It’s hard to believe it’s been almost 14 years since I founded Cinemasia in 2003. I immigrated to Holland as a young Asian American filmmaker from San Francisco and felt there was a lack of Asian representation in the cultural offerings at the time. My mentor, Linda Mabalot, a founder of the Los Angeles Asian Film Festival, ingrained in me the belief in fair representation through the visual medium. I carried her vision with me to Europe about what an “Asian film festival” should represent. An Asian film festival not only is a place to showcase achingly beautiful stories and films from Asia, but it should also help lift up the local diaspora communities by inspiring a new generation of young people to tell our stories.
So the vision for the festival was to promote Asian culture through film. We began in 2003 by screening a few Asian LGBTQ films on weekends at De Cavia, followed in 2004 with our first full-fledged CinemAsia Film Festival at Rialto, Kriterion and KIT Tropentheater.
CinemAsia’s film program aims to provide access to the latest commercial hits as well as independent, arthouse and socially conscious films in order to reach the widest audience possible. Besides showing the best in Asian Cinema, CinemAsia also acts as an inclusive platform to increase the visibility of Asians in European film, television and media with our CinemAsia FilmLAB program where annually we train, educate and support three young local filmmakers to make three short films about the Asian Diaspora in Holland.
In the last 14 years we have gathered the support of cultural organizations such as HIVOS, Prins Bernhard Cultuur fonds, Amsterdams Fonds voor de Kunsten, Nederlands Filmfonds and more. Going into our 10th edition, CinemAsia has developed into a beloved boutique film festival well known amongst film lovers as one of the most “gezellige” film festivals in Europe.
I am most proud that over the years CinemAsia has brought together so many wonderful colleagues, board members, staff, volunteers, filmmakers and guests who have all contributed so much goodwill into making this festival happen. Without their support we would not have reached the 10th edition of CinemAsia this year! It is my hope that the festival will continue bringing people together through shared stories on and off the screen.
Doris Yeung Founder CinemAsia