‘Fruit Fly’ musical, Stockton documentary topbill cable on demand

A biracial relationship, one of the dramatic images from Marissa Aroy’s ‘Little Manila: Filipinos in California’s Heartland’ documentary

This month, Cinema Asian America offers a special spotlight on Filipino American films.

From singer Bruno Mars to “Dancing with the Stars”’ Cheryl Burke, Filipino Americans are a dynamic creative force in all realms of the entertainment and arts worlds, and filmmaking is no exception. A scan of some of the most important Asian American films made in the past 10 years yields many pioneering Filipino directors, and this month’s collection of films provides a primer – and window into – the diverse stories and voices that make up this community.

Leading the way is a trio of films from celebrated documentary director Ramona Diaz, whose films have traveled from Sundance to Tribeca. Her most recent film, “Everyman’s Journey: Don’t Stop Believin’” draws a portrait of rock band Journey’s new Filipino lead singer Arnel Pineda, while the 2003 “Imelda” is a fascinating and intimate encounter with former first lady Imelda Marcos.

Diaz’s 2011 documentary “The Learning” follows four women who begin new lives as public high school teachers in Baltimore – far from the comforts of their homes in the Philippines.

Two independent, first-time, feature films offer a glimpse into the future of dramatic Filipino American storytelling. HP Mendoza’s thrilling – and naughty – San Francisco-set musical “Fruitfly” charts the course of a young woman finding herself amidst the city’s gay and artistic scenes, while Gerry Balasta’s “The Mountain Thief” tells the story of a father and son struggling for survival in an enormous mountain of trash that is their home.

Two must-see documentaries that dig into Filipino American history round out the selections. Sonny Izon’s “An Untold Triumph: America’s Filipino Soldiers,” reveals the history of the men of the US Army’s 1st and 2nd Filipino Infantry Regiments who fought valiantly during WWII, while Marissa Aroy’s “Little Manila: Filipinos in California’s Heartland” tells the story of Stockton, California’s Filipino community, which in its heyday in the 1930s had the largest population of Filipinos outside of the Philippines.

Cinema Asian America is an Xfinity on Demand destination featuring Asian American films, programs, and content.

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