May 13, 2022 at 7:00 pm
What is Asia?
With Angeline Gragasin & Alison S M Kobayashi
The word “Asia” was invented by ancient Greeks to distinguish the territories east of their empire. Its original intended meaning is a term of othering and otherness. 2500 years later, we still use the term “Asian,” to describe the inhabitants of this geographic region—in addition to people belonging to a global diaspora—who may or may not share ethnic, linguistic, or cultural heritage, and who perhaps don’t even self-identify as Asian. What does it even mean to be Asian? What is Asia today, and how has it changed over time?
In honor of Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage (AAPI) Month, please join Happy Family Night Market and UnionDocs for a special evening of film, food, music, and conversation exploring and celebrating the diversity of the Asian diaspora. Featuring an 85-minute program of short films from Pakistani, Iranian, Lebanese, Filipino, Vietnamese, and Taiwanese American artists whose works examine our relationships to place, the feeling of belonging (or not belonging), and the idea of home.
After the screening, stay for a post-show discussion with Happy Family’s Director Angeline Gragasin (2018 UNDO Summer Doc Lab Fellow) and UNDO’S Director of Special Projects Alison S M Kobayashi (2018 HF Alum), followed by a backyard afterparty with Nyonya kuih by Kopitiam, Vietnamese bites by Nhà Mình, plus Vietnamese new wave, Turkish underground, Cambodian psych, and more from Happy Family Radio.
This event marks Happy Family Night Market’s first public program since the start of the pandemic. Come out to show your support, share a toast to Happy Family’s relaunch, and meet members of the Happy Family community IRL!
This program is made possible in part by the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of the Office of the Governor and the New York State Legislature.
100 Eggs A Minute by Anita Chang
24 min., 1996, United States, English, Black & White, 16mm to Digital
Reflections from a second-generation Chinese-American woman who grew up working in her family’s San Francisco fortune cookie factory from ages 5 to 23. A story about work, filial piety, sacrifice, the meaning of choice, and one immigrant family’s means of survival.
Absent Wound by Maryam Tafakory
10 min., 2017, Iran & United Kingdom, English & Persian, Color, HD Video
The rituals of Persian warrior training in combination with the recitations of a young girl coming to terms with her impending womanhood.
First Generation by Jeannie Nguyen
8 min., 2017, United States, English, Color, HD Video
A young girl growing up in the 90s must decide how to fit into two worlds.
Bridges Burnt by Zahra Mansoor
3 min., 2020, France & Pakistan, Urdu, Color, Digital Video
Zahra Mansoor’s grandmother immigrated in the 1960s from Baghdad, Iraq to Karachi, Pakistan. A vignette of the immigrant experience, orienting oneself with the past, the politics of the present, and the emotionality of new technology.
Beyrouth ma ville (Beirut My City) by Jocelyne Saab
38 min., 1982, Lebanon, French & Arabic, Color, 16mm to Digital
In July 1982 the Israeli army laid siege to Beirut. Four years earlier Jocelyne Saab saw her 150-year old childhood home go up in flames. She asked herself: when did all this begin? Every place becomes a historical site and every name a memory.
Agua Viva by Alexa Lim Haas
7 min., 2018, United States, English, Color, Animation
A Chinese manicurist in Miami attempts to describe feelings she doesn’t have the words for.
Angeline Gragasin is a Filipino American filmmaker, educator, organizer, and the Founder & Director of Happy Family Night Market. Her short films have screened internationally at BAM, Clermont-Ferrand, Zinebi, and more. Gragasin is an alum of UnionDocs’ Summer Documentary Lab (2018), and teaches courses on creative entrepreneurship and time-based media at Parsons School of Design.
Alison S. M. Kobayashi is an interdisciplinary artist whose hybrid work mixes documentary and fiction through video, performance, installation, interactive and illustration. Her performance Say Something Bunny! was heralded by Vogue, the NYTimes, Time Out NY, and BOMB Magazine. Since 2012 she’s been producing Special Projects at UnionDocs.
Anita Chang is an independent filmmaker, educator and writer. Her award-winning works have screened and broadcast internationally, and have been presented at the Whitney Museum of American Art, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, SFMOMA, Walker Arts Center, Museum of Fine Arts Houston and National Museum of Women.
Maryam Tafakory is an artist and filmmaker whose textual and filmic collages interweave poetry, documentary, archival, and found material. She is based between London and Shiraz. Her broader research explores depictions of erasure, secrecy, [un]touchable, and [un]spoken prohibitions. She has an ongoing body of essayistic videos on representations of women [lack thereof] in Iranian post-revolution cinema.
Zahra Mansoor is an interdisciplinary artist of Pakistani origin. Her work centers human connection, collaboration, femininity and satire.
Jocelyne Saab (1948-2019) was a Lebanese journalist, filmmaker, and photographer. She is recognized as one of the pioneers of Lebanese cinema. She worked as a war reporter in the region, covering the Lebanese war for fifteen years, during which she directed almost thirty films. In 2013, she joined the Network for the Promotion of Asian Cinema (NETPAC), and founded the Cultural Resistance International Film Festival to promote Asian and Mediterranean cinema and solidarity in Lebanon.
Alexa Lim Haas is a mixed Asian-American artist from New York City whose animated shorts, Glove (2016) and Agua Viva (2018) both premiered at the Sundance Film Festival and were awarded with Grand Jury Prizes at SXSW. Beyond artmaking, she is a member of International Initiative for The Philippines, a young NGO focused on resource sustainability and indigenous empowerment. She is also a certified Yoga Teacher trained at Yoga Shanti with Rodney Yee and Colleen Saidman Yee.
Jeannie Nguyen is an LA-based filmmaker born and raised in San Jose. Her unconventional, self-taught approach to filmmaking — inspired by her hyphenated upbringing — plunges deep into social issues and stirs up surreal, dream-like narratives. Daughter of refugees, she strives to amplify the voices of those who are otherwise deemed invisible.
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