VR Doc Spins Angel Island Immigration Saga

VR Doc Spins Angel Island Immigration Saga
Photo: CAAMfest - Felicia Lowe’s virtual reality film “Pacific Gateway: Angel Island VR” is her second documentary about the West Coast immigration station.


Bay Area filmmaker Felicia Lowe is quite familiar with the Angel Island Immigration Station, the West Coast answer to Ellis Island, which processed immigrants, most from China, and sometimes detained them for years at a time. She has been active in the efforts to preserve this slice of American history that was her father’s and grandfather’s entry point into the United States, and it was the subject of her 1987 documentary “Carved in Silence.”


Now she returns to it with “Pacific Gateway: Angel Island VR,” a virtual reality documentary at the 2018 CAAMFest that makes its streaming premiere May 28 on the “American Experience” Facebook 360 stream.


“It was a passion of mine to help get more exposure about the history of Angel Island Immigration Station and its role in enforcing the Chinese Exclusion Act,” Lowe says. “That was the first time there was a major law prohibiting immigration based specifically on an ethnic group and would become the model for the rest of the immigration restrictions we would see moving forward.”


Making “Pacific Gateway: Angel Island VR” was a learning experience, immersing Lowe in new techniques that she hopes will capture a new audience for the Angel Island Immigration Station saga.


“I’m also excited that the timing of talking about immigration is at the very top of the mind now,” Lowe says. “We all have an immigrant past, and all that has really been asked or desired is a sense of fairness, that all immigrants are treated the same way.”


More information at www.facebook.com/AmericanExperience PBS.

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