Interview With Akira Boch
The Crumbles is a rock band formed by two young women in LA that decide to take matters into their own hands. It could also be what happens to their relationship to each other and various friends and romantic partners. The winner of the 2012 Audience Award at the 30th San Francisco International Asian American Film Festival, first time feature director Akira Boch spoke with Medium Rare’s Kevin Robinson about the film, rock music, women in film, and more.
Kevin Robinson: This is your directorial debut, how does it feel?
Akira Boch: It’s both exciting and nerve wracking. I’ve made a lot of shorts, music videos, documentaries in the past, but this is my first feature. I’m really nervous and excited to see how it all turns out.
KR: You decided to come out with a film about an Asian American rock band for your debut, why?
AB: I used to play in garage bands when I was in my late teens and earlier twenties and that’s the kind of music that we played. Honestly, we didn’t intend for the cast to be completely Asian American and it’s not. Our two leads happen to be Asian American. Katie Hipol is part Filipina and Teresa Michelle Lee is Vietnamese American. Our casting call was open, but we did specify that we wanted people of color to come in and audition.
KR: The main characters are also female, was that a conscious choice?
AB: Casting females was a conscious choice. I did that for a couple reasons. Some of my favorite bands that are out there right now are led by females. I also think there’s a severe lack of representation and roles for women in films.
KR: Why did you decide to become a filmmaker?
AB: I grew up making films. When I was a teenager, I was lucky enough to grow up next to a theater. The director of this theater was named Luis Valdez. He directed the films Zoot Suit and La Bamba. I happened to be the same age as his eldest son. Us kids would get together on the weekends and make our own short films and music videos.
KR: What is it about filmmaking that appeals to you?
AB: I have to say that everything about filmmaking appeals to me, at least initially. Once you get deeper into it, it becomes a very difficult task at times. But, there’s this certain passion or maybe addiction or something, to the process that I just love and I haven’t really been able to get over or quit, so I just keep doing it.
KR: What do you think about “whitewashing” in Hollywood?
AB: That’s one of my pet peeves. I’m extremely annoyed by it and I never go out and support those films. Essentially it’s a misrepresentation of the source material. They don’t believe that people of color can be marketed to the middle of America or to the rest of the world. It gives everybody this false impression of what America and it’s diversity is like.
KR: What do you hope people take away from The Crumbles?
AB: I really just wanted to tell a story about these everyday characters that we know, that we’re friends with and put them in a story that’s compelling enough to watch, so that the audience forgets that they are people of color and just treats them as the interesting characters that they are.