Imagined Futures Conference at UCLA

In UCLA Events on April 8, 2009 at 12:52 am


The Aratani Endowed Chair, UCLA, and the Japanese American National Museum presents “Imagined Futures,” a one day conference for up and coming Asian Pacific American artists, May 2, 2009.
The one day conference takes place at the Japanese American National Museum in Little Tokyo from 1-5pm. After a keynote address, participants will learn from established artists in two hour workshops. The workshops will be followed by closing remarks and a reception.

Conference Program
1-2pm Welcome
Special Opening Performance by UCLA’s NSU Modern

Opening Remarks by Prof. Lane Hirabayashi, Koji Sakai, and Emily Morishima

Keynote Speakers:

Eric Nakamura of Giant Robot
George Takei, Actor
2-4pm Workshops:
• Filmmaking with director/writer/producer Quentin Lee
• Anime/Comics with Jeff Yang and Parry Shen, Editors of Secret Identities:the Asian American Superhero Anthology
• Blogs/New Media with Phil Yu of Angry Asian Man
• Spoken Word/Hip Hop with LA hip-hop sensation Shin-B
• Fiction with award winning writer, Naomi Hirahara
• The Art and Business of Clothes with Ryan Suda of Blacklava

4-5pm Closing Light Reception

Workshop Descriptions:

Film Making
The Asian American Independent Feature Filmmaker Quentin Lee will conduct a workshop focusing on issues around making an Asian American independent feature film. Quentin will have workshop participants talk about their ideas for an Asian American feature
and discuss issues of story, development, production, marketability, festivals, and all aspects that will help the participants to make the movies they want to make, to maximize marketability and avoid beginners’ pitfalls.


Do Japanese Americans or Asian Americans have shared values, traditions, stories, or experiences that impact how and what we write? We will explore this question through a concrete exercise, a contemporary rift on a Japanese folktale. Through both text and music, we will be introduced or reintroduced to the story and create a contemporary reinterpretation, which will be used to open discussion of the decisions we make as writers. (This workshop will be lead by Naomi Hirahara, author of Mas Arai detective series and the YA book 1001 Cranes, as well as several non-fiction books on Japanese Americans.)

Anime/Comics: Alternate Realities: Re-Imagining America Through the Lens of Graphic Fiction

What if the U.S. were originally colonized by its first explorers—the Chinese? What if Japan had never attacked Pearl Harbor? What if masked marvels and caped crusaders were a matter of fact, not fantasy? Jumping off from the “shadow history” presented in the new graphic novel collection SECRET IDENTITIES: The Asian American Superhero Anthology, editors Jeff Yang (Asian Pop columnist, SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE), and Parry Shen (actor, BETTER LUCK TOMORROW) will use the conventions of comic book continuity to frame exercises that consider how the world–and our own lives as Asian Americans–might be different if major historical events had taken a different path. In the second half of the workshop, writers and artists will be put into teams to collaborate in creating and presenting outlines of graphic short stories set in these new imagined realities. Participants should bring samples of their artwork or writing (sequential or otherwise).

Check out the event and sign up here.

Posted by Evelina Giang

See you at the conference! Let me know if you’re coming!


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