The Celine Archive
US | 2020 | 69 minutes | Color | DVD | English |
In 1932, Celine Navarro was buried alive by her own community in Northern California. This is an attempt to uncover the real story, revealing Navarro’s feminism and resistance in a time when neither was embraced, as well as the silences that haunt Filipino-American communities to this day.
Through animation, portraiture, site visits, archival materials, and interviews with scholars, family, and community members, the film shares the most widely circulated versions of the story. In one version, Celine Navarro committed adultery, but there is no proof beyond the accusations. In another, Navarro reported a crime committed by one the members of the fraternal organization Caballeros Dimas Alang, of which she was a part. The member ended up in San Quentin Prison, and for this she was labelled a traitor and punished. In a variation of this story, the crime she reported was one of gendered violence – rendering Celine a brave, pioneering feminist who refused to be silenced. A final version of her story, one that is documented by the Filipino American National Historical Society and believed by her family members, discloses that a community leader stalked and preyed upon her, ignoring Navarro’s repeated refusal of his advances.
What does it mean to be descendants of violence, and in particular, gendered violence? How can women heal and make families whole? How can truth-telling help family members move through grief? Told with great care and respect for Navarro, her family, and her descendants, this film is a gift of love given to generations who have held Celine in heart and women fighting to have a voice in the face of violence.
"Bay Area filmmaker Celine Parreñas Shimizu does a masterful job of exploring lost histories and the trauma that continues to haunt the impacted communities. This touching and thoughtful film is a must-see, especially for people who live here and are curious about our shared histories."
"Along with the fascinating figure of Celine Navarro, this documentary paints a vivid portrait of the early Filipino migrant community struggling with widespread racism and their own poisonous misogyny. It’s a haunting and illuminating experience."
"...what makes THE CELINE ARCHIVE an invaluable reflection is not the truth it uncovers about an enigmatic figure, but the questions it asks about legacies blemished by silence and murder."
"THE CELINE ARCHIVE is a courageous film that offers redemption and hope in the face of a history of violence against women. It places women’s strength at the center of her story."
"A deeply engaging and powerful film, THE CELINE ARCHIVE makes us think about complex dimensions of history, memory, and community in fresh ways."
"Celine Parreñas Shimizu’s retelling of a horrific incident in California’s Filipino enclave begins simply as a true crime story but unfolds into a dazzling assemblage of interlinked narratives about Filipinos in the US, subaltern women in the archives, the decolonial writing of ethnic histories, transgenerational trauma, and the transformational intersubjective errand at the heart of all documentary filmmaking. Viewers and scholars who look closely enough will recognize The Celine Archive not only as a landmark of Asian American cinema and the feminist documentary but also as an unlikely new exemplar of postmodern nonfiction cinema."
SCREENING HIGHLIGHTS AND AWARDS
- Award of Merit, Documentary Feature, The Impact DOCS Awards
- Finalist, Blackbird Film Festival
- Winner, AIFFA
- Remi Winner, 53rd Annual Worldfest, Houston International Film Festival
- Grand Prize, Culver City Film Festival
- Award of Excellence – Documentary Feature, IndieFEST Film Awards
- Excellence in Documentary, WRPN Womens International Film Festival
- Outstanding Excellence Award for Research and Biography, Docs Without Borders International Film Festival
- Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival
- CAAM Film Fest
- San Diego Asian Film Festival
- Cyrus International Film Festival of Toronto
- Golden State Film Festival
- Hollywood International Diversity Film Festival
- Docs Without Borders Film Festival
- Chicago Indie Film Awards
- Montreal Independent Film Festival
- Switzerland International Film Festival
- Seattle True Independent Film Festival
- Blow-Up International Arthouse Filmfest Chicago
- Las Vegas International Film & Screenwriting Festival
- Reel Sisters of the Diaspora Film Festival & Lecture Series – Brooklyn, NY
- Houston Asian American Pacific Islander Film Festival
- Mimesis Documentary Film Festival
- Manhattan Film Festival
A film scholar and filmmaker, Celine Shimizu is currently a professor and the Director of the School of Cinema at San Francisco State University. In July 2021, she joined UC Santa Cruz as the new Dean of the Arts Division. Her work focuses on social theories of power and inequality at the site of race, sexuality and transnationalism. She is the author of The PROXIMITY OF OTHER SKINS (2020), STRAITJACKET SEXUALITIES (2012), and THE HYPERSEXUALITY OF RACE (2007). In addition, she co-edited two anthologies, THE FEMINIST PORN BOOK (2013) and THE UNWATCHABILITY OF WHITENESS (2018), and she has written numerous peer-reviewed articles in the top journals in the fields of cinema, performance, ethnic, feminist, sexuality studies and transnational popular culture in Asia and Asian America. Distributed by Progressive Films, Third World Newsreel, and Women Make Movies, her films include THE FACT OF ASIAN WOMEN (2004), BIRTHRIGHT (2009), and THE CELINE ARCHIVE (2020). (07/2021)
Celine Parreñas Shimizu, Director Producer Writer
Rhacel Salazar Parreñas, Producer
Dan Parreñas Shimizu, Producer
Dori Caminong, Associate Producer
Raquel Redondiez, Associate Producer
Mike Dagampat, Executive Producer
The Risk Family, Executive Producer
Dawn Desuacido, Key Cast
Henie Navarro, Key Cast
Tootsie Reyes, Key Cast
Lucia Navarro, Key Cast
Alex Fabros Jr., Key Cast
Rick Baldoz, Key Cast
Dawn Mabalon, Key Cast
Dorothy Cordova, Key Cast
Jean Vengua, Key Cast
David Sandwisch, Sound
Theo Gonzalves, Music
Jessie Meehan, Art Direction
Jon Ayon Alonso, Editor
Daniel Chein, Director of Photography
Lynessa Flowers, Sound Assistant
Lauren Friedauer, Production Assistant
Courtney Graves, Key Grip and Production Coordinator
Rachel Deaton, Line Producer
Sydney Redd, Production Manager
Katie Walker, Social Media Manager
Victoria Romero, Production Assistant
Rocio Camacho, Distribution Assistant
Jonathan Bautista, Archive Assistant
Julian Townsel, Archive Manager
Elizabeth My-Yi, Archive Assistant
Shannon Lin, Production Assistant
Davyana San Miguel, Production Assistant