National Asian American Telecommunications

What is NAATA?
For 21 years, NAATA has been creating opportunities for Asian/Pacific American media through national public TV broadcasts, educational distribution, the San Francisco International Asian American Film Festival, and producer services. Our mission is to present the rich and diverse stories of Asian Americans to the broadest possible audience through production, exhibition, or educational distribution. NAATA is organized by departments: Public TV, Media Fund, and Festival, Exhibition and Educational Distribution.

So do you only distribute work by Asian Americans?
We have a number of great titles by non-Asian makers, such as Nick Rothenberg (Bui Doi: Life Like Dust), Taggart Siegel (Blue Collar and Buddha) and many more.

What is the relationship between NAATA and NAATA Distribution?
NAATA Distribution is a department within NAATA. We’re part of the same non-profit organization.

How are business decisions made at NAATA?
Departments formulate their own budgets and confer cross-departmentally for possible collaborations and cost-savings, especially for titles that move through various departments.

How are most of the films in your collection financed?
Most are independent works. A few have received support from the NAATA Media Fund. Some works are produced by local PBS stations.

Describe a typical “NAATA” title.
Socially conscious, entertaining, empowering.

Where do your operating funds come from?
Earned income: a portion of sales and rental revenues and grants.

What’s your basic approach to a release?
We announce it in educational and ethnic press; place it on our online catalog; feature it in our mailings; market it to conference exhibitions and screenings.

Where do you find your titles?
We pick up many of our titles through our festival or through open submissions. We also monitor the development of new works in the NAATA Media Fund “pipeline” or Public TV presentations. We also scout Asian-American film festivals.

What distinguishes you from other distributors?
We understand the market for Asian American cinema, its role in the community and in media. We’ve been doing this for decades—partnering with veteran makers and producers as well as community organizations to get the work out into the world. This means we know how to market the films to both broad and specialized audiences.

How did NAATA start?
NAATA was formed through the dedication and advocacy efforts of veteran makers and producers including Loni Ding, Felicia Lowe, Spencer Nakasako, and many others who wanted to do something about the prevailing lack of Asian- American images in mainstream media venues. In 1986, NAATA Distribution was conceived as a direct service to filmmakers and the educational community.

Most important issue facing NAATA today:
Keeping up with technology and getting funding during a downturned market.

About :

Lissa Gibbs was a contributing editor to The Independent and former Film Arts Foundation Fest director.