First off, welcome to my new website. It took a lot of time to consider switching from Wordpress to SquareSpace. Alas, I did. It is awesome.
I just got back to NYC from CAAMFest around Monday, March 14~ midnight. Ok, now's the real deal: it's hard for me to admit, but CAAMFest saved me in a lot of ways. Before the trip, I kept thinking back on 2014--the first time I was at CAAMFest--about how in awe I was at their production, at their community, and at their mass of folks who came out to attend the festival. In 2014, I attended the festival with Rémy Martin to work with them to follow through on a sponsorship deal. In 2016, I'm thrilled to say that I'm with the Asian American International Film Festival in NYC. I felt like a little girl squealing on the inside being there because there were so many people who are an important part of the Asian Pacific American community, whether in the arts, politics, or plain ol' community organizing.
Haisong, the Program Manager for AAIFF, and I saw TYRUS, CAAMFest 2016's Opening Night Presentation. It was such a beautiful and touching film about Tyrus Wong, a painter and all around artist (he worked on Bambi but never got credited). He grew up at a time where not a lot of Asian Americans pursued the arts. He did it anyway because painting was something he loves to do. The crazy thing is: he's more than a hundred years old, and he was alive and there at the theatre! He's definitely an inspiration to all the artists out there because he said "I'm not that talented, but I work hard." Props to that!
Alright, I think now is a good time for me to make a confession. Aside from attending Opening Night, MASTER OF NONE Panel, Festival Social Club, Filmmakers' Brunch, Digital Media Panel, and FAST&FURIOUS TOKYO DRIFT, I completely wrote down the wrong date for the Programmers Meetup. That meeting was key, in that festival folks from SF, LA, Philly, Boston, and San Diego talked about programming and how we can all work together in whatever capacity. I was such a dweeb in that I wrote down the date as Sunday, March 13 at 2:30-3:30pm, but in actuality, it was on Saturday, March 12. That move was a total fail move. Til this day I feel guilty. Because I had so much to ask and so much to soak in. I guess I'll get notes from one of those guys.
One of the highlights of CAAMFest was attending the MASTER OF NONE panel with Kelvin Yu and Alan Yang. I'm a huge fan of the show, so when news got out that the panel went to rush, and that there's no more industry tickets, I was like nooooo. I died a little on the inside. But luckily, I got in. (Thanks, Kelvin!) Just watching the PARENTS episode again and hearing them talk about their journey into acting/writing was pretty inspiring. Kelvin talked about how he held stereotypical roles and then one day realized the leading man can never be him, so he went into writing. Damn, that was real. Alan talked about his childhood, friendship with Aziz Ansari, shows he worked on over the years, and finally taking two years to craft and execute MASTER OF NONE. All their anecdotes remind me: making art and putting it out is a long and hard process / telling great stories = key.
One little crazy thing on this day: I bumped into Dari from Smith! OMG. Small freakin' world. She lives in SF now. She saw a film at CAAMFest and they announced the party at Slate. She came. We screamed cuz we haven't seen each other in such a long time. (Great seeing you Dari <3 :D)
Aside from CAAMFest, I took time to explore the Mission, the Castro, and revisit Chinatown. I saw Candy and Carmen from Smith, and Sabrina and Paul from UC PPIA. I haven't seen these people in almost two years, and I had a ball catching up with them. Not to mention, we had some great food and conversations. Mainly being almost going into our late twenties, where we're at in our careers right now, and how scary the future may seem.
So in the beginning of this blog post, I said CAAMFest saved me in many ways. I want to take time to write everything out. Before the trip, I had this weight on my shoulders. I don't know what it is, but I was stressed, anxious, and borderline feeling quite empty. What does doing work for Asian CineVision and writing that solo show really mean? I was lost. Really lost. Am I still at the same place I was in 2014? I kept thinking how I'm ever going to make a living doing both of these things I love. How can I explain it to my family and friends, and even if I explain it, will they understand? Everybody around my age, say 26 or 27 or 28, are finally settling into their jobs, traveling the world, or even getting married or at least boo'd up. I feel like I'm trailing so far behind in life. But then CAAMFest reminded me of something: it is the journey that matters. Art is a marathon, not a sprint. Art takes time. Life takes time. Time is now. Live in the present. Take it one day at a time. Ask for help. Stop worrying. Breathe.
After this trip, I found a new sense of peace within me. The type of peace that allows me to know that everything is going to be okay. Everything, will be okay.