White House snubbed online winning docmakers


Director Anida Yeou Ali

Anida Yoeu Ali and Masahiro Sugano’s video My Asian Americana was passed over for a slot in the White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders’ Champions of Change program April 5, despite winning the online vote in the IAAPI’s “What’s Your Story” Video Challenge

Showcasing Cambodian Americans who grew up in the U.S. and were deported to Cambodia often for single criminal offenses, My Asian Americana was selected as one of 11 finalists from 200 entries, but less controversial fare was ultimately selected for Champions of Change. 

Ali says the administration “ignore[d] a democratic process that voted the issue of deportations as a critical problem facing AAPI communities.” 

Ali and Sugano held an alternative award ceremony for themselves in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, where they’re currently living since Ali was awarded a Fulbright to research and produce work there in 2010. 

In response to the snub, they also produced the response video Return to Sender, continuing to press the issue of exiled Cambodian Americans. 

Their video 1700% Project: Mistaken for Muslim won the Link TV One Nation, One Chicago competition in June 2010, a month after Ali’s MFA thesis at the School of the Art Institute, also part of the 1700% project, was defaced with anti-Arab slurs. 

The 1700% refers to the rate of increase of hate crimes after 9/11 against people perceived to be Muslim or Arab, according to the FBI. 

Vincent ShadeANDREW EICK IS PRODUCING A DEMO for the proposed stereoscopic 3D miniseries Legends of Prohibition, “each episode detailing the prohibition era and a legendary figure from it,” Eick says.

Vincent Shade, who was second unit director of Towers Productions’ 3D Fields of Valor: The Civil War, is directing.  Danny Goldring (Boss, Chicago Overcoat) stars in the five-minute demo.  They’re shooting on Daufenbach Camera’s new 3D rig.  “As far as I know it’s the first 3D Steadicam-capable rig in the Midwest,” Eick says.

It’s the first production for Eick and Shade’s new 3D-focused VASE Productions.  Philip O’Neill of EyeRomp Films is executive producer.  They’re shooting at Magdelin Creative Media.  Ross Heran is DP.  Eick produced Migeul Silveira’s 2009 IFP Chicago Production Fund-winning short Rooftop Wars.

STORMYNIGHT LLC is Cyn Dulay and Robert Parsons new production company, launching with the urban drama TV pilot Donna Ray, in association with Various Artists Productions.  Auditions are May 12 for a production running weekends June 2-17. 

Dulay is also costarring with Bai Ling in Milwaukee filmmaker Ross Bigley’s Chinese-American western short Yellow Hill, produced by Ling and set to shoot in South Dakota in May.

"The Trouble with Harry"THE NORTHWEST CHICAGO FILM SOCIETY is continuing its screening series at the Portage Theater, “despite the recent troubles” there, co-curator Rebecca Hall says.  Albany Park’s Chicago Tabernacle Church is in the process of attempting to acquire the Portage, in the face of opposition that includes city officials fast-tracking it for landmark status. 

The new season includes nine Depression-set films presented with portoluz’s ongoing multiarts series WPA 2.0: A Brand New Deal; restorations from the Library of Congress and the UCLA Film and Television Archive; and cartoons and shorts before every feature. 

The season opens April 25 with Alfred Hitchcock’s The Trouble With Harry.

DIRECTOR CHRISTOPHER NOLEN’S Mark Harris-produced romantic drama The Good Life, about a successful couple keeping secrets from each other, debuts in a preview screening May 2 at 6:30 p.m. at I.C.E. Theater Chatham, 210 W. 87th St.  Tangi Miller, Christian Keyes, Richard Gallion, Maya Gilbert, Ray Grady, Mari Morrow, Christina DeLeon, Ari Khatib and Nolen star.  $15.

NIGHTLIFE PHOTOGRAPHER Tyler Curtis of Darkroom Demons has launched the web series Love Letter Asylum “that asks why we lie in relationships,” he says.  “In a provocative interview style, subjects confess the lies they have told during a romance or give heart-wrenching details about lies put upon them, all, of course, in the name of love.”

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