Wednesday, October 31, 2012


It's the 12th Anniversary of the San Diego Asian Film Festival, an event more solid than an
ice cube at the North pole, which one also has to admit is awesomely cool. Call me Old School, a traditionalist or maybe even a dinosaur (BTW these guys lasted 165 million years; mankind should be so lucky to mirror that), but in preparation for the holiday season...yes, SDAFF, Halloween, Thanksgiving and for me Christmas and the New Year, tradition is an integral part of many peoples' lives.
Thus, in keeping with situation and the spirit of the 13th SDAFF, I am once again compelled to ring out loud and peal in the festival with my holiday bloggiday version of  “The Night Before Christmas” by Clement Clarke Reid…I mean Moore. And of course it's slightly different each year, a classic poem to reflect the festival cheer.  

Twas the night before the festival, when all through San Diego,
Every film fan was stirring, including those in a winnebago.

The HD hard drives were nestled in the machines with care,
In hopes that Asian celebrities would soon be there.

The Asian communities were snug in their beds,
While visions of Five Fingers of Death fighting in their heads;

The SDAFF staff in their jammies, and I in my Man. U cap,
Had just settled down from the summer's Hollywood trap,

When out at the Ultrastar theatre there arose a clatter,
I sprang from the bed to see what was the matter.

Away to the Hazard, I drove like a flash,
Rolled down the windows and tossed out some cash.

The neon on the breast of the SRO,
Gave the luster of full audiences filled in each row,

When, what to my wondering eyes should appear,
150 films from countries up to the ear.

With a courteous nod and welcoming cheer,
I knew in a moment Lee Ann Kim our fearless leader was here.

More rapid than eagles did the fans unite,
They whistled, and shouted, and the films they did cite.

"Now, Flying Swords! now Painted Skin! now Dead Sushi and Daylight Savings.
On, Eden! on Viette! on Don't Stop Believin' and Zombading!

To the top of the floor! To the top of the screen!
Now project away, project away, let all be seen!"

As celluloid rattles that before the focus is view,
When they meet on the screen, the image is new,

So up to the theatre-top the pictures did grow,
With a room full of patrons, and feet in each row.

And then, in a twinkling, I saw the projector light,
The strobe and the flickering were such a great sight.

As my eyes widened, with childlike awe,
The images before me, is all that I saw.

The color, the sound, from head to foot,
The audiences clapped, they gave a hoot;

A bundle of posters, and lobby cards to go,
We looked like filmgoers from head to toe.

Our eyes -- how they twinkled! Our laughter so cheerful!
Our cheeks were like roses, our postures so blissful!

Our ear perked up, our mouths agape,
The films were rolling the happiness we could not escape,

The horror, the fantasy, the martial arts as well,
The anime, drama, and action would all be swell,

But don't forget the shorts and science fiction,
All the genres are here for our depiction;

Fear, hate, sadness and love,
The emotions of film comes not from above,

But from the hearts and souls of filmmakers anew
Their true passion for art is really but a few.

And I laughed and cried, in spite of myself;
Seeing these films, no dust on the shelf

It's time to vote for Obama or Romney,
Sandy hits the East Coast, is what matters to me.

A table for Qi in the corner I see,
Will help us fight bad health for all eternity.

We’ll all endure for life in sound and sight,
"Happy movie watching to all, and to all a good-night."

Monday, June 25, 2012

Mari Mimura's Internship So Far

I’ve worked for SDAFF for about one month. Actually if I include the period of tryout and orientation, it has passed almost two months. I experienced a lot of things here so far and I can feel that I was changed. I’m going to talk about what I did and what I learned so far, and what I want to do and what I want to be in the future at SDAFF.

At first, it was so difficult for me to memorize all the members at SDAFF. It is the basic thing to remember all the names of members at work, but their names are not familiar with me and also I can’t imagine the spellings well, so even if I took a memo, it took me long time to remember and pronounce them well. I often thought that I couldn’t do even so basic thing like that here and I couldn’t communicate with them well because of that, but I noticed that even in Japan, it takes me a while to memorize some people’s names at a time. It happens. So I don’t need to lose my confidence because of that. Now I got used to working at SDAFF, and I’m getting to know members. So I feel I want to know them more till I leave here.

SDAFF got me a lot of periods for orientations. So I was able to know why and for what they work. I watched some films and talk about SDAFF, Asian Americans, and films a lot with Phillip. Those orientations let me prepare my mind for working here and feel excited to work here. My major is International Business and I study about what is the good working environment for minorities such as women, disabilities, non white people, and so on. So through orientation, I thought here is one of the best places where I can learn more about what is going on about race discriminations and what we should do to solve them through working for SDAFF and touching lots of films.

My first work at SDAFF was researching and translation. I researched about latest Japanese movies online, and made a list in English. I was able to feel that there was only me that can speak Japanese fluently, so I could use my advantage to contribute to SDAFF.

These days I worked with Katie. Even though she is younger than me, she helped me a lot. However, it doesn’t mean that she did everything that she can, but help me to share to make our work finish early. Now I feel that she helped me with things that I’m not good at and I helped her with things that I’m good at. I appreciate her so much and I’m so glad that I could work with her.

I helped to clean up the room like storage. It wasn’t just a cleaning for me because I was able to know what and where there were here. I felt it was the best work as the beginning of work at SDAFF. Also I like using my legs and arms to work as well and I could do that with Katie, so it was fun for me.

I helped to check a lot of video tapes and move them into the computer as a file. I don’t use Mac at home, so at first Katie taught me how to move them. Then I named each video. Sometimes I felt sleepy because I didn’t have anything to do while I was waiting till each film ends. But I liked those works because I could see the goal.

Through those works above, I was able to learn how SDAFF works and got used to working here. Also, finally I could experience to work in US. I felt all the members know the goal and meaning to work at SDAFF, try to do their best, and enjoy their jobs. Also, after my school was over, all the international students left for their countries and I felt homesick. However, I have good place to live and work, so I really enjoy everyday life now. Also these days I use only English at work and at house, so I feel my English is improved a little bit better.

Those above are what I learned and felt at SDAFF. I got used to working here, so now it’s time to try and challenge more.

I’m really thankful to everyone at SDAFF because even though I can work only this summer and I’m not fluent in English, everyone accepted me to join SDAFF and got me a wonderful job here. Therefore I would like to contribute to SDAFF more. I don’t mind what kind of work I do, because every work at SDAFF is interesting and new experience for me. But if I have a chance, I would like to work on stuff that I can see what SDAFF is doing actually in San Diego and see the inside and details of SDAFF someday. Anyway, I’m very thankful to SDAFF, so I’m glad to work on anything they need.

-Mari Mimura

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Katie Says Goodbye...Kind Of...


Without question, Katie Silverstein has been a shining star among interns here at SDAFF. Her maturity beyond her years, work ethic, and quick comprehension have made it possible for her to excel in a fast-paced work environment. She is now going into another phase of her time with SDAFF, as she starts her time in the Reel Voices student filmmaking program. Now, she will become one in a long line of successful student filmmakers who have come from the program. Now as she says "goodbye" to her Internship, she can now say hello to new opportunities at SDAFF, here in her words are what she felt about her month-long intensive internship program in partnership with High-Tech High:

This past month has flown by so fast! Every day I walked into work, I was always greeted by such a wonderful and friendly staff that has made my experience at SDAFF more than I could have ever hoped for. Over the course of my internship time, I have become more comfortable talking and working in the business environment. It was difficult at first just because I was unfamiliar with both the staff and the workplace, but I found myself adjusting in no time. They made me feel so at ease every day when I came to work, but all fun and games aside, they had really high expectations of me because they have high expectations for the foundation. Their belief in SDAFF’s mission drives them each to produce the best quality work and have the kindest of heart. Both the energy that the foundation has given me along with my own motivations was the combo which really made my internship time successful.

My internship has not so much influenced, or changed, my thoughts about what I want to do for a career, but has made me really reflect on who I am as a person. What are my morals? What are my goals for myself? And as long as I have a strong sense of self, I will be able to succeed in anything I choose to do. That sense of mind will help me both with school and my career.

Without everyone here at SDAFF, I would not be where I am today. They all welcomed me with open arms and am glad to be a part of the family. Special thanks to Phil, Amy, and Lee Ann! I am so thankful for the support and friendship that you have given me. I can’t wait to continue my journey and friendship with SDAFF ~


Friday, May 18, 2012

What A Certain Journey Has Taught Me

Yesterday was a near perfect day in the community of City Heights. The sun was out, there was a near perfect breeze graciously appearing to cut into the heat, and there were six smart, mature, amazing girls who were continuing a journey that started when they first arrived in the United States.

When the San Diego Asian Film Foundation (SDAFF) first announced that it would be working with AjA project, Sun and Moon Vision  Productions, Survivors of Torture International, and the International Rescue Committee to give refugee students a chance to further explore their skills in photography to include video creation, I thought that it would be a great opportunity to continue doing good work through SDAFF. What I found was a program that has actually taught me more than I could ever imagine.

Every Thursday since February, I have, along with a representative/instructor from AjA project, a mental health clinician, and a couple of volunteers venture into the "refugee capital of the US" and take a classroom at Crawford High School and work with these kids to create their journey on video and to give audiences a glimpse into what their life is like here.

What I have learned is that the process is actually more important than the result, especially when it comes to teaching new skills to young people. Granted, I am confident that we will have a great short film to show audiences and that there will be a new-found appreciation and knowledge of the refugee community in San Diego. More important than that result however, is the process of turning very shy young people who come from war ravaged countries in Africa and Asia into brave storytellers who are proud of their journey here and their culture. Another amazing find is how well they worked together, even if they were from different nations and cultures. This cross-cultural learning is an invaluable component of the Reel Voices Journey Program.

From poetry, to storyboards, and photos/video, these young people have found new ways to communicate their experience from their old home to new home. We may have taught these kids the basics in media making, but for me personally, their spirit, honesty, and open hearts made this experience one of the most memorable in my life. I am forever thankful to our staff/volunteers Kathy, Trish, Ashleigh, Emily, Ana (both of them, sorry inside joke), the staff at Crawford High, and of course the amazing students that have given me a true gift: their stories.
For more info on Reel Voices Journey click here, and keep an eye out for updates!