Posts tagged ‘Mini-Festival of Recent Asian American Films’

Images from AAIM Film Festival 2012

EngagingPasts-2

EngagingPasts-1

Post-Screening Discussion with Filmmakers and Guests: (from left) Sri Susilowati, Jeff Man, Asiroh Cham, Micki Davis, and Valerie Soe

Engaging Pasts program on Saturday, December 1, 4pm, Rose Hills Theatre, Pomona College

December 21, 2012 at 10:40 pm Leave a comment

AAIM 2012 Festival Poster

Click here to download 11″ x 17″ PDF of poster (14MB)

November 28, 2012 at 4:20 am Leave a comment

The 3rd Asian Americans in Media (AAIM) Film Festival @ The Claremont Colleges (November 30 and December 1, Rose Hills Theatre, Pomona College)

ORGANIZED AND CURATED BY MS100 PZ (ASIAN AMERCIANS IN MEDIA) STUDENTS from films shown at the 2011 and 2012 Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival

Image

Still from 11 24 (2011)

FRIDAY NOVEMBER 30

THIS IS HOW I SAY I LOVE YOU
4:00PM
This program features a collection of short films and videos that explore the diversity of relationships within Asian American families, both traditional and non-traditional.  The works in this collection challenge and nuance traditional representations of the model minority family through the investigation of how different configurations of race, class, gender, sexuality create a myriad of complex relationships. Drawing from a wide range of Asian American experiences—first generation to second generation, Iranian to South Asian to East Asian to Filipino, upper class to working class, heterosexual to queer—these shorts investigate the diverse ways Asian American families confront their unique historically-grounded challenges, ultimately legitimizing the different ways they come to say “I love you.”

REVOLUTION (2010) Dir. Abdi Nazemian
STILL LIFE WITH (2011) Dir. Ami Patel
BASKETBALL, MERI JAAN (2012) Dir. Veena Hampapur
PLAY TIME (2011) Dir. Roxana Shih
MOTHER & CHILD (2012) Dir. Jocelyn Saddi-Lenhardt
AWAKEN (2011) Dir. Dieu Huynh
11 24 (2011) Dir. Michele Gutierrez

Still from Seeking Asian Female (2012)
Photo credit: Susan Munroe

SEEKING ASIAN FEMALE
(2012) Dir. Debbie Lum
7:00PM
Seeking Asian Female follows the story of Steven Bolstad, a twice-divorced white American in his early 60s and his 30-year-old Chinese mail order bride, Sandy Bolstad. Beginning with Steven’s search for an Asian bride and tracing the development of his unconventional relationship with Sandy, this documentary film examines the themes of global migration and intercultural relations while challenging contemporary notions of love and relationships. Seeking Asian Female offers insight into “yellow fever” while maintaining a sense of humor throughout.

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Still from Magellan Doesn’t Live Here (2012)

SATURDAY DECEMBER 1

ENGAGING PASTS
4:00PM
This program features a collection of short films and videos that document Asian American histories and experiences ranging from soldiers in World War II combat to colonization and mass migration in the Southeast Asia and the Pacific Islands.  These works deploy a myriad of ways to connect the past with the present, including the excavation of a forgotten Chinese community in the Pacific Northwest, as well as the recording of intimate familial relations and community ties through photography. These works look at history through different lenses: from oral histories, to dance and movement, to Nisei re-enactment in order to create unique and compelling stories that, when woven together, become part of the diverse tapestry of the Asian American historical experience.

TO LIGHT (2011) Dir. Sheldon Chau
JOURNEY (2011) Dir. Asiroh Cham
TWO SECONDS AFTER LAUGHTER (2011) Dir. David Rousseve
ALL AMERICAN (2011) Dir. Everett Lee-Sung
MAGELLAN DOESN’T LIVE HERE (2012) Dir. Micki Davis
THE CHINESE GARDENS (2012) Dir. Valerie Soe
THAT PARTICULAR TIME (2012) Dir. Jeff Man

FESTIVAL RECEPTION
5:30PM
Room 217, Smith Campus Center, Pomona College
Come share delicious snacks and beverages with Festival filmmakers, organizers and other guests!

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Still from Two Shadows (2011)

TWO SHADOWS
(2011) Dir. Greg Cahill
7:00PM
Two Shadows tells the story of young Cambodian-American Sovanna as she searches for her long-lost brother and sister in Cambodia. Sovanna travels alone to Cambodia after receiving a cryptic letter claiming that her siblings, who disappeared during the Civil War twenty years prior, are still alive. After finding a girl who may or may not be her real sister, Sovanna encounters increasingly dangerous situations in attempts to help the girl. Sovanna struggles between maintaining her own personal safety, and showing compassion to her (possible) sister. Two Shadows explores issues of contemporary Cambodian-American experience and examines the effects of the Khmer Rouge genocide of 1975-1979 in Cambodia. Winner of the Audience Award, Cinematography Award and nominated for the Grand Jury Award at the 2012 Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival.


ALL FESTIVAL EVENTS ARE FREE AND OPEN TO THE PUBLIC
All Festival screenings at Rose Hills Theatre, Smith Campus Center, Pomona College. Festival filmmakers will be present at all screenings.

This Festival is funded in part by Pitzer College Campus Life Committee, Pitzer Community Engagement Center (CEC), Intercollegiate Media Studies (IMS) at the Claremont Colleges, and the Intercollegiate Department of Asian American Studies (IDAAS) at the Claremont Colleges.  Additional thanks to Abraham Ferrer and Visual Communications.

Further inquiries, contact: Prof. Ming-Yuen S. Ma ming-yuen_ma@pitzer.edu

November 18, 2012 at 9:06 pm Leave a comment

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

Comments on The Film Festival Project

On the whole, your film festival project was successful.  You programmed a two-day, four-program festival with two feature films, and two shorts programs consisted of documentaries, short narratives, and experimental works from a pool of twenty titles.  I will divide my comments below corresponding to the different stage of this project: programming, promotion, festival execution and logistics, and a few brief comments on our assessment of the project:

Your programming choices were interesting.  As a group, you were able to apply some of the histories and theories we have studied in this class to the selection of the films and videos, and in the manner with which you grouped them into screening programs.  After watching the programs, and even though I pre-screened the films, I was surprised and delighted by some of the connections that were made between the works, and the dialogue that occurred between different races, gender identities, generational experiences, and cultural backgrounds.  The range of the works you selected, and the issues covered are quite remarkable for four programs.

As we discussed in class after the Festival, the two-day festival format made it difficult to have all the filmmakers present.  Also, our decision to have the Festival in early November also did not give us much time to promote it.  Your suggestion on starting the promotion process early and before the programs are finalized is a good idea, and probably something we can try in the future.  I believe this will be especially beneficial to creating the community connections, especially off-campus, that we desire for each program.

In terms of the Festival itself, I thought everybody worked very hard and did a beautiful job.  You created a welcoming atmosphere for the visiting filmmakers—who all reported that they had a good time at the Festival—and members of the audience.  You introduced the screenings well and asked good questions to prompt discussion after the screenings.  Galen did a wonderful job coordinating the Festival Reception, and Jonathan was above and beyond in documenting every event on video, making the screening programs, and playing projectionist at the two Broad Performance Space screenings!

You learnt from the audience survey that our audience is predominantly from the Claremont Colleges—no surprise given the short time we had to promote the Festival—and that a lot you have very supportive friends!  However, it is also interesting to note the significant presence of off-campus attendees and a demographic older than college-age young people.  These are audiences that could be cultivated in the future festival screenings.   In addition, we confirmed that there is indeed a need for Festivals like this one at the Claremont Colleges, and contemporary media representation of Asian Americans can be empowering, complex, and stereotypical… all at the same time!

Grade for Project:  A

November 18, 2010 at 1:18 am 1 comment

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