When a pair of Asian American filmmakers in Chicago heard the White House had put out a call for three-minute videos focusing on issues affecting the Asian and Pacific Island American communities, they went to work right away on a topic close to their hearts ~ their entry would address the issue of young Cambodians summarily deported from the United States to Cambodia for having criminal records.
Anida Yoeu Ali and Masahiro Sugano said they decided to make the video after meeting several of the young deportees in Cambodia while on Ali’s Fulbright fellowship. Their entry was powerful, showing the deportees reminiscing about what they missed most about their homeland ~ the United States of America. Online viewers were moved.
The Ali-Sugano entry, among more than 200 submitted, was picked as a finalist by a selection committee that included people with a background in film. After the finalists were announced, the White House said in a video on its website that viewers would help pick winners by watching the videos and voting. But which videos received the most votes was never made clear, wrote L.A. Times reporter Paloma Esquivel.
So, why didn’t Ali and Sugano’s My Asian Americana make the final cut? White House staffers aren’t giving straight answers.
But you don’t have to be a weatherman to see which way the wind blows. Ali and Sugano and several of their fellow entrants say My Asian Americana struck a political nerve and that the process was rigged. (LA Weekly ~ Rejected / LA Times – Filmmakers Appalled)