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
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