Cult films
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2008.040.020 Oral History Interview with Paul Kazee January 6, 2008

Paul Kazee, one of the founders and former director of the organization Subway Cinema, played a significant role in showcasing Asian films to the New York public after the closing of Music Palace, a theater that specialized in showing Hong Kong films. Starting in 2000, Subway Cinema spent its first two years organizing events centered on dispelling what the group perceived as a misconception that Hong Kong cinema was degenerating and uninteresting. After gaining strategic connections and networking with NYU students, Subway Cinema achieved higher attendance which allowed them to began expanding to other Asian cultural films. The highlight of the organization’s work is its annual New York Asian Film Festival. The Festival generally lasts for two weeks and attracts large crowds of both Asian and non-Asian audiences, mostly comprised of students. In terms of changes that have occurred in Chinatown, Kazee explains that he, along with numerous others, feel it is unnecessary to visit Chinatown now since much of the shopping available in Chinatown is now available elsewhere, particularly online. Kazee also reminisces about the pagoda-inspired phone booths, morning Tai-chi exercises in the local parks, and small local Asian video stores, all of which have gone by the wayside. Finally, he also briefly reflects on his feels towards gentrification, describing how he eventually realized how he himself contributed to the process of change in New York’s neighborhoods.