Generasian comments on Uploaded after coming to our panel at NYU. We are always excited to be able to generate constructive dialogue about Asian American media presence. :]. - AC
Uploaded: The Asian American Movement is a documentary featuring rising and prominent Asian Americans in pop culture through the phenomenon of new media such as YouTube. According to the official website of the project,
The documentary will focus on the current struggles and successes of important Asian Americans in the areas of music, film, and dance from both new media creators and long time industry professionals.
At NYCAASC 2012, Executive Producer Julie Zhan and Director Kane Diep presented a panel on the documentary. Zhan explained that through traditional media such as television screens and movie theatres, there has been no proof that the Asian American on screen is marketable as a lead role. Asian Americans in traditional media have been generally cast as stereotypical roles such as the Kung Fu fighter or the math whiz. In addition, family pressures on Asian Americans to achieve success through academics in order to become doctors, lawyers, and bankers have always played a factor in why we do not see Asian Americans on screen very often.
Uploaded reveals how members of the Asian American population have been successful through new media consumed online. In over sixty interviews with Asian Americans in fields of music, dance, and film, Uploadedshares each person’s story just as it is happening and still developing in this critical moment of Asian American history.
Uploaded also seeks to educate, empower, inspire, and advance the Asian American population and the consumers of new media channels. KevJumba, who is interviewed in the documentary, states that he addresses sex, drugs, and alcohol as topics of discussion - all of which are generally considered taboo to talk about in Asian American culture. New media not only presents a medium for such discussions, but allows these discussions to reach out to the worldwide new media consumers and ultimately changing the dynamics of the Asian American culture. Zhan further remarks,
As a culture, we just need to be more honest.
The emerging Asian American identity through dance culture, for instance, is another example of the changing stereotypes in the industry. Because of shows like “So You Think You Can Dance,” and the fact that we see Asian faces on stage performing, being an Asian American dancer is accepted and may perhaps even become a norm.
What Zhan and Diep want us to take away from their documentary?
- Use new media and its resources as a catalyst for ourselves as Asian Americans.
- Support the community by going out to Asian American events and performances.
- In pursuing the arts, we need to be confident and be the best at our craft.
What’s next after this documentary? Jennifer Chen, a senior at NYU, asks:
I understand that there is a push for Asian and Asian American representation in the media, and the mission is to do that based on collaborations with other Asians. How about cross-cultural media, why isn’t there that push?
Cross-cultural media is something that is still certainly lacking prevalence in our society. Perhaps we need to tackle the individual culture boundaries before trying to break down cross-cultural stereotypes. Maybe that can even be the next project for the Uploaded Team.