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.
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