Virtual Film Screening: The Celine Archive

In recognition of  Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month, Chatham Community Library will host a virtual film screening of  The Celine Archive (2020), beginning Thursday, May 12, and continuing through Thursday, May 19.

The Celine Archive is simultaneously an act of journalism, a journey into family and community memory and archives, a love poem, a story of grief and trauma, and a séance for the buried history of Filipino-Americans. Filmmaker and scholar Celine Parreñas Shimizu artfully weaves together her own story of grief with the story of the tragic death of Celine Navarro, which has become lore. In 1932, Navarro was buried alive by her own community of Filipino-Americans in Northern California, but the circumstances surrounding her death were and are unclear and have oft been spun, sensationalized, and dramatized. The filmmaker, a grieving mother with ties to the same community, finds resonance with Navarro’s memory and long-lost story, and she sets out to first learn — and then tell — the truth about Navarro’s death, ultimately portraying her as a feminist heroine.

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.

Film 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

Access to the virtual screening will be available beginning Thursday, May 12, by clicking HERE .  A password is required at the time of viewing. Please contact [email protected] to request the password or for additional information.

This program is free and open to the public.


May 12 - 19 2022


All Day




Chatham Community Library
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