What is an Asian American film festival?
When The National Film Society asked me “What is Asian American Cinema” I couldn’t come up with anything. I just kept thinking – “it’s growing.” Not a very exciting answer, I know. In Asia, my Asian friends ask me what is this thing of being Asian “American” and I realize trying to describe being Asian American is like trying to explain what touch feels like against the skin. It’s an experience and we all have our own takes.
The Los Angeles Asian American Pacific Film Festival begins today and while I don’t feel like I gave the most ARTICULATE description of LAAPFF in this video (Stephen and Patrick kept throwing me off with their quirky interviewing style) I’m hoping that if you’re Asian American and an aspiring/current/present filmmaker, you’ll attend the festival and especially check out the panels and programming like LAAPFF’s C3. Seek like-minded peers and make opportunities to work together. Sunset Stories came out of one of VC’s fellowships. I haven’t even seen the film yet and I’m curious to see it because it’s a real microbudget and realistically that’s probably the scope most filmmakers will be working in – their first few times out. Read director Ernesto Foronda’s latest blog about Sung Kang. And here’s my interview about Sung!
And when you look at all the initiatives these festivals provide — they actually give you cha-ching — not an Asian derogative. You’ll see a wide range of projects that reflect the nurturing of new and established filmmakers, Asian and Asian American. I always feel like a get broad overview of what the landscape looks like. I know many of these festival programmers personally like Leanne Kim from the San Diego Asian American Film Festival and I know when she’s in the checkout line, she meditates on finding and fostering new filmmakers.
LAAPFF is partnering with the right organizations like CAA, NBC, Comcast (thank you Comcast for sponsoring the film media fund!) among others to provide filmmakers with much needed resources, expertise and outlets for our work to be seen. And if we’re able to learn from those folks, we can certainly learn from each other.
I plugging my own movie now. Go see Sunset Stories this Saturday, May 12, 2012 6pm at DGA! I am on set that day and will try my best to make the premiere.