Opening Remarks from the July 23, 2016, 72 Hour Shootout Premiere:
Hello and welcome to the 2016 72 Hour Shootout! I’m Jen and I’m the President of the Film Lab. For those who don’t already know, the Film Lab is a 501c3 not-for-profit dedicated to the promotion and support of gender and ethnic diversity in entertainment. We run events throughout the year and perhaps our highest profile event and the reason you’re all here today is the 72 Hour Shootout. The Shootout is a trademark of the Film Lab and is an annual global filmmaking competition giving a platform for the exhibition of the most talented and diverse filmmakers there are, whose faces, voices and stories are too often erased by mainstream media. Usually, at this point, I try to give a speech about social justice or racial inequality, but this year, I just want to say thank you.
Thank you to all of you for showing up. By your presence you say yes, diversity matters. Yes, you want your entertainment to authentically reflect the cosmopolitan world we live in. And, no, you neither need nor desire entertainment that is constantly being whitewashed.
I also want to thank some very specific individuals: our Secretary Daryl King, whose name you definitely know if you’re on our mailing list. Daryl couldn’t be here today because he’s working. Chloe Jenkins, our Treasurer. Chloe, I know is here. Chloe works tirelessly to obtain funds to allow us to provide programming at low or no cost. Mahima Saigal, our Unfinished Works Coordinator. If you are a writer or actor, definitely introduce yourself to Mahima after the screening. Jo Dongbang, our social media guru . She’s live streaming the opening remarks right now, but you’ll get to hear much more from her at tonight’s Awards Ceremony. And the extraordinary editor Jodi Lin. Jodi was one of the driving forces behind this year’s Shootout. And last, but not least, writer and director Cici Chu who was one of the driving forces behind this year's Shootout.
This is the team who handled the Shootout this year, along with a dedicated team of volunteers and interns too numerous to be named right now, and Jodi and Cici, in particular, really made the Shootout happen. Cici wrote and shot “Lose the Labels” in less than 72 hours herself for us and Jodi created the premiere screener you’re about to see, even down to the voiceover – which is pretty awesome. Chloe and Jo were also instrumental in the creation of this year's Shootout. The four of these people dealt with stressed out filmmakers, ridiculous amounts of paperwork and pretty much every technical issue that exists and they did it all with grace, with smiles and as volunteers.
I just want to put that in context for you. NYC can be a really tough place to live in. It’s crowded, it’s expensive and every day is a hustle. And the entertainment business isn’t all that easy, either. It’s racist, over-saturated and highly competitive. Most of us in it have to work really hard and have to work more than one job – like Daryl, who is working a 2nd job today - just to get by. The amount of free time we have is very finite and it is rare to find people like these who are very talented and also willing to sacrifice the little personal time that they do have to help support other people’s works – not even their own work. They sacrifice like that because they are not only able to see a bigger, better world, they roll up their sleeves and they take uncompromising, uncomplaining action to make that better world real and they request nothing in return. There are very few people so good and so generous and I am privileged to be able to work alongside them.
There is no real way for me to adeqautely say thank you for the incredible work they do but what our Shootout filmmakers have done is a thank you. By creating these incredible films, our filmmakers validated their sacrifice, proving that yes, diverse talent exists in droves and the talent is incredible. Thank you also to all our sponsors, from whom you’ll more from at tonight’s Wrap Party and our incredible judges – Marci, Bertha, Michelle, David, Antony, and Vasan. And one more thank you – to ACV and AAIFF for their continued support over 12 years. Especially to John Woo – who is even nice to me when I give him crap for not being able to spell my name, and to Michelle Ahn and Ben Yap, Kevin Bang and Haisong Li, who on the ACV staff who worked so hard to put this festival together and who cheer the Shootout on and host us every year. Their unflagging support means the world to us.
SO, please join me in giving a hand to John, Ben, Michelle, Daryl, Cici, Chloe, Jo, Mahima, Kevin, Haisong, and Jodi. Now, the top films of the 2016 72 Hour Shootout: Lose the Labels.
The top 40 films will roll out on the Film Lab's youtube channel at www.youtube.com/asamfilmlab if you want to check them out!