Congrats to Visual Communications for producing another successful Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival (LAAPFF), which opened with the 15th anniversary screening of the Sundance version of YOMYOMF founder Justin Lin’s BETTER LUCK TOMORROW. The fest continues in Orange County over the next few days so you can still support.
Our friends at NBC Asian America took the occasion to talk to four Asian American directors–Jeff Chiba Sterns (MIXED MATCH), Nadine Truong (I CAN, I WILL, I DID), Robin Lung (FINDING KUKAN”), Tanuj Chopra (CHEE AND T)–at the fest about everything from “whitewashing” in Hollywood to what they hope to see in the future:
Robin Lung: I hope that Asian-American audiences continue to grow, and I think we all have to work to build those audiences. Our media matters, and supporting movies and going to watch movies and getting people out there to see diverse programming is really important.
Nadine Truong: I’d love in the future – I mean, really, right now – to see a lot more movers and shakers behind the camera and in powers of position who are women of color, specifically Asian-American women in really powerful seats to make these stories happen.
Tanuj Chopra: I hope that Asian-American artists and voices don’t have to make any more compromises in their production, and that they’re fully funded to execute their vision at the highest level, just like any other indie or feature film. I hope the resources are there to enable Asian Americans to express themselves at the highest quality of craft. Not just to shoot digitally, like shoot on film. Shoot with the crew and cast you want to work with. I hope the voices in our community get the dignity of that level of treatment.
And I agree: I hope we have more women – women of color, Asian-American female stories, Asian-American queer, transgender stories. I think we’re missing out on so many stories and perspectives right now and it makes me sick when I look at the numbers in Hollywood. It makes me sick to my stomach when you look at who’s getting jobs and who’s not.
Jeff Chiba Stearns: I think the National Film Board of Canada announced that 50 percent of all the films they’re going to fund are going to be directed by women, so there are initiatives in place that are happening, which is great.
You know, films are changing, it can’t help but keep changing. Distribution is changing, it can’t kept but keep changing. So the way people consume their media is going to keep changing…so if less people are going to theaters, then things are going to have to start waking up and maybe that’s the revolution. That’s the way we’re going to tell our stories and get it out to the mass population. It’s not so much about the big Hollywood blockbusters anymore. Maybe it’s going to shift. When? I don’t know. But I think people are discovering stuff now, and that’s great. I think because you have initiatives with HBO and NBC and, I don’t know about Netflix, but I do notice they’re buying more content that’s created by diverse filmmakers…so people are discovering it. And that discovery is exciting for people who might not know that it exists. We still have a ways to go, obviously, but I think it’s moving. Maybe that revolution is starting – slowly, but we’ll get there.
Nadine Truong: And those diversity programs are really great, but my wish is that they’ll not be necessary anymore at some point, that we’re so integrated and these stories are available to the wider audience, and the wider audience wants to see it and to see those different perspectives and voices.
To read the full interviews, go to NBC Asian America: Asian-American Filmmakers to Hollywood: Give Us a Platform to Create Without Compromise
And also check out NBC Asian America’s interview with COLUMBUS star John Cho at LAAPFF:
And with GOOK star/director/writer Justin Chon: