New Asian Currents

New Asian Currents Special Invitation Films

Zeze Takahisa
Mickey Chen

What Makes Us Ourselves

A film festival that only lasts a week. Time has passed since the New Asian Currents line-up was decided and we started to contact those who entered their films to YIDFF. From reading each filmmaker’s biography and filmography, I can imagine the background of the person and his or her work to an extent, but once I make that first contact, I start to discover many things. It’s the beginning of a conversation between me and the 24 others. Every interaction opens a magical door to the unknown.

It’s exciting to think about where it will lead me each time. Although much of the communication that goes on before the festival is now done by e-mail or Skype, it’s still a communication between people and is always not easy. There is the language difficulty, too, which people who understand specific languages have helped resolve by making phone calls and e-mails. Editing the catalog, adding subtitles, arranging the invitations . . . the program can only be realized when a great variety of people come together. It would be impossible to make such communication work all alone. Trying to guess what others are feeling and thinking, occasionally imagining what the others are doing as they type their e-mails, being excited and anxious about each word that gets sent my way. It’s similar to something. It’s much like being in love.

The same goes for the act of making films.

A dialogue between the filmmaker and the subject. The attempt at capturing things, persons, entities, and memories before they are erased. Grasping a greater history, from one’s personal experience. Connecting the past and the present and capturing the moment. Deciding to keep watch calmly. Rebelling against the status quo. Struggling to make connections beyond geography and generation. The strong determination to create a film, challenging the notion of “documentary.” The moment of happiness that can be felt when the passion the filmmaker put into the work runs through the cracks of its storytelling. The question “What makes us ourselves?” precipitates many different forms of communication through the filmmaking process, penetrating to our inner hearts.

Twenty-four films, the fruits of the filmmakers’ love, have made a long journey, supported by many people’s good wishes and unselfish commitment, to be shown at last at the festival. Countless starry lights sparkle when the audience and the film and the filmmakers meet. I wonder what sort of love you will discover at this year’s New Asian Currents.

Who are you? A question that cannot be avoided by filmmakers, and I believe that each film in New Asian Currents endeavors to continue to ask the question. These films question us all, when we watch them - myself included. It is your turn to dive into this adventure. Even if the experience is bitter, and love is unrequited, there is nothing you can do, as the chance encounter has already happened. A festival where such quiet love springs out is once again about to start.

Wakai Makiko