The Foundation for Asian American Independent Media (FAAIM) was founded in 1995 by journalist Ben Kim, and musicians Sooyoung Park and William Shin. Known then as Fortune4, the organization’s first project was a New York Times- and MTV-lauded recording and subsequent tour of Asian American rock bands, entitled Ear of the Dragon. Capitalizing on their success, in 1996 the group created the Annual Chicago Asian American Showcase (the Showcase), which, in its fifteen years, has become one of the Midwest’s premier celebrations of Asian American culture, and the nation’s only film festival dedicated exclusively to Asian American film. Incorporated as a not-for-profit in 1999, FAAIM has succeeded in establishing strong working relationships with artists, community leaders and organizations, and mainstream cultural institutions, including the Gene Siskel Film Center, which has served as a venue and partner for the Showcase since its inception.
Since 2001 Executive Director Tim Hugh has helmed FAAIM in its mission to promote film, video, and other media by and about Asian Americans. Recognizing Chicago’s distinction as home to a fertile and diverse artistic community, and a city with a rich, vibrant history of Asian American experiences, FAAIM capitalizes on all that the city has to offer in order to achieve its founding goals:
- Educate communities - Asian American and mainstream, local and national - about Asian American history and issues.
- Introduce Asian American perspectives into the ongoing self-definition of or multicultural society in Chicago, the Midwest, and the United States.
- Foster understanding across lines of race, ethnicity, religion, age, and region.
- Sustain growth and encourage excellence in Asian American culture, and elevate Chicago's place within it.
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