NETWORK OF ENTERTAINING ASIAN AMERICAN TALENT
I’ve got my boarding pass printed out. I’m about to go back to my apartment and pack. Yes, it’s time.
Once a year I go to Houston for the Slant Film Festival, hosted by the Aurora Picture Show. The festival starts on Friday night with a program of narrative and experimental short films. Saturday evening there’s a special performance by Toronto-based filmmaker and TV personality Nobu Adilman. I can’t tell you what he’s going to do exactly (it’s a surprise), but as he’s one of the hosts of the Food Network’s Food Jammers, you can bet it’s going to be fun and yummy. And Sunday afternoon, we close with a program of documentaries.
As far as film festivals go, we’re small but mighty. We cull through lots of work to present a great lineup. (Of course, I’m a bit biased since I put the programs together.) We’ll be showing work by Slant alums like Dino Ignacio and Wes Kim, as well as new artists like Alison Kobayashi (who made a hilarious film called “Dan Carter” about a love affair, based on a discarded answering machine tape she found at a second-hand store). Two filmmakers will also be in attendance. Soham Mehta will be answering questions about his film “Released,” which is about hate crimes and revenge. And Tim Tsai will be talking about his documentary “Of Love and Race,” a snapshot of 4 interracial couples. To see the film descriptions go to Aurora’s site, or join the Slant page on facebook.
Why Houston?, people sometimes ask me. After all, I live in the San Francisco Bay Area and have for 7 years. Seems like a far way to go to run a festival. Well, there’s the matter of its being my hometown. I guess most things we do come down to personal experiences. There’s certainly more in terms of Asian American art going on in Houston now than when I was growing up there. I think it would have made a world of difference to 17-year-old me to see images of Asian Americans on the screen. Then again, if there had been those images — if I had seen myself reflected and validated in the media — maybe I wouldn’t have gotten so pissed, which in turn fueled my drive to help start Slant — and also Hyphen.
For those of you not in the Houston area, you can always pick up the Best of Slant DVD, which was just released in April and contains 8 audience favorites like Daniel Hsia’s “How to do the Asian Squat” and “Lilo and Me” by Kip Fulbeck (aka Hyphen Issue 13 Cover Model). So many times, great short films make the film festival circuit rounds, but then disappear. So the Aurora Picture Show (the venue that hosts Slant) started a video label. Now you can have a film festival in your house whenever you want. Buy it here straight from the venue or on Amazon (but click through the Amazon link on the right, cause that helps Hyphen out — and we need every penny.)