OCTOBER 25, 2021
USA | 5 minutes | 2021
Documentary short film directed by Sally Tran
Centuries and Still
Centuries and Still is a mixed media illustrated short film telling the history of anti-Asian racism and violence in the U.S. The film seeks to unveil how history took part in the birth and perpetuation of today’s surge of anti-Asian discrimination and hate crimes. The search for justice goes back to the Gold Rush era fetishization of Asian women, to today’s hate crimes targeting Asian elders. The film hopes to continue “education in action” through a unique hybrid of documentary and miniatures looking history and shooting on multiple formats, including 16mm and Super 8 film, VHS and digital format to match the era, while the archival audio anchors the audience in the reality of the past and the present.
Sally Tran’s mixed-media documentary film, Centuries and Still, is a timely look through the history of Asian groups in America and the centuries of discrimination that continue today. It’s informative and educational, and most of all, a powerful reminder of how far we’ve come and the work we still have to do.
The film shines a light on all the hate crimes and attacks on elderly Asian-Americans amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, including the Atlanta spa shooting, as well as takes us back through history to show us that these attacks have been the norm since the very beginning. From the exploitation of Asian migrant labor workers, largely Chinese immigrants, and fetishization of Asian women, to the Chinese massacre of 1871 in Los Angeles, the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882, and the senseless murder of Vincent Chin in 1982, Centuries and Still packs a powerful punch of a reminder of how Asians in America have always been deemed as “other” and less than.
Tran’s film feels heartfelt and personal, using mixed media that includes illustrations and miniatures, different shooting formats to match the time periods, and archival audio to present the very real truths and realities of Asians in America. A lot of the history is not taught in the classrooms; it begins with all of us taking the first step to educate ourselves so that we can continue fighting for a better tomorrow.
Centuries and Still is one of the many great projects shared with CineAsian Films through our submissions process. If you’d like to join them, submit your film.