2014 Sundance Docs in Focus: TO BE TAKEI

to be takeiThe Final Frontier meets LGBT activism in today’s final Documentary Premieres profile: Director Jennifer Kroot and co-director Bill Weber’s TO BE TAKEI, a portrait of actor and social media icon George Takei.

Sundance Program Description:

George Takei doesn’t shy away from digging into his remarkable career and personal life in Jennifer Kroot’s delightful and incisive film TO BE TAKEI. As a child forced into Japanese-American internment camps, the actor-turned-activist reveals the ways that racism affected him well into his early acting career, where he played stereotypical Asian stock characters in film and television shows. Even after landing the iconic role of Hikaru Sulu on STAR TREK, Takei’s sharp eye, coupled with his wicked sense of humor, continued to challenge the status quo well into the twenty-first century.

Now at 76, nine years after formally coming out of the closet, Takei and his husband, Brad, have become the poster couple for marriage equality, highlighting homophobia through television interviews and hilarious skits, many of which have gone viral and garnered widespread attention. Whether dishing on William Shatner or parodying the now-infamous comments made by Tim Hardaway, Takei proves time and again why his presence in popular culture remains as fresh and necessary as ever.

Some Background:
IT CAME FROM KUCHAR, Kroot’s debut documentary on the legendary Kuchar brothers, premiered at SXSW in 2009. Co-director and editor Bill Weber has had two previous projects at Sundance – WE WERE HERE (2011) and THE COCKETTES (2002).

Why You Should Watch:
Anyone who has seen Takei’s social media output will know that he’s got a gift for droll humor, and that’s very much in evidence in Kroot and Weber’s warm and engaging profile. Tracing his personal and professional background even as it displays his very active present-day career – seeing a resurgence as the actor embraced Facebook, Twitter, and the LGBT community – the film also explores more sobering territory, following Takei’s efforts to share his experiences in the internment camps via a new musical production.

More Info:
For more information, visit the film’s website and Facebook page. As they become available, I’ll link to Kroot’s Meet the Artist Sundance video profile and to her Indiewire filmmaker interview. For screening dates and times at Sundance, click the link in the first paragraph.

To experience the festival through the eyes of this year’s filmmakers, follow my Sundance filmmaker class of 2014 Twitter list.

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Filed under Documentary, Film, Film Festivals, Recommendations, Sundance

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