All right, Los Angeles film fans. Mark your calendars, call up some friends and make some plans. Visual Communications presents 32nd annual Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival, the premier showcase for the best and brightest of Asian Pacific American and international cinema.
Southern California's largest festival of its kind, LAAPFF runs April 21-28 in Little Tokyo, Koreatown and West Hollywood. The festivities kick off with the world premiere of writer/director Lena Khan's dramatic comedy The Tiger Hunter, starring Danny Pudi, on Thursday, April 21 at the Aratani Theatre.
Check out the festival trailer:
FESTIVAL OPENING NIGHT CELEBRATION
THURSDAY, APR 21 | 7 PM | ARATANI
THE TIGER HUNTER
Directed by LENA KHAN
We're pleased to welcome UCLA Film School alum Lena Khan as she teams with many of the creators of past Festival faves RASPBERRY MAGIC (Festival 2010) and MISS INDIA AMERICA (Festival 2015) to bring her feature debut THE TIGER HUNTER to Festival Week 2016. In it, well-known movie and television personality Danny Pudi stars as Sami Malik, a young South Asian man who travels to America to become an engineer hoping to impress his childhood crush. When Sami's job unexpectedly falls through, he ends up in a tiny co-op with two oddball roommates, resorting to an elaborate charade with misfit accomplices in hopes of convincing his sweetheart that he's far more successful than he truly is. Together, Sami and his rag-tag group must work together while meeting the usual host of obstacles — the "usual," that is, if back-alley brawls, trips to prison, or catastrophic LSD-related misunderstandings are just your usual, everyday fare.
FESTIVAL CENTERPIECE PRESENTATION
SATURDAY, APR 23 | 8 PM | ARATANI
Directed by PAMELA TOM
Visual Communications and the Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival welcomes back past VC staffer Pamela Tom as she presents her debut documentary feature TYRUS. Fresh off its triumphant World Premiere at the 2015 Telluride Film Festival, TYRUS celebrates the life and art of Tyrus Wong, a legendary Chinese American painter, production illustrator, lithographer, and kite builder best known for his concept art for Walt Disney's feature animated film BAMBI. Beginning with the achievement of BAMBI to his game-changing later career as a production concept artist for Warner Bros. Studios, Wong’s strikingly beautiful concept paintings and sketches continue to influence the work of generations of animators and production designers. TYRUS celebrates not only the beauty of his art but reveals to a larger audience a lesser known part of the Chinese American experience -- that of its artists and creators.
FESTIVAL CLOSING NIGHT
THURSDAY, APR 28 | 7 PM | DIRECTORS GUILD OF AMERICA
Directed by JONATHAN LIM
Join us at the world-class Directors Guild of America as we close out Festival Week 2016 with the Los Angeles Premiere of Jonathan Lim’s PALI ROAD. Director Lim brings together a stellar international cast including Chinese rising star Michelle Chen, Sung Kang, Jackson Rathbone, Elizabeth Sung, and Tsai Ma for this stylish romance mystery. Lily (Chen), a Chinese doctor, is doing her residency in a Hawaiian hospital under Dr. Kayne (Kang). She has fallen in love with schoolteacher Neil (Rathbone) — at least, this is what she remembers. After a terrible car accident, Lily wakes up to discover, in horror, a married life with Dr. Kayne, including a 5-year-old son she has never seen. With everyone around her denying Neil's existence, Lily begins to question her sanity, as recurring memories of Neil force her to embark on a journey to retrace her past and discover the truth.
ARTIST'S SPOTLIGHT: DAI SIL KIM-GIBSON
Unwavering in her staunch clarity of artistic vision, Dai Sil Kim-Gibson embraces the realities and possibilities of a multi-ethnic America. Unflinching in her perspective, honed by years as an educator, grants officer, and arts advocate, her filmography offers an expansive world-view of both historical and contemporary issues affecting Asian diasporic communities. As the Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival is poised to present the Los Angeles Premiere of her latest feature documentary, PEOPLE ARE THE SKY, we cast a long-overdue spotlight on the career of this one-of-a-kind talent, who, at age 78, is still surprisingly perceptive and feisty as ever.
SUNDAY, APRIL 24 | 5:30 PM | TATEUCHI DEMOCRACY FORUM
SA-I-GU: FROM KOREAN WOMEN’S PERSPECTIVES
April 29 marks the 24th anniversary of the acquittal of four policemen who assaulted an African-American, Rodney King, which sparked the L.A. Rebellion in 1992. During the four days of rioting, arson, and looting, Korean Americans suffered $420 million in property damage. In the days and weeks that followed, media coverage of the upheaval was extensive but rarely presented the conflating Black/Korean conflict as the cause of the crisis, not a symptom. SA-I-GU (literally, April 29), presents the perspectives of Korean women shopkeepers and offers an alternative to mainstream media’s inability to present the voices of victims in human terms.
WEDNESDAY, APRIL 27| 4:30 PM| TATEUCHI DEMOCRACY FORUM
SILENCE BROKEN: KOREAN COMFORT WOMEN
A powerful and emotional documentary about Korean women forced into sexual servitude by the Japanese Imperial Army during World War II, SILENCE BROKEN dramatically combines the testimony of former comfort women who demand justice for the “crimes against humanity” committed against them, along with contravening interviews of Japanese soldiers, recruiters and scholars who deny their existence or claim that these victims “did this for money.” In the film, these women demand an official apology, admission of moral and legal guilt, as well as compensation from the Japanese government. They want human dignity and justice restored to them. Combined with archival footage and dramatized images, SILENCE BROKEN shatters a half-century of silence, creating a collective story filled with soulful sorrow and amazing resilience of the human spirit.
WEDNESDAY, APRIL 27| 7:00 PM | TATEUCHI DEMOCRACY FORUM
PEOPLE ARE THE SKY
Widely known for championing the compelling but neglected issues of human rights, Dai Sil Kim-Gibson’s works carry her imprint of humanizing the storytellers and inventive formats. Born in North Korea, Kim-Gibson crossed the 38th parallel in 1945 and grew up in Seoul until she came to the U.S. to study in 1962. She subsequently married an Iowan farm boy-turned-historian. Thus, her story has two sides: North and South, Korean and American. In 2009, after losing her husband, Don, Kim-Gibson makes a pilgrimage to her place of birth in North Korea for the first time in nearly 70 years, to explore if it is still home. Kim-Gibson’s eighth and most personal film connects two ideas: the search for home, and the nature of ordinary people, while exploring the evolution of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) in relation to the Republic of Korea (ROK) and the U.S.A.
WED, APR 27 | 9:30PM | CGV CINEMAS 1
United States 2014 | 82 min.
Special Presentations | Documentary, Identity, Music, Popular Culture
BAD RAP spotlights four Asian American rappers embarking on their dreams of succeeding in the mainstream, selling out huge venues, hearing themselves on the radio, and becoming household names -- all while facing cultural expectations to fulfill the model minority stereotype.
MON, APR 25 | 7:00PM | CGV CINEMAS 2
United States 2015 | 57 min.
Special Presentations | Biography, Documentary, Educational, History, Women
Shaped by the revelation of her mother's illegal immigration to America during the period of Chinese exclusion, Felicia Lowe uncovers the web of secrecy and shame underlying her mother's assimilation and achievement of the American Dream. CHINESE COUPLETS reveals the complex and contradictory nature of our national character: an America that embraces and welcomes immigrants, while at the same time being profoundly xenophobic and exclusionary to successive waves of ethnic and racial newcomers
TUE, APR 26 | 9:30PM | CGV CINEMAS 2
CRUSH THE SKULL
United States 2015 | 83 min.
Special Presentations | Comedy, Horror, Thriller
Ollie and Blair earn a living by breaking into upper-class homes. After falling into debt, they decide to pull another effortless job of robbing a secluded vacation home in the mountains. While performing the heist, the crew is immediately trapped inside, while an unseen killer stalks them from the shadows. This seemingly innocuous home is actually a sadistic torture den, with a mind-screwing maze of dead-ends and wrong turns.
SUN APR 24 | 3:30PM | DOWNTOWN INDEPENDENT
2016 | 60 min.
Special Presentations | Documentary, Educational, Environment, Food, History
Following in the footsteps of director Ty Sanga's pilot installment of the food and culture series FAMILY INGREDIENTS, the Film Festival is pleased to present the ongoing adventures of food and lifestyle advocate Ed Kenney. From Kenney's own unique relationship to taro, Hawaii's indigenous plant and with poi, its most famous by-product; to a portrait of Tiara Hernandez and the dishes that inform her Puerto Rican heritage, FAMILY INGREDIENTS delves deeper into food and its unique relationship to family, culture and traditions.
SAT APR 23 | 2:00PM | TATEUCHI DEMOCRACY FORUM
United States 2015 | 91 min.
Special Presentations | Classic, Documentary, History
FORGETTING VIETNAM filters through four thousand years of Vietnamese history as a resilient nation -- through wars, calamities, and colonization -- to ponder its current dual iteration as a fast-growing economy and a booming tourist destination. While illustrating the current phenomenon of "Vietnam fever," FORGETTING VIETNAM commemorates the 40th anniversary of the end of the war while offering a reflexive dimension on D-cinema and is creative potential.
SUN APR 24 | 1:00PM | DOWNTOWN INDEPENDENT
TUE APR 26 | 4:30PM | TATEUCHI DEMOCRACY FORUM
REBEL WITH A CAUSE: THE LIFE OF AIKO HERZIG YOSHINAGA
United States 2016 | 82 min.
Special Presentations | Biography, Documentary, Women
The latest documentary feature by Janice D. Tanaka chronicles the life of Aiko Herzig Yoshinaga, whose discovery of premeditated governmental misconduct during the war was essential to the landmark 1987 coarm nobis cases of Gordon Hirabayashi, Fred Korematsu and Minoru Yasui; and the National Council for Japanese Americans Redress (NCJAR) lawsuit of 1983. REBEL WITH A CAUSE offers an intimate portrait of an unassuming woman and her impact on a national movement.
TUE APR 26 | 7:00PM | TATEUCHI DEMOCRACY FORUM
FRESH OFF THE SHOW
United States 2016 | 55 min.
Special Presentations | Comedy
To celebrate the recent announcement that ABC's FRESH OFF THE BOAT has been renewed for Season 3, come join Angry Asian Man's Phil Yu and actor/writer/comedian Jenny Yang in screening this transcendent comedy! We'll be showing that night's episode and the following week's episode! As an added bonus, cast and crew will be joining in for a Q&A after the screening.
There's plenty more where that came from. For further information about the Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival, including tickets, venues and the full programming line-up and schedule, head over to the festival website. You can also download and peruse the official 2016 LAAPFF program guide here. Also be sure to follow festival updates on Facebook and Twitter.