This roundtable grew out of conversations between filmmaker Rea Tajiri, programmer Abby Sun, and scholar Vince Schleitwiler about a misunderstood chapter in the history of Asian American film and media: New York City in the eighties, a vibrant capital of Asian American filmmaking with a distinctively experimental edge. To tell this story, Rea Tajiri contacted her artist contemporaries Shu Lea Cheang and Roddy Bogawa as well as writer and critic Daryl Chin. Daryl had been a fixture in New York City art circles since the sixties, his presence central to Asian American film from the beginning. The scope of this discussion extends loosely from the mid-seventies through the late nineties, with Tajiri, Abby Sun, and Vince Schleitwiler initiating topics, compiling responses, and finalizing its form as a collage-style conversation.
Messy, Energetic, Intense: A Roundtable Conversation among New York's Asian American Experimental Filmmakers of the Eighties with Roddy Bogawa, Daryl Chin, Shu Lea Cheang, and Rea Tajiri
Vince Schleitwiler teaches ethnic studies at the University of Washington. His writing includes a book, Strange Fruit of the Black Pacific (New York University Press, 2017); scholarly articles in African American Review, Comparative Literature, Global Performance Studies; and arts journalism in the International Examiner, FILMMAKER, and the Village Voice. A former scholar-in-residence at the Center for Art and Thought, he has been a writer/researcher on numerous public arts/humanities projects, including Rea Tajiri's multisite installation WATARIDORI: birds of passage.
Abby Sun is a freelance programmer and writer, currently working as the spring 2020 curator for the DocYard, a biweekly series of new nonfiction at the Brattle Theater in Harvard Square. She previously held positions as the senior editor for Nat. Brut and programmer for True/False Film Fest.
Rea Tajiri is a filmmaker whose work situates itself in poetic, non-traditional storytelling forms. Recent works include: the 2014 experimental non-fiction feature Lordville; WATARIDORI: birds of passage, a multisite public art installation, and a work-in-progress documentary feature, Wisdom Gone Wild. Tajiri has received support for her work through CAAM and ITVS, and is the recipient of a Pew Fellowship in the Arts, a Rockefeller Media Fellowship, and a NYFA Artist Fellowship. Currently she is an Associate Professor at Temple University.
Vince Schleitwiler, Abby Sun, Rea Tajiri; Messy, Energetic, Intense: A Roundtable Conversation among New York's Asian American Experimental Filmmakers of the Eighties with Roddy Bogawa, Daryl Chin, Shu Lea Cheang, and Rea Tajiri. Film Quarterly 1 March 2020; 73 (3): 66–78. doi: https://doi.org/10.1525/fq.2020.73.3.66
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