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Despite Big Apple Prize, Asian-Americans Struggle In Film Industry

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As NY1 celebrates Asian American Heritage this week, we take a look at a growing movement that's underway to create more opportunities for Asians both in front and behind the camera. NY1's Cheryl Wills filed the following report.

“Together: Dancing with Spinner Dolphins” was recently named the best experimental film at the Big Apple Film Festival. Japanese director Chisa Hidaka said it’s a win for her and the entire Asian community.

"I think with expanded exposure, people will start to understand that not all Japanese are one way, not all Koreans are another way," said Hidaka.

Breaking down stereotypes about Asians is key for many filmmakers, but it's not easy to get money for projects.

Industry insiders said Asian-themed movies rarely get picked up for traditional distribution because they don't appear profitable.

Because of this, dozens gathered for a recent forum in Manhattan sponsored by the Asian American Arts Alliance, which encouraged filmmakers to produce their own TV shows, movies and film festivals.

“It's a challenging economic environment and sometimes the best way to make things happen is to do it yourself," said Andrea Louie of the Asian American Arts Alliance.

The 2003 film "Better Luck Tomorrow " was the first all-Asian American movie to be widely released in years to critical acclaim. Asians in the film industry said they are hopeful the trend will continue.

"Every sitcom you see on the network has an Asian face on it, you are seeing it in advertising, you are seeing it in movies," said John Woo, executive director of Asian Cine Vision

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