When Our Stories Can Be Our Own, Without Apologies
Author's Note: I guest blogged the following for the Foundation for Asian American Independent Media (FAAIM). I volunteer with FAAIM. The original post is about a feature film, 'Someone I Used to Know,' that screened in the 2013 Asian American Showcase, an annual all-Asian American film festival based in Chicago. This year's Showcase ends today, May 30. When we're hanging out, among us Asian Americans, we don't talk about race all that much, but we all know it's there. Staying true to life in this way, I asked director Nadine Truong and actor Brian Yang, both of the feature, Someone I Used to Know, to talk about the thing that's not mentioned but once in their film at a post-screening Q&A at this year's Asian American Showcase.
Said Truong, "It's time we stop being typecast or pigeonholed into telling stories about race or culture. We have great stories to tell, period."
"A handful of colorblind roles are out there, it's getting better," added Yang, who is also with the cast of CBS' Hawaii Five-0. "But it is just a handful, and the needle's moving so slowly, at a glacial pace."
And isn't this one of the main reasons that the Chicago Asian American Showcase exists: To foster excellence within the Asian American artistic community (no matter the subject matter) and for audiences to show our support of their endeavors by buying tickets and bringing our friends and families, supporting Kickstarters, volunteering (like yours truly), and spreading the word through social media.
In that space, with the spirits of Siskel and Ebert around us, I couldn't help but remember Roger Ebert's epic rebuke of a racist comment made by a heckler at 2002's Sundance Film Festival, after a screening of director Justin Lin's Better Luck Tomorrow [full transcript]. Yes, that's The Justin Lin of mainstream Fast and Furious franchise fame, whose sixth installment premiered on May 24.
[tearing up right now] The legendary film critic Mr. Ebert passed on April 4. He was 70 years old.
The 18th annual Asian American Showcase runs for three more days - through May 30 - at the Gene Siskel Film Center, 164 N. State Street. Someone I Used to Know will screen for the last time this Wednesday, May 29, at 6PM. Support Asian American artists and check it out.
- 18th Annual Asian American Showcase, May 17-30 (genesiskelfilmcenter.org)
- Director Justin Lin Shifts The Identity Of 'Fast & Furious' (npr.org)
- Roger Ebert, Champion of Asian American Cinema (angryasianman.com)
- When Audiences Attack at Sundance (filmthreat.com)
- About the Foundation for Asian American Independent Media (FAAIM.org)