This essay reflects on Spencer Nakasako's groundbreaking video work with Southeast Asian refugee youth and explores Nakasako's significant role in media histories not just in relation to Asian America, but to American media culture writ large. It pays particular attention to the role and rhetoric of the “amateur” in Nakasako's work, and the ways in which Nakasako transforms low-resolution, independent videomaking into an aesthetic as well as political force. Nakasako's “video diary” series, often called the refugee trilogy, emphasizes the significance of making film with and about community through both content and modes of production. Highlighting the ways in which gender comes into play in Nakasako's work, this essay focuses on Kelly Loves Tony (often the least discussed of the trilogy), and also includes material from recently conducted interview with Spencer Nakasako on the occasion of the 25th anniversary of his trilogy.

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