Brian Hu first started writing about movies as a critic for the high school newspaper, where he was met with some consternation for only giving The Matrix a B+. While a grad student with an itch for writing and a penchant for trouble, he covered the Asian and Asian American entertainment beat for Asia Pacific Arts, which he later served as co-editor with Ada Tseng. His writing has since appeared in Senses of Cinema, Film Quarterly, Screen, and Cinema Journal. Today he is Artistic Director of Pacific Arts Movement, the presenter of the San Diego Asian Film Festival, and he will begin as Assistant Professor in Television, Film, and New Media at San Diego State University in Fall 2018. His forthcoming book on globe-trotting Hong Kong musicals, 1970s Taiwan melodramas, and muscle-bound “ABC” movie stars is called Worldly Desires: Cosmopolitanism and Cinema in Hong Kong and Taiwan, and is available for pre-order on Amazon.
Ada Tseng wishes she were the Tina Fey to Brian’s Jimmy Fallon but knows it’s probably the other way around because Brian has glasses and a PhD, while Ada laughs at everything. She’s a journalist who has written for Public Radio International, NBC Asian America, the Washington Post and the Center of Asian American Media. She’s the former editor and writer of numerous Asian American publications including Asia Pacific Arts, Audrey Magazine, KoreAm Journal, and XFINITY Asia, and she was the host of the six-episode podcast series Bullet Train. She was featured in OC Weekly’s 2016 People Issue for her tongue-in-cheek hot Asian man and poetry calendar project Haikus With Hotties. And she wants you to know that she was standing right next to Brian Hu in the crowd scene when he was in the 2010 film My Name Is Khan for a split second — and maybe ruined a take when she reached out and touched Shah Rukh Khan’s jacket as he walked by her.
Why Saturday School?
Both Brian and Ada were forced to go to Chinese School as kids and wished they had paid more attention at the time, instead of cheating on exams (Brian) and skipping class for cross country and track meets even though her mother was one of the Chinese School teachers (Ada). Ever since they started working together at Asia Pacific Arts back in 2004, they’ve both been aware of the abundance of great content coming out of the Asian American community that many people – even Asian Americans – don’t know about. With their version of Saturday School, they hope to create an easily-accessible archive so future students can have a deeper understanding of these often underseen Asian American works that were pioneers of their time. It also reminds us that Asian American artists have been tackling issues and genres for a long time, so rather than re-invent the wheel, we can build upon past successes.