To Be Takei

DIRECTOR: Jennifer Kroot

Join Frameline and journalist/civil rights advocate Helen Zia as we present George Takei with the Frameline Award at this Centerpiece screening. Expected to attend: Subjects George Takei and Brad Takei, Director Jennifer Kroot, Editor/Co-director Bill Weber, Producers Gerry Kim and Eric Smith

The stellar centerpiece documentary of Frameline38 celebrates the Star Trek legend, the marriage-equality advocate, the spokesperson for Japanese Americans imprisoned in internment camps during World War II, and the recipient of this year’s Frameline Award: superstar George Takei. His exceptional career—and the relationship with husband Brad Takei that grounds it—make for a dramatic and inspiring portrait. When George was young, his family was uprooted from their home in Los Angeles and forced into internment camps for Japanese Americans in Arkansas and Northern California. The family eventually moved back to LA, but many parts of the country remained hostile to Japanese Americans. George frankly examines the severe limits racism placed on his early career—although he was working regularly in many roles, he did on one occasion play a stereotypical Asian stock character.

Then came Gene Roddenberry’s starship and its multi-ethnic crew. Landing the role of helmsman Hikaru Sulu would alter the course of George’s career and inspire generations of fans. Star Trek leapt from the small to the big screen, and George was eventually promoted from helmsman Sulu to Captain Sulu. Later, George’s baritone voice would earn him work in animated series like The Simpsons, Futurama, and The Super Hero Squad Show. These days, from signings at New York City’s Midtown Comics to ComiCon!, George’s husband, business manager, and co-pilot, Brad, excels at keeping George (and his hordes of fans) organized.

When George was building his career, being out was impossible. It’s not until marriage equality becomes national news that George comes out and Brad is thrust into the spotlight. George is an astute, unflappable spokesperson—an elder statesman with a wry sense of humor. His awesome Facebook presence—started to help promote his Broadway-bound musical Allegiance, inspired by his life in the internment camps—provides a daily dose of wisdom and wit. With almost 7 million actively engaged followers, George is considered by Wired magazine to be the most important person on Facebook.

The film features interviews with George’s famous friends and fans. Seamless editing by Bill Weber (We Were Here, The Cockettes) whisks the viewer along. Director Jennifer Kroot (It Came from Kuchar) warmly invites you into George and Brad’s relationship and dynamically captures the universal vastness of what it means To Be Takei.

AT&T Audience Award Text Voting Code: D327

Co-presented by:
Center for Asian American Media

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