Reflections on Film Festival

December 7, 2012 at 7:54 am Leave a comment

As someone who is personally interested in media studies, ethnic studies, and critical theory, I really enjoyed organizing, hosting, and attending the Third Annual Asian American film festival.  It was quite an invaluable experience and I am very grateful that I had this opportunity.

ORGANIZING: Although I admit I initially felt a bit daunted at the prospect of having to preview so many films, I ended really enjoying the process.  I felt lucky to be exposed to so many stellar examples of contemporary Asian American media.  I fell in love with the documentary “Seeking Asian Female” and raved about it to all my friends.  I also really appreciated all the low-budget but highly sophisticated Armed with a Camera shorts.  I also liked programming and drawing connections between the different shorts, seeing how the different films qualified, nuanced, and spoke to each other.  After sitting with these films for a week or so, two broad themes came to me: “Family” and “History.”  I really liked working with Kanna and Bill on the series of shorts about the diversity of relationships on Asian American families.  I especially enjoyed our conversation about how to order the films together.  I’m also really glad our class decided to screen “Two Shadows,” because I think it is important to support films about strong Cambodian American women.

HOSTING: I was actually pleasantly surprised at the turnout for our screening; I thought 4:00pm on Friday was somewhat of an awkward time, so I’m glad people showed up, despite the rain.  I was a bit concerned when we delayed because of technical difficulties, but became excited when we started the program and presented our introduction.  It was then almost magical to see our program projected in a darkened theater, and to witness the connections between the different shorts unfold.  For example, I though it was very poignant that the second to last line of the program was “I love you,” thus coming full circle and reflecting the title of our program: “This is How I Say I Love You: Exploring the Diversity of Relationships in Asian American Families.”  I also really enjoyed meeting the filmmakers.  I thought the Q&A was very informative, and I liked the thoughtful and honest way the filmmakers answered the questions.  I admit that the question/challenge by the white man regarding the theme of our program and what constitutes “Asian American” was unexpected and difficult, and I got a bit emotional answering it, but in the end I’m glad I spoke up.  I have heard similar questions before, and haven’t always had the courage to answer publicly, so I felt empowered that I did so in this space, and validated by the supportive comments by the filmmakers and friends after the program.  I also really enjoyed the opportunity to talk to the filmmakers in depth at the reception, and to hear what they are doing now.  As an aspiring filmmaker, it is always inspirational to meet other critical Asian American filmmakers and artists who are “making it.”

ATTENDING: I’m glad I made the time to attend all the other programs; it was definitely worth it.  I enjoyed listening to all the invited guests and thought the Q&A sessions were all quite good.  Overall I’m proud of my classmates and am happy we could organize this film festival together.

-Evyn Le Espiritu

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