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November 7, 2018

Dr. Craig D. Reid

It’s Wednesday, November 7, the night before the 2018 San Diego Asian Film Festival, and outside it’s currently 65 degrees, a far cry from the previous years where on average, it has been in the ’70s and ’80s. So of course, I’m dreaming of my days in Upstate New York, Illinois, New Haven and England, where I’d be seeing fresh snow already on the ground at this time of year. So in celebration of my 12th year covering SDAFF and back by some kind of demand (spirit, tradition and colder weather), my opening blog for this year’s festival is my rendition of The Night Before Christmas by Clement Clarke Moore (aka Dr. Craig D. Reid). It’s slightly different each year, a poem to reflect festival austere, because at the end of the day, the way of the sleigh, is but only a blink away.

Twas the night before the festival, when all through San Diego,
Every film fan was stirring, including those in a winnebago.

The HD hard drives were nestled in the machines with care,
In hopes that Asian celebrities would soon be there.

The Asian communities were snug in their beds,
While visions of  Four Heavenly Kings wondering in their heads;

The SDAFF staff in their jammies, and I in my Walking Across America cap,
Had just settled down from the summer’s Hollywood trap,

When out at the Ultrastar Mission Valley there arose a clatter,
I sprang from the bed to see what was the matter.

Away to the Hazard, I drove like a flash,
Rolled down the windows and tossed out some cash.

The neon on the breast of the SRO,
Gave the luster of full audiences filled in each row,

When, what to my wondering eyes should appear,
160+ films, from 20+ countries up to the ear.

With a courteous nod and welcoming cheer,
I knew in a moment Pac-Arts leader Kent Cheng was here.

More rapid than eagles did the fans unite,
They whistled, and shouted, many films they did cite.

“Now, Big Brother! now Dead Souls! now Killing and Detective Dee Three.
On, Blowin Up! on Little Forest! on Ramen Shop and Biscuit Factory!

To the top of the floor! To the top of the screen!
Now project away, project away, let all be seen!”

As celluloid rattles that before the focus is view,
When they meet on the screen, the image is new,

So up to the theatre-top the pictures did grow,
With a room full of patrons, and feet in each row.

And then, in a twinkling, I saw the projector light,
The strobe and the flickering were such a great sight.

As my eyes widened, with childlike awe,
The images before me, is all that I saw.

The color, the sound, from head to foot,
The audiences clapped, they gave a hoot;

A bundle of posters, and lobby cards to go,
We looked like filmgoers from head to toe.

Our eyes — how they twinkled! Our laughter so cheerful!
Our cheeks were like roses, our postures so blissful!

Our ear perked up, our mouths agape,
The films were rolling the happiness we could not escape,

The shorts, the documentaries, the martial arts as well,
The mysteries, drama, and action would all be swell,

But don’t forget the food and non fiction,
All the genres are here for our depiction;

Fear, hate, sadness and love,
The emotions of film comes not from above,

But from the hearts and souls of filmmakers anew
Their true passion for art is really but a few.

And I laughed and cried, in spite of myself;
Seeing these films, no dust on the shelf

A table for Chi in the corner I see,
Will help us fight bad health for all eternity.

We’ll all endure for life in sound and sight,
Happy movie watching to all, and to all a good-night.”

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