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Through never-before-seen footage and interviews, "Clash of Colors" offers unprecedented access into the most overlooked history of the 1992 LA Riots. The documentary narrative chronicles how the riots affected the Korean American community in Los Angeles, while analyzing the complex sociopolitical events before, during, and after the six-day catastrophe which claimed 55 deaths, more than 4,000 injuries, and $1 billion in property damage.
"Clash of Colors" draws on in-depth interviews from a balanced expert panel including Bill Boyarsky, former LA Times columnist, K W Lee, former Editor of Korea Times, author and former Washington Post White House correspondent Lou Cannon, radio personality Larry Elder, Councilman Tom Labonge, former council members Mike Hernandez and Mike Woo, UCLA professors Ivan Light, Darnell Hunt and Leo Estrada, AME Church's Rev. Cecil Murray, and more.
Although the videotaped Rodney King beating and controversial acquittal of the LAPD served as the catalyst, it was the minority Korean American community which bore the brunt of the riots, including nearly one half of the net monetary loss of $ 400 million, which losses have never been compensated to this day. Pitted against African Americans - in part by local media coverage - Korean business owners were abandoned by the LAPD forcing them to defend their property against mobs of rioters who sought to destroy businesses by taking up arms. "Clash of Colors" details unsung stories such as how Radio Korea became a lifeline of communication for Korean merchants under attack. At the climax of the riots, in an unprecedented show of unity, 100,000 Korean Americans living in Southern California converged in Koreatown to march through the streets to take back their town.
Even after the riots, the Los Angeles City Council, in the name of public safety, violated their constitutionally protected property rights to rebuild their businesses by enacting ordinances which made it economically unfeasible to rebuild in South Central. The politically powerless Korean immigrant community therefore had to endure yet another blatant act of discrimination carried out, this time, by the city's elected officials. And their sufferings and struggles had gone unnoticed at the time due to the mainstream media's lack of interest in the Korean American community's plight. The film exposes for the first time how the Korean American community endured this tumultuous period, and how the event became a turning point for Korean Americans.