What a Difference a Year Makes by Jimmy Gramajo

I was on the Finance & Marketing team so I helped out in making sure we made payments and reached out to organizations for the goods to advertise IPAAFF with posters, T-Shirts, stickers, and tabling. I’m not much of an advertiser, but it felt nice to get the word out about something we have been planning on all semester. A year ago I would not have known what IPAAFF was, but I would have loved to attend if someone invited me since it was the first year that it happened. A lot of work does go into film festivals and I am glad that my first film festival experience was with the same one I contributed to.

I am a student majoring in Occupational Therapy. Even though my involvement in IPAAFF is not directly related to my major, I can keep in mind that films can be vastly different even when telling similar stories because of the different intentions of the directors. There is so much that goes into filmmaking that it is really easy to overlook if you’re unaware of the amount of production that goes into them. I, for instance, used to think that making films was easy — that you just got out there and did it. No big deal, just point your camera and shoot. I now know that is far from the truth. Scripts and rehearsals serve the purpose of ensuring that everything goes as planned and is the best that it can possibly be.

I have always had an interest in Asian culture and history, so Asian American films were naturally appealing to me. After having been a part of IPAAFF, I have learned so much about the process of filmmaking and the meaning behind some techniques filmmakers use. On the first day of class I learned that Asian, American, and Asian American films are all different genres. That was just the basics; for, after that, things got complex. It is exciting, however, to discover this whole new world…of film. I got to learn about how Asian films were transformed over the years, and at some point, Asian actors didn’t even play Asian roles!

Yellow Face is a practice that was done when Whites took the role of Asians and tried to look like them with makeup. The problem with this is that they portrayed Asians in a negative light because they were unfamiliar with Asian culture and resorted to acting in a stereotypical way. Since then, Asian American film has carved a name for itself in the film industry and challenged what people previously thought they knew about Asians so that there could be much more variability in characterization and the stories they share, just like in reality. I hope you all learn something from us!

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