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California Civil Liberties Public Education Project (CCLPEP) sponsors film festival

The California Civil Liberties Public Education Program (CCLPEP), a grant program within the California State Library, offered its first film festival this summer.

Held in historic Room 500 in the Stanley Mosk Library and Courts Building in Sacramento, the festival’s films were, like all CCLPEP grant projects, about the Japanese American internment of World War II or related civil liberties issues.  Festival-goers included elected officials, California State Library staff, and the local public.

Valentino’s Ghost

The CCLPEP festival’s first film, still a “work in progress” when it premiered August 16, was Valentino’s Ghost, a documentary overview of how Arab and Muslim people have been portrayed in American cultural forms from 1896 to the present day.  Valentino’s Ghost explores the ways Arab and Muslim caricatures reflect popular sentiment toward Americans of Middle Eastern descent and toward U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East from decade to decade.

Michael Singh, the writer and producer of Valentino’s Ghost, introduced his film and held a discussion after the show.   Singh was extremely pleased for the feedback from his first “real audience” after the festival showing.  He then submitted the film to the Sundance Film Festival in September.

Old Man River

The festival’s second film, Old Man River, shown on September 6, was a 1999 CCLPEP project that received awards from American Cinema Editors for Best Edited Documentary Feature 1999 and from Cinequest San Jose Film Festival for Best Documentary 1999.

Old Man River is a multi media one-woman stage performance written and preformed by Cindy Fujikawa, the daughter of Hollywood character actor Jerry Fujikawa (“Chinatown,” “M*A*S*H,” “Taxi”). When Fujukawa stumbles upon a mysterious secret her father has taken to his grave, she embarks on a journey that brings her face-to-face with American racism, specifically the internment of Japanese Americans during World War II.  Old Man River brings to life an astoundingly tragic and complex American family history, while connecting this personal story to larger political and social issues.

The California Civil Liberties Public Education Program was created in 1999 as the result of the passage of the California Civil Liberties Public Education Act (AB1914 pdf, html and AB1915 pdf, html) sponsored by Assemblymember Mike Honda. CCLPEP provides competitive grants for public educational activities and educational materials to ensure that people remember the Japanese Internment of WWII and understand the causes and circumstances of this and similar civil liberties infractions.

For copies of these CCLPEP films, and for more information about CCLPEP, please contact Amy Sullivan at (916) 653-8722 or email






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