Written by: Hannah Franklin, Preservation Department Intern, Summer 2017
My summer internship with BAVC Media’s Preservation Access Program has been a challenging yet incredibly rewarding experience. My tasks have centered around the digitization of works from the Center for Educational Telecommunications (CET), a small cultural heritage institution based in Berkeley, California. Now known as CET Films, the Center is a non-profit organization responsible for producing and distributing educational films, focusing on Asian American history. PAP is made possible by the generous support of the National Endowment for the Arts and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. This year, CET Films has submitted a selection of works produced, and often written and directed, by Loni Ding, CET’s founder.
Ding’s works explore life as an Asian American, from interviews with evacuees of San Francisco’s International Hotel in 1977 to titles like The Color of Honor, a feature length documentary about Japanese American soldiers in World War II. But my favorite works I digitized belong to a five-part children’s program about growing up Asian American in San Francisco in the 1970s and ‘80s, which aired on PBS. In this miniseries, each half hour episode tackles a different theme including gender roles, generational differences, and confronting stereotypes. In “Boys and Girls, Girls and Boys”, the episode follows a young Asian American girl who runs errands around the city for her family while her brother stays home and studies. Her father explains that her brother needs to prioritize studying to get a good job one day, while she can marry a man with a good job one day. However, her mother points out that both parents need to earn income to make ends meet and that the responsibilities of the son and daughter should be equally shared. This episode also follows an Asian American woman being taught how to drive, only to be chastised by an impatient and reckless male driver. The woman expresses her anxiety and frustration about rising above the unfair expectations that as an Asian American and a woman, she will be a poor driver. The series was digitized from two obsolete formats, Umatic and Betacam SP. The quality of these copies are deteriorating. But, through BAVC Media’s Preservation Access Program, this little-known program (with content that is still relevant today) can now gain a larger audience.
Photo: Bean Sprouts Show One – “Try It, You’ll Like It” (1978)
Producer, Director, & Writer: Loni Ding
Hannah is a graduate student in NYU’s Moving Image Archiving Program