March 2018 – Asian American Studies Conference


We presented at the Association for Asian American Studies’ annual conference with a panel titled: “Embracing West Asia (the Middle East) in Asian American Identity in Media Representation.”

We screened films by Ina Adele Ray, Sabereh Kashi, Jennifer Crystal Chien, and Raeshma Razvi on personal stories of family, friends, and community leaders of immigrant communities from Vietnam, Iran, Turkey, and Afghanistan.

We spoke on the cultural and historic relationship between West Asia (Middle East) and East and South Asian people. We supported thinking of Asian American more broadly to be inclusive of Middle Easterners, as a voluntary multiple identity in addition to other identities.



February 2018 – Tales from the Middle East


[filmmaker photos]

[Tales from the Middle East]



With support from California Humanities, Neda Nobari Foundation, and in collaboration with Kehilla Synagogue and the Islamic Cultural Center of Northern California, we presented three filmmakers from the Middle East who engaged audience members in short film screenings and community dialogues.

Michal Aviad, Sabereh Kashi, and Itir Yakar focused on personal storytelling as a way to bring greater understanding of communities from Palestine, Israel, Armenia, Turkey, Iran, and the U.S.

Two sold out events took place on Februrary 17th and 18th in Oakland, California and brought together community members of diverse ethnic and faith backgrounds.

Outreach partners included: IC3, Jewish Film Institute, ONiT, City of Oakland Cultural Affairs, and SFFILM.





December 2017 – Family and War: Women Filmmakers Asserting the Personal

We co-promoted a panel discussion produced by IC3: Incubating Creativity, Community & Civic Engagement, featuring Ina Adele Ray and Sabereh Kashi presenting their films-in-progress and sharing personal and family stories on global conflict in Iran, Vietnam, and the U.S.

[Filmmakers at IC3]



September/October 2017 – Emerging Filmmaker of Color Convenings



We hosted two convenings in September and October 2017 with emerging documentary filmmakers of color. About 25 filmmakers participated in-person and online. We discussed challenges, trends, and solutions in distribution and funding of personal story films.

As a follow-up, we will be soliciting written feedback in a survey and will report back on the findings in early 2018.

May 2017 – Personal Perspectives in Asian American Documentary Film


As part of the United States of Asian America Festival, we showcased four filmmakers in a panel workshop focused on personal stories in Asian American filmmaking.

This event was presented by the Asian Pacific Islander Cultural Center, funded by Grants for the Arts and SFAC.


  • Ina Adele Ray  Lost Pictures A Vietnamese-Scottish-Irish American uncovers her Vietnamese grandparents’ identity and war-time stories, while coping with inter-generational trauma, 9/11 and its aftermath.
  • Sabereh Kashi  — Home Yet Far Away An Iranian American reconciles two homelands in conflict. She explores the evolution of immigrant identity amidst stigma against Iran and Islam in American culture.
  • Jennifer Crystal Chien  Waiting for Bekir An immigrant from Turkey lives an ordinary life in the U.S. while pursuing the American Dream. He is one amongst a community of international middle class immigrants.
  •  Raeshma Razvi   Sailor, Sufi, Spy Robert Darr is a white American who follows an unusual path of being asked to serve as the Sufi spiritual leader of an Afghan refugee community in the U.S.