Reflecting on the IPAAFF Film Selections by Brenna Williams

Ithaca Pan Asian American Festival shares a variety of films that are related to Asian American culture and people in some way either from the themes of the films or by its director. We have gotten forty-two submissions of features and shorts of all genres, all watched and reviewed by the Film Selection committee, a committee I am proud to be part of. All of the submissions had something different to say, commenting on Asian American identity and stereotypes. Some were serious, while others made me laugh and all of them made me think critically about my own Asian American identity.

I am proud to be Asian American. I was adopted so I don’t have a deep connection with my birth country and by being part of this festival, I have learned a lot of Asian American culture through the analysis of media, where in some Hollywood films, Asians are projected stereotypically, while the films selected for this festival confront those stereotypes. I hope with this festival, it allows for the community to think about how they interpret Asian Americans, creating discussion about the films. This festival will be a success this year, and it will hopefully become an annual event that people will flock to Ithaca for, something I can look to forward to each year I spend at Ithaca College, knowing that Asian Americans are being represented.

Film Preview: “Love Express”

Love Express_DannyJiveAlthough “Love Express” takes place on a train, it is a love story and emotional journey between the two characters. Directed by an inspired writer and self-taught New York City filmmaker, “Love Express” takes viewers back to the Hong Kong cinema of the 1990s. Click here for further details on the film, “Love Express,” and be sure to check out the screening on Thursday, April 23!

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Film Preview: “Spilled (Soy) Milk”

Don’t miss out on the film screening of Changhee Chun’s Spilled (Soy) Milk on April 20!

The film is a documentary about the lives and experiences of Asian Americans right here in Ithaca, NY.

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Check out his film, Spilled (Soy) Milk on the first day of our festival!

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About the filmmaker: In his scopious career, Changhee Chun has completed collaborative productions on several feature films for major Korean production companies. In 1995, he signed on with Samsung Broadcasting Center (SBC) as a director and producer. Creating over thirty television documentaries and commercials, including the 1996 Atlanta Olympics, Chun gained a broad expertise of the technical and conceptual aspects for film and video production. As a freelance film director Chun developed over thirty commercial films, music videos and documentaries.

Chun continues to develop personal principles of characteristic film art, principles that encompass the challenge to students and filmmakers alike to contribute engaging art to mankind.

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We’re Getting Noticed!

Thank you to The Ithaca Voice for helping us spread the word about our event! The article highlights the mission of the Ithaca Pan Asian American Film Festival and includes the trailer calling for film submissions. Stay tuned for additional updates. We’re looking forward to reading more articles outlining our event!

Check out the article below:

http://ithacavoice.com/2015/03/ithaca-pan-asian-american-film-festival-slated-april/

“Missing in History” and Why It Matters by Phuong Nguyen

I often tell my students that change happens because ordinary people fight everyday to make it so. And in doing so, they make their own history. To kick off the first ever Ithaca Pan Asian American Film Festival, we will be screening a historic documentary by three Ithaca College students entitled Missing in History. After almost 2 years at IC, I, a professor in the Center for the Study of Culture, Race, and Ethnicity (CSCRE) and the coordinator of the Asian American Studies minor, finally got the opportunity to view this incredible short film. The filmmakers tell us from the get-go that they know almost nothing about this craft, but the next 15 minutes prove the exact opposite. These three women—one Chinese, one Filipina, and one White—bemoan the fact that IC is a predominantly white campus that doesn’t provide enough opportunities and spaces to challenge hegemonic thinking on race and ethnicity. In other words, people are legally liberated, but their minds remain colonized. There are student organizations like the Asian American Alliance, and there’s also CSCRE, but why, these students ask, is there no Asian American Studies?

Their labor was rewarded in 2013, when IC hired me to join CSCRE and coordinate the Asian American Studies minor. For that I’m grateful because it’s not often one gets paid for doing something they love while working with some of the best students out there. Protestors wrote letters, signed petitions, spread the word, built coalitions, and they created this 15-minute cinematic testimonial entitled Missing in History. It’s the first time I’ve ever heard of protestors making a video that encapsulated their demands in such humanistic fashion. It’s one thing for Asians to be missing from U.S. history books; it’s another when our society has ready-made ideologies to justify those exclusions. The racist philosophy that guided the historians of the old days stated that superior cultures (and individuals) have and make history while inferior groups lack it. This ersatz meritocracy led generations of people to assume that groups missing from our history books had excluded themselves by belonging to an inferior race, which explained their lack of consequential accomplishments.

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From left: Ithaca College alumnae Kristy Zhen, Kristiana Reyes and Kaitlin Hibbs are the filmmakers of the documentary “Missing in History.”

Lack of Asians in the U.S. history books can easily lead us to assume Asians have not lived in the United States that long. That’s a lie as Asians have lived in North America as early as 1763. Lack of Asians in U.S. history books can easily lead us to assume that Asian immigrants historically didn’t want to become American. That’s a lie as Asians were barred by law from entering the country, testifying in court against whites, marrying whom they wanted, and becoming U.S. citizens. The powers that be came up with every excuse in the book: Asians are sojourners who don’t want to settle here; the founding fathers never intended Asians to become U.S. citizens; we can’t admit more Asians to our university because we want more students who are well-rounded; we can’t promote Asians to leadership roles because we need leaders who everyone can relate to.

Lack of Asians in U.S. history books can easily lead us to assume that Asians lacked any artistic, political, scientific, or business ambitions until recently. That’s a lie, too, as we’ve had generations and generations of talented Asian Americans whose names we can barely remember because those who write our history books don’t want to spend precious book space telling us how Asian Americans, like other people of color, succeeded despite discriminatory barriers that kept many talented people unrewarded and unrecognized, leaving us only with a model minority myth that claims that past and present wrongs are irrelevant because Asians are only good at math and science anyway.

Ignorance is not bliss. The voices in Missing in History know that knowledge is more than just power; it’s a the key to survival, a way to counter the lies we were told throughout our lives all to justify a Eurocentric curriculum. Knowledge is their ticket to belonging and knowing their true place in American society and history. On Monday, April 20, we will invite the three filmmakers, Kristy Zhen, Kristiana Reyes, and Kailin Hibbs, to join us for a screening of Missing in History. And we, the beneficiaries of all the hard work this film marvelously captured, get to thank them in person.

Photo Submissions

Thank you for your continuous support as we put together the first-ever Ithaca Pan Asian American Film Festival!

As part of our marketing campaign, we are compiling a collection of images to use on our promotional materials, and we invite you to participate with personal photographs that answer the following questions:

  • Who is Asian American?
  • What is Asian American?
  • Where is Asian America?

If you would like to be a part of our creative process, please send your photos to ipaaff@gmail.com with the subject header: “Photo Submissions.”

We look forward to receiving your entries!

Now Accepting Film Submissions!

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Submit your films to the first-ever Ithaca Pan Asian American Film Festival! There are three categories in which you can enter:

Feature Length Film 
Feature Length Film submissions must have a total running time of 50 minutes or more. Films must be directed, produced, or principally acted by Asian Pacific Americans, even if the subject matter is not Asian. Non-Asian Pacific Americans may enter films if the subject matter is Asian Pacific American or Asian Diaspora related.

Short Film 
Short film submissions must have a total running time of 30 minutes or less. Films must be directed, produced, or principally acted by Asian Pacific Americans, even if the subject matter is not Asian. Non-Asian Pacific Americans may enter films if the subject matter is Asian Pacific American or Asian Diaspora related.

Youth film
Youth film submissions must have a total running time of 20 minutes or less. Films must be directed, produced by Asian Pacific American Middle/High School students, even if the subject matter is not Asian. Non-Asian Pacific Americans may enter films if the subject matter is Asian Pacific American or Asian Diaspora related.

Keep track of submission deadlines:
November 23, 2014: submission process opens
March 15, 2015: deadline for all submissions
April 15, 2015: notification and date of acceptance to IPAAFF
April 20 – 24, 2015: IPAAFF events

Submit now at https://filmfreeway.com/festival/ithacapaaff