To answer Wesley Yang’s first question, “Asian Americans can become the main subjects of Justin Lin’s 2002 film Better Luck Tomorrow.” SDAFF kicked off the first Member Film Forum on May 24th at our new office at Liberty Station in Point Loma by showing Better Luck Tomorrow, with the additional treats of Skyped Q & As with both director Justin Lin and actor Sung Kang, who played one of the main characters. The movie asks the audience to consider what it really means to be Asian American outside of stereotypes, since the main characters act like bad boys, but still maintain the appearance of perfect students. During his Q & A session, Sung Kang pointed out how much stereotypes dominate media arts views of Asian Americans. Shortly after Better Luck Tomorrow became a hit, Sung was offered a role specifically looking for an Asian man, but he was supposed to be playing a gay, kimono-wearing Asian guy. When asked about his opinion of how Asian Americans can fight these kind of stereotypes, Sung said that there needs to be more quality roles, shows, and films about Asian Americans.
Absolutely—there does need to be a wide range of high quality representations of Asian Americans as complex people, not just as an easily stereotyped character. Stereotyping one race or one group diminishes everybody by narrowing everyone’s ideas about humanity. So, what can SDAFF do to help? Right now, SDAFF is committed to breaking down stereotypes by showing thought-provoking films at member film forums, quarterly screenings, the Spring Showcase, and especially at the Film Festival. However, we need you too! Tell us—what can SDAFF do to broaden people’s ideas of who Asians and Asian Americans really are?