Assistant Professor of English and Film Studies Jun Okada’s book Making Asian American Film and Video: History, Institutions, Movements was published this spring by Rutgers University Press.
Making Asian American Film and Video explores how the genre has served as a flashpoint for debates about what constitutes Asian American identity. Tracing a history of how Asian American film was initially conceived as a form of public-interest media, part of a broader effort to give voice to underrepresented American minorities, Okada shows why this seemingly well-intentioned project inspired deeply ambivalent responses. In addition, she considers a number of Asian American filmmakers who have opted out of producing state-funded films, from Wayne Wang to Gregg Araki to Justin Lin.
Okada gives us a unique behind-the-scenes look at the various institutions that have bankrolled and distributed Asian American films, revealing the dynamic interplay between commercial and state-run media. More than just a history of Asian Americans in film, Making Asian American Film and Video is an insightful meditation on both the achievements and the limitations of institutionalized multiculturalism.
The SUNY Geneseo Lamron published an interview with Prof. Okada in April.