By Ling-Mei Wong
The third “Short Waves: Stories Shaping Our Community” screening of short films took place May 30 at the Castle Square Tenants Organization, 464 Tremont Street. A total of 15 films were screened to celebrate Asian American Heritage Month in May.
Four of the 15 submissions were selected by a panel of four judges for a public vote; the winner was “Color Theory” by Minhae Shim. Shim’s documentary of her 33-day cross-country road trip with her boyfriend Danny will be entered in the Boston Asian American Film Festival on Oct. 24 to 27. Its theme of driving as the “modern day dream” combines breathtaking vistas with stills and performances from Shim.
“Asian Women for Health” by Chien-Chi Huang focused on the group’s advocacy work. “Asian American women from 15 to 24 have the second highest suicide rate,” she said. “Women put others’ needs ahead of themselves and need to take care of themselves.”
Four of the short films were projects for the University of Massachusetts, Boston’s Asian American Media Literacy 207 course for its Asian American Studies program. They included “Finding the Fierce Gaysian Within” by Hung An Nguyen on coming out as a gay Vietnamese man; “The Knots of My Shoes” by cerebral palsy sufferer Mary Ouk; “My Promise” by Chinatown resident Allyson Yee about her father Daniel Moon’s hearing loss; and “Unlocking Memories” by Thary Lim on her struggles as a Cambodian-American immigrant.
First-time director SingYiing Chung made “Outside and Invisible” with Xian Zhang about their experience of alienation and loneliness as international graduate students at Tufts University. “We’re not filmmakers,” Zhang said. “We are just sensitive to cultural and ethnic topics. Working in Chinatown with immigrant parents, we shared similar experiences with language barriers.”
Other submissions were more light-hearted. Michael Sun’s “Pest in the Kitchen” showed how a squirrel rather than mice was nibbling at his food, while “White Washed” by Aaron Wong juxtaposed “expected” Asian behavior with “reality.” Zachary Wong modeled Asian behaviors, such as playing “Fur Elise” on the piano, followed by “reality” shots of him vigorously playing video games.
“I can relate to every film shown tonight,” Huang said. “I’m from Taiwan and was an international student. I experienced racial discrimination, which was a shock coming from a homogenous country. I was diagnosed with breast cancer, which turned my life upside down. Every film here has to do with trauma and mental illness. … I’m proud to be among these young people.”
The event was organized by the organized by the Boston Asian American Film Festival, the Asian American Resource Workshop and the Castle Square Tenants Organization.
To watch all submissions from the screening, please visit www.baaff.org.
This post is also available in: Chinese