Archive for November 23, 2010

Film Festival Reflection

I guess I’ll join in on the reflection posting party, let’s see if I can think of anything new …

Going into this festival, I wasn’t sure what to expect. No one in the class had experience (that they admitted to) putting on similar events (although, ahem, Galen, had super awesome reception planning skills and others, i.e. Jonathan, had experience with all the tech aspects), and we were working without the benefit of reflections from past semesters. I’m happy it all worked out in the end. I just wish, as it appears others in the class do as well, that we had managed to draw a larger audience.

In retrospect, I think it would have been useful to launch our promotional campaign earlier in the semester. Although I think we did a good job with targeted advertising, we did not do so well at blanketing the 5Cs with table tents, notices in the digesters, inclusion in Pomona’s “Weekender,” and so on. I would guess that many non-Asian, non-Queer Resource Center, non-media studies students didn’t know or remember about our event. Especially given how many different campuses are represented in the class, sheer coverage could have been better. Having more time to advertise would have been very useful, but if we had moved the festival to a later weekend we would have lost people to midterms, finals, and Thanksgiving break-related stress.

Instead of having the class divided into committees by screening, it might have been more efficient to have groups concentrating on specific tasks like general promotion, contacting student groups, reserving spaces, and planning reception(s). (I am very relieved and grateful that Prof. Ma handled contacting and staying in contact with the filmmakers.) On the other hand, getting the chance to do, or at least think about, a little of each was a great learning experience in terms of all the considerations that go into creating an experience for the audience.

It was wonderful hearing the different filmmakers’ perspectives on the nature of Asian American media. Our in-class working definition has been very inclusive: media created by Asian Americans and/or featuring Asians/Asian Americans and/or exploring Asian/Asian American issues. Like Ryan, I found it interesting that more than one filmmaker seemed irritated about or ambivalent towards being identified as Asian American makers of Asian American films, rather than simply “makers of independent films.” Despite the benefits of being able to draw on the resources and support of the Asian American community, being “pigeonholed” as Asian American filmmakers means that their films, regardless of their content, might never be considered completely mainstream. Their films are Asian no matter what and Asian doesn’t equal mainstream.

Should we have discussed playing down the fact that we were throwing an Asian American film festival and instead emphasized “free film screenings” in our advertising? Would that have served to subvert the exnomination of white in our thinking of filmmakers and film festivals? I’m inclined to believe it would have attacked a larger audience at least, but would that have destroyed the entire point of having an Asian American film festival? Food for thought for sure.

– Written and Posted by Alexis

November 23, 2010 at 7:48 am Leave a comment

Film Festival

Group Process?

There doesn’t really seem to be a way other then by means of a group process to tackle a film festival. Dividing the program into four separate themes (or two separate themes and two feature films) very much funneled the effort nicely. The film festival did remind me however, that no matter how the work is divided a select few will invariably turn into the true workhorses. In are case we were lucky that they were Jonathan, Galen and Prof Ma who each used their particular expertise well. I do worry that the opinions amongst the group or class were not as uniform as everyone would have let on but rather conformist. It’s tough to believe that the movie selecting process was as easy as it was if everyone was really honest. However this agreeableness most likely did not detract from the festival, the films although a compromise amongst members of the group, still varied in theme, tone, and subject

What did I learn?

Festival planning is a creative process. Therefore it is fundamentally not going to be a linear one. It’s wrong to assume that each day you will be one closer to a better festival. I also learned that in media it is especially easy to overstate or exaggerate how long something will take. It’s hard to gauge effort in a creative process but I don’t believe that planning the festival was particularly hard with the help of Prof. Ma, the IT from Pitzer, and a resourceful class.

Learn anything new about Asian Americans in Media?

I learned that when talking to a filmmaker its wrong to purpose them for my own ends. In other words, I question the morality of pigeon holing their film ethnically rather then by the merits of its own worth. I learned that race shouldn’t be part of genre and the diversity of the film’s shows how impossible that has become. “People I’ve Slept With” and “Raspberry Magic” couldn’t be more different. There should be less focus on who is making the film. I even started to wonder whether having an “Asian American” festival was appropriate. Doesn’t this just create a starch divided and assume ownership of the stereotype. In other words, maybe its wrong to create something and triumph it as a product of a particular race or culture. If nothing else, it cheapens what should stand on its own feet. Its easy and very Pitzer-like to say that these events are a chance to re-contextualize stereotypes but I don’t believe that to be true. Anything under that guise is simply a cop out for not only allowing but supporting things to be sorted by Race.

Anything surprise you?

I think its important to hold the festival during one free weekend and in one space. I imagine that localizing the event would create more of magnet for interested students. I don’t think Posters are good enough for an academic event. I think it is fitting that we ask professors to maybe talk it about in their class. I hope that we never use Skype again. Although that sort of presentation may one day be the future, right now, we may have been a little ahead of our time.

November 23, 2010 at 12:18 am 1 comment


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