Archive for December 2, 2015

Reflection and Response on the 4th Asian Americans in Media (AAIM) Film Festival by Alex Zhao

This was the first time I participate in organizing a Film Festival and getting close contact with some filmmakers. The entire class worked together as a committee group. Collaborated with each other, we selected films from the poll, discussed topics and themes, programmed the shorts, wrote down introductions, and contributed to film promotions as preparation.

The poll selection process took me lots of hours, but I enjoyed watching films from various perspectives and purposes. The unexpected narration, style, content, and ideology that expressed through the works inspire me a lot. Meanwhile, by doing the mandatory screening, I was also able to force myself to get out from my comfort zone and face some tough works that relate to tough issues, such as the gay romance Coming Home (2015), directed by Steven Liang, which comes to be one of my favorite shorts in the poll, and the horror Room 731 (2014), directed by Young Min Kim, revealing and examining the cruelty of Japanese medical workers in the World War II by focusing on their weapon experiments on a young Chinese girl. Also, deserved a special mention, the name of this supernatural mystery, Rome 731, came from the real existed Unit 731 in the history, where the Japanese Imperial Army conducted research by experimenting on humans, to produce human weapons on their battlefields.

After viewing the options in the poll, we came to the class together and figured out two shorts program and a feature for screening. The programming and promotion by groups needed a lot of communications and collaborations. Through this process, I have known better of my classmates and developed the friendships with them as well.

On the day of the event, started by noon, we had lunch with several filmmakers, and then showed two shorts programs at Q116 in public. Each of the programs had five shorts with a coherent theme, they are, alternative realities and resistance, respectively. Q&A session was arranged followed by the program, and the invited filmmakers joined the discussion to share their incentives and interpretations behind the works. After a reception around 5 pm, we organized the last screening at Benson Auditorium. There, we screened the film Farah Goes Bang (2013), directed by Meera Menon, and skyped the director in for the Q&A.

Overall, I found myself enjoy and take a high value on the close interactions with filmmakers. To discuss and exchange our understandings face to face, I am more likely to be inspired by their thoughts and experiences. Moreover, by showing several great works that explored the identities of being Asian Americans, we, the Asian or Asian Americans in our real lives, had the chance to examine and re-identity ourselves from this experience. After the screening, we sent out the evaluation forms to the audience, and their general feedback confirms my feelings and opinions above, which makes me so proud to be one of the organizers of this great event.

Alex Zhao

December 2, 2015 at 11:53 pm Leave a comment

2015 AAIM Film Festival Reflection

Thank you fellow classmates and Professor Ma for making the film festival possible.

It was a fun, tasty and enlightening occasion. Things went smoothly and pleasantly. Thank you Nina and Noah (just noticed our names begin with n’s) for organising the highly engaging and educational Resistance program and being phenomenal spokesperson and doorperson respectively. From the projectionist’s perch the audience was wide-eyed, seemingly enthralled, entertained and moved. The response was an encouraging and empowering one.

It was a privilege and pleasure to have the directors, and actor, in our midst. This is not a networking nor namedropping thing, but an opportunity to talk personally to the minds that crafted the works we studied, deliberated and ultimately decided on. During the pre-program luncheon with the directors and actor, the latter who was Asian American asked, ‘Are you Asian?’ ‘Yes,’ I replied. ‘Where are you from?’ ‘Hong Kong.’ ‘Oh.’ He explained that his surprise was due to momentarily forgetting that there were Asians other than Asian Americans and that my ‘accentless’ (American) accent was a contributing factor. He spent the following few moments musing in this rediscovery, surprised that it had slipped his mind in the first place.

Introductory small talk eventually developed into informing the guests on the events that had taken place on campus recently, namely the demonstration at CMC and Black Lives Matter march. UCLA director Jennifer Logia related this to the frequent political activities on her home campus. Later, after the Resistance program films screened and the Q&A session was in progress, the topic of recent Claremontian events was revisited. While Indian American director Arpita Kumar supported the idea of a safe space for people of colour at CMC, drawing from her personal experience as a person of colour in America, the aforementioned actor was unclear as to the rules regarding these spaces, i.e. white people having to be invited to enter, something I questioned a few days prior. Members of the audience explained the importance of a space for people of colour, administered by people of colour.

It was powerful to witness outsiders to our community investing interest and engaging with our little bubble and conversations surrounding some of the greater issues at hand.

– Nelson Tsui

December 2, 2015 at 7:48 am Leave a comment

Film Festival Reflection 2015 – Noah Chang

I was nervous for the film festival because I wasn’t sure how the turn out was going to be. I was feeling apprehensive because I was hoping we would have more time to organize our programs and promote the event. Knowing that we were students organizing a film festival amidst participating in classes and other extracurricular events with a target audience of students doing the same; I was expecting a modest turn out. Especially because the date of the festival was moved to the same date as the Big Pomona-Pitzer vs. CMS football game. I also wish that we would have had a bit more time to review the films and decide on the programs. However, despite our limited time and the various scheduling challenges with directors we overcame I think we put together two interesting programs that represented our class’s purpose and entertained the audiences.

It was a great experience to be able to meet the directors and get to know their personal stories. You could see the passion they had for film in their eyes. I could also tell that they were touched to be the focal point of our humble event as well. We got to learn a lot about the industry and about film. The lunch in the beginning was a good start to the festival as well. The food was nice and we were able to teach the directors things about Pitzer and current events around the campus’s. It was a very pleasant exchange.

I was happy to see that we were able to fill out the viewing room. It was a perfect setting for everyone to have a great view of the film comfortably. I was glad to see that so many people took interest in Asian American films and came to show support. The question and answer setting with the directors was a success in my opinion because the directors gave very good personal insight and information. The amount of questions also showed them that people were interested in their work which I’m sure they appreciated.

The survey responses showed that people appreciated the festival and that there should be more events like it on campus. I would have to agree, I think events like this are what the 5C’s stand for. In current times, I think they would also have a great effect on lowering racial tension and promoting intercultural acceptance. I think students walked away from it both informed and entertained from the material presented. I even had a classmate email me after the festival asking me to send him one of the films. Judging from that reaction, I think we did a good job and had a good time.

– Noah Chang

December 2, 2015 at 6:04 am Leave a comment


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