Gil Asakawa's Nikkei View | film
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NOTE: "Changing Season" will be screened during the Colorado Dragon Film Festival on Sunday, May 22 at 12 noon. Click here for full information about the festival. You’d think after a lifetime of growing and harvesting peaches, you’d get sick of eating them. But the Masumoto family still loves peaches and serves them up every way imaginable. David “Mas” Masumoto, 62,...

jeremylin-linsanity Evan Jackson Leong, the director of the entertaining and inspiring documentary "Linsanity: The Jeremy Lin Story," tells interviewers that Lin's story "transcends sports, race and culture." That's true enough, because Jeremy Lin's story -- a determined young man loves basketball above all else but is ignored by colleges and the NBA despite his talent, and perseveres in the end by sheer determination and religious faith -- is universal. But as an Asian American, Lin's story is inspirational for me precisely because he's Asian American. His ethnicity was the main reason he was dismissed by colleges and the NBA, even though he was an all-star leader in high school. I hope everyone watches "Linsanity," which went on sales on DVD this week, and is inspired by his universal story, or his incredible accomplishment as an Asian American. I know many Asian Americans watched it at film festivals, or during one of many special fundraising screenings for Asian and Asian American nonprofit organizations across the country. In Colorado it was screened by an Asian American fraternity at the University of Colorado in Boulder and a Japanese American history group in Denver. If Asians didn't watch the documentary in a theater, they probably watched it on cable TV -- Comcast featured it in its Asian American channel for months. But it's great to revisit "Linsanity" on DVD (wish there were some extras added, though).

Filmmaker Linda Hattendorf posted the sad news today on the Facebook page for "The Cats of Mirikitani," the wonderful and powerful documentary she made in 2006: It is with deep deep sorrow that we must share the sad news that our dear friend Jimmy Mirikitani passed away on Sunday October 21. He was 92 years old. Thank you for all...

If you don't know who Anna May Wong was, she was an Asian American pioneer in Hollywood who deserves wider recognition. Filmmaker Yunah Hong has produced a one-hour documentary about Wong, "Anna May Wong: In Her Own Words" that's been screened at the Busan International Film Festival in Korea, and at festivals across the US and Canada. The film was...

I've known about Kickstarter.com, the fundraising site for creative startups and projects in a variety of categories including film, art, dance, technology, design, journalism, comedy and others, but I'd never really looked into it. This week, though, I've come across several very cool films by Asian Americans that are using Kickstarter to ask for donations. Here's how it works:
Kickstarter is a new way to fund creative ideas and ambitious endeavors. We believe that... • A good idea, communicated well, can spread fast and wide. • A large group of people can be a tremendous source of money and encouragement. Kickstarter is powered by a unique all-or-nothing funding method where projects must be fully-funded or no money changes hands.
Each project must set an amount needed and a deadline by which that amount must be raised. If you don't get enough donations to reach the amount, you get none of the money that's already been pledged. Each project offers different levels of thank-you gifts and rewards for donors, and donors can pledge as little as one dollar. The submissions include a video pitch asking for donations, as well as written descriptions for the project. It's a great way to generate crowd-sourced funding. The three films I wrote about on my Posterous blog this week are all short films by Asian American filmmakers, and they're all interesting ideas that I think are worth supporting. Here's a little information about them, starting with the video at the top of this post, for "The Potential Wives of Norman Mao."

The Girl in yellow Bootsis the opening night film of the Minn/St Paul Asian film Festival 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:

The Austin Asian American Film Festival. Alas, there is no Asian film festival in Denver. There used to be -- the Aurora Asian Film Festival was held in Denver's eastern suburb (people in Aurora hate for their city to be called a suburb). It was sponsored by the Denver Film Society, the folks who bring the annual Deniver International Film Festival to town. But it folded after a few years because the local AAPI community didn't support it (Japanese only went to Japanese films, Chinese went to Chinese films, Filipinos... well you get it. And, many of the communities tried to have too much of a say in what movie should or should not screen. If it was racy, or showed a negative side of the community, the Film Society would get push back to switch the film, or have to fight to show it. So ultimately, it was too much hassle for the trouble. As the Japanese would say, it was mendokusai (a pain in the ass). So I read with envy as the months go by about the San Diego Asian Film Festival, the San Francisco Asian Film Festival, and others. Because I can't go, I usually don't write about them. I tend to write about things that affect readers here in Debver, whether it's a national issue that affects all Asian Americans, or about a Denver Asian community event. But I want to say a few words about the Austin Asian American Film Festival, because 1) it's in one of my all-time favorite towns and 2) I beat up on Austin a little bit a couple of months ago when I wrote about an Asian festival down there that used the "wonton" font, which bugged me, and 3) because Eugenia Beh is doing the publicity for the festival and she's cool and works tirelessly for AAPI causes including Asian Americans for Obama. I traveled to Austin for many years during my music critic days, to spend a blissful week at the South By Southwest Music & Media Conference, and most of the time was spent enjoying Austin and the great food and the great people... and oh yeah, listening to a lot of music. I wish I could go to the AAAFF -- it sounds wonderful.

"Lumina" is an online-only series, an independently-filmed thriller written and produced by Asian American Jennifer Thym in Hong Kong. You've gotta love the Internet. I was contacted some weeks back by Jennifer Thym, the Asian American writer and director of "Lumina," a new online-only thriller serial debuting this summer. The movie project features an Asian American lead as well as Asian Canadian actors, and the whole thing is filmed in Hong Kong, where Thym has lived for the past two years. The trailer certainly is cool and mysterious and makes me want to see the series kick off (I subscribed to the email alerts from YouTube whenever a new installment is posted): Here's what she says about the project on her Rock Ginger blog: