Los Angeles film fans, it is on. Mark your calendars and make some plans. The 31st annual Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival, presented by Visual Communications, is going down April 23-30 in Little Tokyo, Koreatown and West Hollywood. It's one of my favorite events of the year, and you should party with me.
LAAPFF is the largest festival of its kind of Southern California, and is the premier showcase for the best and brightest of Asian American and Asian international cinema. This year's festival will present 134 films from over 20 countries with 32 features and 102 short films. Angry Asian Man is a proud media sponsor of the Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival.
Here's some of the programming you can look forward to:
LAAPFF kicks off with the world premiere of Wong Fu Productions' first feature film Everything Before Us from directors Wesley Chan, Ted Fu and Philip Wang. Starring Aaron Yoo, Brandon Soo Hoo, Brittany Ishibashi and Victoria Park. The film is the first feature film production to be developed and produced through the VC Film Development Fund in collaboration with Comcast. Everything Before Us screens Opening Night, April 23 at the JACCC's Aratani Theatre in Little Tokyo.
The Festival Centerpiece Presentation features the West Coast premiere of Ktown Cowboys. The hit comedy webseries is now a full-length feature. Director Daniel DPD Park and writer Danny Cho got the crew back together again for another crazy night in Los Angeles' Koreatown. Ktown Cowboys -- the movie -- will screen Saturday, April 25 at the JACCC's Aratani Theatre in Little Tokyo.
The Festival Centerpiece documentary presentation is the West Coast premiere of the award-winning Twinsters from Samantha Futerman and Ryan Miyamoto. Twinsters is the real-life story of actress Samantha Futerman and budding fashion designer Anaïs Bordier -- twin sisters separated at birth, raised on different continents, and re-connected decades later through Facebook. The film explores the idea of family, adoption, nature vs, nurture, and the power of social media, ultimately redefining conventional definitions of "family." Twinsters screens Saturday April 25 at JACCC's Aratani Theatre in Little Tokyo.
The festival winds down this year's celebration with the Los Angeles premiere of Margarita, With a Straw from director Shonali Bose. Kalki Koechlin stars as Laila, an adventurous soul who doesn't let much -- including a wheelchair and cerebral palsy -- get in the way of her life. When Laila is admitted to NYU and leaves India with her mother for Manhattan, she meets a fiery activist who challenges her beliefs, sparks her creativity, and, eventually seduces her. Thus, she embarks on a journey of sexual discovery that threatens the relationships between her family and friends, yet offers a way to gain a measure of independence and self-worth.
This year's LAAPFF casts its Artist Spotlight on award-winning documentary filmmaker
Arthur Dong. Dong will present a re-mastered version of his classic Forbidden City USA accompanied by a live performance from the film's legendary performers. Dong will also present the Southern California premiere of his latest film The Killing Fields of Dr. Haing S. Ngor, which tells the dramatic story about the most recognizable survivor of the Cambodian genocide -- a man who became a world ambassador justice in his homeland, only be murdered in a LA Chinatown alley -- a case still muddled with conspiracy theories.
The festival also presents the latest showcases for Visual Communications' signature programs, The Armed With a Camera Fellowship and Digital Histories. The Armed With a Camera Fellowship nurtures the next generation of Asian Pacific American media artists to capture their world, surrounding, and outlook on life, while Digital Histories provides a professional and artistic work environment for underserved, ethnic-minority seniors in the LA-based Asian Pacific American community.
The LAAPFF will also feature the fifth edition of C3: The Conference For Creative Content, where creative and Hollywood industry leaders join together to create a dialogue with the community discussing important issues and trends taking place in the entertainment arena. This year's C3 marks the fifth edition of this important gathering of creatives and decision makers both in front and behind the camera and in film, network TV, cable TV, and new media. The C3 theme this year is "Celebrating Normalcy." C3 takes place over the weekend of April 25 and 26 in JANM's Tateuchi Democracy Forum in Little Tokyo.
Other festival highlights include:
EAST OF MAIN STREET
Dir.: Jonathan Yi
Conceived as a project to demonstrate the breadth of Asian Pacific American voices and stories, East of Main Street is a multi-part series created for HBO by independent producer Jonathan Yi of eyepatch Productions. Episodes exploring those who have pursued non-traditional careers, observed significant life milestones, and sounded off on what makes them happy or angry are part of the wide spectrum that comprise the series. A special episode will be screened and a discussion will follow. Friday, April 24, 5PM, Tateuchi Democracy Forum, JANM - Little Tokyo - Downtown Los Angeles
A multimedia presentation by Gingger Shankar, Mridu Chandra and Dave Liang
Himalaya Song merges film, live music, and narration in a critically acclaimed multimedia presentation conceptualized, produced, and performed by a trio of internationally renowned artists. Gingger Shankar is an extraordinarily gifted singer, virtuoso violinist, composer, songwriter, and only woman to play the double violin -- a unique instrument that covers the entire orchestra range. Mridu Chandra has produced award-winning documentaries and narrative films that have premiered at Sundance and other prestigious festivals. Accomplished classical and jazz pianist, Dave Liang, is producer of The Shanghai Restoration Project, a group that blends Chinese instruments and culture with hip-hop and electronica. Today's music blends with traditional instruments on a cinematic journey through past, present, and future -- myth and reality. This performance will include an exclusive work-in-progress preview of the trio's upcoming production, NARI. Saturday, April 25, 7:30PM, Tateuchi Democracy Forum, JANM - Little Tokyo - Downtown Los Angeles
Staged reading of New Play by Philip W. Chung; Directed by Jeff Liu
After accusations of racism dogged the release of his masterpiece The Birth of a Nation, director D.W. Griffith vowed to prove that he was not a bigot. So in 1919, Griffith directed and produced Broken Blossoms -- Hollywood's first interracial love story featuring a Chinese man and a Caucasian woman. And to make sure his film was "authentic," he hired two Chinese American consultants: one an aspiring filmmaker and the other a devoted family man. Unbroken Blossoms is the story of those two men, the making of a classic movie, and how even the best of intentions can go terribly awry. Philip W. Chung is the co-founder/co-Artistic Director of the acclaimed Asian American theater company, Lodestone Theatre Ensemble. He currently oversees the creative content for YOMYOMF, the digital media company founded by director Justin Lin (the FAST & FURIOUS franchise) and is a writer/producer on the upcoming Lin-produced feature Hollywood Adventures. Monday, April 27, 7PM, Tateuchi Democracy Forum, JANM - Little Tokyo - Downtown Los Angeles
TOP 8 - The #WeOwnthe8th Short Film Program
Held at the creativity-inducing venue The Great Company, #WeOwnthe8th stems from the grassroots movement spearheaded by actor/artist Dante Basco (The Debut, Hook) and showcases its nationwide API filmmaking talent. Conceived as a response to the API community's current role within the creative industries, this movement seeks to foster creation of opportunities while providing a platform for supportive and positive mutual growth. Tuesday, April 28, 7:30PM, The Great Company - the Arts District - Downtown Los Angeles
CRANE-KICK COMMENTARY: THE KARATE KID, PART II
A Film Screening and Live Commentary with Phil Yu and Friends
Inspired by "Mystery Science Theater 3000" and local improv groups such as Cold Tofu, noted blogger Phil Yu (aka Angry Asian Man) leads an impromptu panel in a real-time commentary of The Karate Kid Part II -- director John Avildsen's follow-up to the 1984 blockbuster. Phil and friends re-visit what happens when Danny (Ralph Macchio) and Mr. Miyagi (Pat Morita) travels to Okinawa to visit Miyagi's dying father -- reuniting with the old sweetheart (Nobu McCarthy); meeting the winsome niece (Tamlyn Tomita); and encountering the local bully Chozen (Yuji Okumoto). And let's not forget the famous "drum" technique. Tuesday, April 28, 7PM, Tateuchi Democracy Forum, JANM - Little Tokyo - Downtown Los Angeles.
- 2030 (NUOC) (Vietnam) (L.A. Premiere) Dir.: Nghiem-Minh Nguyen-Vo
- CAT FUNERAL (South Korea) (U.S. Premiere) Dir.: Lee Jong-hoon
- THE CHINESE MAYOR (PRC) (L.A. Premiere) Dir.: Hao Zhou
- HOW TO WIN AT CHECKERS (EVERY TIME) (Thailand/South Korea/United States) (U.S.
Premiere) Dir.: Josh Kim
- IN THE ABSENCE OF THE SUN (Indonesia) (U.S. Premiere) Dir.: Lucky Kuswandi
- KUNG FU KILLER (Hong Kong) (L.A. Premiere) Dir.: Teddy Chen
- THE LAST REEL (Cambodia) (U.S. Premiere) Dir.: Kulikar Sotho
- RIVER OF EXPLODING DURIANS (Malaysia) (L.A. Premiere) Dir.: Edmund Yeo
- (SEX) APPEAL (Taiwan) (U.S. Premiere) Dir.: Wang Wei-ming
- THAT THING CALLED MEANT-TO-BE (Philippines) (L.A. Premiere) Dir.: Antoinette Jadeone
- THE VANCOUVER ASAHI (Japan) (L.A. Premiere) Dir.; Yuya Ishii
- WE ARE MOLUCCANS (Indonesia) (U.S. Premiere) Dir.; Angga Dwimas Sasongko
- WHERE I AM KING (Philippines) (U.S. Premiere) Dir.: Carlos Siguion-Reyna
- THE WORLD OF KANAKO (Japan) (U.S. Premiere) Dir.: Nakashima Tetsuya
- ADVANTAGEOUS (West Coast Premiere) Dir.: Jennifer Phang
- EVERYTHING BEFORE US (World Premiere) Dirs.: Wesley Chan, Philip Wang
- HOLLOW (L.A. Premiere) Dir.: Ham Tran
- JASMINE (L.A. Premiere) Dir.: Dax Phelan
- KTOWN COWBOYS (West Coast Premiere) Dir.: Daniel Park
- LOVE ARCADIA (L.A. Premiere) Dir.: Lawrence Gan
- MAN UP (L.A. Premiere) Dir.: Justin Chon
- MARGARITA, WITH A STRAW (L.A. Premiere) Dir.: Shonali Bose; Co-Dir.: Nilesh Maniyar
- MISS INDIA AMERICA Dir.: Ravi Kapoor
- THERE IS A NEW WORLD SOMEWHERE (World Premiere) Dir.: Li Lu
- CHANGING SEASON (L.A. Premiere) Dir.: Jim Choi
- EVERYTHING WILL BE (U.S. Premiere) Dir.: Julia Kwan
- I HAVE SEEN MY LAST BORN (World Premiere) Dirs.: Samuel Gray Anderson, Lee Isaac
- JUNE BRIDE: REDEMPTION OF A YAKUZA (World Premiere) Dir.: Derek Shimoda
- TOP SPIN (L.A. Premiere) Dirs.: Mina T. Son, Sara Newens
- TWINSTERS (West Coast Premiere) Dirs.; Samantha Futerman, Ryan Miyamoto
- VISIONS IN THE DARK: THE LIFE OF PINKY THOMPSON (West Coast Premiere) Dir.: Ty
- WINNING GIRL (L.A. Premiere) Dir.: Kimberlee Bassford
Okay, that's a lot of information to sift through. I suggest taking some time to peruse the program, look over the program, call up some friends and buy your tickets. This is going to be a really fun festival, and I'm looking forward to enjoying eight days of film and community with all of you. For further information about the Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival, visit the festival website. See you there.