Kickstarting and Rebooting the Asian American Brand

August 8, 2011

There's such a thing as saying; there's another thing as doing.

It's easy to say that there aren't enough roles for Asian Americans in mainstream media, that we don't see enough Asian American faces because casting and marketing research tells executives that we're not bankable. But what is there to do about it?

Plenty, it seems.

Harnessing the can-do 'tude of our immigrant parents and grandparents, Asian Americans are making a powerful statement with a number of independent projects, from being documented in indie films to starring in wildly successful YouTube channels.

But here's the thing. Passion, dedication and talent are crucial ingredients to making powerful films, but projects don't come into fruition without something far more mundane: money, and simple attendance.

So support your Asian American actors, writers, producers and crew. Here are three great Asian American film projects that could use your support.

BW Moving Images is working on a new documentary film, Diary of the Dragon: The (R)Evolution of Fred Ho. A controversial renaissance man, Ho (pictured above) is an internationally renowned baritone saxophonist who does not use the term 'jazz' to describe his music because of its perjorative roots in America's racial history. He is a composer, writer, producer, social activist, and part-time farmer. But don't worry, Tiger Moms -- this guy also holds a degree from Harvard University and is a pioneer in combining Chinese opera with traditional African music. He leads the Afro Asian Music Ensemble, among other roles. And if that weren’t enough, Ho has been fighting advanced colo-rectal cancer since 2006. You can donate to Diary of the Dragon at this Kickstarter page.

Another independent documentary focuses on the subject of new media, specifically Asian Americans' use of it to create their own brand of celebrity. Uploaded: The Asian American Movement is about the phenomenon of Asian Americans in pop culture since the inception of new media, such as YouTube. The project is an independent documentary, which is funded solely through donation. Their Kickstarter page can be accessed here.

Fed up with the ugly Asian stereotypes perpetuated in cinema, Jeff Yang began the Two Percent Project as grassroots movement to rebuild the Asian American brand and create recorded proof that Asian Americans are not only marketable, but that we have an audience. Find out more about the Two Percent Project and its goals on its Facebook page. Like it, love it, do something about it. Sure, it's just a small thing, but we've got to start somewhere, right?

What other great projects out there do you want people to know about?

Traditional casting and marketing research need not apply.




True that about Asian Americans in the media. One thing that I 100% stand behind is not rebooting Asian films with the absence of Asian in the lead roles. This is often the case with many horror films in particular. My film“Vampariah”(Also on Kickstarter) is purely Asian American in concept stemming most of it’s story from Philippine and other Asian folklores while casting Asiasn in the leads. It also addresses issues relating to minorities and our colonial histories using the paranormal as a vehicle to reach a mass audience. Horror is not the sorta genera you might expect a community to support, but would love any support you can give.