by Cheryl David
2012 Student Delegate
I was a bit starstruck throughout the festival to catch glimpses of Joan Chen. At the premiere of White Frog, she gave some advice : if someone tells you to not do something, do it.
Well, being a woman in the era of men debating over women’s health in our government, I have been angry, frustrated. And this film festival comes along and BOOM! I draw strength from stories of women everywhere. In Love Crimes of Kabul, I saw the system that imprisons women and men for sex crimes, but I see the emotion and wit of the women. I watched Yes, We’re Open characters played by Lynn Chen and Shetal Sheth defy definitions – modern women.
At the SFIAAFF opening gala, as the sweet coconut shaved ice cleared my palette, a sweet voice from Paperdoll – Teresa Lee, from the White Frog soundtrack, performed. The director Quentin Lee, whom student delegates met – made his soundtrack of Asian American music. We heard Tibet in Song, and in this film met women jailed and tortured for retaining the Tibetian culture in song. And the post-film concert after the The Jake Shimabukuro Documentary featured a number by the Shimabukuro brothers and their mom. Single parenthood isn’t often highlighted in the Asian American community and her sweet voice spoke for more than just her sons, but for many mothers.
And it continued off screen, off stage. The student delegates were scheduled to meet with Mye Hoang, director, actor, writer of Viette (you can still catch it this weekend) at the filmmaker brunch. Her film spoke to me in so many ways, in a bold a brave way. The film touched on so many things people don’t talk about: domestic violence, women’s health, mental illness. She spoke of wanting this film so bad that she in lieu of years of birthday celebrations, requested assistance in funding her film. She said her story was going to be either so unique it had to be told, or so relevant it had to be told. I was moved by some of my fellow male delegates reactions to the film. That’s the promise in one woman’s story.
At the Yes We’re Open centerpiece afterparty, as a student delegate I was able to have a few words with actor/producer Theresa Navarro, and my fellow Pinay gave me some sage advice. I stood listening to a well-spoken woman who relayed some of her gritty experiences that lay beneath her glamorous red carpet style.
I am a woman, armed with this student delegate opportunity and information loaded from it, I feel I know how to shoot my art into the Asian American mediascape.