Asian CineVision Records (TAM 416)

Asian CineVision (ACV) was founded in 1976 to increase access to film production equipment to Asian American communities and support aspiring Asian American independent media artists. ACV has primarily used the mediums of television, film, and print to promote Asian American culture and concerns.

In 1977 ACV oversaw the creation of the first Chinese language news programming in the U.S.: Chinatown Community Television (CCTV). By 1982, the half-hour news program that originally aired only once a week was now a nightly hour-long Chinese language program containing both news and dramatic series on Manhattan Cable’s public access channel. The CCTV tapes contain raw and aired footage of events in Chinatown during the late 1970’s and early 1980’s.

ACV has also presented numerous topical and video festivals, including Videoscape , Children’s Film Series, and the Asian American International Film Festival (AAIFF). AAIFF began in 1978 as the first Asian American film festival in the United States. Throughout the years, this festival was also brought to other cities, including Philadelphia, Ithaca, Houston, Honolulu, Boston, Ottawa, and many others. AAIFF is an ongoing annual film festival that continues today. The collection includes detailed notes on the films played in the festivals, as well as the logistics of putting together these festivals.

In 1981, ACV appropriated publication of Bridge MagazineBridge was originally published in 1976 by Basement Workshop and was a central Asian American movement quarterly focusing on the development of a pan-Asian American political and literary identity. In 1986 Bridge ceased publication and was replaced by CineVue, an Asian American media arts journal, until 1993. The Records of ACV contain complete runs of both publications. The collection also includes issues of Asian New York, which was a pan-Asian American newspaper published by Bill Gee, director of ACV from 1989-2001.

The Records of ACV document the work of an important progressive Civil Rights era organization key to New York’s Asian American Movement. The contents of Bridge, the CCTV programs, and AAIFF are invaluable materials to reconstruct the social and cultural history of Chinatown and Asian American activists during a period of intense demographic, economic, and political change from the mid 1970’s to the 2000’s.

To learn more about the contents of the Asian CineVision Records, located at the NYU Tamiment Library & Robert F. Wagner Labor Archives, view the collection’s finding aid.