Happy New Year from VCinema!

I wasn’t sure whether I would be writing these greetings from home or an airport.  As many of you know, I spent most of December in Japan and while the trip itself was great, getting back home was less so.  Numerous flight delays and bumps, a medical emergency (not me), and twenty eight hours after I had left my hotel in Japan, I was finally home.  That ordeal alone is enough to be thankful for surviving, but I’m also here to talk about the new year and our very site.

If there’s one phrase that I could sum up for VCinema in 2011, it would be “measured progress”.  We started off with a lot of big plans: we were sponsoring film events in San Francisco, a sizable writing staff was put together, the podcast staff seemed stable.  Unfortunately, as things go, scheduling conflicts, personal issues and other things got in the way of the potential that may have been expected from such a strong start.

Still, 2011 could hardly be called a failure.  Far from that.  In fact, last year was probably the most important in establishing an identity and pace for the site as a whole.  Coverage-wise, we covered almost all of the latest Asian film releases of the year and included coverage from many events including the New York Asian Film Festival, Japan Cuts, The San Francisco International Film Festival, The East Winds Film Festival, Zipangu, Shinsedai, and participated in the Japanese and Korean Film Blogathons.

Behind the scenes, however, there has always been some strife over what direction the podcast and site should take, from how wide coverage should be (i.e. staying within film or going beyond that) to whether we should be more community-oriented to design changes (which we went forward with earlier in the year).  This year provided us a lot of insight into what you can expect from the site in 2012.

I think 2012 will be an interesting year for VCinema.  Of course, we will always have a commitment to film (the word “cinema” is, after all, in our name), but I think there’s certainly room, and maybe even need, for a site that provides coverage beyond what’s on screen and the four walls of a theater.   Adam’s feature series “The Celluloid Traveler” is a good example of how coverage can expand; to look at the stories and people that make films possible.

I want to thank all of the distributors, affiliates, film organizations, festival promoters, and PR folks for keeping us in the loop of things.  It’s always great working with people who share similar goals – in our case, that means the proliferation of Asian film.  I especially want to thank the San Francisco Film Society who has been very supportive of our efforts over the past year.  Of course, a big thanks goes to the VCinema staff, including our writing crew, podcasting crew, and contributing crew for helping make the site what it is at the moment.  Of our crew, I want to thank Adam, John Berra and Josh for always being there when I need someone to bounce an idea off or give me words of encouragement, Adam and Rex for taking their deep and thorough coverage, Pierce for coming through in clutch times, Rufus for providing insights from a filmmaker point of view, and Stan for stepping in when Rufus ended up leaving.  I especially want to thank my fiancee, Miyuki, for providing us an “eye” into Asia through her photographs as well as inspiring me to rekindle my childhood love for photography.

And, as corny as it sounds, the biggest thanks goes to you, our readers and listeners, for checking us out, recommending us to your friends, retweeting our announcements, and everything else.  VCinema is, in the end, a labor of love and it always helps to know that there are people who appreciate that labor.  Look forward to an exciting 2012!