Promoting Asian Diaspora Voices
Film is unique in its ability to deconstruct time. Naturally, time is a social construct - a method on which we situate our own personal lives. Film has the ability to take you all over time. A period piece, a futuristic reality: we are either gradually or suddenly jumped into a time and a world where we can identify as a time that is not "present". A movie may be happening now, yes.... but the movie is not taking place in the theatre or living room or bedroom you are watching this movie. It is happening outside of the confines of the four walls that situate your space.
(SVA Theatre, February 2020, New York Asian Film Festival)
Escapism is a part of film, and now is a time where escapism of the daily confines of our lives are for healing, mental health, and entertainment. However, it is equally important to challenge the comforts of our lives. Promoting new voices that were previously not heard are valuable as they challenge us to think outside our own head, to see angles and visions that were previously never seen before. It helps remove the tunnel vision that is often a key component in the difficult in understanding others and seeing the big picture.
Asian voices have previously been forced into stereotypical, typecast, neat buckets. Ethnic, special, different. "Not part of us." The diaspora's growth has challenged these ways of thinking and continue to push the agenda on what we perceive as unique and different. Chapati Man was always about promoting the UK-US relationship via the lens of those with South Asian background. We are casual and comfortable, and we hope to be something part of the every-day experience for our community and neighborhood.
Now we are at a crossroads where our diaspora itself has different viewpoints and agendas that are listened too in the lens of political, economic, social, and cultural within this country. It is important to understand that as a diaspora grows across generations, the voices become louder and the landscape becomes varied. Film is able to provide that snapshot in time because, well, at least for the filmmaker, a part of your life is able to continue beyond the bracket of your lifetime.
(Photos taken with permission by Asian Cinevision)
We spoke about our sponsorship with the New York Asian Film Festival back in 2020. That was a different time - one where we were able to promote a conversation about food, film, and love. One pandemic later, we want to make sure we promote voices in this gluttonous gap in the landscape where old voices are longer being heard since they promote agendas which are different to the ones we promote.
Today, we want people to know that we will always continue to promote voices within the Asian diaspora to continue to provide those who may not have heard their voices before to a bigger audience and continue to help provide access to those who have not ever had the ability to access these kinds of audiences, institutions, and communities. The Asian American International Film Festival continues to be a conduit for the voices in the Asian diaspora here in New York City, and we are proud to be one of their sponsors in 2020.