Imagining Place

35 mins  16mm  color/b&w  1999

Available versions: 1) English, 2) Chinese subs

FEATURING  Biagio Azzarelli, Constance Bostic, Lori Conwell, Michael Fontinot, Daniel Golding, Keiko Koide, Reginald Martinez, Fernando Ona, Erica Peng, Jacob Schonfield

For one year, with a curious eye and a curious mind, the filmmaker asks herself and a cross-section of individuals, “What does belonging feel like in America?” Amidst increasing social, technological and environmental fragmentation, Imagining Place invites audiences to examine their internal and external sense of place.


Artist Statement
As a recent member of a diaspora, I have always been curious as to what belonging feels like for people. The mark of a new century seems like an appropriate time for individuals to contemplate the film’s main theme: belonging. While it is held together by the chronological journal writings of the filmmaker, an Asian American woman, it reaches beyond cultural boundaries in that a diverse cross-section of individuals also speak about belonging. Aspects of race, ethnicity, age, gender and class are inevitably raised in the discussion of belonging; however, the film reaches further into the complexity of the human condition that existed long ago.

In terms of its formal aspects, I wanted to create a more impressionistic and poetic relationship with the subject matter. I assembled aural, visual, written and verbal language in order to create new and multiple meanings, multiple narratives and a more visceral and introspective viewing experience. Some of these techniques included re-photography, hand-processing, sound design and working collaboratively with Chicago-based experimental musician, Bundy K. Brown.


What is powerful in Anita’s films, and specifically in Imagining Place is that she actively experiments with moving images that wander and wonder about place and specifically about “home” asking for a year: “What does belonging feel like in America?” In continuous, meditative questioning she experiments visualizing place while walking on earth, footsteps seeking, finding anywhere: ultimately at a loss as to how we are tethered to the earth, shaped to belong in the impermanence of things. – Fernando F. Ona, Anthropologist

Through personal reflections and interviews — sometimes bittersweet, sometimes comical, but always vivid — the filmmaker captures the sense of ephemerality, poignancy and longing we imbue in the spaces we inhabit and the people who connect us to the earth. – San Francisco International Asian American Film Festival

Women Make Waves Film Festival/Tour, Taipei Artist Village, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, SF Cinematheque, Kearny Street Workshop, Blockhouse Portland, Chicago Filmmaker’s, Los Angeles Asian (New Visions Award), Chicago Asian Showcase, Human Rights Film Festival, Cornell Cinema, Toronto Environmental, United Nations Association, Boston Tour (MIT, Emerson, Museum School of Fine Art, Tufts U., U. of Mass in Amherst), San Diego Asian, NextFrame Int’l, New York Int’l Asian, Athens Int’l, SF Juvenile Hall, Berlin Medienwerkstat, Chicago Asian, Women in the Director’s Chair, Pacific Film Archive, Walker Arts Center, SF Int’l Asian American, NY Gay/Lesbian MIX Festival, Film Arts Festival of Independent Cinema, Boulder Asian

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