Film Festival Fever!

March 10, 2005

The SFIAAFF is one of the oldest and most prestigious Asian American film fests in the country. And this is one of the first times, in my memory at least, that the opening and closing night films are both made by Asian American directors. In years past, the opening night films have been foreign. Last year it was Hero. The year before it was Bend it Like Beckham.

Why is that? Is it because there just aren't enough Asian American films out there? Or is it because Asian films draw in more of an audience than Asian American films? Most Asian American film festivals in this country actually program both American and foreign films. The exception is Chicago's Asian American Showcase, which, being politically minded, decided from the beginning to only program Asian American film. And perhaps the occasional Canadian film. To the general public, there is probably no difference in Asian and Asian American films. They just see Asian faces and think we're all the same. But the stories we have to tell are very different.

I think this year's SFIAAFF signifies that Asian American directors are finally coming into their own. I have high hopes for both Saving Face, by Alice Wu and The Motel by Michael Kang. I’ve shown the student work of both directors at my own Asian American shorts festival in Houston (called Slant) and Wu’s Trick or Treat and Kang’s A Waiter Tomorrow are among some of my favorite short films.

Anyhow, hope to see you at SFIAAFF tonight!


Melissa Hung

Founding Editor

Melissa Hung is the founding editor of Hyphen. She was the editor in chief for the magazine's first five years and went on to serve in many other leadership roles on the staff and board for more than a decade. She is a writer and freelance journalist. Her essays and reported stories have appeared in NPR, Vogue, Pacific Standard, Longreads, and Catapult, among others. She grew up in Texas, the eldest child of immigrants. Find her on Twitter and Instagram.



I saw Saving Face last night and really enjoyed it. Two interesting trivia facts I found out from this review: Alice Wu, the director, received her MA in Computer Science from Stanford .. go brainiacs! And also, Will Smith is one of Saving Face's producers. That's pretty neat.
I really enjoyed it as well. Though I thought Joan Chen was too distractingly pretty sometimes. And Alice Wu was just adorable during the Q&A with her big tie and hands in her pockets.
tony bui's three seasons opened several years ago, and in recent years better luck tomorrow, the debut, and robot stories have been opening or closing flicks. i don't think that things are suddenly changing. i think it really just depends on how many as am feature films are coming out that year, and if any of them are strong enought to carry opening or closing night.
True, but there's never been 2 Asian American films (about Asian Americans, as opposed to films made by Asian Americans that are about Asians) strong enough to both close and open the festival. (I think, but I could be wrong.) I think that speaks to a growing pool of talent.