By Eric Byler
For Immediate Release
February 25, 2008
LATINO, ASIAN ARTISTS UNITE FOR OBAMA VIRAL VIDEO
***Spanish Language Obama Video Goes Viral With Mainstream Audience
LOS ANGELES, CA -- A pro-Obama music video intended for
Spanish-speaking voters in Texas has caught fire with a mainstream
on-line audiences across America, racking up over 56,000 hits in less
than three days, primarily from English speakers.
"Si Se Puede Cambiar" (Yes We Can Change)
"For too long we have been sleeping, but we have been afraid to
dream." So begins the Spanish language song "Si Se Puede Cambiar"
(Yes We Can Change) by Andres Useche (30), an immigrant from Colombia
living in Los Angeles. The song's emotional arc expresses Useche's
despair over the failures of the Bush administration, and the feeling
of empowerment and civic responsibility inspired by Senator Barack
"The lyrics were thoughts that have been growing within me, and I'm
sure, many others," explained Useche, who is fluent in both English
and Spanish. "Volunteering for this campaign focused my thoughts into
words that came out in a matter of hours."
The video was produced by "United For Obama," a team of Asian American
and Latino volunteers who have organized road-trips, canvassing, and
in-language phone calls (over 20,000 to Virginia from cities around
the nation) on behalf of Sen. Obama. Shot in five different states,
the video documents a wave of boots-on-the-ground volunteerism spurred
by its producers, Eric Byler (36) and Annabel Park (39), both Asian
American filmmaker/activists who work closely with Latinos on the
immigration issue. A swish-pan dissolve links Useche's Latino
outreach in East Los Angeles with Park's Korean American outreach in
Northern Virginia. The video was also shot in Maryland, New York,
and Nevada and features brief cameos by Asian American celebrities
Kelly Hu (X-Men 2), Kal Penn (Harold and Kumar), and Ken Leung (The
"We don't want our communities to be the last to embrace this
movement," said Byler, a mixed race Chinese American best known for
the indie hit Charlotte Sometimes. "For various cultural reasons, we
probably will be the last statistically. But every person we bring
into the process is precious to us and precious to America, so this is
a precious time."
The video was co-directed and edited by Chinese American filmmaker
Warren Fu (32), who, like Useche, connected with Byler and Park
through YouTube. Fu, who directs music videos for such bands as The
Strokes, sent a YouTube message to YouTube.com/UnitedForObama after
seeing a video featuring actress Hu. Park responded suggesting he
edit the video being shot by Byler and Useche.
Fu points to unity across ethnic lines as an essential goal in his
artistic and political life. "We're Asian Americans collaborating
with Latino Americans with the goal of electing an African American
President," he said. "That in itself speaks volumes about the power
of this movement."
Webcastr CEO Tim Devine promised to promote the video sight unseen
based on a chance encounter with Useche. "I recognized his passion
for what he was doing, which I knew would show through to our Webcastr
viewers in the video he made," he said. Thanks to English subtitles,
the video received more than 19,000 hits on webcastr.com over the
weekend, and more than 36,000 on YouTube (despite the fact the video
sharing website was inoperative most of Sunday). The largest number
of hits were from English language websites like DailyKos.com.
"Although our target was Latino voters, it's exciting to see so many
English speakers embracing the message and sharing the video with
friends," Park said.