BAAFF: What is the film scene like out in San Francisco? How does it differ from L.A.?
Romer: San Francisco is a great close-knit film community. It's definitely smaller and more indie/less big studio than LA. Which is why I like it. Of course for the ambitious youth, they may want to head south to LA for more opportunities. I don't know what I'm missing out on, but I love living up here more than I would LA.
BAAFF: How much does being Asian American come into your work?
Romer: Being Asian, being American and being Asian American all come into my work. These are the lenses that I see the world through and how I interpret things. So in the case of my last film, and my new one it is completely connected to the subject matter. It is why I care about the subjects and how I enter into the worlds of the subjects. I think I also view it from the inside as well as the inside.
But even more that the production, the outreach the public engagement and the connection with the audiences has been very much connected to being Asian, being American and being Asian American. I say it this way because sometimes the three aren't the same and I think it is the intersection of all that make my perspective mine. In both films my ability to speak Japanese and the cultural familiarity were very key while interviewing and working closely with certain subjects. But also when I am in Japan I see through the lens of being an American. Then I think there are some things that are particularly seen from the Asian American lens, such as during my interviews with Mashi (the baseball player) I wanted to hear about his experience of being Asian in the U.S. particularly in the mid 60's not long after the war.
BAAFF: What has been your experience with BAAFF?
Romer: BAAFF is wonderful, the festival was fun and I really enjoyed meeting the staff and the other filmmakers. And it's so nice to visit Boston in the fall! The volunteers and staff were terrific. A young Harvard student came to the airport to pick me up and then insisted on taking me out to lunch! That definitely made an impression on me. I highly recommend submitting to the festival. I also think if BAAFF starts getting a reputation for "taking care of filmmakers" (including the monetary side due to travel and such), then you would get even more submissions!
Thanks Yuriko! Watch for her new film Diamond Diplomacy (working title) which is a documentary film about the 140+ year relationship between two disparately differing nations that share a common national pastime, baseball. In 1868 the two countries entered diplomatic relations, in 1873 baseball became a part of that relationship, and since has been both the cause for celebration and heartbreak.