This story is part of a series profiling leaders of SCA's student-run organizations.
What is the Asian American Cinema Association and what is your role in the organization? Asian American Cinema Association (AACA) is a student organization at SCA that aims to provide both creative and professional opportunities for API students through networking and collaboration with each other, SCA alumni and industry professionals. Role: Co-President
What kinds of activities does your organization sponsor or support? Our activities prioritize bringing like-minded students together as well as bring awareness to Asian American filmmakers’ work. With these goals in mind, we hold screenings of students’ work and produce API driven content made by AACA members.
What are you, personally, studying and how has being involved with Asian American Cinema Association, enhanced your studies? I am a MFA production student in my 4th semester, on the directing and writing track. I have always been strongly driven by the desire to bring more representation to API voices in the industry. Being involved with AACA has broaden my awareness of how prevalent this issue is and how many creatives it affects. The organization has given me the space to discuss these issues as well as brainstorm ways to change our present industry.
What advice do you have for prospective students looking at applying to your program? I would advise prospective students to hone in on their personal reasons for being a filmmaker. This can be anything from social change to technological innovation. Because SCA has an infinite array of courses in many different areas of discipline, this reason will help guide you through your personal journey through the program so you can get the most out of your semesters here.
How has the School of Cinematic Arts prepared you, so far, for a career in your discipline? Since attending SCA, my understanding of my own creative voice has become much more
solidified. In that, there is a certain confidence that is earned, both by knowing your own motivations as a filmmaker as well as having a much better grasp in the technical skills that support it. I feel, this is invaluable as this will be the compass behind every project and job that I pursue.
What have been the biggest challenges for you at USC? One of the biggest benefits of being in a school environment is that it is a safe space to explore and sometimes even fail. This has been both a great blessing and a challenge. Here, you are often encouraged to take risks and explore outside of your comfort zone. And this has elevated my perspective and standard for myself and my work.
What in your past has given you inspiration or a unique point of view that you bring to USC? Before coming to USC, I was a theater and film actor in New York and Los Angeles. Being on
the other side of the camera gave me a thorough insight as to why Asian Americans were both misrepresented and underrepresented in the media. With this knowledge, I realized my way of contributing was to create authentic API stories that combats this issue. At SCA, I have not only been able to pursue this but have found resources and support in both fellow students as well as the faculty.
What personal projects have you worked on and/or are currently working on either with Asian American Cinema Association, or on your own? AACA has recently partnered with the USC Undergraduate Student Government’s Diversity Affairs to produce a mini documentary series. This project will follow several API artists, both professional and student in order to bring awareness to API voices in different artistic disciplines. On my personal docket, I will be filming a feature film in the Philippines in March. Additionally, my short film, Crescendo, which I directed at SCA has been selected and will be screened at CAAMFEST in San Francisco in mid-March.