Archive for November, 2015

2015 AAIM Film Festival Reflection – Milagros Montalvo

As a Media Studies Major that plans to pursue a career in Television production,the idea of programming isn’t new to me. However, I still found myself nervous when I found out I had to, along with my class, program an entire film festival. Knowing how programming works and actually executing a film festival are two different things. I am really glad that I had previous experience working at a major film/TV company because it helped me a lot when figuring out how to go about programming a film festival.

I think the easiest part of the film festival was the actual event. The festival itself went smoothly, there was a good turnout, especially for the shorts programs. In my opinion the toughest part of programming the film festival was choosing the films to be in it. Everyone had different choices and it was hard to come to a general consensus. Personally, it was also hard for me to choose the films I wanted to be programmed into the festival. I had to approach the decision in a way that factored in what the public would want to see and for me to do that I had to kind of let go of my personal reasons for wanting a specific film, especially if the rest of the class was not interested in programming a film that I wanted. However, being in such a collaborative environment proved to be very beneficial because it helped me understand how programming really works when it comes to festivals.

Television programming isn’t very different from festival programming. Things like demographics, marketability, and audience are all taken into account when programming for both mediums. Putting this film festival together helped me realize what the audience at the 5C’s were; a topic I never though of before.

Having this film festival made me realize that we need more events like this on campus. We need students to see that Asian Americans are being represented in media and more importantly we need more events that bring up the topics of race and allow for dialogue. The results of the surveys that attendants took prove that this event was a success. I really hope we can have events like this where students on campus are able to talk about issues like race and minority representation.

This festival not only taught me how to work with others. It also taught me to how successfully execute and market a film festival. Being a part of this whole process helped me see all of the things that go into programming an event. And I hope to bring these skills with me to any future internship or job I have in the entertainment industry.

-Milagros Montalvo


November 30, 2015 at 3:35 am Leave a comment

2015 Film Festival Reflection

When I think back to the beginning of this course, I remember how nervous I felt about the film festival. As an Asian American Studies minor, I felt confident about my ability to analyze the historical and political aspects of race and Asian Americans. However, with no media studies background, I felt anxious about having to speak about media studies terminology and the specifics of studying film. However, as the course went on, it became easier and easier for me to look at films, and talk about my opinions through the intersections of both of these disciplines. For me, the film festival represented not only a course assignment, but a personal intellectual challenge that I felt compelled to overcome.

One of the hardest things about setting up the film festival was choosing the films. With so many amazing films to choose from, it took a lot to watch all the films, analyze them, and think more broadly about how different films could be worked together in order to form a proper program. It was difficult to weave different films together under a common theme, as many films could be interpreted in a number of ways. However, after many hours of watching and discussing with my peers, I can say that I am proud of the programs that we put together and the films that we decided to feature. I am grateful to have had access to so many wonderful works.

Another challenge that came across when planning the film festival was the process of programming for Claremont College students and broader community. As a student leader for the Asian American Mentor Program (AAMP), I completely understand the struggles of programming on the Claremont Colleges, something that Professor Ma warned us about when we first started thinking about the film festival. It was very hard to know who would come and if people would like the programs we put on until the festival actually got started. I believe the outreach we did to particular groups, such as AAMP, other API mentoring programs, the Asian American Resource Center, and other ethnic based organizations, really helped draw a crowd for both the shorts programs and the feature film. Although the turnout may not have been enough to fill Benson Auditorium, the whole class did an amazing job in reaching out to all different types of communities and making the film festival known.

With a steady turnout for each program, the next aspect of the festival that I would like to comment on is the question and answer portion for each program. It was great that we all had questions prepared for our respective programs. However, it was even better to see participation from the people who attended the festival. It was gratifying to see individuals engage with the directors, be able to ask questions ranging from the creative process to the specifics of the content matter, and be able to see that the work that we did was being used to ignite intellectual discussion about Asian Americans in media.

Finally, I believe that the assignment reinforced the idea that everyone’s contribution matters in planning and execution of a successful event. As someone who collected the surveys and opened and closed the door for the Alternate Realities program, I previously did not think that my role was integral. However, it was evident that without everyone playing their part, the film festival would not have run smoothly and we would have had many more problems. This whole process not only allowed me to look deeper into films and the depiction of Asian Americans in media, but also enabled me to put my skills, and the skills of everyone in the class, to use in order to produce an event for the wider community.


Edmund Pacleb


November 29, 2015 at 11:03 pm Leave a comment

2015 Film Festival Reflection

I enjoyed the film festival a lot more than I had expected to, given how nervous I was for it. The entire process made me a little bit uneasy, knowing that we were a small handful of students who only spent about half the time in one of our four (or five) semester long classes trying to organize a film festival. I feel like most of us couldn’t really focus on organizing because we had so many other things going on. For everyone to even finish viewing the films in order to select the ones we wanted to show was a struggle in and of itself. Personally, I wish I could have committed more time and energy into organizing. I wasn’t able to finish all of the films by the time we discussed them in class and the latter half of organizing felt very rushed. On top of all this, we weren’t even the ones communicating with the filmmakers or officially taking care of finances.

However, I thoroughly enjoyed the film festival itself and also the effect it had on those who attended. It was a privilege to be able to talk to the filmmakers in such a comfortable setting and see them as real people living real lives. While the turnout was fairly small, I think it contributed to the community aspect of the event since we were able to truly engage in dialogue with the filmmakers (especially during the Resistance program). I appreciated the relevant discussion about what was going on on-campus. In general, I think I appreciated the Resistance program more because it had the potential to leave attendees feeling more empowered. While representation is important, I personally value talking about an active Asian American identity because sharing stories and experiences helps us to grow together.

The majority of the evaluations indicated that people wanted to see more events like these on campus. Many evaluations indicated attendance driven by the desire to see more Asian American representation. While the ideal situation would be for there to be adequate Asian American representation in mainstream media, most people recognize that it isn’t realistic. This is why I see such value in events like this. Asian American filmmakers took matters into their own hands and we helped them to expand their audience. I am currently enrolled in next semester’s continuation of this class and am looking forward to reaching even more people.

Nina Lee
PZ  ’18

November 28, 2015 at 1:24 am Leave a comment

Film Festival Response

At first, putting on a film festival seemed incredibly daunting. There were so many things as a group we had to do in order to put on the festival, like watching all of the films, figuring out when and where the event would take place, and putting together enticing programs. Even though the festival ended up only being one day with three events, there was still a lot of work that went into it. Because I was in charge of just showing Farah Goes Bang, it was relatively easy to put that event together, because there was no order or length of the program that I needed to worry about- it was already set. But even though there was not that much that needed to be done for the film, it was really helpful when other groups could help out, especially since I ended up sick during my event.

One major thing that I wish was different about the film festival process was that I would have like if it was easier to watch the films. Although I understand that these films were not supposed to be seen by the public prior, it was still hard for me to go and see the films sometimes. Getting and having the time to go to Pitzer for two hours at a time- multiple times- could become difficult when I also had other projects. But in the end, I liked how we were able to push the event into just one day. I think it made it all the more interesting with all of directors present through out the day. Lastly I was incredibly impressed with the turn out for the two shorts. It was packed in the room with a lot of people unable to find seating, which maybe was not desirable, but looked good for the directors.

For this class, we had mostly been focusing on East Asian films, so it was interesting to watch films with slightly different focuses. I liked working on Farah Goes Bang partially because of that. She is Persian American and the film is set during the Iraq War, so it’s interesting to see how she and her friends respond to racism while trying to work against it. In many ways it’s similar to how East Asian Americans were treated, but also incredibly different. I really regret not being able to actually meet Meera Menon, but she seems like an absolutely fascinating and successful woman.

Over all, I think that the festival turned out to be a great success, and something I am proud to have helped work on.


-Ariana Callan



November 22, 2015 at 8:35 pm Leave a comment

AAIM Festival 2015 Shorts Program I: Alternate Realities

Still from Insomnia (2014) Dir. Brian Tran

Still from Insomnia (2014) Dir. Brian Tran

In a highly globalized, commodified, and technological world, science fiction doubles as a possible future as well as horrific fantasy. See the investment of Asian Americans in science fiction and horror in regards to the body, memory, and self. What does it mean for Asian Americans to dream, obsess, fantasize, fear, and otherwise speculate about the future and other realms?  These shorts span a wide range of media genres, geographical locations, and historical periods.  Yet all imagine an alternate reality for Asian Americans that is outside our day-to-day lives.

THE DEVICE (2013) Dir. Conrad Lihilihi
Follow the horrific and enigmatic night of two thieves when they steal a mysterious device.

MEMORY SCULPTOR (2013) Dir. Ken Ochiai
The wife of the wealthy Masamichi hires agents who can erase memories, and thus reshape people’s lives, to alter her husband’s memories. However, as the mission is in progress, the two sculptors realize that this is the toughest situation that they have ever encountered.

INSOMNIA (2014) Dir. Brian Tran
What is the reality of insomniacs? Experience a couple of days in this short as told by Director Brian Tran.

ROOM 731 (2014) Dir. Youngmin Kim
A young Chinese girl wakes up with no memory of how she ended up in an old abandoned warehouse. As she regains her memories, she learns she is actually in a place known as Unit 731. As she faces the spirits and horrors that harm her, she uncovers the truth about who she is and why she is there.

COMFORT GIRLS (2014) Dir. Eugene Lee Yang
Comfort girls are known as girls and women forced into sexual slavery during war time, particularly around WWII. Has this sexual, gendered, violent, and western dominance really ended with the war? Director Eugene Lee Yang locates the modern comfort girls of Korea.

These films, as part of the first Shorts Program of the Asian American Film Festival, will be shown on November 14th starting at 2pm in Q116, Mosbacher/Gartrell Center for Media Experimentation & Activism (West Hall, Pitzer College).

There will be a short Q&A with the filmmakers following the Shorts Program. There will also be light refreshments provided.

The second Shorts Program named “Resistance” will follow the Q&A. A festival reception will be held after the two shorts programs in Pitzer College’s Benson Auditorium.

November 12, 2015 at 7:16 pm Leave a comment

AAIM 2015 Festival Poster


Click here to download 11″ x 17″ PDF of poster (2.4MB)

November 11, 2015 at 3:17 am Leave a comment

AAIM Film Festival 2015: FARAH GOES BANG
 (2013) Dir. Meera Menon


Election year special!  It’s 2004 and three young women are about to embark on the trip of their lifetimes: a cross-country road trip from California to the swing state of Ohio in order to help with John Kerry’s Presidential campaign. But politics are not the only topic on these women’s minds. Barely on the cusp of full-fledge adulthood and tasting their first true freedom from family and home, they are determined to make their experience memorable. Farah, in fact, has set upon a mission, as deeply committed as her view on social change, of finally losing her virginity.

USC School of Cinematic Arts alumna Meera Menon, in an assured effort informed by the classic feminist film Thelma & Louise and the popular yet controversial TV show Girls, deftly balances witty comedic dialogue with stark dramatic moments in this insightful indie film. At the film’s World Premiere during the Tribeca Film Festival in 2013, Director/Writer Meera Menon was awarded the Nora Ephron Prize for Writing. Her film has strong and fresh performances by Nikohl Boosheri, who plays Farah, and Kandis Erickson as K.J. and Kiran Deol as Roopa.  Whatever your political leaning, Farah Goes Bang aims at the heart of what’s really at stake in people’s minds when it comes to the future of the country.

Farah Goes Bang will be shown on Saturday, November 14 at 6:00PM in Benson Auditorium, Pitzer College with a special Skype Q&A with Meera Menon afterwards.

Presented by: Ariana Callan

November 7, 2015 at 8:50 pm Leave a comment

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