Asian Pacific Islander Film Festival Launches at Fresno State


The Fresno State Asian Pacific Islander Programs and Services under the department of Cross Cultural and Gender Center will be hosting the Asian Pacific Islander Film Festival on October 20th to 21st.

The festival opens with the feature film Frame by Frame, a film is a documentary following four Afghan photojournalists’ struggle to report during a time where the Taliban continue to ban free press. One of the photojournalists, Farzana Wahidy will be present for a discussion after the film.

Frame by Frame is being hosted by the Fresno State Cineculture in collaboration in the film festival. Organizer Vanna Nauk of the API Programs and Services explains, “it’s important that we are inclusive of Central Asia as well, which is where Afghanistan is located. Given their political climate, it’s more important than ever to use this space to inform people of what is going on in Central Asia.”

The following day will be a full day of short films and feature. The short film festival starts at noon with ten chosen shorts out of over 70 submissions from amateur filmmakers from all over the world. There will be four awards given to the short film series—$500 for Critic’s Choice selected by a set of judges who are involved in films; $250 for People’s Choice selected by the audience; $125 for Rising Artist which is a film submitted by anyone the age of 18; and $125 for Honorable Mention.

Following the short competition will be a series of short films from a diversity of Asian and Pacific Islander filmmakers. A reception will follow with refreshment before the final feature film.

The final feature film is important to the organizer. John Pirozzi’s documentary Don’t Think I’ve Forgotten: Cambodia’s Lost Rock and Roll tells the story of Cambodia’s vibrant rock and roll scene in the backdrop of the Khmer Rouge regime that claimed over two million lives.

Nauk said, “There is a large Cambodian population in the Central Valley altogether but a small group here in Fresno and many people in my generation knows something about the war but very little so the film is a way for the young people to learn about the war and the genocide in Cambodia in a less traumatic way for them to process.” Don’t Forget I’ve Forgotten will be followed by a panel discussion with Cambodian American community.

This film festival creates a space for Asian and Pacific Islander but “particular for Southeast Asian Americans who are here in the valley and often invisible in the Asian American popular culture,” said Vanna Nauk. Nauk hopes the film festival show Asian and Pacific Islander students more of people who looks like them in the arts and media, especially created by people like them.