Interview with AAFilmLab president Matte Chi

Greg Pak was one of the founding members of the Workshop, an Asian American filmmaking group that was recently renamed the AAFilmLab. Yesterday the AAFilmLab announced that the general deadline for signing up for its 72 Hour Film Shootout has been extended until June 8 (receive by date). For more information about the Shootout, read on for Pak’s interview with AAFilmLab President Matte Chi. And don’t forget the 72 Hour Shootout Launch Party in NYC on June 9, where the AAFilmLab will give away film supplies as well as “Robot Stories” posters and DVDs donated by Pak.
GP: Tell us who should enter the 72 Hour Film Shootout and why.
This contest is open especially to any and all filmmakers on the brink – for anyone who’s looking for a reason or excuse (if need be) to make a short film. As a novice myself, I needed something to push me into making a film and the Asian American Film Lab did exactly that. The AAFilmLab gave me a goal to work towards and the support I needed to take the first step. The experience of shooting my first short film was so incredibly fullfilling that I changed my career and decided to devote my time entirely towards creating more work.

Since the 72Hr Film Shootout takes place over a weekend, it gives filmmakers, established or just looking for an opportunity to make a mark, to get a taste of what it’s like to collaborate creatively in an intense and loose environment. We as filmmakers, I believe should continuously make works and what better way to spend a weekend than to hone yoru vision and to come out of it with a product which then becomes part of the growing Asian American Film Canon.
GP: Do any participants actually get any sleep?
I hardly get any sleep as an organizer of the event and seeing has how much I miss my crew once a shoot is over, I personally would take every chance to spend every waking moment devoted to my crew and my work. That being said, research shows that sleep deprivation can have negative effects on the average human being, but nothing can beat the feeling of staying awake and actualizing a dream while everyone else has given up and gone to sleep.
GP: What’s the greatest 72 hour film you’ve ever seen?
Honestly, I’m always amazed at the level of sophistication I see in the films the teams produce in just 72 hours. The thrill itself is seeing the submissions come in and realizing how over one weekend, the Asian American community will have added more films which will in turn inspire more filmmakers in the future.
GP: Any success stories from the previous shoot outs?
We hear that last year’s Grand Prize winning director Francisco Aliwalas is out there shooting quite a few music videos for Asian American musicians for MTV World. We also hear that teams have submitted their work to other festivals, which is exactly what we have hoped for: that filmmakers will be able to re-use the films they’ve created and most importantly that they keep making films.
GP: Tell us more about the AAFilmLab and how interested people can get involved.
The Asian American Film Lab is an all volunteer workshop dedicated to finding and creating filmmaking opportunities for Asian American Filmmakers. The AAFilmLab is always looking for new ways to help filmmakers create their work. We organize roundtables with filmmakers; put together a little contest called the 72hr Film Shootout; hold script competitions, script readings, editing workshops, lighting workshops – you name it. The first thing people can do is to go to the website and sign up on the email list. The AAFIlmLab mission is simple: Create. Create honestly, continuously and share it. Above all Create. We’re always looking for more filmmakers to help us each other so we look forward to meeting all of you.
This interview has been crossposted at