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.
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