Posts Tagged ‘filipino’

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I was invited today by my friend, Winston, to be apart of the Filipino board for the USC Pacific Asian Museum, now I didn’t know what that meant or even where that museum was. But since Winston is a friend for years now and someone I hold in high respect, I agreed to go to the gathering and see what it’s all about.
All of a sudden, I find myself in my car heading to Pasadena in rush hour traffic… for those that don’t know what that means, roughly from my place in Beverly Hills, it’s easily over an hour. I pull up to this building that must be the Pacific Asian Museum, I mean, it’s the address I was given, plus it was building with the beautiful blue Japanese style roof.
Now inside the get together, I find myself surrounded, not only but an open wine bar and a nice layout of Filipino food, including lumpia and empanadas, I find myself probably being the youngest person in a group of Filipinos that are assembled to help the museum cultivate and curate the Filipino Community’s involvement. Listening to some of the speeches made by some of the elders, I can see that the museum has to start to “Millennial-ize” itself, and I now see I’m going to apart of it all.
It’s interesting to see this process and I’m honored to be thought of to join this… but then I also realize that I’ve gotten to that age or that place in life that all of a sudden I’m being sought out to be on the board of something… a museum no less! This my friends, is new territory… but a new world I’m welcoming.
Now, after leaving this meeting, I rush to catch a dinner I’m already late for… (I’m running on Filipino time, I guess) The dinner I am able to attend is the birthday and anniversary celebration of my friend Gary Valenciano (or as his fans know him, Gary V) and his wife Angeli. Both are dear friends to me. See, Gary is like the Michael Jackson of the Philippines and the now I’m sitting at a table of 20 or so people, friends and familiar faces… nearly all Filipino. We did not eat Filipino food but looking around the table and sounds of my native language filling the air made me feel like I was back in Manila.
Another place I was honored to be included in, both groups, very pretigious… and both beautifully Filipino!

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So for all of those who have been following me, you might have heard by now that we, Kinetic Films, have finally launched our company and debuting our first film, “Hang Loose,” starring myself and Kevin Wu (Kevjumba). Just to get to this point has been filled with numerous trials and tribulations, but I guess it’s just par for the course for a new start up company!

I’ve spoke in the past of my personal motivation and reasons of helping to create this company and you can read it my past blog, Kinetic Films. Right now, I want to further talk about what I entitled this entry… the “Importance of Asian American Cinema.” Like most artist, I want to do work that matters, that makes an impact and now that I’ve grown up from a child actor in this industry to an adult actor/writer/producer, I find myself with the opportunity to be apart of something so much bigger then just myself. Asian Americans remain as the most under represented community in mainstream American media and due to that we find ourselves without a voice… or at least without a big enough voice, more like a novelty in the mainstream, token roles in movies and television, an extra flavor to add to the group when companies are trying to appear politically correct. But times are changing… we’re on the rise, with companies like ours, the success of Kevjumba, Ryan Higa and others on You Tube and smash hits from Far East Movement, we are at the dawning of the New Asian American Movement!

Once again, I’ll reiterate, it’s not some racist, conspiracy “Hollywood” has against us, no… it’s much more simple then that. Like most things when it comes to business, it comes down to money or at least what can be counted and quantified. Part of the problem when it comes to project being created for the “Asian American” audience, as of right now, it doesn’t really exist. Not saying we don’t exist, because we all know we’re here… Literally millions of us, Americans, most born and raised here, who happen to be from Asian and Pacific Island decent, but when it comes to the numbers, we haven’t been counted. As being the so called “model minority” here in America, it is said broadly, we live in the neighborhoods we want, drive the cars we want, our kids go to the schools of their choice and what ever is being sold to “mainstream” America or “Caucasians” is bought and consumed by us. This is seen by others and also by ourselves as the accomplishment of the American dream, which may be great on many levels only it leads to us being complacent and looked over when it comes to being a viable part of the American pop culture. Even the recent explosion of “Gangdum Style,” which is a runaway smash hit and a tune I do like and the artist PSY is fun to watch, but the way it was so sponged up by the American Pop culture, reinforces that most  of America still see Asians as a whole as foreigners… and again, I’m in no way trying to diss PSY, but as big as a phenomenon as that has become, the fact that there is no “American” Asian imageries that even rival that is somewhat disappointing.

All this is compiled with the fact that as a race, Asians, we’re pretty easy going and stirring up controversy is not the first thing we do. We’re not big on demanding to be heard, we prefer to just do things well, great even and let that be recognized, but in the world of Hollywood and media spin, this is definitely not the best way to be noticed. I propose that there are things to learn from other communities on our rise. The success of Tyler Perry films and even the educating of the African American community of the importance of opening weekend numbers have helped to show the importance of the African American community and how lucrative it could be to create product for that audience. That’s the opportunity we have now, with “Hang Loose.”

This is a call to arms… Right now, our trailer has been seen over 300,000 times on Kevjumba’s page and all over the web and is currently available for pre-order and premieres online on Dec. 14 2012 at hangloosemovie.com! Now is the time to help us be heard, I’m asking for support from the Asian American community and the community at large, supporting my company and the films we’re making will help show the industry that we as Asian America, are a viable and lucrative group that necessitates attention.

Let it be known, that my first goal in creating Kinetic Films, is to create a self sustainable company that can continue to make films for our community… forever. And this is possible. For your purchase of 3 dollars pre-order and 5 dollars once the film is released, not only will you get great movies that you and your whole family can enjoy, with the faces of the stars that resemble yours and your families, but you will also be contributing to a company that is continuing to help cultivate a more well rounded representation of what is is to be Asian in America, as well as employing Asian actors and directors and always looking to find the talent of the next generation.

I guess the biggest lesson I’ve learned over the last two and half decades in Hollywood as an Asian American artist is… It is our responsibility to define who we are. But we all have to be apart of it, the talent has to create it and the community has to support it…

Thank you. Let’s be heard.