Making Asian American Film and Video: History, Institutions, Movements

Making Asian American Film and Video: History, Institutions, Movements

by Jun Okada


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The words “Asian American film” might evoke a painfully earnest, low-budget documentary or family drama, destined to be seen only in small film festivals or on PBS (Public Broadcasting Service). In her groundbreaking study of the past fifty years of Asian American film and video, Jun Okada demonstrates that although this stereotype is not entirely unfounded, a remarkably diverse range of Asian American filmmaking has emerged. Yet Okada also reveals how the legacy of institutional funding and the “PBS style” unites these filmmakers, whether they are working within that system or setting themselves in opposition to its conventions.  
Making Asian American Film and Video explores how the genre has served as a flashpoint for debates about what constitutes Asian American identity. Tracing a history of how Asian American film was initially conceived as a form of public-interest media, part of a broader effort to give voice to underrepresented American minorities, Okada shows why this seemingly well-intentioned project inspired deeply ambivalent responses. In addition, she considers a number of Asian American filmmakers who have opted out of producing state-funded films, from Wayne Wang to Gregg Araki to Justin Lin. 
Okada gives us a unique behind-the-scenes look at the various institutions that have bankrolled and distributed Asian American films, revealing the dynamic interplay between commercial and state-run media. More than just a history of Asian Americans in film, Making Asian American Film and Video is an insightful meditation on both the achievements and the limitations of institutionalized multiculturalism. 

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780813565019
Publisher: Rutgers University Press
Publication date: 03/06/2015
Series: Asian American Studies Today
Pages: 180
Product dimensions: 5.90(w) x 8.80(h) x 0.60(d)
Age Range: 18 Years

About the Author

JUN OKADA is an assistant professor of English and director of film studies at the State University of New York, Geneseo.  

Table of Contents

Introduction: The Shared History of Asian American Film and Video and Public Interest Media
Chapter 1: “Noble and Uplifting and Boring as Hell”: Asian American Film and Video, 1971–1982
Chapter 2: The Center for Asian American Media and the Televisual Public Sphere
Chapter 3: Pathology as Authenticity: ITVS, Terminal USA, and the Televisual Struggle Over Positive/Negative Images
Chapter 4: Dismembered from History: The Counternostalgia of Gregg Araki
Chapter 5: Better Luck Tomorrow and the Transnational Reframing of Asian American Film and Video
Chapter 6: Post–Asian American Feature Film: The Persistence of Institutionality in Finishing the Game: The Search for a New Bruce Lee and American Zombie

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