SFIAAFF Days 1 through 3

March 14, 2009

The opening night gala was at the Asian Art Museum again. (Check out John Liau's photos here.) I only meant to stay for a little bit since I had to work the next day, but the hours went by quickly with so many people to talk to. I ran into many friendly faces including Dan and Aya from the band Scrabbel, editor Sunyoung Lee from Kaya Press, Tim Hugh from the Chicago Asian American Showcase, and San Francisco Supervisor David Chiu.

Friday afternoon I attended a meeting for Asian American film festival programmers (while representing Slant Film Fest from the Aurora Picture Show in Houston). I haven't been to this meeting in a few years and it was great to see not only familiar faces at the table, but new ones representing festivals that have taken root in cities where there were no Asian American film festivals a few years before. Even though some of what we talked about was the challenges we all face during these economic times, it was heartening to see that there are more of us bringing Asian American film to more cities across the US and Canada.

After catching up with Tim over soba and ramen, I met up with some other friends for Korean food and went to the late night screening of the shorts program Mixtape 4: The MSG Addict, where I saw fellow Hyphen staffer Harry Mok. It was an odd collection of films, some cute and sweet, and some rather disturbing. My favorite was The Others by Aram Siu Wai Collier, a clever and hilarious clip-reel tribute to Lou Diamond

Then it was off to drinks and a concert held in ... a hotel room. Goh Nakamura played for 20-something people in a room at the Hotel Tomo. He invited musician friends to play as well, including Han Wang and Sadie Contini from The Invisible Cities (full disclosure: they are my friends) and Jane Lui, who recently moved to San Francisco from San Diego.

I am a bad blogger and did not have my camera on me, but Eric Nakamura from Giant Robot has video and photos on his blog here. (Before Eric arrived, filmmaker Tad Nakamura was there too and we joked about the powers that might get activated once three Nakamuras were in a room together, but alas, we did not get to find out as Tad left before Eric got there.) I've got to say, acoustic shows in hotel rooms win any day over big shows, at least in my book. Goh played til 3 in the morning. I'm surprised no one complained or kicked us all out. By the way, Goh and Jane are both playing at the Festival Forum today.

OK, it's time to wrap up this post and head out for some more SFIAAFF.


This blog entry is graciously sponsored by Toyota Matrix. Check out their website dedicated to the best in Asian American film.

Toyota Matrix


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.