GOOK – Race Relations, Family and Community

By Rudi Lopez, M.A. |

Los Angeles, CA. – In 1992, Los Angeles was changed and the entire nation and world watched as the city succumbed to riots, racial tensions and burning of communities within the city. On April 29, 1992, a jury in the Los Angeles suburb of Simi Valley acquitted four police officers who had been charged with using excessive force in arresting black motorist Rodney King a year earlier. The announcement of the verdict, which enraged the black community, prompted the L.A. riots, which spread quickly throughout much of the sprawling city. For three days rioting occurred that included arson and looting of local businesses throughout the city. Neighborhood businesses were looted and burned down. Racial tensions skyrocketed between Blacks, Whites and other ethnic minorities.

A helicopter crew captured live the beating of Reginald Denny, a white truck driver, being dragged from his commercial truck and severely beaten by several angry rioters at the corner of Florence and Normandie streets. The incident was broadcast live on local television. The police were unprepared, unwilling or unable to enforce the law, causing then Governor Pete Wilson to call in  2,000 California Army National Guard (CA ARNG) soldiers. Within six hours, the Guardsmen rolled into Los Angeles neighborhoods, and on April 30, 1992 a city wide sunset-to-sunrise curfew was established. Anyone living within the city wide curfew had to be home or indoors by the curfew time or face consequences.

2017 is the 25th year anniversary of the LA riots. Articles and other films have been made about the LA Riots with individual perspectives. Filmmaker Justin Chon contributes to the discussion of the events with a unique film about the riots and racial tensions between African Americans and Korean Americans. The film also focuses on two of the most underrepresented minorities in the film…Asian American men and African American females. The lead female character is a resilient African American girl. Chon also addresses the rifts between older and newer generations of Asian Americans.

The synopsis of the film centers around two Korean American brothers who own a struggling women’s shoe store, have an unlikely friendship with 11 year-old Kamilla. On the first day of the 1992 L.A. riots, the trio must defend their store and contemplate the meaning of family, their personal dreams and their future.

Film release:
Will open in theaters on Friday August 18 in Los Angeles at the Arclight Hollywood and the Regal LA Live Stadium Theater.  It will roll out nationally on August 25.

Social Media:
Twitter: @GookFilm

Official Film Trailer:



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