Coping With COVID-19 Crisis: Postponed Asian American Film Festivals Work Together To Champion Representation In Wake Of Anti-Asian Incidents
The month of May marks Asian Pacific American Heritage Month and three of the biggest Asian film festivals in the country — Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival, Center For Asian American Media’s CAAMFest in San Francisco, and San Diego Asian Film Festival — were revving up to showcase films and projects from all avenues of the Asian diaspora to help build community and put a spotlight on talent from all over the world — but then coronavirus happened. As the pandemic spread, Donald Trump started referring to COVID-19 as the “Chinese virus” and there was a rise in racist acts against Asian and Asian Americans. As film festivals across the country started dropping one by one, the directors from the trio of the aforementioned festivals prepared for the inevitable while keeping a vigilant eye on what was happening to the Asian community.
In Los Angeles, Francis Cullado, Executive Director of Visual Communications, the group behind the Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival (LAAPFF) said that the group starts planning for the festival a year-and-a-half out. LAAPFF, now in its 36th year, was set to kick off Asian Pacific American Heritage Month on April 30 and continue through May 8. When Cullado heard that SXSW was canceled, he was heartbroken, but he also knew this was a precedent-setting situation.
Image credit: Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival