CinemAsia weaves Asian stories that help to enhance Asian visibility in culture and media, through which we foster an inclusive society.
Vision & Ambition 2030
CinemAsia enriches the public discourse on Asian culture by sharing knowledge and expertise about Asian identity, discovering and nurturing talent. By building communities within the media and cultural landscape we aim to become the go-to organization for European-Asian exchange.
Towards an inclusive society
The Netherlands as an inclusive society. A beautiful goal. The growing social inequality and increasing polarisation is causing great concern among media and policy makers. An important factor for the image is the media. The media can reinforce conscious and unconscious prejudices and stigmatisation in our society and confirm stereotypes.
Asia, with its rich culture and long history, has become increasingly important and influential in recent decades. At the same time, there is much unawareness and ignorance about the nature, scale and speed of the changes taking place in Asia. For example, most films only portray a limited reality: other ethnicities and minorities play a marginal or stereotyping role. In Europe, Asian filmmakers and actors are hardly visible on television or the big screen. And do you see them? Then that is often in a stigmatising, stereotyping role.
The cultural sector is aware of the lack of diversity. In an urgent open letter of 22 August 2018, published in the Dutch national newspaper NRC, six national cultural funds make an appeal to work on an inclusive cultural sector, diversity of makers and audience and pluralism of expressions, such as more diverse stories. Stichting Cinema Asia (CinemAsia) is a leader in this endeavour. The foundation was founded in 2003 with the aim of increasing the participation of Asian-Dutch people in the film and media sector and to offer a platform to Dutch people with an Asian background in the cultural sector. This goal is still relevant today.
CinemAsia wants to make the film and media industry more inclusive so that social reality in this sector is reflected and the Asian visibility is strengthened. CinemAsia is therefore a creative platform that actively promotes the participation of Asians in the media and makes visible the diversity of the stories that live in the Netherlands.
CinemAsia is also the gateway to Asian cinema in the Netherlands. Through its eclectic film programming – from the largest Asian blockbusters to independent films and inspiring documentaries – CinemAsia reflects the rapidly changing continent of Asia.
CinemAsia introduces the Dutch audience to the richness of Asian cinema and its many different perspectives of Asia – and offers a perspective on the world of Asian diaspora here in the Netherlands and in the rest of the world.
Foundation Cinema Asia
CinemAsia was founded in Amsterdam in 2003 by Hong Kong-American Doris Yeung. She started the festival to promote Asian cinema, give voice to the Dutch-Asian immigrant experience, as well as explore LGBTQ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender & Queer) stories and issues with an Asian focus. The goals were to dispel stereotypes and open up the dialogue within Holland’s diverse social communities.
Over the years, the festival has become a popular event for Asian communities in The Netherlands to come together and celebrate their diverse heritage with film, food and other cultural activities. Not only that, it has attracted a following among Dutch audiences of all stripes who get a chance to learn about the vibrancy of Asia through its films.
From the first festival which took place in the intimate queer-run theatre Cavia in 2004, CinemAsia has expanded to larger venues, such as het Ketelhuis in 2010, The Balie in 2012 and finally settling down in two theatres: Kriterion and Rialto, in 2015.
CinemAsia FilmLAB seeks and supports special Asian stories in Dutch society. Asian stories that touch, scour, connect, question the world or make you think. These are stories that do not normally reach the front pages or the big screen, but are therefore no less important. Stories that belong and are part of the Dutch inclusive society. More than a quarter of the Dutch population has a migration history. A large part of this is Asian. They are currently not or hardly represented on the big screen.
Film talent with European-Asian roots does not have the opportunity to prove themselves or let their talent flourish either. CinemAsia FilmLAB helps this group of under-represented makers. We offer them a talent development programme, a stage and connect them with the established order. This way we make diverse talent visible, we ensure that their stories are heard and seen and we contribute to a more inclusive society.