Showcasing creativity within the Asian American community
The Asian American Association will host its annual film festival on May 10 featuring Mike Bow, an upcoming Asian American figure in media. The festival will highlight Bow’s personal journey through media and how he has managed to maneuver through the industry and will showcase his independent film “In Between,” directed by and starring Bow. VIP members can experience an exclusive meet-and-greet once the main attractions conclude.
With nearly 100,000 subscribers on YouTube and appearances in films such as 2014’s “The Maze Runner,” Mike Bow is steadily making waves in the media industry. His YouTube presence dates back to 2013, making independent skits and posting reaction videos to various trailers of prominent films. Bow frequently collaborates with other Asian American YouTube personalities, such as Wong Fu Productions, featured in last year’s film festival. Bow is yet another example of how hard work and determination can make all the difference for anyone looking to chase their goals, no matter their circumstances.
Kevin Ha, a third-year wildlife, fish and conservation biology major and current president of the Asian American Association, defined the club as a social and cultural club that seeks to not only promote the advancement of Asian American students but to also create a welcoming environment for all.
“Our main goal is to provide a safe space for people to come and be part of a community with people who have similar interests and backgrounds,” Ha said. “I know for a lot of students it can be difficult to be at a large campus like Davis and make lasting connections, so we try and change that in our club and foster engagement among students.”
Ha explained how the club implements new ways to keep members interacting with each other, such as ice breaker games and discussion questions in small groups about pressing matters relevant to students.
Since starting as a freshman with the club, Ha has experienced the two previous film festivals, recalling guests like Steven Lim from Buzzfeed’s “Worth It” series and Wong Fu Productions. Ha expressed his excitement for having Mike Bow this year and explained how the event will be handled.
“There will be a Q&A session between Bow and one of our board members discussing his rise as an Asian American in media,” Ha said. “After that, we’ll open it up to the audience to ask him any questions about his film In Between, his life, anything. The VIP members will get a personal meeting with Mike Bow to talk to him, take pictures, all that stuff.”
Through this festival and Mike Bow’s appearance, Ha hopes that the students in attendance will see just how much potential they have knowing that someone like them has been able to achieve their goals and more, so long as they put their mind and passion into it.
“With Mike Bow coming to our event, I hope we can inspire all the audience members and show them that they can do this too,” Ha said. “For anyone trying to be successful through a creative outlet, we hope to show them that they can get there. Mike has a great following, and him talking about his experience will come from a humble background, so I think people will really latch on to that and hopefully expand their horizons too.”
This year, the festival will be a smaller production than in previous years, and Ha explained that he and his fellow officers are emphasizing building a strong community first instead of putting on a large production with only a small turnout of dedicated members.
“In addition to the guest speaker, we used to showcase other independent films throughout the week,” Ha said. “Over the years, it’s been challenging to do that because, right now, we’re placing a bigger priority on the members first and building up. Our goal is to have a much larger community, which means toning down the film festival a bit, but in the future we feel confident that we can bring a larger film festival once again.”
Nathan Kong, a third-year psychology major and public relations officer for the club, also joined in his first year and found his place among the group. Since being an officer, he has the responsibility of organizing the appearances of the guest speakers for the festival, a process Kong described as enjoyable.
“I look up to these people because I watch their content, so it feels great to be able to reach out and have them come to our campus,” Kong said. “You really get to know who they are behind the camera and have genuine conversations, learning about their backstory and how they got to where they are now.”
Along with Ha, Kong said this event can be attributed to anyone that has high aspirations and for those who want to see someone that has already paved a path in their own way.
“We feel that it’s important for people to see these individuals and learn from them since they’ve been in the industry for years,” Kong said. “It’s almost like a teaching experience too. When other minority students specifically can see that one of their own has been able to break the stigma, there is a larger sense of connection.”
Written by: Vincent Sanchez –– firstname.lastname@example.org