Amoeblog

Asian-American Cinema Part IX - the 2000s

Posted by Eric Brightwell, May 27, 2009 04:00pm | Post a Comment
The ninth of a nine part series on Asian-Americans in front of and behind the camera

INTRODUCTION TO ASIAN-AMERICAN CINEMA


The first efforts to combat negative racial stereotypes of Asians and Asian-Americans in film began in the silent era, when a few empowered figures attempted to create an alternative Asian-American Silent Cinema. After their efforts faltered, Hollywood provided most cinematic images of Asians in the '30s, 40s, 50s, and '60s. With the birth of Asian-American theater, Asian-American cinema was revived in the 1970s and began to take off as a viable independent cinema in the 1980s. By the '90s, the scope of Asian-American Cinema broadened considerably, a trend that continued in the 2000s.

APAMERICA IN THE 2000s
In the 2000s, Asians became the fastest growing racial minority in the county. As of 2006, there were over thirteen million Americans of Asian descent (not counting Native people). Of the top ten languages spoken in American homes (English, Spanish, Chinese, French, German, Tagalog, Vietnamese, Korean, Italian and Russian), four are Asian.


         Yunjin Kim                    Daniel Dae Kim               Masi Oka                     Bobby Lee                    B.D. Wong

APA TV IN THE 2000S

Despite the conspicous presence of Asians in America, in film and on TV Asian-American are still nearly invisible, aside from roles as doctors on ER, Grey’s Anatomy and House, or objects of ridicule (e.g. William Hung and Renaldo Lopez). Yunjin Kim, Daniel Dae Kim and Masi Oka, some of the few Asian-Americans on TV, all play foreigners. Bobby Lee of Mad TV and B. D. Wong on Law & Order: SVU are two of the few Asian-American male actors whose roles challenge stereotypes both directly and indirectly. My Life... Disoriented and A Shot at Love with Tila Tequila became only the fourth and fifth TV series with Asian Americans in starring roles.

APA THEATER IN THE 2000s

In the 2000s, APA theatre continued to quickly grow with new groups like Amherst's New WORLD Theater; The Bay Area's Krea; Chicago's DueEast Theatre Company, Rasaka Theater Company, Silk Road Theatre Project and YAWP; Dallas's Diwa Theater Company; Hawaii's Kumu Kahua TheatreHouston's Shunya Theater; Los Angeles' Chinatown 90210 and Thumping Claw One Act Series; New York's Cuchipinoy Productions, Desipina & Company, Disha TheatreeyeBLINK Fluid Motion Theater, Mellow Yellow Theatre Company and SALAAM Theatre; San Diego's Mo`olelo Performing Arts Company; San Francisco's Locus Arts and Youth for Asian Theatre; Seattle's Pratidhwani Drama Wing, Sex in Seattle;SoCal's Here and Now Theatre Company;Tampa's Asian Pacific American Scene and Washington DC's Awaaz Theatre all joining the fray during the decade. New playwrights included A. Rey Pamatmat, Carla Ching, Edward Bok Lee, J.P. Chan, Lloyd Suh, Michael Golacmo and Qui Nguyen.

APA COMICS IN THE 2000s

In the 2000s, there were finally recognized APA comics whose last names weren't "Cho." Aziz Ansari, Dat Phan, Bobby Lee, Dr. Ken, Steve Byrne, Susan Chuang, Kevin Shea, Joey Guila, Soonpoong Choi, Augustine Hong and Nakgyun Im may not be household names but have all received decent exposure. New comedy ensembles like Chicago's Taco Flavored Eggrolls and Los Angeles' Room to Improv also sprang up during the decade.

APA COMEDY DVDS



I'm the One That I Want
(2000), Notorious C.H.O. (2002), Revolution (2003), Assassin (2005), The Kims of Comedy, What's That Clickin' Noise (both 2006), Comedy Zen (2007), Happy Hour (2008)

APA HOLLYWOOD IN THE 2000s

2002's Better Luck Tomorrow ushered in a new era for Asian American filmmakers and actors after it became a surprise independent success. In Hollywood, John Cho and Kal Penn, in Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle, were quietly revolutionary by being the first two Asian-American male leads to co-star in a Hollywood film in forever. For the most part, however, Hollywood films like Memoirs of a Geisha, Mistress of Spices, Monsoon Wedding, Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon and Wendy Wu - Homecoming Warrior continued to offer  familiar depictions. On the other hand,  for the first time, large numbers of APA films were made. A large percentage moved beyond the traditional focus on acculturation to explore a much greater variety of subject matter suggesting that Asian-American Cinema is now a healthy, viable movement if still a bit under the radar.

APA ACTORS WHOSE CAREERS BEGAN IN THE '00s

   
                Aaron Takahashi                                Aaron Yoo                                                Aiko Tanaka 

  
          Alexander Agate                              Alexis Chang                                               An Nguyen     

  Angel Desai  
                        Angel Desai                                                  Angie Lieuw                                     Brenda Song

  
                        Camille Mana                                        Cat Ly                                                     Chil Kong                          

  
               Christina Stacey                                    Christopher Dinh                               Damien Nguyen  

   
                        David Huynh                                             David J. Lee                                  David Shih

 

                         Di Quon                                                    Dileep Rao                                             Eddie Shin     

 

                              Elizabeth Ho                                         Emily Ryan                                                Esther Chae            

  

                     Ewan Chung                                              Feodor Chin                                      Ganita Koonopakarn  

 
Hahn Cho
                       Grace Park                                              Hanh Cho                                               Hettienne Park

    
 
                  Hira Ambrosino                                             James Kyson Lee                                   Jane Kim       

  

                        Janet Linn                                               Jeff Lam                                              Jennifer Wu              

 

                        Joy Osmanski                                           Julia Ling                                              Justin Chon               

   
                   Karin Anna Cheung                                          Kathy Uyen                                              Kenzo Lee                                      
 

               Kevin Leung                                                Kylie Kim                                                       Lanny Joon   
                      
 
 

                 Leonardo Nam                                                      Linda Park                                           Lynn Chen  

 

         Michael David Cheng                                           Migina Tsai                                                 Natasha Yi   
 
 

                     Richard Chiu                                     Samantha Futerman                                     Samson Fu       
 
 
 
                      Shelley Conn                                 Shin Koyamada                                                 Siu Ta           

 
Steph Song 
                    Smith Cho                                                   Steph Song                                                Tania Gunadi   

  

                      Tim Chiou                                       Tim Kang                                                          Tina Duong  


  
  Wayne Chang 
                       Valerie Tian                                      Wayne Chang                                                 Yoi Tanabe

Not pictured: Austin Lee, Christy Qin, Darwood Chung, Esther Song, Grace Fatkin, Hoon Lee, Jim Chu, Jimmy Lin, Kerry Wong, Mao Zhao, Ngoc Lam, Oliver Oguma, Ruth Zhang and Shawn Huang


APA RELATED FILM IN THE '00s

  
Becoming an Actress in New York (2000), Being Hmong Means Being Free (2000)

 
Conscience and the Constitution (2000), Constructions (2000), 

 
Crossover (2000), Daughters of the Cloth (2000)

  
Days of Waiting (2000), Desi -  South Asians in New York (2000), Drift (2000)

   
First Person Plural (2000), Of Civil Wrongs and Rights (2000), Saanjh - As Night Falls (2000)

 

Sea in the Blood (2000), Snow Falling on Cedars (2000) 

Asian-American Cinema Part VIII - the 1990s

Posted by Eric Brightwell, May 26, 2009 11:55am | Post a Comment
The eighth of a nine part series on Asian-Americans in front of and behind the camera


INTRO TO ASIAN-AMERICAN CINEMA

In the silent film era, a few Asian-Americans braved decidedly limited opportunities and even attempted to create a cinematic outlet for their voices. By the dawn of the sound era, Asian-American cinema disappeared and Hollywood once again controlled depictions and roles. In the post-war era, roles for Asian-American actors grew in number, if not diversity. As a result, Asian-American theater arose to fill the void, ultimately leading to the rebirth of an authentic Asian-American Cinema that grew slowly over the next two decades before expanding rapidly in the '90s and continuing in the 2000s.

APA DEMOGRAPHIC MILESTONES IN THE '90s

The 1990s were a time of tremendous growth in the Asian-American population, resulting in a notable demographic milestone when Monterey Park became the first Asian-American majority city on the US mainland. It was soon followed by several others, including Cerritos, Cupertino, Daly City, Milpitas and Rowland Heights in California as well as Millbourne in Pennsylvania.

       
           Chay Yew                      Diana Son                     Han Ong                      Ralph Pena                     Sung Rno
  
APA THEATER IN THE '90s

With Hollywood depictions of Asian-Americans surpsingly minimal and unsophisticated, not surprsingly APA theater exploded to exploit the ignored audience. Prominent new APA playwrights included Chay Yew, Diana Son, Euijoon Kim, Han Ong, Ji Hyun Lee, Mrinalini Kamath, Ralph Peña and Sung Rno. By the decade's close there were about forty APA theater companies. APA companies founded in the '90s included The Bay Area's NaatakChicago's Pintig Cultural Group; Nevada City's Community Asian Theatre of the Sierra; Los Angeles' 18 Mighty Mountain Warriors, Lodestone Theatre Ensemble, Propergander Theatre and TeAda Productions; Minneappolis's Mu Performing Arts; New York's In Mixed CompanyMa-Yi Theater Company Second GenerationNational Asian American Theatre Company, PEELING,  The Slant Performance Group and Yangtze Repertory Theatre of America; Philadelphia's Asian Arts Initiative; Sacramento's InterACTSinag-tala Filipino Theater and Performing Arts Association; San Diego's Asian American Repertory Theatre; San Francisco's Bindlestiff Studio; San Jose's Contemporary Asian Theater Scene; Seattle's Aono Jikken Ensemble, Isangmahal Arts Kollective and Pork Filled Players.

APA TV IN THE '90s

On TV, Margaret Cho's All-American Girl became only the third TV series in American history with a predominantly Asian cast.

   
           Margaret Cho                                Henry Cho                               Stir-Fridays                                         OPM

APA COMEDY IN THE '90S
In the '90s, the concept of a mainstream APA comic was still novel, with Henry Cho and Margaret Cho undoubtedly the most visible. Meanwhile, new APA (and largely APA) groups like Chicago's Stir-Friday Night and Los Angeles' OPM nurture APA stand-up, sketch and improv comedy.

APA CINEMA AND ASIAN HOLLYWOOD IN THE '90s

Despite the revival of Asian-American Cinema in the 1980s, it wasn’t until the 1990s that it truly took off, part of the larger boom in independent film. Some films, like Joy Luck Club, enjoyed a great deal of crossover success with non-Asian audiences. In Hollywood, Rush Hour became one of the first mainstream films to star no white actors in decades. Perhaps an unintended consequence is that whilst Jackie Chan's performance opened doors for Hong Kong compatriots like Jet Li, Chow Yun Fat, Michelle Yeoh and others in Hollywood, it simultaneously closed doors for Asian-Americans and subconsciously reinforced notions about Asians as foreign martial artists from the exotic east.

APA ACTORS WHOSE CAREERS BEGAN IN THE '90s

   
      Bernadette Balagtas                    Charles Chun                           Christina Ma                               Cici Lau

   
            Cindy Cheung                         Colin Foo                         Constance Wu                            Corrine Hong Wu

     
              Derek Basco                              Elaine Kao                        Elizabeth Tsing                        Eugenia Yuan 

   
             Fann Wong                         Garrett Wang                                    Garz Chan                          Greg Watanabe

    
              Irene Ng                           Jade Wu                             James Sie                                 Jeanne Chinn 

   
        Jen Sung Outerbridge                      Jennifer Tung                         John Cho                         Joy Bisco   

  
                Kal Penn                            Kathy Shao-Lin Lee                Keiko Agena                           Keisuke Hoashi    

.   
          Ken Leung                            Kenneth Choi                             Kristy Wu                             Lee Wong

   
              Lela Lee                    Louis Ozawa Changchien               Lucy Liu                            Luoyong Wang

    
     Michelle Krusiec                Mina Shum                         Parry Shen                                     Peggy Ahn 

  
               Phil Young                         Ray Chang                                  Reggie Lee                        Richard Chang  

 
                  Rick Tae                              Robert Wu                                  Roger Fan                                Roger Yuan 

 
                  Sara Tanaka                      Sarita Choudhury                       Sharon Omi                           Shazia

Susan Chuang 
           Sung Kang                         Susan Chuang                                  Suzy Nakamura                     Terry Chen     

  
                  Vivian Bang                                           Will Yun Lee                                                   Yi Ding 

Not pictured: Ben Wang, Bobby Lee, Brady Tsurutani, Dan Koji, Daniel Dae Kim, Danton Dew, Diana C. Weng, Donald Fong, Emmy Yu, Goh Misawa, Gregory Hatanaka, Howard Fong, Jenny Woo, Jina Oh, Johnny Mah, Lenny Imamura, Margaret Cho, Mary Chen, Mia Suh, Michael Li, Mai Vu, Nathanel Geng, Radmar Agana Jao, Shannon Dang, Susan Fukada and Yoshimi Imai
APA CINEMA AND ASIAN HOLLYWOOD IN THE '90s

  Banana Split (1990), Dreaming Filipinos (1990), I'm British But. . .

  
The Story of Vinh (1990). Animal Appetites (1991),  Come See the Paradise (1991), 

  
En Ryo Identity (1991), Issei Wahine (1991)

    

Rebuilding the Temple - Cambodians in America (1991), Toxic Sunset (1991), Troubled Paradise (1991),

   

 
Fated to be Queer (1992), 
The Kiss (1992),

   

  Memories from the Department of Amnesia (1992), Mississippi Masala (1992), Mixed Blood (1992),

Asian-American Cinema Part VII - The 1980s

Posted by Eric Brightwell, May 25, 2009 04:16pm | Post a Comment
The seventh of a nine part series on Asian-Americans in front of and behind the camera

 APA GROWTH IN THE '80S

In the 1980s, the Asian-American population grew radically, with over 2.5 million immigrants joining the already large, native-born, Asian-American population. Nonetheless, Asian-Americans continued to be disproportionately underrepresented on the silver screen.

APA THEATER IN THE '80S

On the stage, David Henry Hwang's play M. Butterfly was the first Asian-American play to appear on Broadway. Other successful Asian playwrights followed, including Philip Kan Gotanda and Velina Hasu Houston. New APA theaters were founded too, including Cold Tofu Arts and Entertainment/Theatre inLos AngelesNew York's Ma-Yi Theater Company and National Asian American Theatre Company, and the Asian Story Theater in San Diego.

ASIAN HOLLYWOOD IN THE '80S

Whilst in Hollywood most Asian males were invariably cast as fortune-cookie mystics and ninjas, a new stereotype emerged for younger Asian males; the studious, awkward and almost always heavily-accented Asian nerd (e.g. Long Duck Dong, Data WangToshiro TakashiVinh Kelly, &c). One notable exception to the young Asian nerd stereotype in Hollywood is Dustin Nguyen as Harry Truman Ioki on 21 Jump Street. In 1987, Pat Morita stars on the TV show Ohara, the third series with an Asian lead.

APA CINEMA IN THE '80S

Asian American media arts organizations including Los Angeles' Visual Communications and New York's Asian CineVision began producing Asian American works.

 
                                  Wayne Wang                                                                               Steve Okazaki


Wayne Wang
's Chan is Missing, made in 1982, although not the first APA film, ushered in a new era. Not only was this feature film directed by an Asian-American, but it was the first to feature a mostly Asian-American cast since 1961's Flower Drum Song. But unlike that film, it was also made for a largely Asian-American audience and therefore didn't engage in exotification, dehumanization or fetishization intrinsic to Hollywood portrayals. 

  
                              Jon Moritsugu                                           Gregg Araki                               Roddy Bogawa


Several independent Asian-American directors began their career shortly after: Jon MoritsuguGregg ArakiPeter Wang, Roddy Bogawa and Steven Okazaki. Whereas some films, like Peter Wang's A Great Wall, followed the fairly formulaic traditions of the "assimilation drama," focusing on inter-generational conflict within Asian-America, the films of the so-called Bad Boys (Moritsugu, Araki and Bogawa) -- when they dealt with race -- generally favored an approach to the subject that was, at most, eliptical. The '80s were also the first documentaries began to appear that dealt with the indignities suffered by Asian-Americans in the past.

                                    Christine Choy                                                                         Renee Tajima-Peña


In the world of documentaries, Christine Choy debuted with 1984’s Mississippi Triangle, about black, white and Chinese-Americans in the delta. Renee Tajima-Peña made her directorial debut with collaboration with Choy, Who Killed Vincent Chin?

Asian-American Cinema Part VI - The 1970s

Posted by Eric Brightwell, May 25, 2009 04:16pm | Post a Comment
The sixth of a nine part series on Asian-Americans in front of and behind the camera

ASIAN-AMERICAN CINEMA

After short-lived attempts in the silent era to establish an Asian-American Cinema, for most of the in the first and second halves of the studio era, Hollywood single-handedly created and controlled almost all celluloid images of Asian-Americans. With the beginnings of Asian-American theater in the 1960s and its growth in the 1970s coinciding with the decline of the Hollywood studio system, all that began to change with the rebirth of Asia-American Cinema, albeit slowly at first. Only in the 1990s and 2000s has a large and diverse Asian-American cinema, Asian-American theater and Asian-American comedy scene truly flourished -- offering a viable alternative to Hollywood's continued stereotypes and ongoing homogeneity.



THE CHANGING FACE OF ASIAN-AMERICA IN THE '70S

In the 1970s, more than 130,000 refugees arrived from Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam, drastically changing the make-up of the Asian-American population. Broadly speaking, this wave of immigrants had more in common socio-economically speaking with most blacks, Latinos and Natives; therein challenging the mid '60s-born concept of Asians as "the model minority."


GROWTH OF ASIAN-AMERICAN THEATER '70S

The growth of Asian-American theater provided an outlet for APA Actors who found themselves out of work in Hollywood after a brief post-war fetishistic period in the studio era. During the decade, new APA theater groups including New York's Pan Asian Repertory Theatre and Asian American Theater Company and San Francisco's Theatre of Yugen encouraged a new generation to pursue acting. As a result,  first time in many years Asian-Americans began to appear on TV and films in increasing numbers, in roles that occasionally challenged the stereotypes and bit parts they'd been relegated to in mainstream America.
Wakako Yamauchi

APA TV IN THE '70S

On TV in the '70s, Hawaiia Five-0, Kung-Fu and M*A*S*H often featured Asian-American actors, albeit most often in non-recurring bit parts. However, Mr. T & Tina, starring Pat Morita, became only the second American TV series to star an Asian-American actor. Frank Chin's Year of the Dragon and Wakako Yamauchi's And the Soul Shall Dance were both adapted for television productions from plays.

BEGINNINGS OF APA CINEMA IN THE '70S

Following the popularity of San Francisco-born Bruce Lee, many APA actors found themselves cast in  martial arts-centered roles and still usually as portraying foreigners rather than Americans. But with the rebirth of Asian-American Cinema (actually made by Asian-Americans) that would begin to change.


Robert Akira Nakamura

In 1970, Robert Akira Nakamura founded Visual Communications, which is today the oldest community-based media arts center in the US. The acclaimed filmmaker and teacher is sometimes known as“the Godfather of Asian American media.” Nakamura was previously a photojournalist who switched to documentary film, Manzanar (1972), an examination of the wartime internment of Japanese-Americans.

Continue reading...

Asian-American Cinema Part V - The 1960s

Posted by Eric Brightwell, May 24, 2009 04:58pm | Post a Comment
 The fifth of a nine part series on Asian-Americans in front of and behind the camera

The 1960s also the growth of minority-minded civil rights like AIM, the Black Panthersthe Brown Beretsand the Yellow Brotherhood. With Asian-themed musicals no longer in vogue, Asian actors struggled to find work in the entertainment industry. As a result, Asian theatre blossomed, beginning in earnest with Los Angeles' East West Players in 1965 and followed by San Francisco’s Asian American Theatre Workshop, New York’s Oriental Actors of America and Pan Asian Repertory Theatre, and Seattle’sTheatrical Ensemble

The theater groups performed Asian-created works by the likes of Edward Sakamoto, Frank Chin, Hiroshi Kashiwagi,  Momoko Iko and Wakako Yamauchi.

On TV, Asian American actors continued to be nearly non-existent with Green Hornet, Hawaii Five-O, Hong Kong, I Spy and Star Trek being exceptions. 

In film, the fetishization of Asian women continued. More shocking was the way films like Breakfast at Tiffany’s and Thoroughly Modern Millie still represented Asian men in the most hateful ways.

ASIAN-AMERICANS WHOSE FILM CAREERS BEGAN IN THE 1960s

  
               Bill M. Rusaki                                                Brian Tochi                                                Chao Li Ch 

   
                   Gina Alajar                            Harold Sakata                                                     Irene Tsu 

   
                      Jack Soo                              Joanne Miya                                                John Fujioka 

  
             June Kyoto Lu                                            Kieu Chinh                                                    Lloyd Kino 

   
                  Lynne Sue Moon                                  Miko Mayama                                                Nancy Kwan                                  
 
                        Pat Morita                                                              Soon-Tek Oh
 

Not pictured: Alicia Li, Arthur Song, Brian Fong, Hans William Lee, James Shen, Lee Kolima, Linda Ho, Marc Marno, Reiko Sato, Tiko Ling, Tina Chen, Tsuruko Kobayashi, Willard Lee and Yoshio Yoda 

               
  
   
 

Asian American Related Films of the 1960s:

Hell to Eternity, The Mountain Road, The Wackiest Ship in the Army, Walk Like a Dragon, The World of Suzie Wong (all 1960), Bridge to the SunCry For Happy, Flower Drum SongOperation Bottleneck, Seven Women from Hell, Visa to Canton (all 1961), A Girl Named Tamiko, Confessions of an Opium Eater, Girls! Girls! Girls!, The Horizontal Lieutenant,The Road to Hong Kong, Satan Never SleepsWomanhunt (all 1962), Diamond Head, Donovan's Feef, TamahineThe Ugly American (all 1963), Man in the Middle (1964), Dimenson 5, Paradise, Hawaiian style, 7 Women, Walk Don't Run (all 1966), The Final War of Olly Winter, Kill a Dragon, The Mystery of the Chinese Junk, The Sweet and the Bitter,Thoroughly Modern Millie (all 1967), The Green Berets, Nobody's Perfect (both 1968) and The Wrecking Crew (1969)
Become a fan of Eric's Blog on Facebook!
<<  1  2  >>  NEXT