The Fall of the I-Hotel
When the International Hotel's elderly residents were forcibly removed in a pre-dawn operation by over 300 law officers in August 1977, Curtis Choy's cameras were there. His recently completed The Fall of the I-Hotel--thus some six years in the making--is the story of San Francisco's Manilatown, a community whose hub since the twenties was the International Hotel, and a community which, like the hotel, was undermined in the sixties by the expansion of San Francisco's business district into neighboring areas. Through interviews with elderly Filipinos (the Manongs) and rare newsreel footage, Choy reveals the Filipino community in its heyday, when the I-Hotel provided low-cost housing for seamen, farm workers, cannery workers, houseboys and other immigrant Filipinos. Choy also chronicles the hotel's demise--and the political mobilization that brought together community activists, organized labor and senior citizen's groups in an effort to prevent its demolition.