How Cinema Challenges our Perspective on Race: Lee Mun Wah

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How we color the lens.

Welcome to the Cinema of Change podcast with Robert Rippberger and Tobias Deml. Cinema of Change is a magazine and community that challenges the conventions of film and its ability to effect change in the world.

Lee Mun Wah is an internationally renowned Chinese American documentary filmmaker, author, poet, Asian folkteller, educator, community therapist and master diversity trainer. For more than 25 years he was a resource specialist and counselor in the San Francisco Unified School District. He has produced several documentaries discussing the impact of race relations in America. His list of works includes Last Chance for Eden which isa three part documentary about racism and sexismas well as his most famous film The Color of Fear. Lee Mun Wah is now the Executive Director of Stirfry Seminars & Consulting, a diversity training company that provides educational tools and workshops on issues pertaining to cross-cultural communication and awareness, mindful facilitation, and conflict mediation techniques.

  • 00:28 – Intro: Cinema and Race
  • 01:27 – Why did you use a film for communicating race relations?
  • 05:20 – Experiencing other racial viewpoints through film
  • 09:45 – Can identifying with a character’s journey change our own world?
  • 14:07 – How white privilege can become accessible through a film
  • 20:11 – Using films as educational tools
  • 25:54 – The community benefit of documentaries
  • 28:37 – How were people and institutions changed by your films?
  • 33:58 – Can fictional films be as impactful as documentaries?
  • 35:54 – Films can model our behavior
  • 37:03 – Advice for other impact-oriented filmmakers
  • 40:24 – Outro: The camera as a tool to reach deeper truths in a subject

We hope you find this conversation interesting and insightful. Subscribe to make sure you don’t miss an episode. Until next time, be the change that you want to see in the world. Then turn it into cinema.

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