A Look Back at My First Film Festival Screening

It has now been a week since I experienced my first film festival screening as a screenwriter. It was part of the fourth volume of unKonference; an event organized by San Francisco artist Kristian Kabuay. It’s a participant driven event that avoids a lot of what comes with a conference like entrance fees and academic institutions. It’s all a way to make space for discussions, particularly within the Filipino American community.

The event had a good turnout. I believe I counted 75 people online at one point. There were a lot of good discussions on the seven films that were featured that night; all of which came in from all over the world.

The co-director of “Breath of Writing,” Mai Thao, was in attendance of that evening’s screening. When our film showed, it was met with a great response and good questions afterwards. A lot of the attendees and other filmmakers present said how relate-able it was: being a creative and navigating the haze of rejections that are part of the journey.

I’m glad that message resonated with the participants, for that was my initial intent with writing this piece. If you look at the first two short films of the “VIVID” series, the experience described in both of those really center from being Asian American. In the case of my piece, I wrote something that can be relate-able to anyone pursuing the arts. It just so happens that the person in question in this case is a mixed race Filipino American.

There’s something else that I had actually intended to mention to during the event, but I didn’t want to swallow up more time than need be. I believe that the series of films that “Breath of Writing” is a part of will only become more needed going forward. A resurgence of xenophobia towards the Asian American community is happening in the midst of this pandemic. Many people in the  community have received verbal and physical assaults for a virus we’ve had nothing to do with. Once “VIVID” is allowed to resume production on forthcoming films, the stories that are to be told will be needed in continuing to tell our stories from our perspectives.

So thank you Kristian for putting on this event and thank you to everyone who attended. Despite the current circumstances of the world, it was quite an enjoyable experience.

If you are able to, I hope you can go support me in all that I do by leaving a tip over on Ko-fi. I do a lot of writing that I get paid very little for or not at all, and so this is a way of showing your support other than just reading my content. Donations of varying quantities and frequencies are greatly appreciated.


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