Event Recap: Asia Society Northern California at 2024 Sundance Film Festival
For the sixth consecutive year, Asia Society Northern California hosted vibrant discussions with Asian, Asian-American, and Pacific Islander filmmakers and talent during the 2024 Sundance Film Festival.
On January 23, 2024, ASNC's Executive Director Margaret Conley moderated two fascinating panel discussions centered on the theme of “voice” — exploring directorial voice, artistic voice, and the empowering journey of reclaiming one’s voice in the face of obstinate systems. These panels showcased filmmakers and films with roots in Japan, Taiwan, Tonga, and China.
The first panel welcomed directors Shiori Ito from the documentary Black Box Diaries and Sean Wang from the film Dìdi (弟弟). They both delved into how their production journey helped them confront personal traumas or difficulties, such as sexual assault survivorship in Japan and navigating race and childhood in America. Additionally, the speakers shared valuable production insights, touching on aspects like documenting one's own life, the challenge of editing personal footage, and the journey of "mining" one's feelings for artistic depth.
The second panel showcased filmmakers from the Sundance Film Festival short films program, including actors and directors Renee Zhan from SHÉ (SNAKE), and Luciane Buchanan and Vea Mafile’o, from Lea Tupu’anga / Mother Tongue. The filmmakers highlighted how their Chinese and Tongan cultural heritage and personal emotions inform their craft, exploring themes ranging from internalized racism and competitive peer dynamics to language and cultural insecurities. They shed light on the evolution of their cinematic voices over time and the intricacies of creating emotionally charged narratives within the constraints of short film formats.
View more photos from our 2024 Sundance panel here.