A note from Jason Le:
I came up for the idea of this project in the middle of the Fall 2020 semester, mainly out of my general unhappiness and experience as a Vietnamese-American at Hamilton College. Coming from Houston, Texas, I felt extremely out of place here and oftentimes lonely as I felt like no one on campus could relate to how I was feeling. However, after taking the time to find myself through my film classes and the guidance of my professors, I saw a little bit a hope for my experience on the hill. Combining my interests and passion for films and desire to make a better college experience for myself, I decided to take action and do something to better my life and for other Asian and Asian American students at the college. This project just started out with me wanting to watch a bunch of cool movies and to produce scholarly work in the field of cinema. However, realizing the social impact this project could have for other people if I were to expand my ideas a bit, the winter project took a whole different spin. After inviting two other colleagues onto the project and producing a hefty report, I am glad I had the opportunity to bring a dream to life. Seeing this project grow from a small movie and self-reflective adventure to something much more has made me excited for what’s to come next. To the readers and fellow Asian and Asian American community members at Hamilton College, thank you for taking the time to explore our work and unique experiences.
All the best,
Jason Le ’23
Phase I: Asian and Asian American Experience: Through Film and Personal Narrative
Crazy Rich Asians, The Joy Luck Club, The Farewell, Harold and Kumar, are just some of Hollywood’s big name films attempting to portray an Asian experience narrative. When Crazy Rich Asians came out, its all Asian cast allowed Asians to feel excited as Asian faces are finally seen on Hollywood screens. Of course, Crazy Rich Asians does not encompass the experiences of Asians and Asian Americans. During the winter, members Nyaari Kothiya, Jason Le, and Anna Sakamoto chose to explore other films to understand how the story of Asians and Asian Americans are told through film. In watching these films, these principal investigators tied their own personal experiences to these films focusing on themes of the American Dream, Family, the Model Minority Myth, Stigma, Feeling Out of Place, and Transition.