2008 Asian American International Film Festival

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Sonjia Hyon is the Festival Director of the Asian American International Film Festival, the longest-running festival devoted to the works of Asian and Asian American filmmakers. This year the Festival celebrates its 31st year in New York from July 10th to July 19th.

Asian American International Film FestivalI started working in Asian American film as an intern at the San Francisco International Asian American Film Festival in 1999. At the time, my interest in Asian American film was an extension of my interest in subculture and independent media — I was an avid reader of zines, listener of college radio, and a patron of small art house theaters. What I mostly appreciated was that I belonged to a society that advocated difference instead of conformity, and believed in unity, not uniformity. For me, this was the transformative quality of Asian American cinema: it wasn’t about affirming my identity as an Asian American woman; instead, it continually unraveled what Asian American identity meant — making it more complicated, more indefinable, more ambiguous. Films by Christine Choy, Jon Moritsugu and Rea Tajiri provided a lens to challenge assumptions and question the obvious.

Almost ten years later, I’ve become the director of the Asian American International Film Festival in New York, and like the Festival, I’ve also just entered my 30s. Turning 30, you start to reprioritize, evaluate what’s important and let go. Here at the Festival, it’s the same. We see our 30s as a moment to break from the film festival model that embraces glamour and celebrities, and instead honor films and their filmmakers. At AAIFF, we are inspired by our founders Daryl Chin, Tom Tam and Fern Lee, all of whom believed in the importance of independent filmmakers in mobilizing different ways to imagine how to live.

In honor of officially entering our 30s, we’re bringing back veteran filmmakers such Wayne Wang, director of the festival’s opening night film, The Princess of Nebraska, and introducing many new vanguards such as Malaysian filmmaker Sang Tat Liew, documentary filmmakers Risa Morimoto and Derek Shimoda, and our exciting line-up of shorts directors.

I am also thrilled to announce our new series of conversations on culture and ideas — New Landscapes: Media and Its Adaptations. This series has become a pet project of the staff and our collaborators at Asia Society and the Asian/Pacific/Institute at NYU. Collectively, we wanted to put together a conference that encouraged interdisciplinary thinking and talking. The panels range in topic from an intimate conversation between female documentary filmmakers moderated by POV’s own Anne del Castillo, to a discussion on Asian aesthetics between some of the world’s top artists such as architect Billie Tsien and playwright David Henry Hwang.

We love movies here at AAIFF, and if you do too, you should come visit us at the Asia Society from July 10 to 19 and watch some great cinema.
You can see our full schedule and programs at AAIFF.org.

POV Guest Blogger
POV Guest Blogger
POV (a cinema term for "point of view") is television's longest-running showcase for independent non-fiction films. POV premieres 14-16 of the best, boldest and most innovative programs every year on PBS. Since 1988, POV has presented over 300 films to public television audiences across the country. POV films are known for their intimacy, their unforgettable storytelling and their timeliness, putting a human face on contemporary social issues.
  • Al

    FOREIGNID: 16516
    FOREIGNPARENTID:
    For anyone interested an amazing documentary is coming to the New York area, called Passing Poston. It is the story of four former internees at the Poston relocation camp during World War II. The film is a moving and heart-wrenching tale that follows the main characters’ journey to come to peace with the nation that turned its back on its own citizens.
    The film is being shown on August 8th through the 14th at the Pioneer Theater in New York City. Its a must see!

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  • http://festivalofworld.blogspot.com Festival of world

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  • http://www.discoveryfirm.com/SameOldStory/en/ Stephen

    FOREIGNID: 16519
    FOREIGNPARENTID:
     New York Internional Independent Film and Video Festival 2008 Free Opening Night Tickets for September 18, at 6 pm Located at Mansion in NYC.I have 100 free opening night tickets that I am giving away to those 21 or older.  All I ask in return is that you come to see my film on the 21st at 12pm. Email if you are interested in attending.  Tickets will go fast.