New Beginnings: From New Asia to Your Kontinent
Cinevolution was fortunate enough to find a home in Richmond BC, one of the fastest growing and most culturally diverse metropolises in Canada. Working in a city that was actively developing its arts and culture scene, we not only had the satisfaction of reaching into isolated ethnic communities and sharing new exciting ideas with vibrant communities that simply needed an outlet for their creativity, but the opportunity to take risks and implement innovative community programming outside of the annual film festival.
After undertaking a number of community outreach projects, we began moving away from the issue of Asian identities and gravitating towards the question of hybrid identities. Where we once sought to explore alternative definitions of Asian-ness, we now wondered how ethnic and cultural identities are to be understood as the world becomes ever more globalized. How do we relate to one another in a world that is increasingly connected by technology and social media? How can we help our communities better navigate the modern world?
Film was still part of the answer, but this time we added art, media literacy, and community-building to the mix. Thus, in 2011 the Your Kontinent: Richmond International Film and Media Arts Festival was born, bringing with it new opportunities and challenges. The annual YK Fest became a signature event in Richmond.
“Your Kontinent” is a unique brand name which illustrates vividly the Festival’s goal of building an integrated, socially cohesive society. “Your Kontinent” is a variation on the name “Urkontinent” coined by German scientist and geophysicist, Alfred Wegener, for Earth’s first continent the first single, unbroken landmass. If it were to exist today, this continent would contain a rich mosaic of ethnicities and cultures, much like Canada, the City of Richmond, and the hyper-connected realm of the Internet. Under the umbrella of “Your Kontinent,” we present a well-rounded collection film and media art works which explore individual and collective perceptions of real or imagined spaces where many peoples and cultures exist side by side. Deliberately using ‘your’ instead of ‘ur,’ we ask our audience to consider: What does *your* continent look like? What more can it be?
As Cinevolution continues to grow as an organization, we hold firm to the conviction that art and film can transcend social and cultural boundaries, and empower people to become shakers and movers in their communities from there to the world.