Flower Drum Song

Forbidden City

Picture Bride

Sewing Woman