“Messy, Energetic, Intense": A Film Quarterly Roundtable on Asian American Experimental Film in the 1980s

Exterior wall with partially removed posters and graffiti, with caption reading, "Posters for 'The Hybrid State' film festival at Exit Art in 1991"
Image from FQ 73-3 page 71
 Schleitwiler, Vince, Abby Sun, and Rea Tajiri, eds. “Messy, Energetic, Intense: A Roundtable Conversation among New York's Asian American Experimental Filmmakers of the Eighties with Roddy Bogawa, Daryl Chin, Shu Lea Cheang, and Rea Tajiri.” Film Quarterly 73.3 (Spring 2020): 66-78. DOI: 10.1525/fq.2020.73.3.66

The Asian American independent film scene in 1980s New York City was an extraordinarily generative, but relatively under-examined chapter in the transition between the rise of Asian American filmmaking in the late 1960s/early 1970s, as an extension of Third Worldist movements largely centered on the West Coast, and the new visibility of Asian American artists and performers in 1990s popular culture.

This roundtable discussion on the 1980s NYC scene, and its precursors and consequences, features filmmakers Rea Tajiri, Shu Lea Cheang, and Roddy Bogawa, along with critic, artist, and legendary NYC fixture Daryl Chin, and is part of a dossier on a half-century of Asian American film in a special issue of Film Quarterly edited by B. Ruby Rich and Brian Hu.

Themes and questions for the interview were developed by AES's Vince Schleitwiler and programmer Abby Sun, in conversations with Tajiri and Chin, and the responses were edited and compiled in a collage format by Schleitwiler, together with the other participants.

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