The Denver area used to have an Asian Film Festival held in Aurora; Erin and I loved attending it. It attracted a loyal core audience of film lovers of all ethnicities. But our Asian communities didn’t support the festival as much as they needed to.
Unfortunately, the programming was too cautious, because the Denver Film Society, the folks who bring us the annual Starz Denver Film Festival (which starts this week), had to get approval from various groups. And, the various groups would turn down any movie that might show their homeland in a light they didn’t like (such as showing sex and violence, or a negative image of the country). During the festival, each community attended their movies but didn’t show much interest in movies from other countries.
Erin and I would see Japanese at the Japanese movies but not Chinese, or Filipino, or Vietnamese movies. We’d run into Chinese friends at Chinese movies, and so on. In the end, the festival couldn’t generate enough interest across all Asian communities, in addition to non-Asian movie fans, to keep going.
So I watch wistfully as I get emails and Facebook event invites or a plethora of Asian and Asian American Pacific Islander film festival across the country — Philadelphia, New York, San Diego, Los Angeles, San Francisco. Tonight I got an email from a blogging pal, Slanty of Slant Eye for the Round Eye, about the first-ever Asian Film Festival in his hometown of Minneapolis/St. Paul. So even the Twin Cities, land of chill and Prince and the Replacements and Prairie Home Companion, land of a significant Hmong community, and land of Slanty (who wrote about the festival last week), has an Asian film festival.
The Minneapolis-St. Paul Asian Film Festival, which has the tagline “In Search of Asia,” opens tomorrow with “That Girl In Yellow Boots,” an Indian film (photo above). Here’s a description: