Seeing Asian American Life through the Video Essay
Sep 23, 2021
07:00 PM - 08:30 PM
Join us for a virtual panel and screening with video essayist Kevin B. Lee, whose work both demonstrates how one can use the arts, literature, theory, and history to offer an understanding of human experience—in this case, of Korean Americans and other ethnic groups—and illustrates a relatively new form of research, the video essay.
We will screen Lee's video essays, including Mourning with Minari and Once Upon a Screen: Explosive Paradox (see descriptions below). Afterward, Lee will join Professors Hyaeweol Choi (Religious Studies and Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies, UI), Jennifer Ho (Ethnic Studies and Center for Humanities and the Arts, University of Colorado–Boulder), and Corey Creekmur (Cinematic Arts, English, and Gender, Women's, and Sexaulity Studies, UI) to discuss his video essay on Minari and Asian American experience. The discussion will be moderated by Teresa Mangum, Director of the UI Obermann Center for Advanced Studies, and will consider the relationships among art, politics, and the uses of the video essay form to comment on and engage with current events, including traumatic events.
Mourning with Minari
—On March 15 2021, Lee Isaac Chung’s Minari earned six Academy Award nominations, including for Best Picture—an unprecedented feat for a film featuring an Asian American story, cast, and director. The next day, eight people, six of whom were women of Asian descent, were murdered by a mass shooter in three Atlanta-area spas. The proximity of these events starkly sets the poles of the Asian American experience, between exalted model minorities and dehumanized figures toiling at the margins of society.
Once Upon a Screen: Explosive Paradox
—A childhood experience is projected on a shadowy wall of a former movie theatre in Daly City. A racist cinematic trauma passed between friends and family is remembered among the rustling of leaves and reflections of trees on an iPad screen. An essay about how past and present interrupt one another like movies being perpetually edited.
This event is free and open to the public, but registration is required. Register at https://uiowa.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_acmMIn25SG2b31yE-lJj7g.
About Kevin B. Lee
Kevin B. Lee directs Crossmedia Publishing at Merz Akademie, Stuttgart. He is a filmmaker, film critic, and producer of over 350 video essays that explore connections between film and media. He is also the Founding Editor and Chief Video Essayist at Fandor Keyframe and founding partner of dGenerate Films (a distribution company for independent Chinese cinema). He often collaborates with filmmaker and media artist Chloé Galibert-Laîné. Their work has been shown at IFFR, True/False Film Festival, Open City Documentary Film Festival, Camden International Film Festival and London Essay Film Festival, as well as art venues such as the Ars Electronica Festival and the WRO Media Art Biennale. Most recntly, he has been appointed the Locarno Film Festival Professor for the Future of Cinema and Audiovisual Arts at USI Università della Svizzera italiana.
This event is funded by the Korea Foundation and hosted by the Korean Studies Research Network, with support from the Obermann Center for Advanced Studies, the University of Colorado Boulder, Center for Humanities & the Arts, the UI Pan Asian Council, the UI Center for Asian and Pacific Studies, and the UI Departments of Gender, Women's, & Sexuality Studies; English; and Cinematic Arts.
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Individuals with disabilities are encouraged to attend all University of Iowa–sponsored events. If you are a person with a disability who requires a reasonable accommodation in order to participate in this program, please contact in advance at