Posts tagged ‘2010’

2010 Mini Festival of Recent Asian American Films Reflection (Jonathan Soon)

Secret Asian Man Comic
(Secret Asian Man by Tak Toyoshima)

  • How did the group process work for you – are there things that you would do differently in retrospect? If so, why?

I think the group process worked well. There weren’t a lot of issues that truly caused controversy or a divide among the group, which always helps. I think deciding things with voting and having Prof. Ma mediate/moderate was a good way to do things.

  • What did you learn from programming and organizing the Festival?

I learned a lot in both the programming and organization of the festival. From a programming standpoint I learned the different considerations in terms of not only format (serial vs. condensed) but also what actually goes into choosing a screening program from a pool. I learned that filmmakers get paid for their works to be screened and to appear in person. (This makes sense, but I have never really known about this or thought about it before.) From an organization standpoint, I learned a lot of technical skills. I learned how to use Adobe Illustrator to make a flier (I now know why people use this instead of Photoshop to make fliers). I also learned how to operate the audio/visual booth in Broad Performance Space. Finally, I got a glimpse into the lives of independent filmmakers of various notoriety at both the dinner and the reception we hosted. I enjoyed both and especially enjoyed chatting with Quentin Lee about various topics.

  • Did you learn something new about the subject that is different from what you learnt in the books and films we discussed in class?

I thought it was interesting the festival featured both RASPBERRY MAGIC and THE TAQWACORES. Both these filmed featured groups I would normally not associate with an Asian American film festival. I also thought the subject matter covered in WIND IN A BOX and GRANDMA (transgenderism, mental health) are subjects that normally not discussed in Asian communities.

  • Did your views on Asian American media change during the project?

I think my views changed in that I got to see some more modern independently produced Asian-American features and shorts. It definitely got me interested in the Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival that is coming up next year. I think it’d be cool to volunteer but with classes that seems hard…I should hopefully be able to at least make some screenings. I enjoyed seeing Asian American in both somewhat stereotypical roles (but usually with a good twist) and roles they would normally not have. STRANGERS in particular is interesting because it’s an American movie, set in LA and is a thriller/action film with both an Asian male and Asian female lead and a Caucasian sidekick…normally it’s the other way around.

  • Were there things that did not work, or ones that worked differently from what you expected?

One thing that I’m going to work on for all future projects is proofreading. Anytime you have text, it seems like no matter how many times your proofread there will still be errors unless you have like 3 other people read the same text. (“Rasberry Magic” comes to mind.) This blog post is no exception, I found 3+ typos in it even after proofreading it 5 times. I also think for future festivals that having a longer lead time would be better to allow for more people to be on panels and to allow for better promotion.


-Written and Posted by Jonathan Soon

November 22, 2010 at 5:25 pm Leave a comment

The Future of Asian American Film Festivals (Film Festival Report Part 5)

Babel Gum Film

Babel Gum Film, an online media portal and an online film festival

So what exactly is the future of Asian American Film Festivals in today’s Internet driven postmodern world? This is obviously hard to foresee, but I think the Internet’s effect will generally be positive as it lowers the barrier of entry for media makers. As Jasmine has pointed out in her project, there is already a large Asian American presence on the Internet in the form of various videos hosted on sharing sites such as YouTube. Indeed the Internet has no true filter, so anything anyone produces can be uploaded, but the real question is whether or not anyone is watching. This lowered barrier of entry might lead to Asian American media being relegated to relatively small audiences. (The signal to noise ratio on the Internet is generally large.) Also media is not produced in a vacuum, so it is likely that artists in general will largely imitate was it popular and within their means. This can lead to a homogenization of media. One only needs to look at the top daily YouTube videos to see this. Many of the top videos are simply video blogs done in front of a green screen with amateur digital effects. However it should be noted this isn’t really that much different from what traditional Asian American media has dealt with. As Kayo Hatta said, “One of the frustrating things within the Asian American community sometimes can be that they don’t see something as worthwhile until it’s validated by the mainstream”[1]. So you could have a case where a given Asian American online video is not popular among the Asian American community until the wider Internet community votes it up on digg or shares it a lot on Twitter, etc.

Hayden Films

Hayden Films, an online film festival and media portal

Of course with any lowering of the barrier of entry comes additional criticism. Current Asian American media producers may feel threatened or dismiss the newcomers. The question of legitimacy will arise. I fail to see how this will have a significant impact in a media world where more and more people are consuming media online, whether that is via streaming or downloading. I believe in general the Internet public doesn’t think too deeply about how “legitimate” a given media maker or content provider is, they are just looking for entertainment. Indeed, the fact that a lot of online videos are made for embedding or messaging (email, facebook, twitter, digg, reddit, etc.) to one’s friends show this. And the recommendation of one’s friend is the best marketing a given work can hope for as it adds a personal touch. The Internet also provides for direct communication between media makers and consumers. This can lead to many interesting interactions, such as crowd sourcing the production of a given work or raising funds via online donations systems such as Kickstarter. It also will lead to immediate criticism, but once again criticism is not new to Asian American media. What is specific to Asian American media is that there will always be “cultural critics”, those who deem a work is “not ethnic enough” or “too ethnic”. They perform what Charlotte Brundson calls “redemptive readings”[2] which point out the inconsistencies in a given text to salvage the work for a particular audience. You can already see this at work when people criticize a work as not being ethnically accurate via online comments.

Kick Starter

Kickstarter, an example of crowd sourcing for financing projects

As stated in my previous post, I don’t think any online recognition can truly replace physical world recognition. Still, I think the idea of a “virtual” film festival is intriguing and I wonder if it only a matter of time before we see the idea take off. There are already some in existence and I am sure there will be more. Not only would a virtual film festival be cheaper than a real film festival, it is likely to represent the independent nature and grassroots, “do it yourself” mentality that has been the defining characteristic of the Asian American media movement since the 60s. Perhaps this is not such a weird idea after all.


 

[1] Xing, Jun p.182 Asian America Through the Lens. Xing, Jun. Walnut Creek: AltaMira Press.
[2] Xing, Jun p.183 Asian America Through the Lens. Xing, Jun. Walnut Creek: AltaMira Press.

-Written and Posted by Jonathan Soon 

November 18, 2010 at 11:58 pm 1 comment

Why Asian American Film Festivals? (Film Festival Report Part 4)

SHORTCOMINGS by Adrian Tomine(from SHORTCOMINGS by Adrian Tomine)

So what exactly is the point of Asian American Film Festivals? Why do they exist? And are they necessary in our post-modern, Internet driven, mobile media world? I argue that Asian American Film Festivals are still relevant today for various reasons.

The first is mainly historical. As we have seen in class, the Asian American media movement has always had its roots in the social and political movements of the 1960s (civil rights and ethnic studies respectively). The movement “developed its own agenda and aesthetic in opposition to [the] mainstream”[1] The result of this is the “anti-slick” look of many Asian American media of the time as well as the attempt to “abolish the division between art and life, between filmmakers and viewers”[2]. Thus modern Asian American works have their roots in media that are not something typically found in Hollywood, and not something that can really be consumed by a mass audience.


Chan is Missing

Chan is Missing a typical Asian American Film Festival film?

Enter the Asian American Film Festival. An Asian American Film Festival provides a venue for exactly the sorts of work that the Asian American community produces. Though they may have big corporate sponsors, the Film Festival circuit offers both media producers and consumers a taste of something different, something decidedly not Hollywood or mainstream. Asian American Film Festival often feature the first work of a rising star that later may go onto widespread mainstream success. Both Wayne Wang’s CHAN IS MISSING and Ang Lee’s thesis film were both screened at the Asian American International Film Festival in New York[3]. Asian American Film Festivals present characters, settings, and viewpoints from a culture that is critically underepresentated in mainstream media. I know in particular from our pool I was very impressed by Michael Aki’s STRANGERS, a neo-noir thriller with Asian male and female leads. I admit I am not used to seeing an American film where the two main leads are not only Asian, but their “Asianness” is not a factor (he is not a martial arts master, she is not a Lotus Blossom or Dragon Lady). I also loved how the comedic sidekick was Caucasian instead of an ethnic minority as it usually would be in an action/thriller film (RUSH HOUR comes immediately to mind).

Rush Hour

You most likely won't see this at an Asian American Film Festival.

I believe that even in today’s Internet driven world where people watch an increasing amount of media via the Internet and on mobile devices (including not just smartphones but tablets like the iPad) that Asian American Film Festivals are still important. This is because they provide legitimacy and physical recognition that the Internet can never provide. No matter how many subscribers a YouTube media producer may have, it does not compare to being able to do a Q&A in front of live people or hearing the physical applause in a theater after one’s work has screened. I believe most people would also view any media screened at a major Asian American Film Festival as “more legitimate” and “more prestigious” than a “random” online web video. While this may change in the future with award shows like The Streamys, I think we are still a decade or more off from this occurring.


 

[1] Xing, Jun p.177 Asian America Through the Lens. Xing, Jun. Walnut Creek: AltaMira Press.
[2] Xing, Jun p.177 Asian America Through the Lens. Xing, Jun. Walnut Creek: AltaMira Press.
[3] Xing, Jun p.178 Asian America Through the Lens. Xing, Jun. Walnut Creek: AltaMira Press.

-Written and Posted by Jonathan Soon 

November 18, 2010 at 11:52 pm 1 comment

Running a Film Festival: Overview & Tips (Film Festival Report Part 3)

SHORTCOMINGS by Adrian Tomine
(from SHORTCOMINGS by Adrian Tomine)

The actual operations of a film festival are essentially like every other event; one must keep track off and complete a variety of tasks. Recall that Asian American Film Festival are generally staffed by volunteers (I know Visual Communications puts out a call for volunteers every year for the Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival and are quite independent in terms of major media events (generally there are not tons of corporate sponsors unlike festivals such as Cannes or Sundance). Like many events in real life (Baby Shower, Wedding, Birthday Party), you really only get one shot at everything and any mistakes you make you will have to live with and dynamically adjust to. No even is perfect, but keep in mind any mistakes reflect poorly on both the event and and the planners (you). Some of the best remembered events actually had numerous problems/issues that were either resolved quickly or hidden by their organizers (I can speak from personal experience on this one as I’ve had to save events run by other people). Remember, in most cases individuals involved with the actual creation of the media will be present. You definitely do not want to be responsible for an event where someone feels their media was not shown in the best possible environment and at the best possible quality.


Still from Red Dust (2010)

For our film festival I took care of many of the technical aspects because I am a member of Pitzer IT as well as friends with the staff in Audio-Visual. I learned a lot working in the audio-visual booth of Broad Performance Space for both Love & Justice and Finding Our Voices. The most important thing I learned is that you absolutely, positively MUST have a backup copy of everything you are planning on screening. Without a backup copy of LT. WATADA, the screening would have ended up being a disaster as the screener copy we were sent had a scratch/stains on it that caused it to not play more than a few minutes. On a related note, actually testing the audio-visual equipment in the screening space is also important (though in the case of LT. WATADA this ended up giving us a false positive). I also learned that a flashlight is very handy for adjusting things in the screening space without turning on the lights. An assistant is also useful to monitor audio levels and tell you to raise or lower them and for when you need to go take a break for whatever reason (phone call, bathroom, etc.)

Of course just because I wasn’t as directly involved in the other aspects of a film festival does not make them any less important. Planning and executing the dinner might have been fairly easy because of the casual nature of the event (I loved the dinner), but the reception was another matter. Fortunately for us, Galen was able to get Bon Appetit to cater the event with delicious food. While all the hors d’oeuvres were delicious, I especially enjoyed the seared ahi tuna with wasabi one the most, a fact that is not lost on me given the Asian-American nature of our event (it was poetic I suppose?). I talked to several of our guests as well as other (not from the class) atneedees and they enjoyed the food and wine. Obviously spending the money to hire Bon Appetit to cater the event greatly reduced the amount of work we would have to do as we didn’t have to staff or bring the food ourselves.


(Q&A for Finding Our Voices)

Finally there’s one last aspect that should go without saying: be respectful of the guests. Make sure you know their names, and if you don’t find out before calling people “that guy” or “hey”. Offer to get them water or other refreshments you may have on hand. Lead them around the facility (the campus in our case) and make sure they know where the nearest restrooms are. Also make sure to introduce your guests and give a brief bio about each of them (I admit I fumbled this a bit in my intro but I’ve learned for the future!). Make sure to have a list of prepared questions you can ask during the Q&A to guide or “prime” the audience. (Generally after a few questions the audience is ready to ask their own.) Before the night is over, make sure you thank them for coming out. Yes they are technically getting paid to appear but (at least for our festival) it’s not much and they still took time out of their schedule to show up.

November 18, 2010 at 10:51 pm 1 comment

Planning & Programming (Film Festival Report Part 2)

SHORTCOMINGS by Adrian Tomine(from SHORTCOMINGS by Adrian Tomine)

As our guest speaker Abe Ferrer (Co-Director of the Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival) pointed out in his visit, film festivals choose from a huge pool of media for screening. Abe mentioned that for the Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival there were hundreds of entries and he personally watched at least a part of 300 or so. The general process is there is a “call for submissions” during which virtually anyone can submit a work for screening consideration provided they meet eligibility requirements and pay a submission fee. The eligibility for an Asian American Film Festival usually requires that the film either be produced by Asian Americans, feature Asian American, and/or deal with topics related to Asian Americans. (Note the definition of “Asian Americans” can be quite broad or restrictive depending upon the festival.) A given festival may require only one of these aspects or all three. Both The San Francisco International Asian American Film Festival and the Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival accept “films and videos that are made by or about Asian Americans and Asians of any nationality. All lengths and genres will be considered.” These are definitely quite broad eligibility requirements. Submission fees are usually graduated as well, there is an “early deadline” and a “late deadline” in terms of submission dates and submitters pay more if they submit after the “early deadline”. Note that the entry fees for Asian American film festivals are generally less than those of bigger, better known film festivals such as Sundance. The lower costs and wider eligibility requirements are necessary because of the nature of Asian American media: it is generally independently produced and often not feature length.

As Prof. Ma pointed out in his guidelines to our film festival, there are other criteria in play during the selection process than simply “Is [the work] well made?” There are issues of “breaking new ground” and whether or not a work speaks to the “Asian American experience”. Abe mentioned that a work can be somewhat un-polished or not super professional in technical terms, but will still get selected for their festival simply because it represents a new or seldom seen point of view. (RASPBERRY MAGIC and THE TAQWACORES immediately come to mind in the “new or seldom seen point of view” aspect.) Of course, a real film festival (unlike ours) has to sell enough tickets and secure enough sponsorship to at least break even assuming the festival organizers want to continue running it. This means picking some more mainstream polished works that will both please and attract a crowd. Festivals generally have a couple “big draw” films in big theaters and venues while the (theoretically) less popular shorts and experimental films get smaller venues. One good example of this is New York’s Asian American International Film Festival, which screened PEOPLE I’VE SLEPT WITH as the Closing Night Presentation. We also screened this film as our last program as the class felt it was a “crowd pleasing” movie and an “easy sell”.

Quentin Lee taking questions (Quentin Lee taking questions)

As we found out first hand, there is one additional aspect during film festival programming that cannot be overlooked: scheduling. Not only in terms of securing venues and equipment to actual screen works, but the schedules of the filmmakers must be taken into consideration as well. The main draw of a film festival is that after a screening various members of the cast and crew are present for a question and answer panel. This usually includes the director, producer, and a lead actor or more of the cast. Obviously the film festival’s screening times must be such that cast and crew can attend. We selected our films and shorts based on not only class voting but whether or not the filmmakers could make a Q&A panel afterwards. (We even used Skype to talk to the producer and director of RASPBERRY MAGIC.)

Finally there is the serial vs. compressed format issue. A serial format is one where a work is screened on a certain day at a specific time for a given amount of weeks. (Last year’s festival for this class was used this format; works were shown every Thursday at 7PM for 4 weeks straight.) The compressed format is something akin to a convention, works are screened continuously throughout the day (space and time permitting) and each day has its own set of screening. The vast majority of film festivals are of the compressed format. Every festival mentioned so far in this post, including Sundance, uses the compressed format. One generally sees a serial format at places such as universities or independent theaters that will do a film series such as “noir night” every Thursday in November. One good example of this is the Silent Movie Theater, which (true to its name) screens a silent movie every Wednesday among other programs.


-Written and Posted by Jonathan Soon

November 18, 2010 at 9:10 pm 2 comments

A Brief History of Asian American Film Festivals (Film Festival Report Part 1)

(This is the first in a series of blog posts that discusses Asian American film festivals. I plan on addressing not only the history of such festivals, but the reasons why they are important and how we can make them better. I will also comment on what I think is the future for Asian American film festivals with the advent of modern technology such as video sharing sites like YouTube. This will be a series of 5 posts, with the first being a brief history of major Asian American Film Festivals in North America. The second post will discuss the planning and programming of such a film festival, the third will be a collection of tips and tricks for running a small film festival. The fourth post will address the role that Asian American film festivals fill and the fifth and final post will discuss the future of Asian American film festivals.)

Asian American Film Festivals were born out of the Asian American rights movements of the late 1970s. Like the rights movements, the Asian American Film Festivals have “do it yourself” philosophy and are generally independently run like most film festivals. They are of varying size and attract sponsors from a diverse community. For many people, film festivals represent the only real (and legal) way to view Asian American films and shorts. This is because of limited distribution opportunities. Additionally, “many Asian American film/video makers and spectators produce and consume movies without an awareness of Asian American cinema as an artistic tradition.”[1] San Francisco, New York, and Los Angeles all host major Asian American Film Festivals[2].

Screen Grab of SF IAAFF 2010
(San Fransico International Asian American Film Festival)

The San Francisco International Asian American Film Festival started in 1982. It was started by the NAATA (National Asian American Telecommunications Association). In 1985 there was a brief break (the only break for the 28year festival run) due to the National Asian American Media Arts Conference at UCLA. Starting in 1986 the festival was run as its own independent entity. Today, the festival is run by the Center for Asian America Media which describes the event as “an important launching point for Asian American independent filmmakers”.  The center not only funds projects such as the festival, but it also produces and distributes tv spots and other media as well. (It’s both a producer and distributor of media.) In recent years (2002-today) there has been a lot of “crossing over” in terms of the festival audience, with an increasing number of non-Asian audience members. This is probably due in part to the mainstream success of films like Justin Lin’s BETTER LUCK TOMORROW (2002).

Screen Grab of www.aaiff.org/2010
(Asian American International Film Festival in New York)

The Asian American International Film Festival in New York was founded in 1978. The goal is “a platform for filmmakers of all backgrounds to develop the constructs of Asian cinema and cultivate the next generation of talent”. The festival is produced by Asian CineVision which is “a not-for-profit national media arts organization dedicated to the development, promotion and preservation of film and video arts by and about people of Asian descent” that was founded in 1976. Asian CineVision has a membership that pays dues that help fund not only the film festival, but various programming and opportunities for media artists. The 2010 Asian American International Film Festival included screenings of Quentin Lee’s PEOPLE I’VE SLEPT WITH (Closing Night Presentation) as well as Bruce Beresford’s MAO’S LAST DANCER which was later released as an art house film with limited distribution.

LA APFF 2010 Screen Grab
(Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival)

The Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival started in 1983 “as a vehicle to promote Asian and Asian Pacific American cinema”. The festival is one of the largest Asian American related events in Los Angeles and is heavily staffed by volunteers. The festival is produced by Visual Communications which from our readings we know as the oldest Asian American media arts company/group in the United States (founded in 1970). One interesting thing to note as our guest Abe Ferrer pointed out was that they consider other ethnic groups as Asian that are not normally considered to be Asian by other Asian American film festivals. These include South Asians (Indians, Pakistani) as well as Russians among others. The 2010 festival screened RASPBERRY MAGIC (about an Indian family) and THE TAQWACORES (about a first-generation Pakistani) as examples of films produced by these groups. In addition to Asian American works, the festival spotlights programs from countries that are not usually seen here “including China, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, New Zealand, the Philippines, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand, and Vietnam, among others“ For our festival (see below), the viewing pool consisted of a subset of works screened at the 2010 Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival.

Flyer for 2010 Mini Festival of Recent Asian American Films
(The 2010 Mini Festival of Recent Asian American Films)

The Mini Festival of Recent Asian American Films is the film festival we put on for our class, Media Studies 100 PZ: Asian American in Media. The first festival was last year (Spring 2010) and was primarily programmed and planned by Prof. Ming-Yuen Ma. This time around, the students of the class did most of the programming and planning. (A future blog post will go into the process of selection and planning of the film festival.) Though the 2010 Mini Festival or Recent Asian American Films was only the 2nd such film festival, the overall attendance was already greater than the last one and there will be future festivals. Hopefully the festival can grow in time to at least become an annual event on Pitzer College of some note!


 

[1] Feng, Peter p.6 Screening Asian Americans. Ed. Peter X Feng. New Jersey: Rutgers University Press.
[2] Feng, Peter p. 6 Screening Asian Americans. Ed. Peter X Feng. New Jersey: Rutgers University Press.

 
-Written and Posted by Jonathan Soon

November 18, 2010 at 8:50 pm 3 comments

THE PEOPLE I’VE SLEPT WITH: Sat. Nov 6 7PM @ Benson Auditorium


Angela Yang loves sex. She loves it so much she makes baseball cards of her lovers to help her remember all of them. But when she finds out that she’s pregnant, can she put it all behind her and lead a normal life? As we take a dive into the world of Angela, we laugh, we cry, and we sometimes cringe as we follow her on her search for the baby daddy.

Angela Yang is very much defined by her sexuality and struggles with this identity as she is challenged by the prospects of being a mother. Her best friend Gabriel Lugo is fighting a parallel battle of love and commitment. As Angela attempts to exit her sexualized party-going life, so does Gabriel. While Angela seeks out her identity as an Asian American female, Gabriel searches his identity as a gay Latino. This film delves into the themes and motifs of race, sexuality in the modern day and stereotypes. The relationship between Gabriel and Angela makes us laugh as their own motivations change and manifest themselves in their advice to one another.

The People I’ve Slept With is directed by Quentin Lee and stares Karin Anna Cheung (Better Luck Tomorrow), Wilson Cruz (My So-Called Life), and Archie Kao (CSI).

-post by Galen Lieberworth, Rebecca Potts-Dupre, Amy Ruskin

November 5, 2010 at 8:07 am Leave a comment

Finding Our Voices Saturday Nov. 6th @ 4pm

HALF KENNETH
(2009) Dir. Ken Ochiai
1942: World War II has reached American soil. Kenneth Handa, an adolescent Japanese-American, has been imprisoned in the Manzanar War Relocation Camp for three years. After his father’s passing, Kenneth hatches a plan to escape and find his Caucasian mother who lives just a few hours away. Things become complicated, however, when Kenneth’s little brother, Jo, joins him at the last minute.
22 min.

THREE TIMES ME
(2009) Dir. Wendy J.N. Lee
A young Asian-American girl hides under the table at a dinner party, imagining the woman she might grow up to be based on three pairs of shoes that have caught her attention. Her imagination transports her forward to life as a ruthless businesswoman, a love-lorn romantic, and an angry artist with an animalistic roar.
4 min.

LYRICAL EMPIRE: HIP HOP IN METRO MANILA
(2010) Dir.: Mark Villegas
Take a glimpse into the lives of hip hop artists from Metro Manila, in a country where hip hop culture is under constant scrutiny from a skeptical public. What will it take for these artists to prove their skills? Will hip hop become big in the Philippines or will it be forever discarded as ‘jologs,’ underclass, and uncultured? These hardworking hip hop heads show you the passion and style they bring to the game where lyrical boundaries blur and innovation is prized.
20 min.

GRANDMA
(2010) Dir. William Kwok
For many Asian American families, grandparents play a crucial role in the upbringing of their grandchildren. In GRANDMA, the filmmaker, a Chinese American, asks his grandmother, who helped raise him and his brother, to reflect upon his brother’s autism.
5 min.

WIND IN A BOX
(2010) Dir. Tani Ikeda
WIND IN A BOX is an experimental documentary about a young transgender Filipino American named Raf and his spiritual journey as a shaman. Raf is determined to become the next Babaylan shaman in the family, but must heal his spirit without separating his queer identity from his Filipino tradition.
5 min.

November 4, 2010 at 11:43 pm 1 comment

Raspberry Magic Friday Nov. 5th @ 7PM

RASPBERRY MAGIC (2009) Dir. Leena Pendharkar
7pm
Location: Benson Auditorium

11-year-old Monica Shah (Lily Javaherpour) believes raspberries are
“the perfect balance of sweet and sour, the good and the bad.” Her
father has just lost his job and left his family, her mother has
fallen into depression, and now her little sister refuses to go to
school. It’s up to Monica to bring them all back together, all while
trying to win the science fair by proving human touch makes raspberry
plants grow faster. RASPBERRY MAGIC offers an inspiring tale of love’s
power to reunite and the value of following your dreams.

Though the family at the center of RASPBERRY MAGIC is Indian,
questions of race and ethnicity are not front and center of this
kid-safe film. Beyond physical appearance and fusion cooking, the Shah
family is the same as many a family down on its luck. Their economic
struggles are met with less than responsible reactions on the part of
the adults, but in their failings, Monica’s heartwarming maturity is
given a chance to shine. It is gratifying to find a young girl in the
role of the dorky but lovable science nerd. Full of brains and
perseverance, Monica is a protagonist we can really root for as she
navigates stumbling family members, mountains of dirty dishes, science
fair sabotage, robots, and the magic of raspberries.

(88 min.)
In Person (via Skype): Leena Pendharkar and Megha Kadakia, Producer

November 4, 2010 at 5:58 pm Leave a comment

LOVE AND JUSTICE: Fri. Nov 5th 4PM @ Broad Performance Space

LOVE & JUSTICE

Friday, Nov. 5th 4PM @ Broad Performance Space

GEORGE AND BRAD IN BED (2010) Dir. Jessica Sanders

A short documentary that profiles the 21-year relationship between actor George Takei (Hikaru Sulu from Star Trek) and his partner Brad Altman, who recently got married. Paying homage to John Lennon & Yoko Ono’s “bed-in”, this short features the couple in bed being interviewed.

6 min.

RED DUST (2010) Dir. Karin Mak

RED DUST tells an unexamined side of China’s economic development: the resistance, courage, and hope of workers battling occupational disease, demanding justice from the local government and global capital. Chinese migrant workers are deemed disposable by factory owners and are stereotypically viewed as quiet and passive victims. However, Ren and other GP workers (Min, Fu, and Wu) fight back. Labor issues are very sensitive in China, and workers who publicly discuss their struggles do so at great risk. The audience discovers along with the filmmaker, a Chinese American, the horrors of the global assembly line.

This documentary is about women who are the engine of the global economy. Although the film takes place in China, the characters’ experiences are universal to workers on the margins around the world, where poverty, migration, and workplace hazards are common realities.

20 min.

LT. WATADA (2010) Dir. Fredia Lee Mock

From Academy Award Winning Director & 5-time Oscar nominee Freida Lee Mock (MAYA LIN: A STRONG CLEAR VISION, 1995) comes the story of Lt. Ehren Watada. The film is an in-depth look at Lt. Watada, who was court marshaled for refusing deployment to Iraq on the grounds that the current war is both immoral and illegal.

The film charts his emergence as a public speaker and activist who has become a hero of the anti-war movement and a target for pro-war protestors. This thoughtful and incisive documentary is both an inspirational portrait of one man’s act of conscience and a powerful investigation into questions that threaten to unravel the government’s justification of the Iraq war.

40 min.

For more information on the films, go to:

http://jessicasandersfilm.com/georgeandbrad.html

http://www.reddustdocumentary.org/

-Posted by Sophie Wang & Jonathan Soon

November 4, 2010 at 5:04 pm 1 comment


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