WORDS FROM OUR PRESIDENTS
Jennifer Betit Yen, The Film Lab, Current President (March 2012-present)
The entertainment world is full of extreme highs and lows. To choose a career in the field of film and television is to choose a daring and risk-filled path. For writers, directors and actors of color, that path is made even more difficult by all-too-common misperceptions that non-white Americans are "the other" and cannot realistically portray contemporary roles. Happily, talented entertainment professionals of color have worked long and hard to destroy these misperceptions, bringing beautiful, multi-faceted stories of Americans of all races to life on the stage and screen, by giving voice to the unheard and by sharing stories that may seem superficially different but hold universal truths. I originally went into law, and still love the law, because it is America's civic religion-one to which all of our diverse and cosmopolitan citizens can pay homage to. Like the law, entertainment is perhaps another type of civic religion, a connecting thread of stories of love and loss that all of us, as human beings, can relate to and learn from. I am proud to be part of the Asian American Film Lab, a group that promotes and supports the creation and dissemination of these diverse stories. I welcome you to take action, contribute and be a part of the mission to share, encourage and promote diversity in film and television!
Carl Li, The Film Lab (President 2010-February 2012)
Welcome to the Asian American Film Lab [AAFilmLab], a non-profit organization created in 1998 to be a community for people of all walks of life, from filmmakers, directors, music composers, producers, performers, writers, editors, crew members, & production, to those who have nothing to do with film or being Asian save their appreciation, love and support for Asian American Films old, or yet to be made, to collaborate, hone their craft, support eachother, network, and share resources. We also hold general meetings, workshops, readings, screenings and special events such as our Annual International 72 Hour Shootout, and the Film Relay Experiment! My personal motto as current president of the AAFilmLab is "how can this make us better!" Please join us every month as we continue to help eachother improve! :-)
Tana Sarntinoranont, The Film Lab (President 2006-2010)
Acting and filmmaking can become a very solitary art form. Although there are projects that you work on with other people, the time in between, for better or worse, can be very isolating. To me, the AsAmFilmLab is for those times when isolation hinders creativity and meeting like minded people with the same heart and drive as you becomes inspirational. Try as we might to inspire ourselves on a day-to-day basis, it becomes more difficult without others. Before I joined this group in 2003, I felt that I could do anything on my own. I even judged those who seemed to need support of others in order to accomplish their goals. I was young(er) andâ¦ok fine, naive. I obviously still strongly believe in independence, but I canât express my gratitude and debt that I owe this group for what it has given me in terms of friendships, learnings, and honestly my best work as an actor. Through workshops, screenplay contests, filmmaking contests (the 72 Hour Shootout) and ground breaking filmmaking projects, the AsAmFilmLab offers opportunities for everyone; actors, directors, writers, editors and more. If you have found us online, then consider coming to one of our events that interest you or subscribe to our Blog or Email list. We are a Not-for-profit organization, all of us volunteers with the single uniting need to create through film. Do you have that need? Dig deep for that answer and get back to me.
Mission Statement 2006
Matte Chi, The Workshop (President 2005-2006)
While I write this during the sleepy hours of a Sunday afternoon, the Asian American community is silently but unstoppably growing. At this very moment the Asian Americans who are accounted for, form 4% of the population of the United States. We Asian Americans will double our population in breakneck speed mirroring the historic growth of Hispanic-Americans. In a mere 50 years time we will stand on the platform alongside Hispanic Americans and African Americans to rival the majority in the United States (non-Hispanic White Americans will cling to a 50.1% majority). During this time of unprecedented growth there is an incredible amount of work to do if we want to participate in the grand democratic conversation. As history has proven, physical numbers alone will not inherently provide the means of expression for our beliefs nor will sheer numbers alone provide the social structures necessary to distribute our expression. We must participate and we must commit to participating in the daily conversations of our lives. And by what means can we converse amongst our peers and to the diminishing majority? As has been said before truthfully and correctly, it is through the Arts where expression will always be found. I have found within myself and within this generation the incipient need to discover and communicate our ideals, our goals, our desires. Discovery is the most important element here. Though what weâd like to communicate is inchoate and continuously changing, the need to share this knowledge as it is gained has become an incessant drumbeat ever increasing in volume as each day progresses. What better medium than film to discover and communicate these ideas? What medium can provide a better arena from which to continue the grand conversation taking place among us? Film's intrinsically collaborative nature provides the testing ground from which to uncover a singular voice, or even better a chorus of voices, we all wish to find. Film provides the comraderie which we as social beings desire and need to survive, to reach that not too distant future when we will have more at stake and more voices that will want hearing. Film with its multidisciplinary breadth is perfectly designed to take advantage of the roles we have traditionally taken in our quest to find happiness through our until now obligatory lives. Though fifty years may seem too far away, by then as elders, that is exactly the moment when we will need to have a stable, viable outlet of expression. Without expression we will find ourselves living in a world where nothing we say will ever be heard, and nothing we want will ever be given. We have the rest of our lives to work. Take this opportune moment to make that work worthwhile. Find a means to communicate the meaningful. Join us and pick up a camera, learn from experience and share that knowledge. Convince others to do the same, and youâll find they will need little convincing. The mission is simple: Create. Create honestly, continuously and share it. Above all Create.