NYWIFT Stands with the AAPI Community
New York Women in Film & Television (NYWIFT) is horrified and heartbroken by the eight murders in Atlanta, and the wave of racism and hatred that inspired them.
NYWIFT stands in solidarity with the Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) community and condemns all of the acts of racist violence and harassment that have occurred throughout our country and the world.
For nearly 44 years, NYWIFT has recognized the importance of storytelling and how on-screen representation, can shape our perceptions of people and our world. The contribution of diverse people and cultures are essential to our development as a nation. This wave of hatred against the AAPI community shows how representation matters – how we can all do better to acknowledge our country’s legacy of racism, abolish racist tropes from our media, and amplify the voices of our richly diverse community. Representation matters in the media we produce.
Hate has no place in the rebuilding of America or our industry in a post-pandemic world. We encourage you to seek out, watch, and support media that includes positive, truthful, and nuanced portrayals of diverse cultures.
Here is a suggested watchlist of films highlighting the Asian American experience:
🎥 The PBS series Asian Americans, which explores the history of identity, contributions, and challenges experienced by Asian Americans, made by AAPI filmmakers.
🎥 Minari (2020, dir. Lee Isaac Chung) – a current Best Picture nominee, a tender and sweeping story about what roots us.
🎥 Yellow Rose (2019, dir. Diane Paragas) – a recipient of the NYWIFT Ravenal Foundation Feature Film Grant, about a Filipina teen must decide whether to stay with her family or leave her small Texas town to become a country music singer.
🎥 Shirts and Skins, a 20-min film by NYWIFT Board Member S. Casper Wong that has been used in corporate diversity training, inspired by the real-life shooting of an unarmed Asian man by police. It gets to the very heart of how media representations have real-life consequences. Currently free to screen with promo code stopaapihate.
🎥 The # 7 Train: An Immigrant Journey (1999), a short film by Hye Jung Park and NYWIFT member JT Takagi, follows four immigrant passengers on the Queens subway, discussing their lives, their conflicted relationship with the city and its residents, and their dreams for the future.
🎥 And these highlights from a recent LA Times list of modern Asian American classics:
- Better Luck Tomorrow (2002, dir. Justin Lin) – a milestone for ferociously defiant Asian American storytelling.
- Minding the Gap (2018, dir. Bing Liu) – an Oscar-nominated documentary, with searing observations on race, class and masculinity.
- The Farewell (2019, dir. Lulu Wang) – cross-cultural tale of a NYC artist paying one last visit to her grandmother in China, starring 2020 NYWIFT Muse honoree Awkwafina in her first Oscar-nominated role.
- Crazy Rich Asians (2018, dir. Jon M. Chu) – the first modern-set studio movie to center a majority Asian and Asian American cast in 25 years.
- Columbus (2017, dir. Kogonada) – a serenely intelligent two-hander set at the intersection of Ozu and Linklater.
- Saving Face (2004, dir. Alice Wu) – a hallmark of lesbian cinema and a beloved comedy of Chinese American women negotiating family honor.
- The Namesake (2006, dir. Mira Nair) – This sensitive adaptation of Jhumpa Lahiri’s bestseller exploring the immigrant experience broke into the mainstream
- Searching (2018, dir. Aneesh Chaganty) – a bold cinematic experiment in storytelling anchored by John Cho’s emotional star turn.
- Refugee (2003, dir. Spencer Nakasako) – the documentary tracks three young Cambodian American men who go back to Cambodia to reunite with fathers, sisters and brothers separated by war.
- In Between Days (2006, dir. So Yong Kim) – A lonely teenage immigrant’s struggle to make sense of her new surroundings is illuminated with extraordinary sensitivity and visual grace
- Advantageous (2015, dir. Jennifer Phang) – an eerie sci-fi drama in which a young mother wonders if she’s too old and too ethnic for the modern workplace, so she volunteers to transplant her consciousness into a younger, whiter body.
- Twinsters (2015, dir. Samantha Futerman and Ryan Miyamoto) – Adopted from South Korea, raised on different continents & connected through social media, Samantha & Anaïs believe that they are twin sisters
- In the Family (2011, dir. Patrick Wang) – an exquisitely shaped drama, about a family tragedy that threatens to rip a father and his son apart.