IPAAFF Allows for a New Asian American Experience by Taehoon Kim

The Ithaca Pan Asian American Film Festival is important to me because it represents a whole new genre of film. Directors direct films according to what they deem fit or relatable. The idea of a perfect cinematic masterpiece is based on the director’s thoughts and experiences accumulated throughout their life. They are responsible for telling a story, with emotional pull, intellectual stimulation, or mindless entertainment. A whole methodology of storytelling and story content, which include ideology, culture, and people are nonexistent. Asians are not given access to the medium of film to share the Asian American mentality.

For me, it’s about relatability. IPAAFF is a way for me to see parts of my own life in the physical representation, in terms of Asian actors but also Asian American ideals. It is about being able to learn and grow from an experience that I may not have had, but a character that I already know. A character who feels the same way I do, thinks the way I do, has experienced life the same way that I do, processes information and conveys feelings the way I do. An alternative reality, in the form of film, reflects one’s own image and allows them to expand his/her own imaginative process in life, which is the first step to expanding one’s options in the real world.

Some aspects of every film in IPAAFF speak to me because it is rooted in a “different” imaginative process from the dominant mainstream narrative. I don’t have to “extend” my emotions or try to understand the characters because the characters are a reflection of me in my most natural form. It is great for me to analyze and dissect films, but that has been my whole life watching movies in the United States. I want to watch that analyze and dissect me.

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