angry reader of the week: chi-hui yang

Yes. It is time for another Angry Reader of the Week, spotlighting you, the very special readers of this website. Over the years, I've been able to connect with a lot of cool folks, and this is a way of showing some appreciation and attention to the people who help make this blog what it is. In honor of SFIAAFF, this week's Angry Reader is Festival Director Chi-hui Yang.

Who are you?
Chi-hui Yang. There have been many names over the years that I've tried on
for a little while just to see -- Jean-Baptiste, Reggie -- none of them got the ring of Chi-hui though.

What are you?
A film programmer, arts administrator. Chinese American, somewhere in
between Taiwan and China.

Where are you?
18th and Guerrero, Mission District, San Francisco. A good intersection, my
favorite restaurant (Delfina), market (Bi-rite) and knife sharpener
(Jivano's -- though he is sadly moving) all conveniently right here. One
could easily not leave, except now to sharpen up the knives from chopping
too many things very small, which is how I roll.

Where are you from?
Well, my parents ended up in the US via circuitous routes that went through
China, Taiwan, Panama and Japan. I was born in the great Pacific Northwest
and grew up in Bellingham, WA, a small college town between Seattle and
Vancouver. We used to be able to drive through the Canadian border without
stopping. Not anymore. The family restaurants we grew up in: first the Home
Plate Cafe (we had our own baseball team and did serious chop suey) and then the Cathay House.

What do you do?
I look for rhythms and patterns and then find ways to for others to see them too. I'm the director of the San Francisco International Asian American Film Festival, which is the largest showcase for Asian and Asian American films in the US. It is presented by a great organization, CAAM, and starts this week! We got a whole lot of good films and parties going on throughout the Bay Area; I suggest the films from Thailand and Iran, perhaps the outdoor screening of Enter the Dragon, or maybe hanging out with Aasif Mandvi, Freida Lee Mock and KevJumba.

Running a film festival involves a lot of watching and listening, and then
figuring out how to make things happen. I make lists and then improvise.
After twelve years though, I'm hanging up my hat after this round, and
venturing into more uncharted territory where I'll be working on some more
broadly based writing and curatorial projects.

What are you all about?
I am all about good things happening to people who deserve them, and how I
can help make this happen. There are a lot of amazing artists out there, and the question is how to support them and get them recognized.

I think a lot about the sea, maps, shipping containers, networks and routes; all of the infrastructure which allows or compels people to move from one place to another. Migration and mobility - the forces which underlie so much of how the world operates and shapes how we understand race, culture, time.

I am also all about my brother and sister; my sis is an English professor
and does all this amazing writing on race, imposters, porcelain dogs and
commodity fetish, and my brother is an experimental theatre director who
stages elaborate multimedia performances as part of the group Cloud Eye
Control (go see them!).

What makes you angry?
I am a pretty forgiving person. But if you gotta name them; when things are
assumed, when folks don't listen, and when reaction is used more than

Bonus Chi-hui
Here's another interview Chi-hui recently did with New American Media, talking about the state of Asian American cinema: What's Next for Asian Film? Also, did you know that yesterday was officially declared Chi-hui Yang Day by the city of San Francisco? Thanks, Chi-hui, for everything.

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