So Laundroteers, we are seven days into the lunar new year and a whole month has gone by in 2014. It is NUTS how quickly time flies by, yet at the same time, not a week has gone by without new developments popping up for The Laundromat.

In the spirit of this brave new year, I’d like to share the good news AND the bad news. And in the spirit of many before, let’s start off with the not-as-great stuff.

Recently I heard back from CAAMfest (what was once the SF Int’l Asian American Film Fest) and I was not chosen to be part of their program. I was hoping this would be my very first Film Fest debut, but it was not to be. Hearing the news was a bit disheartening, because I think every filmmaker dreams of making it to a film fest where they know their film will be enjoyed by large audiences. And let’s be honest, I kinda thought that I’d be a shoo-in with the Asians. (naïveté now dead, no worries)

This whole month I was getting increasingly more anxious as time passed and I didn’t hear back. I started to run myself through the worse-case scenarios and ask, “Well, Vanessa, what will you do if you don’t get in? If they don’t say yes, what’s next?” This kind of mental exercise helped some, but for some reason the least helpful thing I did was tell myself, “Well, even the best got rejected so many times.” Although this is probably statistically true, it still has a ring of falseness, or even condescension to it. On the other hand, the most helpful mental exercise I practiced was telling myself it wasn’t personal, that films are sometimes rejected for reasons you do not expect or understand, that the title of filmmaker is not earned through entry into a film festival. That seemed a little more true, and  for the past three days it’s helped me shake off any crippling doldrums.

Phew, now that I’ve ripped off that band-aid, let’s jump into some of the more exciting news:

1. A couple weeks ago I screened at UCLA with a small group of Asian American Pacific Islander Master of Social Work students, first-year film students, and Asian American Studies students. We had a cool discussion after the screening and I received some heartfelt responses to the work. Here’s a photo from that time:

MSW API Caucus Screening

2. I’ve also had a few offers to go to different schools and screen my movie. In the next couple of months I hope to work with the Center for Asian Pacific American Studies at Pitzer College, a psychology class at Azusa Pacific University and an Asian coalition at Fuller Theological Seminary to not only screen the movie, but also to stimulate some discussion.

3. But at the moment, I may be the most excited about this next piece of news…The Laundromat DVD outreach pamphlet is finished and will soon join the swag going out to my Kickstarter supporters!! Below is a picture of the cover and it is flippin’ sweet.

For now I’m going to count these events as 1 step back and 3 steps forward. And as time races forward, TLD is picking up the pace as well. The trick is probably to learn how to enjoy some of it.

TLD Outreach

Welcome to 2014, Laundroteers! For some reason it doesn’t yet feel like a new year for The Laundromat, but with a few cool events on the horizon, 2014 may be the year that changes everything (whoa, huge proclamation, right?).

First up, The Laundromat is holding a screening THIS TUESDAY (1/21), sponsored by UCLA’s School of Social Work’s Asian Pacific Islander Caucus. What has me all giddy about this screening is that I’ll be showing the movie to future clinicians and others who attend UCLA’s Schools for Public Policy & Public Health. In addition to Asian American audiences of all generations, I am really excited to show the movie to those who have made it their business to help families and individuals learn to speak. Who better to dialogue with on the issues of culturally-sensitive, multi-generational counseling and therapy stigma reduction? There are many, many groups whose eyeballs I want watching the film, but MSW students hover near the top of the list.

The second announcement is that we are writing outreach pamphlets to accompany our first distribution of our DVDs. At the moment, we are only distributing DVDs to our Kickstarter supporters. But more importantly, we are also trying out a new idea with them — why not aid the conversation after the film by providing them with discussion questions and other information on the issues? I’m again working with the ever-so-talented Akemi Hong and Frances E. Chang to make this happen, and wowee zowee! Yes, this is the exact phrase I want to use to describe the pamphlet that will neatly fit into each DVD case. Sleek, hopefully thought-provoking and informative, we’re putting the finishing touches on the pamphlet in order to send it out soon.

Third, my co-conspirator in, April Balotro, has been cooking up something sweet for your reading pleasure. She is carving out a desperately needed blogging space on the ATL website to fill a gaping hole in communication. I’ll let her describe her goals in her own words, but the space will be named “Hang Me Out to Dry” and is set to launch at the beginning of this year.

Finally, I am 0 for 2 right now in my film festival submissions. I applied to four great fests so far- Slamdance, Center for Asian American Media fest (formerly SFIAFF), Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Fest, and True/False film fest, and The Laundromat did not find a home at Slamdance or True/False. Currently, I’m cautiously optimistic about the other two festivals and mildly disappointed by the rejection from the first two; at the same time, I know that the future holds other opportunities and unanticipated adventures for The Laundromat.

So, here’s to 2014 and all it holds! Keep your eye open for Hang Me Out to Dry and if you’re a Kickstarter supporter, I hope to bring you more great news (and an item of swag or two) soon. 😀

Oakland dandelion