See you at the 33rd Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival

Presented by Visual Communications, April 27 - May 4

Los Angeles film fans, it's on. Make some plans and get down with community for the 33rd Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival, running April 27 to May 4. Presented by Visual Communications, with eight days of screenings, panels and events, LAAPFF is the largest festival of its kind in Southern California and the premier showcase for the best and brightest of Asian Pacific American and international cinema.

This year's festival kicks off with the Opening Night intro/retrospective 15th anniversary screening of Justin Lin's landmark film Better Luck Tomorrow. Justin Chon's Sundance award-winning feature Gook serves as LAAPFF's Centerpiece highlight as part of the festival's 25th anniversary commemoration of the Los Angles Uprising. The festival rounds with the Closing Night Gala presentation of Kogonada's debut feature Columbus, starring leading man John Cho.

Here are some the festival's highlights:


This year's opening night kicking off the Fest is the 15th Anniversary special gala presentation of director/writer Justin Lin's uncut 35mm Sundance original version of the landmark film BETTER LUCK TOMORROW. Lin will present this rarely-seen version of the film that launched his career at Sundance 2002, when it was championed by late iconic film critic Roger Ebert and picked up by MTV Films and Paramount Classics for nationwide theatrical distribution. The film features Asian American film actors starring in lead roles including John Cho, Sung Kang, Jason Tobin, Roger Fan, Parry Shen, and Karin Anna Cheung.

BETTER LUCK TOMORROW centers on an accomplished high school student, Ben (Parry Shen) who seems to excel at almost everything except winning over his dream girl, Stephanie (Karin Anna Cheung). When he begins an unlikely friendship with trouble-seeking tough guy Daric (Roger Fan), Ben becomes involved in petty crime that gets increasingly dangerous, with his various illegal ventures extending to include Stephanie and her wealthy beau, Steve (John Cho). Can these restless teens curb their criminal activities before it's too late? The film pushed the boundaries on the "model minority" discussion and inspired Asian American audiences across the nation to come out to the cinema, while positioning director Justin Lin as a Filmmaker to Watch, as recognized by industry publication Variety that year.

Members of the cast and crew will be in attendance for Q & A following the celebratory screening. BETTER LUCK TOMORROW screens Opening Night April 27 at 7PM at the Egyptian Theatre in Hollywood.


The Festival Centerpiece Presentation features the 2017 Sundance Film Festival Audience Award winning film GOOK from actor-turned-filmmaker JUSTIN CHON. This vibrant and insightful film takes place on April 29, 1992 in Los Angeles -- the day the Rodney King verdict was announced and the infamous L.A. Riots began. Chon's film centers on Eli and Daniel, two Korean American brothers, who own a struggling shoe store and have an unlikely friendship with Kamilla, a street-wise 11 year old African American girl. It's just another typical day at the store until the Rodney King verdict is read and riots break out through the city. With the chaos moving towards them, the trio is forced to defend the store while contemplating the future of their own personal dreams and the true meaning of family.

GOOK will be presented on Saturday, April 29 at the Aratani Theatre at the JACCC in Little Tokyo. The festival is commemorating the 25th Anniversary of the L.A. Uprising/Rodney King verdict with this gala screening featuring the filmmaker, crew and cast. This screening will top off a day of films, events, community discussions and art presentations memorializing this historic Los Angeles event.


Closing out this year's eight-day film celebration is the Los Angeles premiere of the acclaimed 2017 Sundance film COLUMBUS from director Kogonada. This beautiful and engaging feature directorial debut stars John Cho, Haley Lu Richardson, Parker Posey, Rory Culkin and Michelle Forbes. The film centers on Casey (Richardson) who lives with her mother in a little-known Midwestern town haunted by the promise of modernism. Jin (Cho), a visitor from the other side of the world, attends to his dying father. Burdened by the future, they find respite in one another and the architecture that surrounds them.

COLUMBUS screens on May 4 at the Directors Guild of America in West Hollywood with the filmmaker, cast and crew in attendance for a post-screening Q & A.


Bringing together industry and Asian American talent, the LAAPFF is proud to present the seventh 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. The only event of its kind, C3 brings together foremost media professionals and academics in film, television, cable, digital, gaming and transmedia to create a dialogue on the ever-changing media industry, share best practices, network, celebrate and build a collective vision for our community.

C3 will converge on the opening weekend of the Festival on Saturday, April 29th and Sunday April 30th at the Japanese American National Museum, located in the Little Tokyo district of Downtown Los Angeles. There also will be a special free panel on Monday, May 1 in Mid-Wilshire.


Every year, the LAAPFF International Showcase of new works from Asia highlights films and filmmakers from throughout the continent. This year is no different as the Festival boasts acclaimed features from Australia, Belgium, Cambodia, Canada, France, Germany, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Japan, Macao, Mexico, Myanmar, Netherlands, New Zealand, Pakistan, Peoples Republic of China, Peru, Philippines, Qatar, Singapore, South Korea, Sri Lanka, Switzerland, Taiwan, Thailand, United Kingdom and Vietnam.

For the first time ever, the LAAPFF will present a Grand Jury Award for Outstanding Asian International documentary and narrative feature. The line up of these award-nominated documentaries and features include:

Documentary Features

• MOTHERLAND Dir.: Ramona S. Diaz
• PLASTIC CHINA Dir.: Wang Jiu-liang
• SMALL TALK Dir.: Huang Hui-Chen
• TOKYO IDOLS Dir.: Kyoko Miyake

Narrative Features

• BY THE TIME IT GETS DARK Dir.: Anocha Suwichakornpong
• KING OF PEKING Dir.: Sam Voutas
• POP AYE Dir.: Kristen Tan
• RESEBA - THE DARK WIND Dir.: Hussein Hassan
• SAVING SALLY Dir.: Avid Liongoren
• THE SOUL OF THE TIGER Dir.: Fran├žois Yang
• THE SOWER Dir.: Yosuke Takeuchi
• TAXI STORIES Dir.: Doris Yeung
• TURN LEFT TURN RIGHT Dir.: Douglas Seok


The Ministry of Culture, Republic of China (Taiwan) and Taiwan Academy in Los Angeles joins the Festival to present "Spotlight on Taiwan", a spotlight on Taiwanese cinema offerings programmed during the week.


The "Tigers Roar" program focuses on Southeast Asian Cinema with film screenings at the Fest and partnering with the two-day ASEAC-SEARCN LA Conference at UCLA. The sharing of experiences through film and media becomes increasingly important during these fast changing times of ensuring that our voices, images and stories are heard and seen. The LAAPFF is proud to present the following important special presentations that include discussions, films, performance art, and media installations that will provide dialogue, reflection, inspiration and encouragement.


Dir. Steve James

From acclaimed director, Steve James (HOOP DREAMS, THE INTERRUPTERS, LIFE ITSELF), this acclaimed and insightful film tells the incredible saga of the Chinese immigrant Sung family, owners of Abacus Federal Savings of Chinatown, New York. Accused of mortgage fraud by Manhattan District Attorney, Cyrus R. Vance, Jr., Abacus becomes the only U.S. bank to face criminal charges in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis.


Dir. Joe Piscatella

When the Chinese Communist Party alters its promise of autonomy to Hong Kong– handed back to the Chinese government from British rule in 1997 – teenager Joshua Wong decides to fight for his homeland. Rallying thousands, Joshua becomes an unlikely leader in Hong Kong. A remarkable portrait of courage, resilience, & the power of youthful idealism, JOSHUA: TEENAGER VS. SUPERPOWER is a chronicle of one young man risking his own future for a greater good. Winner of the Audience Award, World Cinema Documentary, 2017 Sundance Film Festival.


Dir. Vivienne Schiffer

A look at the aftermath of the imprisonment of thousands of Japanese Americans in the Deep South, the harsh reality of prejudice, and the cruel irony of identity, told through the words of one survivor, one rebel, and one woman mayor.


Dir. Richard Fung

A look into the lives and thoughts of seven queer pan-Asian Canadians as they look back on the groundbreaking 1984 documentary in which they were featured. How have they changed? And how has the world around them evolved and changed?


Dir. Nia Dinata

Three sassy sisters: Gendis (32), Ella (28), and Bebe (19), are very passionate about running their family boutique hotel by the beach in the eastern part of Indonesia's archipelago. Their grandmother, however, is frustrated because she is unable to find the ideal matches for her granddaughters. Grandma doesn't give up. Her ultimate goal in life is to find suitable men for her granddaughters.


Dir. Chris Chan Lee (20th Anniversary Screening) #Starring JohnCho

A normal evening turns into a wild and desperate scavenger hunt for eight high school friends in the coming of age dramedy, YELLOW. When the group rallies to help a friend who was robbed, the lines between adolescent and adult are blurred in this 1997 classic.


BRONZEVILLE, LITTLE TOKYO sheds light on an overlooked moment in history when Japanese and Japanese-Americans were displaced during World War II and African-Americans moved into Little Tokyo. For this brief period in the 40's, this area was known as "Bronzeville." To honor this period, FORM follows FUNCTION and Visual Communications present a special two-day program featuring an interactive media installation, a 360° virtual reality presentation, and a live Jazz performance on Historic First Street North. Locations include the Historic Nishi Building, the Union Center for the Arts and the Japanese American National Museum.


The city of Los Angeles has not been the same since April 29, 1992. With racial tension peaking and riots sparking across the city, it became clear that Angelenos were demanding a drastic change in the relationship between police officers and racial minorities. Twenty-five years after the LA uprising, there is still a question of the treatment of people of color and the socio-political factors in Los Angeles. The Festival is partnering with the UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs for this historic weekend utilizing art and media to examine the socio-political factors that provoked the 1992 LA Uprising and its impact in the racial and economic climate in LA and across the U.S. today.

The events begin on Friday, April 28, launching a full weekend of programming including two panels featuring a discussion of the evolution of community organizing, as well as the role media (particularly film) has played in creating and reflecting social change. A Screening of Dai Sil Kim-Gibson's landmark WET SAND: VOICES FROM LA will kick off the April 29th day of events including panel discussions with filmmakers Dai Sil Kim-Gibson and Charles Burnett; Funmilola Fagbamila of Black Lives Matter; author Robin D.G. Kelly; filmmakers Justin Chon, and Renee Tajima Pena; comedian/artivist Jenny Yang; journalist Phil Yu and others. The gala screening of Justin Chon's film GOOK will close out the April 29 anniversary. While on Sunday, April 30, filmmaker Grace Lee will present the interactive project KTOWN 92 and featured artists (Grace Misoe Lee and Patrick Martinez) will discuss their process and how the 1992 Los Angeles Uprising influenced their work.


This year's 33rd LAAPFF competition line-up for Grand Jury Awards for North American feature films is rich with stories and insights from important and nuanced perspectives from creative talent across the spectrum.


• CARDINAL X Dir.: Angie Wang
• CHEE AND T Dir.: Tanuj Chopra
• COLUMBUS Dir.: Kogonada
• GOOK Dir.: Justin Chon
• I CAN I WILL I DID Dir.: Nadine Truong
• THE LOCKPICKER Dir.: Randall Okita
• NORMAN JONES Dir.: Mike Sakamoto
• WEXFORD PLAZA Dir.: Joyce Wong
• WINDOW HORSES Dir.: Ann Marie Fleming


• 95 AND 6 TO GO Dir.: Kimi Takesue
• A TIME TO SWIM Dir.: Ashley Duong
• FINDING KUKAN Dir.: Robin Lung
• MELE MURALS Dir.: Tadashi Nakamura
• MIXED MATCH Dir.: Jeff Chiba Stearns
• SAVE MY SEOUL Dir.: Jason Y. Lee
• UNBROKEN GLASS Dir.: Dinesh Sabu
• WHO IS ARTHUR CHU? Dirs.: Yu Gu and Scott Drucker

The LAAPFF is proud to be an Academy qualifying festival for the Short Film Awards. The Festival was approved by the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences late last year with this 33rd edition being the first where recipients of the Film Festival's qualifying awards will be eligible for consideration in the Animated Short Film/Live Action Short Film category of the Academy Awards® without standard theatrical run, provided the film otherwise complies with the Academy rules. The winner of the Golden Reel Award will be eligible to enter the Academy Short Film competition. The contenders include:

• COIN BOY Dir.: Li Chuan-Yang
• DEER GOD Dir.: Tomorrow Mingtian
• HOLD ON Dir.: Christine Turner
• I AM JUPITER I AM THE BIGGEST PLANET Dir.: Matthew Victor Pastor
• PRIA Dir.: Yudho Aditya
• HOLD ME (CA CAW CA CAW) Dir.: Renee Zhan
• LOLA LOLENG Dir.: Cheryl Tagyamon
• REMEMBER Dir.: Shunsaku Hayashi

Additionally, the Film Festival establishes this year the Golden Reel Award for Excellence in Documentary Short Films. This stellar inaugural class includes:

• FOREVER, CHINATOWN Dir.: James Q. Chan
• PLEASE COME AGAIN Dir.: Alisa Yang
• TOUGH Dir.: Jennifer Zheng

LAAPFF Best of the Fest in OC

After Closing Night on May 4 in Los Angeles, the Festival will continue with a Festival Encore Program May 5 through 11 in Buena Park at the brand new CGV Buena Park 8 with encore screenings of select Film Festival films; and a special slate of works by award-winning filmmakers on the recent achievements in Vietnamese cinema. Check the Festival website for this schedule.

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This website is a proud media sponsor of the 33rd Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival. For further program information, a complete listing of sponsors and partners, and to purchase tickets, visit the LAAPFF website.

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