Vietnamese American Filmmaker Stephane Gauger On Asian American Movies Directed By White People

Sunday, September 13, 2009

I caught these quotes up at the OCRegister by filmmaker Stephane Gauger on his thoughts about White On Rice being directed by someone who wasn't Asian American:

Vietnamese American filmmaker Stephane Gauger, who grew up in Orange County and graduated from Cal State Fullerton, says he initially raised his eyebrow when he learned that "White on Rice" was written and directed by a white guy.

But he moderated his view after he met the director and thought about the issue.

"If a filmmaker has great observational skills and can capture another culture with a sense of reality, there is no reason why an Anglo storyteller shouldn't be allowed to make a film about different cultures," said Gauger, whose "The Owl and the Sparrow" was released theatrically earlier this year.

"I'm looking forward to supporting independent film and watching 'White on Rice' at the Irvine Spectrum," said Gauger, whose latest project is a film about painter Paul Gauguin. "I'm curious to see David Boyle's take on Asian culture."
What I like about what Gauger has to say is that it brings up the great topic of what is Asian American film, who should it be helmed by, and in some ways makes me wonder what happens in ten years - do we ever get away from the label? Should we get away from that label - or labels of that ilk - Latino Film, Asian American Film, African American Film - because in some ways the only reason we do the cataloging and the categorization is because we have too - because mainstream media doesn't take a look at us seriously - so we have to do it ourselves. And definitely - we grow from it - we make it our own - because it is - but in the end?

We shouldn't have too.