CAAM’s Year in Interviews (2015)

Photo credit: Justin Jay/Fox.
Photo credit: Justin Jay/Fox.

This year, we had the chance to chat with many independent filmmakers and actors and actresses. In addition, we’re very proud to highlight women filmmakers, musicians, and Asian American movers and shakers in the food world. Without further ado, here are our top 15 interviews from 2015.

Margaret Cho

“It’s important to be different, and I think everybody is different. Nobody is the same. We’re all individuals. Whatever you want to pursue, you should do it. A lot of times, especially with Asian American kids, we tend to put other peoples’ happiness or other peoples’ ideas about us first, which is why I think there are fewer Asian American artists because we tend to want to please our parents and please other people before we please ourselves. In truth, we can’t really do that. We have to just do our own thing and be yourself. I encourage everybody to be themselves.” Read more

Photo credit: Todd V Wolfson.

Photo credit: Todd V Wolfson.

 

Hannah Simone

“It’s…a really great sign for those of us in the industry that you can be seen for being a really funny actor and get cast, and they can use who and what you are naturally and organically and authentically.” Read more

Photo credit: Justin Jay/Fox.

Photo credit: Justin Jay/Fox.

 

Randall Park

“I’m just having fun and trying my best to do good work.” Read more

Photo credit: Matt Sayles.

Photo credit: Matt Sayles.

Arthur Dong

“We can appreciate and celebrate our accomplishments, but we can’t just sit on our laurels and be satisfied, because it’s just not over yet.” Read more

Oscar®-nominated and triple Sundance award-winning filmmaker, Arthur Dong. Photo by Zand Gee.

Oscar®-nominated and triple Sundance award-winning filmmaker, Arthur Dong. Photo by Zand Gee.

 

Willa Cuthrell

“As a teenage girl, it’s so important to have great role models and I’m so grateful to have them, just to look up to and everything. I feel very lucky just to be exposed to so much so early, in terms of social justice issues, and telling stories through art.” Read more

Willa Cuthrell stars in the feature film "The Sisterhood of Night." Photo by Olivia Bee.

Willa Cuthrell stars in the feature film “The Sisterhood of Night.” Photo by Olivia Bee.

Bao Nguyen

“I think the Vietnamese American film community is quite small and because there are so few of us, we all know each other and always tend to work on each others’ projects. We all have a passion to tell stories about Vietnam through our own Vietnamese American perspective, and I think this shared mission really creates this bond.” Read more

Filmmaker Bao Nguyen.

Filmmaker Bao Nguyen.

Felicia Lowe

“We do need to talk about “exclusion” because it is persisting today….America is not a perfect place, and neither should we perpetuate the idea that Asians are the model minority.” Read more

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Brian Yang

“I’m very much about promoting Asian stories, Asian faces, Asian storytellers.” Read more

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Suboi

“I listened to rap—Vietnamese rap at first, when I was 12. People were like, this is rebel music, you’re not supposed to listen to this.” Read more

Suboi. Photo by Bao Nguyen.

Suboi. Photo by Bao Nguyen.

Scott Chops Jung

“Before Mountain Brothers had even signed a deal, I had been working at movie theaters, making popcorn and stuff like that. I’ve always liked movies and music…” Read more

Scott Jung. Photo credit Eric Lai.

Scott Jung. Photo credit Eric Lai.

Awkwafina

“Awkwafina is a personality that I repressed after graduating high school and going into the quote unquote “real world.” Awkwafina is confident and she has no filter, she doesn’t care.” Read more

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Shonali Bose

“What I’ve noticed about myself is that something has to really grab me in my heart, and it is usually related to some issue that affects society in one way or another. But I don’t like to make a film in which I am standing on a soapbox preaching that issue. My whole thing is to use my art to convert that issue into a story that is emotional and relatable so that people who don’t care about the issue of sexuality or disability— or genocide or communal violence—will be drawn into that.” Read more

Shonali Bose at press conference

Grace Lee

“I guess for me, the best dumpling or best Asian dish, is not what I’m interested in.  I’m interested in it as a consumer, but as a storyteller, I’m looking to find something deeper. Food is an accessible entry point for a lot of people. If you can pique peoples’ interests or whet their appetite—excuse the terrible pun—through a food story, maybe they’ll consider who are the people making the food, or behind the food process.” Read more

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Meera Simhan

Jennifer Phang and Jacqueline Kim

“We are getting at the idea that every life is an effort to try to find some sort of happiness or sense of peace, and that we need to have empathy for other people’s attempts to find peace.” Read more

Jacqueline Kim. Photo by Christine Chambers.

Jacqueline Kim. Photo by Christine Chambers.

Filipino American Chefs and Cooks (6 Profiles)

“In the United States, Filipino Americans make up the largest group of Asian Americans in 10 of the 13 Western states, and are the second largest Asian American group in the U.S. (second to Chinese Americans). Yet Philippine cuisine has remained underrepresented compared to its more accessible Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Indian and Thai counterparts.” Read more

Yana Gilbuena.

Yana Gilbuena

 

MORE WOMEN FILMMAKERS:

Meera Simhan

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Meera Simhan in a scene from “Miss India America,” which she also co-wrote.

Stephanie Wang-Breal

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“Tough Love” Director Stephanie Wang-Breal.

Ursula Liang

Photo courtesy of The Self-Portrait Project.

“9-Man” director Ursula Liang. The film is funded, in part, by CAAM. Photo courtesy of The Self-Portrait Project.

Joyce Wu

Bright Lights, Big Screen: Joyce Wu on Her Debut Film

Joyce Wu with her debut film, “She Lights Up Well, which she directed and acts in.

 

Marilyn Fu and Caryn Waechter

"The Sisterhood of Night" writer Marilyn Fu and director Caryn Waechter.

“The Sisterhood of Night” writer Marilyn Fu and director Caryn Waechter.

Sara Dosa

Dosa Headshot

Sara Dosa, director of the CAAM-funded documentary, “The Last Season.”

Chloé Zhao

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Chloé Zhao, director of “Songs My Brothers Taught Me.” Here, she talks with actor John Reddy during a scene in. Photo by Eléonore Hendricks

 

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Editor’s note: CAAM would like to thank the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, which funds all of our public media work. We’d like to thank Comcast/XFINITY Asia for funding our entertainment coverage.