A film festival celebrates the work of API Trojans

(Photo courtesy of USC APAA)

The Asia-Pacific Alumni Association hosted the USC Asia-Pacific Film Festival on Saturday night, an event for students and alumni to showcase exemplary filmmaking and filmmaking from USC Asia-Pacific Islanders. Featuring short films produced, written, directed by, and/or featuring API Trojans, the film festival allowed members of the API USC community and the entertainment industry to come together and celebrate the power of storytelling.

Featuring screenings of a selection of eight shorts, both live and animated, APFF 2022 also included notable guests such as Amy Hill, a stand-up actress and comedian with over 180 film credits and televisions. Known for her performance as Yung-Hee “Grandma Kim” on the ABC sitcom “All-American Girl” and her voice-over roles on “American Dad” and “Lilo & Stitch,” Hill was one of three film festival jurors.

Hill talked about her experiences playing characters from different Asian backgrounds, including Korean and Filipino characters, and how she approaches those roles to maintain accuracy and entertain audiences.

Hill, who often uses different accents in her performances, said, “If the joke is the accent, I’m not into it. I am not joking. I will do characters that have accents, but they have to be real people.

Jaimie Woo, a recent graduate with a master’s degree from the USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism and another member of the festival’s jury, is senior director of development at Culture House Media – a “black-owned film and television production company , Browns and Women and Cultural Council”. Woo is also a diversity, equity and inclusion consultant and co-author of the New York Times bestseller “Yes She Can.” Woo produces various works promoting DEI in the workspace and has emphasized its central purpose in his production company.

“[The question on a set is]: How do you create an inclusive environment for all your storytellers to come together and work collaboratively? Woo said. “And also in storytelling: Are we accurate in our representations of certain populations? Do we give in to stereotypes or prejudices? »

All of the films featured at the festival have been intricately created with clear narrative threads and exciting visual design. Notable shorts included ‘SFGovTV Portraits: Sheriff Paul Miyamoto’, ‘The Best Friend’ and ‘Busan, 1999’ – the latter winning the jury prize. “Busan, 1999” focuses on the return of a Korean-American woman to her mother’s rustic home. They bathe and rub each other, seeking to reconnect and make amends after being apart.

Another short film, titled “Imperfectly Perfect”, won the People’s Choice award through a voting process. In the film, Lucy takes care of Owen, a blind guitarist whom she has admired for years. As Owen is about to regain her vision, Lucy must consider whether to reveal her identity as a transgender woman to Owen.

Jon M. Chu, director of hits such as ‘In The Heights,’ ‘Crazy Rich Asians,’ and ‘Now You See Me 2,’ and one of the competition’s jurors, spoke about the revolutions in the entertainment industry today. Today, one being the phenomenon of streaming platforms and the lesser emphasis on traditional box office results.

While giving advice to API filmmakers of the future, Chu talked about the exciting changes he plans to bring to API artists in the film world.

“It’s not easy to be a filmmaker who has something new to say and something important to say in a world where the landscape is changing very quickly and you don’t know where your work comes from” , Chu said. “You don’t even know where the medium ends up… There’s a whole new place you’re pioneering and I hope I follow you and I hope your stories push me and we do all of this together.”

From buff animated frogs to tender moments of tragedy, the films screened at the APFF demonstrated how content created by API Trojans can make you laugh, cry, smile, or just feel something special without falling into stereotypical Asian tropes. . Instead, the films tackled universal themes to capture mainstream audiences and communicate that innate human feelings, such as loss or love, transcend culture and heritage. As Chu said, the future is bright for Cinema API, and Trojans are at the forefront of this revolution.

Darcy J. Skinner