The Film Lab is a 501c3 non profit dedicated to the promotion and support of gender and ethnic diversity through (1) education; (2) outreach and support and (3) a production arm (AAFL TV). The Film Lab offers monthly programs, all of which are open to the public, ranging from performances to educational seminars to screenings to filmmaking competitions. More at www.film-lab.org.
The Film Lab's television series, Film Lab Presents, airs on CrossingsTV (Time Warner Cable, Xfinity, etc.), on MNN and Live! and on AAFL TV online. Subscribe for free to the youtube channel at www.youtube.com/asamfilmlab for bold, innovative and deliciously diverse entertainment.
The Film Lab is run under the direction of President Jennifer Betit Yen. Board members include Aaron Woolfolk, James Kyson, and Daryl King as Secretary and Chloe Jenkins as Treasurer. The management team includes Jodi Lin, Cici Chu, Daryl King, Chloe Jenkins, Mahima Saigal, and Josephine Dongbang (Connections and Social Media).
The Film Lab began in 1998 as a collaborative of New York-based Asian American filmmakers whose goals were to hone their craft and to share their knowledge, experience and resources. The membership has since grown to comprise professionals, artists and other talented individuals of all ethnic backgrounds, who all share the common goal of creating great film and promoting Asian American filmmakers and other filmmakers of color, and the visibility of their stories and characters in film and television. The Lab now runs monthly programs to promote gender and ethnic diversity in film and television, the annual 72 Hour Film Shootout filmmaking competition, in conjunction with Asian CineVision and the Asian American International Film Festival, the Asians on Film Festival in Hollywood, and the New York Indian Film Festival. The Film Lab launched its own production arm in August of 2013 to create and share diverse stories showing the multi-cultural and cosmopolitan face of US society today. The Production Arm’s goal is to show the United States as it truly is – diverse and cosmopolitan, through multi-ethnic and multi-cultural viewpoints and stories. The Asian American Film Lab is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization.
The Film Lab’s programming includes filmmaking workshops with industry professionals, screenwriting contests, and film competitions, including the annual 72 Hour Film Shootout (the “Shootout”). Our departments break down into (1) Unfinished Works; (2) Industry Spotlight; (3) Connections, which includes the 72 Hour Shootout filmmaking competition; and (4) the Film Lab Production Arm, AAFL TV.
(1) Unfinished Works
The Film Lab's Unfinished Works program constitutes its longest running program, ongoing for 15 consecutive years. Unfinished Works allows writers to workshop, in a structured and constructive environment, unfinished plays, screenplays and television scripts. It also serves as a bridge between actors, writers and directors of color, particularly Asian Americans. Writers are welcome to bring in a director for the table read and absolutely must cast a certain number of roles from the Asian American Film Lab’s actor members. To submit a screenplay for a free reading and workshop, writers need only email UnfinishedWorks@film-lab.org with their name, email, telephone number, logline, synopsis, and a brief statement of why they feel Unfinished Works will be useful to developing and improving their screenplay.
Also under the umbrella of our Unfinished Works Department, we are putting together an online Actor Directory for actors of all colors, which casting directors can search by gender, age range, type, languages spoken, and more. We aim to encourage casting of multi-racial actors in all contemporary American films and television shows.
(2) Industry Spotlight
The Film Lab's Industry Spotlight program features industry professionals who wish to promote and encourage diversity in film and television and includes filmmaking how-to seminars on everything from cinematography to sound, casting workshops, film screenings, and more. Sample events have included (1) a seminar with victim advocate, Maneesha Kelkar, on how to use film as a vehicle for social change, (2) a filmmaking how-to seminar presented by J.P. Chan; (3) a production workshop presented by the staff of the Descendant Films Production Company; (4) a cinematography lecture and Q&A with Eric Lin; (5) a free casting workshop with casting director Caitlin Jones of Liz Lewis Casting for actors of color; (6) A panel on online strategy for creative including Michael Nixon, Al Thompson of ValDean Entertainment, Shaun Sato of Dayside Productions, and Jeremy Readlead, an actor and writer for MTV and the Cartoon Network.
(3) Connections and the 72 Hour Shootout
Connections includes social networking events, such as our annual Holiday Gala, as well as the now well-known 72 Hour Shootout (“Shootout”). This annual competition, now in its ninth year, has inspired hundreds of filmmakers by helping nascent talent take brave steps towards a filmmaking career. 2016 marked the 12th year Asian CineVision partnered with the Film Lab to promote the Shootout at the annual Asian American International Film Festival (“AAIFF”). AAIFF is New York’s leading festival for independent Asian and Asian American film and video, and the first and longest-running U.S. festival of its kind.
As an integral part of AAIFF, the Shootout celebrates the creativity and genius of the directors, their casts and crews as they share stories by, about and for Asian Americans and other filmmakers of color with the world. AAIFF has played a vital role in discovering and nurturing such acclaimed talent as Wayne Wang (THE JOY LUCK CLUB), Ang Lee (CROUCHING TIGER, HIDDEN DRAGON, BROKEBACK MOUNTAIN), Mira Nair (THE NAMESAKE), Zhang Yimou (HOUSE OF FLYING DAGGERS), Christine Choy (WHO KILLED VINCENT CHIN?), Steven Okazaki (THE MUSHROOM CLUB), Jessica Yu (PING PONG PLAYA), and Justin Lin (FAST FIVE).
(4) The New Film Lab Production Arm
In August 2013, the Film Lab launched a new production arm to create and promote diverse, original content. Four pilots were green lit, with filming on the first beginning August 12, 2013. The goal of the Production Arm is to create and share diverse stories showing the multi-cultural and cosmopolitan face of US society today. The Production Arm’s mission is to show the United States as it truly is – diverse and cosmopolitan, through multi-ethnic and multi-cultural viewpoints and stories. Beginning in March 2014, the Film Lab began airing the televised series "Film Lab Presents," hosted by Jennifer Betit Yen, on NYCLife, which continued for three seasons and then moved to air on CrossingsTV and other networks. The 8th season will air on CrossingsTVC/Time Warner Cable/Xfinity in the fall of 2016.