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Sports Documentary To Be Screened at South Pas Library Thursday

The award-winning documentary on Wat Misaka, Asian-American Basketball pioneer, will screen at the South Pasadena Library on May 22.

Photo Courtesy: City of South Pasadena
Photo Courtesy: City of South Pasadena
“Transcending—The Wat Misaka Story” will be screened in the South Pasadena Public Library Community Room on May 22 at 7:00 p.m. It’s an award-winning documentary about Wat Misaka, the first person of color to be drafted into what is now the NBA. A Nisei who was born and raised in Utah where he still lives, Wat was the very first draft pick of the New York Knicks in 1947. Overcoming the national political climate during World War II, Wat was a star player for the University of Utah in the 1944 NCAA and 1947 NIT basketball championship teams, taking 2 years off in between to serve in the U.S. Army. Wat’s perseverance and loyalty to his teammates, other Nisei friends (including those interned at Topaz), and his family are a testament to the unflappable Japanese American spirit.

This film includes in-depth interviews with Wat and his family, teammates from his championship teams (including All-American star Arnie Ferrin of the Minneapolis Lakers), sports authorities, and many others who continue to look up to Wat as a personal hero. The inspiring film also features video clips from his 1944 and 1947 college games, rare footage from a visit to the Topaz Internment Camp, and countless photos from his triumphant career.
Featuring an original score by Scot Stafford, this film won the "Gold Kahuna Award" from the Honolulu International Film Festival (2009), was selected as the centerpiece film of Rights Fest (2012), and was chosen an official selection of the Chicago Asian Showcase (2010), San Diego Asian Film Festival (2009), and Carmel Art and Film (2009).

This screening will be the West Coast premiere of the new director-narrated version of the film. Award-winning co-directors Bruce Johnson and Christine Toy Johnson will be present to discuss the making of the movie and its exciting journey.

The Community Room is located at 1115 El Centro Street. The free screening is presented by the South Pasadena Public Library and the Friends of the South Pasadena Public Library and no tickets or reservations are necessary. Doors will open at 6:30 p.m. and refreshments will be served.

—City of South Pasadena

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