2015 AAIM Film Festival Reflection
As part of the advertisement team, I’m glad that Facebook was such a success in drawing people to the film festival. Many in the group were interested if Eugene Lee Yang, the director of Comfort Girls (2014) , was going to come. Although he didn’t, it definitely didn’t detract from the quality of filmmakers we had come to the film festival. My conversations with the directors were the highlights of my day. I particularly enjoyed talking to Brian Tran of Insomnia (2014) and Youngmin Kim (2014). Brian Tran because he is a Vietnamese filmmaker and was very approachable, and Youngmin Kim because we talked about the main actress in his film, Yoojung Kim, whom is a famous teen actress in Korea. Youngmin Kim also had a nuanced perspective on Comfort Girls as a Korean native that differed from my take on Comfort Girls being one of beauty ideals and Western domination. One of the survey responses said that our program lacked an Asian American niche perspective. Perhaps so, but I think that’s when spectatorship comes into play, and the conversations you have with others, like the one I had with Director Kim, can reveal more about what this Asian American niche even means.
Some of the suggestions for the next team of students who do the film festival:
-Pitzer catering is great for lunch and drinks, but not so much for dinner. We ordered hot hors d’oeuvres, and the food was practically gone in 10 minutes. We would probably get more bang for our buck if someone just went and got food from a restaurant outside of the 5Cs. Although less convenient, our stomachs wouldn’t be growling in the main feature.
-More coordination and uniformity between the programs on the simple logistics of what happens the day of the festival. For example, how you’re going to present the filmmakers, how surveys are going to be distributed and collected, how we’re going to shuffle people in that come late, and even outfit coordination if that’s something you’re interested in. I think it’s better to have things like how you’re going to present the filmmakers be a thing that’s the same in both programs so they know what to expect.
-Q116 was actually a good screening place for the shorts program. The only thing is that if you use the room, please maximize seating. You get more spots if you squeeze the seats together, but you lose ability to maneuver much. This would be a hassle for people who want to go to the restroom or want to leave.
Overall, I was pleased with the quality of our program despite this experience of curating and organizing a film festival being a new one to most if not all of us. Watching the films in the beginning of the process was one of my favorite parts because I often watched the films with my classmates and our discussions on the film provided insight as well as more opportunities to connect beside class time. Most of the survey responses read that the images of Asian Americans in out program were deeper than what they see in mainstream media. As a curator who has watched most of the films, I feel this to a greater sense, having been audience to a great variety of independent Asian American film. The 2015 AAIM Film Fest provided me another layer of the importance of Asian /Americans in films in that while in class we studied this as viewers, the film festival gave us an opportunity, to some extent, to control these images. It was empowering, and I’m glad that I was able to have this experience aside from producing films. As a filmmaker myself, I do get to create my own representation of Asian American, and I believe that as video production becomes more accessible and widespread (iPhone video quality actually isn’t bad), we subsequently increasingly have the power and access to create our own interpretations of Asian American as well.
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