presented by asian cinevision
presented by asian cinevision
Front cover photo courtesy of Ernie Pe単a
THE CI TY OF NEW Y ORK OFFICE OF THE MAYOR NEW YORK, NY 10007
July 24, 2013
Dear Friends: It is a great pleasure to welcome everyone to Asian Cinevision’s 36th Annual Asian American International Film Festival. New York is known as a center of world cinema, and we are proud to be home to some of the most internationally renowned filmmakers and production companies from around the globe. That is why we are delighted to join with Asian Cinevision as they showcase international filmmakers and their innovative and thought-provoking works. Featuring films from China, France, Japan, Pakistan, and more, this festival is a celebration of culture and offers audiences the chance to gain new perspectives on a wide range of issues that impact their lives, their communities, and the world at large. We applaud this event’s organizers and participants for their many contributions to our City’s film industry, and together, we look forward to even more artists drawing inspiration from these screenings. On behalf of all New Yorkers, please accept my best wishes for a wonderful festival and continued success. Sincerely,
Michael R. Bloomberg Mayor
DISTRICT OFFICE: 165 PARK ROW., SUITE 11 NEW YORK, NY 10038 212-587-3159
THE COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF NEW YORK MARGARET S. CHIN COUNCIL MEMBER, DISTRICT 1
CITY HALL OFFICE: 250 BROADWAY, ROOM 1738 NEW YORK, NY 10007 212-788-7259
May 31, 2013 Asian CineVision 115 West 30th Street, Suite 708 New York, NY 10001 Dear Friends, It is my great pleasure to congratulate Asian CineVision for presenting the 36th Asian American International Film Festival. For decades, Asian CineVision has promoted awareness, understanding, and appreciation of Asian American culture, sharing its rich vibrancy around the world through cinema. The Asian American International Film Festival showcases the dedication, commitment, and talent of the best artists in our community, allowing audiences worldwide to experience their truly astounding work. These films boldly explore relevant issues facing all cultures and denominations, shedding light on the common threads that unite us as we grapple with questions regarding identity, memory, and history in the 21st century. Asian CineVision provides a global perspective, sharing stories and reminding us to find unity in our diversity. I am grateful to Asian CineVision for their invaluable contributions to film, culture, and society. Best wishes for an enlightening and thought-provoking 36th Asian American International Film Festival, and for many years to come.
Margaret S. Chin New York City Councilmember District 1 - Manhattan
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FESTIVAL STAFF ASIAN CINEVISION & ASIAN AMERICAN INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL
EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR John C. Woo MANAGING DIRECTOR Judy Lei PROGRAM CURATORS La Frances Hui & Somi Roy GUEST CURATOR Martin Wong PROGRAM ASSOCIATE Lesley Yiping Qin CINEVUE COORDINATOR Ivy Bingqiao Zhou CINEVUE PRODUCTION MANAGER Ellen Sea PRINTS TRAFFIC & HOSPITALITY COORDINATOR Bee Vang
CHINESE SOCIAL MEDIA COORDINATORS Emma Chen Le Yin COMMUNITY OUTREACH COORDINATOR Sally Chen SPECIAL EVENTS & DEVELOPMENT COORDINATOR Jane Chun BOX OFFICE MANAGER Kamay Jin TECHNICAL PRODUCTION COORDINATORS Kayla Wong Aaron Yau LEAD DESIGNER Ben Dumond WEBSITE CONSULTANT Adriel Luis
ACV ARCHIVES MANAGER Nicole SooHoo MARKETING MANAGER Vivian Foung SOCIAL MEDIA & WEBSITE MANAGER Matthew Kevin Yee
ManSee Kong Bobby Lin
BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Greg Chew Phil Lam Jackie McCaffrey
Wynn Salisch John Shin John C. Woo
Eunice Chen Dennis Hu Judy Lei Lesley Yiping Qin
Daniel Toy Ellen Sea Bee Vang Christopher Zou
Jef Castro David Hou ManSee Kong
Vinit Parmar Martha Tien
SHORT FILMS SELECTION COMMITTEE
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THANK YOU Abraham Ferrer, LAAPFF Alden Habacon, Schema Magazine Alpa Yagnik, Wells Fargo Amber Wu & Susan Yu, TECO Ammy Cuccia, MYNY Café Anderson Le, LAAPFF Andree Lin, program notes contributor Anne Lee, Project by Project Antony Wong, AAARI-CUNY Ashley Nerlfi, Wyndham Garden Chinatown Ava Maitland, Bamboo 52 Benjamin Tiedman, Betel Brett Sklar, GoViva Bruce Watkins, Holiday Inn (Lower East Side) Caroline Bell, Cafe Grumpy Casper Wong, Asian American Women Media Makers Charlotte Cooper, Women’s eNews Cherry (Yuanqing), CK Printing Chhaya Chhoum, Mekong Christopher Bourne, writing consultant Claire Lin, YUE Magazine Clifford and Howard Cho, Fat Buddha Cris Well, Swine NYC Crystal Decker, WellGoUSA David Dennis, Asian American Film Lab David Schwartz, Museum of the Moving Image Derek Nguyen, APEX Dominic Davis, American Museum of Natural History Douglas Lim, AAFE Edward Bohan, The New York Times Edwin W. Chen Eleanor Milburn, Columbia Alumni Arts League Fumiko Miyamoto, Japan Society Geanna Barlaam, Also Known As Gil Quinto Grace Lee, Rémy Martin Greg Kim, JOY DUNK CLUB Hayley Diamond & Rion Harmon, ZICO Helen Koh, MOCA Hsin-yuan Peng, program notes contributor Jaime Ballesteros, MOCA Jeff Staple, Reed Space + Staple Design 8 THANK YOU
Jennifer Cucura, NYIT Jennifer Weng, AALDEF Jesseca Naldo, Glaze Teriyaki Jill Simonson, Southwest Jordi Torrent, PLUS+ Joyce Yin, JOY DUNK CLUB JT Takagi, Nodutdol for Korean Community Development Julie Chen, JoJu June Jee, AARP Karina Strobl, Chambre de Sucre Keith Chow, JOY DUNK CLUB Ken Tanabe, LovingDay Kevin Hsieh, Channel APA Kevin Li, Ginger Ale by Bruce Cost Kevin Nadal, FANHS Metro New York Krishna Raj, Lend-A-Hand India Laura Chen-Schultz, Asian/Pacific/ American Institute at N.Y.U. Lisa Lee, Facebook Maggie, Yat Yat Sweet Martin Wong, Giant Robot Melinda Chu, Asian American Association of Time Melody Lin, writing consultant Michael Harrison, writing consultant Michael Marsilio, Spice NaiYing Kuo, Rémy Martin Nancy Wong, Wells Fargo Nina S. Naidu, Anohka Skin Care Oritt Blum, GoViva Pablo Torre, ESPN Peipei Zhou, Facebook Perfect Spa Phil Yu, Angry Asian Man Rachel Barry, Southwest Ren Hsieh, The Dynasty Project & JOY DUNK CLUB Richard L. Gant Richard Suchenski, Center for Moving Image Arts, Bard College Richard Young, NYAPM Roger Chu, Time Warner Roger Woo, Woo Creative Ron Thomas, SAG-AFTRA Roni Mazumdar, The MasalaWala Roy Lamberty, Fatty Fish Scott Eriksson, Asians on Film Seolbin Park, Hana Michi Sharone Grant, EN Japanese Brasserie
Shi-yan Chao ShihHsien Lin, Taiwan Center Shinsuke Kasagi, ITO EN Stephanie Hsu, Q-Wave Sukie Park, NY Culture Beat Sunny Lim, Arang Susie Lim, KAFFNY Suzanne Elliot, China Institute Talia Shulze, Rubin Museum Tammy Lin, Linco Printing Corp. Tara DeWorsop, Japan ICU Foundation Terry Park, JOY DUNK CLUB Thalia Lin, Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office Tiffany Phung, Myx-TV Tim Keane, Anthology Film Archives Tyler Mercer, Ma-Yi Theater Yang Chen, AABANY Yelin Qiu, program notes contributor Yuni Cho, Korea Society Zave Martohardjono, Astraea Foundation Zhen Zhang, Asian Film and Media Initiative, Department of Cinema Studies, NYU
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STAFF NOTES CINEVUE ARTICLES SCHEDULE & EVENTS AWARD NOMINATIONS SPECIAL PRESENTATIONS FEATURES SHORTS PROGRAMS PRINT SOURCE
welcome BY JOHN WOO, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR 08 JULY 2013 | NEW YORK CITY Greetings and on behalf of the Board of Directors of Asian CineVision, welcome to the 36th edition of the Asian American International Film Festival. There are many, many things of note going on in this year’s Festival, with the key being the strength and depth of the program. The AAIFF’13 curatorial team reached far and wide to construct a program that represents the range of compelling story telling, producing stories that transcend the clichés commonly associated with Asian cinema. This year AAIFF is presenting over 70 films, features and shorts, by, for, and about Asians and Asian Americans from 18 countries across the Asian Diaspora. From Tokyo, Japan to Little Tokyo, Taiwan to Turkey, Singapore to Madison Square Garden, all are New York premieres. The wide range of genres, visual styles, and storytelling approaches speaks to the diversity and richness of Asian and Asian American cinemas. With the themes of Asian American Achievements, Exploring Asian Filmscapes, LGBTQ Spotlights, Taiwan Cinema Days and a tribute to Philippine filmmaker Marilou DIAZ-ABAYA (1955-2012) as well as other women filmmakers, the 36th Asian American International Film Festival aims to give its audience a broad sampling of Asian and Asian American independent cinema. Many thanks to the awesome AAIFF’13 staff. Your creativity, enthusiasm, and positive energy have made it a privilege to work with you. To all the filmmakers, distributors, publicists, press, contributors, all of you who have had a hand in making this year’s Festival happen, thank you. And a special thanks to curators La Frances Hui and L. Somi Roy for their world vision, and their patience and guidance of the staff in creating the 2013 program. We are especially grateful to the AAIFF ‘13 sponsors: the team at Rémy Martin, our good friends Susan Yu and Amber Wu at the Ministry of Culture, Taipei Cultural Center of TECO in New York, AARP, Southwest Airlines, Woo Creative, SAG-AFTRA, Wells Fargo, Yuni Cho at The Korea Society, Asian Film and Media Initiative, Department of Cinema Studies, NYU, and of course the many friends of ACV. Special gratitude goes out to all our Community Partners, some who have been with us from the beginning, some who are new to the family. It is your leadership in the community that amazes and inspires that next generation of community activists. From creating affordable housing, to care for the elderly, to meaningful immigration reform, and to basic and fundamental human rights for all, you work everyday to have our voices counted. Your support matters, and it is for all of you that we continue to do this work and try and do our share. Forward. Finally, this past year we lost a valued member of the ACV family: artist, mentor, and mensch Ernie Pena. Ernie’s connection to the Filipino creative community brought him to the Festival soon after he arrived from Los Angeles. His sure eye and gentle approach can be seen in the body of his work. The above photo taken by Brandon Leung is Ernie coaching me on my Tagalog pronunciations. Ernie, we miss you. 10 STAFF NOTES: WELCOME
the year of dreamers BY JUDY LEI, MANAGING DIRECTOR “You may say, I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one.” –John Lennon I’m going #LINSANE, are you? When we got word that we’re showing LINSANITY in February, we got so excited we began to coordinate who will wear Jeremy Lin’s jersey or shirt on what days before, during, and after the festival. Am I exaggerating? Maybe. Needless to say, we are elated because the movement began in New York City in February 2012, and now we are celebrating its homecoming. We can’t be more thrilled. This year is the year of journey & inspiration. Actually every year is a year of inspiration, but this year in particular celebrates setbacks, challenges, and failures. We begin the festival with Jeremy Lin, someone who was knocked down 10 times but stood up every time he fell. Then we round up to films that talk about love, loss, innocence, war, history, identity—growing up, out, and beyond. And then there are quite a few road films—taking us through the journey of a new family forced into the America soil, escape into a new land with a dooming apocalypse, or roadtripping to a boathouse while contemplating suicide—heavy stuff. This year’s eclectic selection offers a wide variety of genres, offering a little bit of something for everyone. You are bound to find something that suits your taste, and we guarantee it. Sometimes I sit at the ACV office and browse through old AAIFF booklets, and then as the years go by—I keep thinking to myself how AAIFF, too, has gone through a journey of its own. 36 years is no small feat. We should definitely celebrate this moment. Who knows what’s gonna happen next year? We work hard every year to survive another year, and each year is a struggle masked onto itself. On the outside it is so nice and glamorous, but on the inside, we think a lot about survival. But no matter what happens, how much we put in every year determines the outcome, and for this year, we definitely went the whole nine yards. Can’t you tell? Thanks to an amazing team of dedicated staff—we have cobbled together yet another year of greatness—LINSANE! Thanks for coming and please have a drink or five and enjoy yourselves. Cheers to many more years to come!
STAFF NOTES: THE YEAR OF DREAMERS 11
L. SOMI ROY
LA FRANCES HUI
scape bridging PHOTO COURTESY OF NAN MELVILLE
BY LA FRANCES HUI & L. SOMI ROY, AAIFF’13 CURATORS A bridge between past festivals’ programs and the ones to come. That was what John C. Woo, Executive Director of Asian CineVision (ACV), had in mind when he approached us to program AAIFF’13. For us this directive represented a special opportunity, not only to work together for the first time, but also to contemplate the evolution of what it means to be Asian and Asian American and the shifting landscape of film exhibition. Never far below the surface as we lobbed ideas back and forth between us was our shared knowledge and admiring appreciation for the pioneering and now flagship work that ACV has done over the years in bringing Asian and Asian American cinema to audiences in New York. Since our combined years working with ACV, the scope and nature of films and film festivals have changed, to state the obvious. Not only was there an exponential increase in the kinds of media and ways of appreciating them but also an increase in the sheer number of festivals, even Asian ones. So what then, we asked ourselves and each other, did ACV’s festival represent, what niche does it occupy, what role does it, and can it, play? The first issue to come to mind was one that had been the defining mainstay of AAIFF from the very early days. It was the programming interplay between Asian cinema and films made by the Asian American community. Did they share much? Not really sometimes; not most of the times maybe; but surely, like DNA, there have been ineluctable strands. Thinking of what these strands were was the beginning of our curatorial exploration. What these strands led us to think, in many ways, was that the festival and our programming speak not only to the films we admired, puzzled over, or championed as cinema, as entertainment, as works of art. It also reveals what these films mean to us, to the experience of being Asian—in a new global context—when it is increasingly common for Asians to make films in America and Americans to make films in Asia. Is it at all necessary for us, both originally from Asia but having lived a combined half a century in the US, to draw a distinction between “Asian” and “Asian American”? Therefore the interplay between the film as an artistic expression of a medium and the effect of the film on the way we feel about the community, our sense of belonging (or not), its message about how we see and represent ourselves in the larger culture, is what made programming for AAIFF special to us and distinct from all our other curatorial ventures. Now none of this could have happened if it was not fun. It was fun to watch the films and fun to work with the lively and passionate staff at ACV. So thank you, ACV for the shared opportunity. And thank you filmmakers for affording us a look at ourselves through our shared passion for film. All that is left now is for us to say that we enjoyed the process and now we hope you enjoy the result. 12 CURATOR’S JOINT STATEMENT: SCAPE BRIDGING
linspiration BY JUDY LEI, MANAGING DIRECTOR “So it was my second or third home game and I hadn’t been in a game yet, and I had tried getting into the gym and then they stopped me and they said, ‘Well, this is the player’s entrance.’ And I was like, ‘I know.’ He looked at me confused, and I was looking at him confused, and then he was like, ‘Oh I’m sorry, are you a trainer?’ I was kind of just like standing there. Then another security guard came over and whispered, ‘Oh, I think he plays on the team.” – Jeremy Lin in LINSANITY Until about a year and a half ago, if you had seen Jeremy Lin, you would not have imagined him to be a basketball player—after all, how many Asians and Asian Americans are there in the NBA? This whole perception changed on February 4, 2012, when a frenzy broke out in Madison Square Garden as he scored 25 points against the New Jersey Nets. Everyone now knows who he is. From an outsider’s perspective, he is the epitome of the model minority myth: Harvard Economics graduate, devoted to his family, dedicated to his faith—successful. Behind the mask of success, comes the pressure to deliver. However, Lin never lets the pressure get to him because he does not strives to be better than anyone but himself. Through LINSANITY, a documentary about Jeremy Lin’s journey into the NBA, we take a closer look at all the setbacks and failures he had to endure before reaching the height of his game and what we proclaim as... Linsanity! At Asian CineVision, when the Linsanity movement began in New York City, we were dumbfounded by the unexpected rise of Jeremy Lin. ‘Who is this dude?’ we thought. As our office is three blocks away from Madison Square Garden, we felt the excitement first-hand from fans. For the first time in a long while, New Yorkers walked around with immense pride and love for the New York Knicks. Lines formed outside of MSG at least two hours before the start of a game, and fans held signs that said things like, “Can you be my Val-LIN-tine?” as well as other slogans too that are too inappropriate to be mentioned. Lin’s jersey was sold out within a few days, and Linsanity shirts were printed, reprinted, and reprinted again. He was a headline for the New York press, and he was the talk of the town. It was a magical moment. Linsanity! But even at the height of it all, no one knew half the struggle Lin went through to get up to that point. In LINSANITY, we see his passion for basketball beginning at the age of four, when his father introduced him to the sport at the Y. Since then, he has never stopped playing, and he has always been a leader and a team player. From his childhood home videos, high school games at Palo Alto High, college games with the Harvard Crimsons, time as an undrafted agent in 2010, debut as a rookie for the Golden State Warriors and the D-League, and then success with the New York Knicks, it is clear that Lin’s rigorous training and undying love for the sport put him on the map of the NBA. It is through his faith that he learned how to persevere, and even when the world didn’t believe in him, he believed in himself. Jeremy Lin and this film teaches us not only the intensity of the basketball world, but also what it means to never give up, and that as long as we have hope, we can do anything to accomplish our dreams. This is a classic underdog story that will leave you at the edge of your seat. You might yell out, “WHOA” at his three pointers, or you might yell out, “Linsanity!” Jeremy Lin was once an unknown ballplayer; but since February 4, 2012, he is now known worldwide. On that day, he became a household sensation and an inspiration to the Asian American community. Who knows where he will end up next? His journey is not coming to an end, but rather, it is just the beginning. We’ll just have to wait and see what he does next. Linsanity! 14 CINEVUE ARTICLES: LINSPIRATION
shown through a mosaic BY STEVEN HANYUN CONG When my straight friends think about LGBT issues, they usually imagine debates concerning Christianity and sexual orientation or white people with rainbow flags. These images represent a culture of queerness in the United States that ties being LGBT to being white, without regard for my position as a queer Asian Pacific Islander (API). When movies, TV shows, magazines, and blogs about being queer all reinforce this one depiction of the LGBT community, my experiences are silenced. In a society where being a middle-class, straight, white male is the norm, it means I have no safe space to call my own. This is why it is important that this year’s New York Asian American International Film Festival is screening some thought-provoking films about queer APIs. The Festival’s feature-length films include REQUIEME! and NOOR, which speak on the experiences of Filipino and Pakistani transgenders, and SOONGAVA, which is the story of love between two women in Nepal. The short films include HOW I LEARNED TO TELL A LIE (as part of TAIWAN CINEMA DAYS) and DAWN (as part of ENDURING ENCOUNTERS), which speak about the oppression that often intersects race, class, and sexuality, as well as HOWARD (as part of IN TIMES OF INNOCENCE), which depicts the life of a queer API man from the perspective of family memory. Together, these films create more of a mosaic than one image depicting the complexities of being queer. And by doing so, they de-essentialize representations of queerness to include narratives like my own. For some APIs, the struggles of being queer are not only experienced in white neighborhoods where being straight is the norm. It is also experienced domestically through parents who expect us to produce heirs. In HOWARD, the narrator presents her uncle’s demise through an interesting parallel. On one hand, his life was a stereotypical success story, complete with a degree from Stanford. On the other hand, he cut ties with his family and dated abusive boyfriends because he still “felt like a huge disappointment.” Apparently, being on a middle-class pathway does not mean white, middle-class comfort when that pathway is combined with the nuances of race and sexual orientation. On a broader level, the experiences of queer APIs capture the intersections of race, class, and sexuality. This is made apparent in DAWN, where a character’s passing glance at someone else is perceived as being born out of disdain. Why? Because the person doing the staring is API and the person receiving the stare is black. These identities are reduced to stereotypes loaded with class connotations. And when one of the characters finds out that the other is gay, there is an added identity dynamic that drastically changes their perceptions of each other. In the Filipino black comedy REQUIEME!, transgender woman designer Joanna is placed in a parallel narrative to that of her mother, a local Filipino politician who wants to rake up local pride by honoring a Filipino murderer who has killed an American designer. The homophobic social environment that the film portrays is juxtaposed with xenophobia. The exclusion of Joanna’s queerness and the political identity from the film’s narrative is apparently extended into its structure, and is especially evident in the scene where Joanna and her mother almost cross paths in an elevator, but miss each other by mere seconds.
CINEVUE ARTICLES: SHOWN THROUGH A MOSAIC 15
Many of these issues surrounding sexual orientation, race, gender, and class attach meanings to people’s bodies. In NOOR, there is an interesting contrast between the transgender protagonist Noor’s constant yearning for a mustache and a scene in which a man tries to grasp his breasts (while Joanna in REQUIEME! saves money for breast transplants). The character’s own body has not only become a marker of his personal transition into a man, but also his social attainment of that gender identity. The film presents how the body can become a physical site of social conflict, like the rites and languages that Noor encounters along the way. In SOONGAVA, the queer lead’s loving embrace with her partner is placed on the margins of a frame that focuses on her brother’s look of discontent. Afterwards, the silhouette of a man is contrasted with her partner’s look of apprehension in a scene that centers on the partner. Their bodies, sensual and energetic, are normal, intuitive, and desired by each other. The placement of the characters within this frame is a constant reminder of the family as one of the most domineering sources of objection to their relationship. When viewed together, it becomes clear that these films do not give definition to being queer and API, but rather, place them inside their respective frameworks. Instead, they present a multitude of queer API experiences. In many ways, that is appropriate. Our media saturates a white, middle class narrative of being LGBT at the expense of more diverse LGBT realities. To universalize any one image of the queer API would be just as problematic. This is why I am glad these films focus on the different ways sexual orientation can intersect with racial, class, and gender identity. It shows that an individual narrative can be part of a community’s story without embodying the entirety of that community. Many viewers will find that these films create a safe space for our queer API communities, which are often marginalized in both our society and culture. As a result, they exemplify how complex our communities can be.
LGBTQ PROGRAMS FEATURE SELECTION Noor (2012), REQUIEME! (2012), Soongava - Dance of the Orchids (2012)
SHORTS SELECTION Dawn, Howard
STEVEN HANYUNG CONG is a student at the University of California, Berkeley, majoring in Asian American and Asian Diaspora Studies and minoring in Education. He has been the Theme Program Assistant for the Asian Pacific American Theme House (APATH) and was a founding member of the student committee for the newly revived Asian American and Asian Diaspora Studies 20C course. He has also been involved with the East in Beats DeCal, the Asian Pacific Islander American Public Affairs Association, and hardboiled newsmagazine.
16 CINEVUE ARTICLES: SHOWN THROUGH A MOSAIC
sing, love, taiwan BY CHO TING-WU Taiwanese cinema has had many lives. Before the Taiwanese New Wave swept world cinema in the mid 1980s, Taiwanese cinema had gone from political propaganda to postwar Taiwanese melodrama, the Huangmei Operas, the “Healthy Realism” promoted by KMT government, and even genre films such as wenyi pian, wuxia, and social realist films. As Taiwan struggled with globalization when welcoming in the new millennium, Taiwanese cinema experienced its gloomy days. Since the mid 1990s, Hollywood blockbusters have taken over theaters in Taiwan, resulting in only 15 to 20 films being made in Taiwan each year. The depression continued until 2007, when the local production CAPE NO. 7 (2008) hit theaters and broke the box office record in Taiwan. Since then, Taiwan has developed its unique documentary culture to fill in for dramatic features at theaters. This year, AAIFF introduces the new generation of Taiwanese directors who not only inherited the naturalistic style of Taiwanese New Wave, but also the melodramatic tension and popular culture from early Taiwanese cinema. All features selected at this year’s festival depict everyday lives with local color under close observation through the camera lens, and with musical elements reminiscent of early popular cinema. CHANG Jung-Chi, director of TOUCH OF THE LIGHT (2012), attributes the thematic familiarity of different generations of filmmakers to the attachment and memory of the home soil. Moreover, the younger generation has brought with them new energy from transnational collaborations. The selection of Taiwanese films this year is a heartwarming surprise that crosses the boundaries of time, genre, and style, and covers the spectrum of Taiwanese cinema most accessible to audiences. In retrospect, LEE Hsing’s GOOD MORNING, TAIPEI (1979), starring Hong Kong pop singer Kenny Bee and Taiwanese star Joan LIN, tells the story of love and the struggle of youth with popular tunes and captures the urban landscapes and sounds of Taipei in the late 1970s. Director HOU Hsiao-Hsien and writer Hsiao Yeh both worked on the production of GOOD MORNING, TAIPEI and have helped continue the neo-realistic style and social concerns of the later Taiwanese New Wave. Thirty years later, Kenny Bee and LEE Lieh (the supporting actress in GOOD MORNING, TAIPEI), star in TOGETHER (2012) as a married couple who finds sparks of love and passion for life again through their extramarital affairs. Both films paint contemporary urban scenes with a realistic touch that turns the ordinary details of life into sweet and significant moments. HSU Chao-jen, director of TOGETHER, said he was deeply influenced by the New CINEVUE ARTICLES: SING, LOVE, TAIWAN 17
Wave directors whom he has worked with, such as Edward YANG and CHANG Tso-chi. In TOGETHER, humanist concerns are embedded in long takes and multifaceted characters as a gesture to the masters of Taiwanese New Wave. GO GRANDRIDERS is a 2012 Taiwanese blockbuster that shows not only the commercial appeal of documentary films, but also the unique documentary tradition of Taiwan. The documentary originated from a Hondao Senior Citizen’s Welfare Foundation project to help promote care for the elderly. Seventeen “grand-riders” with an average age of 81 were chosen to go on a 13-day journey around the island of Taiwan by motorcycle. Unexpectedly, the 15 minute short project was expanded into a feature-length documentary that rewrote box office history for Taiwanese documentaries and introduced the audience to a group of passionate, funny, and admirable “grand riders.” The field of documentary has also been the incubator for feature film directors. In Taiwan, the use of structures and dramatic components, the close observation, and the passion for challenges in making documentaries have enabled many young documentary filmmakers, such as Ahmeow LIN (director of JUMP! BOYS and JUMP ASHIN!) and HOU Chi-jan (director of TAIWAN BLACK MOVIES and WHEN A WOLF FALLS IN LOVE WITH A SHEEP), to become mature and innovative directors. The most stylistically creative film in the selection this year is the 2012 Taipei Film Festival’s Audience Choice Award winner, TOUCH OF THE LIGHT. Director CHANG Jung-Chi worked with French cinematographer Dylan DOYLE to play on the light and shadows that reflect the world of a visually impaired pianist, HUANG Yu-Siang. As a director who has previously worked in documentary filmmaking, CHANG brings attention to the details that help build the emotional dimensions of characters. After working with HUANG in OVERTURE (2005) and THE END OF THE TUNNEL (2008), a documentary and short film based on HUANG’s life story, CHANG has learned to turn the transient moments of documentary into crystallized memories. This was the first time CHANG was involved in the pre-production, post-production, and film promotion processes of a feature film, and he has found the Taiwanese film industry to be once again encouraging to different genre films and films of more commercial potential. Along with other emerging directors, CHANG has started to find the genre and film language that touch upon and communicate with the new generation of audiences. In the short film section, AAIFF introduces the TAIWAN CINEMA DAYS series, which focuses on the stylistic potential and self-reflexivity of new directors. The five works pay tribute to childhood in their own ways, some with animated colors in an imaginary world and others with cold neon lights in Taipei City. HSU Chang-Hao’s RAIN is a story about the loss of tradition and the discovery of hope. Coming from a Han Chinese background, HSU finds in Atayal stories the universal attachment to one’s cultural roots. The common concern for the human condition becomes a mirror for reflection and a channel for communication in a multicultural society like Taiwan. The film is not only about the dilemma of aboriginals in Taiwan, but also the search for myth as a bridge into the future for younger generations. For young directors like HSU, filmmaking is a way to change society, and therefore it is important to stay true to the story and the central message rather than follow the trends. For GUO Shang-Sing, director of HOW I LEARNED TO TELL A LIE, the landscapes of Taiwan and the works of the Taiwanese New Wave directors are the nature and nurture for young directors. Moreover, he believes that the film market is unpredictable and irrelevant to the quality and depth of works. GUO’s work shows great ambition in its visual styles and themes. The saturated color defamiliarizes the rural landscapes of Taiwan for local audiences, and yet the long, cold gaze into the characters is reminiscent of the spirit of Taiwanese New Wave directors—especially that of Edward YANG—a tragic revelation of the absurdity of a disciplinary society. As a university lecturer who interacts with young art students everyday, GUO is less optimistic when it comes to the future of the Taiwanese film industry. However, as GUO discusses filmmaking in his interview with AAIFF, he still expresses passion for it and stays true to his ideal, which is common for all filmmakers in Taiwan, regardless of their generation. “Instead of trying to balance art with entertainment, the producers should market every film as if it is their own unique child,” GUO says with sparks in his eyes, “with unconditional love.”
TAIWAN CINEMA DAYS PROGRAM FEATURE SELECTION Go Grandriders (2012), Good Morning, Taipei (1979), Together (2012), Touch of the Light (2012)
SHORTS SELECTION The Box, How I Learned to Tell a Lie, Rain, Seed, When the Cold Wind Blows
CHO TING-WU is a PhD candidate at the Department of Cinema Studies at NYU. She has been working as a committee member for the North American Taiwan Studies Association (NATSA) since 2013, and has written on topics of translocality, aesthetics, and subjectivity in the cinema of HOU Hsiao-Hsien, HU Tai-li, and other Taiwanese filmmakers. She is also researching the relationships between Asian independent films and international film festivals.
18 CINEVUE ARTICLES: SING, LOVE, TAIWAN
obsessions and transitions BY GIL QUITO The following is a condensed excerpt from a biographical survey written by Gil Quito as part of Asian CineVision’s and the Philippine Consulate General’s tribute to Marilou Diaz-Abaya at this year’s Asian American International Film Festival. When the Fukuoka Asian Cultures Prize presented its 2001 award to Marilou Diaz-Abaya, it acknowledged what her countrymen had long recognized, that hers was one of the more distinguished voices in contemporary Asian cinema. Part of the citation reads: “She conveys the Asian spirit to the world through works that depict the joy and sadness of common people with great vitality. Her superb films are indictments that harshly examine the reality of the Philippines today, and are filled with warmth and affection for the common people, surviving on their strength.” Marilou Diaz-Abaya had been producing meticulously crafted films for over twenty years and would continue to do so for a decade more, even as she battled with illness in her last five years. Her death in late 2012 at the age of 57 was widely mourned in her country and those parts of the world where her works had captured the imagination of filmgoers and signposted the burgeoning vitality of Asian cinema with a Philippine complexion. Though she came to be known for her depictions on film of the struggles of the disadvantaged, Abaya by her own account never thought of a career in film while growing up in convent schools for the elite. Her parents were both lawyers who were also art collectors. Abaya recalled: “We were forced to take up classical piano, classical ballet, the works (but) … I felt inadequate as a musician, as a dancer, as a theater person, as a painter.” It was only later, when she became a film director and she could call on these other disciplines to bear on her work, that Abaya fully realized the value of her youthful immersion in the classic arts. She had never been a film buff growing up, being more interested in literature and history. Yet unbeknownst to her, two events were conspiring to turn her path towards a life of cinema with all its attendant perils, hopeless struggles, and sudden illuminations. In 1972, her convent school, St. Theresa’s, closed down its college division when the nuns decided that they could play a more practical role in society by diverting resources to missionary work among the indigent. She ended up enrolling late in the even more exclusive Assumption Convent. She wanted to major in Asian Civilization, but by then the History Department, like all others but one, was already closed. That sole remaining department was Communication Arts, and she ended up registering there with the thought of just doing one semester and shifting afterwards. The Com Arts chairperson somehow managed to keep her in the department, where her love for theater acting grew. The other event that turned her path towards film was meeting a photography bug, Manolo Abaya, when she was 15. With wry amusement, Abaya recalled her early encounters with the movie camera: “Every time we’d go on a date, a still camera or super 8 would always be sitting in the car. While CINEVUE ARTICLES: MARILOU DIAZ-ABAYA, OBSESSIONS AND TRANSITIONS 19
walking in the park, he’d be shooting me. He’d be shooting everything. I found it very annoying.” In college, she directed her first film - a dramatization of the singkil dance - and this was when she got an inkling that film was a medium where she could combine all her interests and transmute the artistic frustrations she had experienced growing up. Abaya studied filmmaking at the Loyola Marymount in Los Angeles and, alongside Manolo whom she had by then married, at the London International Film School. After they finished their courses, they returned to Manila and set up an indie film company, Cine Filipinas. They started looking around for material and chose a comics novel by Pablo S. Gomez, a prolific serial comics and screenplay writer. Abaya’s steady hand is apparent in her first feature film Tanikala/Chains (1980) with its understated performances and keen attention to production design. But though Abaya and her collaborators demonstrated that they could put a film together, they knew nothing of marketing. The film flopped at the box office and the Abayas lost a large part of their families’ money. Abaya was devastated. She felt like a reject, a stranger in her own country. She began to question her privileged upbringing, separated from the masses she had sought to reach. It was at this point that the Abayas met Jesse Ejercito, an independent producer who said that he liked the way Tanikala looked. He soon engaged Abaya to direct a film on any story she wanted. Ejercito, who was very particular about scriptwriters, asked her to propose one for their project. She named a writer she had heard about but whom she didn’t know and whose works she had never seen: Ricky Lee. Thus began her first film with Lee who would write or co-write ten of the twenty-one theatrical feature films that would comprise Abaya’s filmography, including some her early masterworks and the high-budget productions of her later period. As she searched for a story to develop, Abaya focused on the experience of a college friend at Assumption Convent, the daughter of a prominent family, who got married shotgun-style to her boyfriend after getting pregnant. As Lee and Abaya worked on the screenplay, the story deepened and broadened almost journalistically into an examination of current social attitudes about the role of women in Philippine society. The film’s original title was Cariño Brutal, but Jesse Ejercito persuaded Abaya to drop the first word for more impact. Thus began the famously one-titled trilogy of seminal feminist films by Abaya and Lee: Brutal, Moral, and Karnal. Brutal (1980) premiered at the Metro Manila Film Festival, where it became a surprise box office hit, coming out from nowhere and without a big studio machinery promoting it; and it garnered the most trophies at awards night. It went on to rack up a host of nominations and awards from industry and critics’ award-giving bodies. Abaya, just months earlier lost in limbo and feeling rejected with Tanikala’s failure, had suddenly arrived. One sure sign was when she got an envelope in her office one day that contained a memo pad with the letterhead of Ishmael Bernal, the brilliant director who, with Lino Brocka, was then leading the Second Golden Age of Philippine cinema that they started in the mid-70s. It said: “Congratulations for a brilliant movie, Ishmael Bernal. PS. I’ll see you one of these days at Jack’s.” Soon, they met each other at that sleazy artists’ hangout. Bernal sat himself in front of Abaya and gave her another card of congratulations. Their first chat went on from 10 PM to 7 AM. This flamboyant French-speaking man with an air of hauteur intrigued her. She wanted to enter his universe of Ermita artists, Malate intellectuals, and books forbidden by the nuns. The interest was more than reciprocated. From then on, Bernal became Abaya’s mentor, closest travel companion, harshest yet most supportive critic, and for all intents and purposes a member of her family. She recalled that Bernal was unafraid of scandal and uncertainty: “There’s also another thing that I learned from him… and also from Lino (Brocka)… and that was… to love art is to embrace poverty and uncertainty… and not to be afraid of the uncertainties of an artist’s lifestyle… to sacrifice security, material wealth, regular family… to become a dedicated filmmaker which is also to say, to become a public servant, at the beck and call of the artist as a public citizen.” The full and uncondensed version of this excerpt and its continuation can be found on Asian CineVision’s online publication, CineVue.
MARILOU DIAZ-ABAYA TRIBUTE FEATURE SELECTION Marilou Diaz-Abaya: Filmmaker on a Voyage (2012) by Mona Lisa Yuchengco, Karnal (1983) by Marilou Diaz-Abaya
GIL QUITO is a freelance writer and producer based in New York City. He served as a long-time staff writer/producer for CBS News. He was the associate producer for the Philippine-American feature-length film AMERICAN ADOBO. His writing credits include the screenplays for feature film classics THE RITES OF MAY (ITIM) and MERIKA, the stageplay WHITE PHOENIX (PUTING TIMAMANUKIN), and teleplays for the dramatic anthology BALINTATAW. He is a producer for Sheron DAYOC’s recent shorts AS HE SLEEPS and THE CHICKEN AND THE PINK GORILLA (in post-production). He has served as panelist for major Philippine film retrospectives at Lincoln Center and screenwriting/playwriting juror for the New York Foundation for the Arts.
20 CINEVUE ARTICLES: MARILOU DIAZ-ABAYA, OBSESSIONS AND TRANSITIONS
FESTIVAL SCHEDULE & EVENTS
LINSANITY 7:30 PM | AS
INNOCENT BLOOD 3:30PM | AFA CH TOGETHER 5:30PM | NYIT
THURS 7.25 INTO THE PENUMBRA SHORTS PROGRAM 6:30PM | AFA CH CHINK 9:00PM | AFA CH
SOMEONE I USED TO KNOW 6:00PM | AFA CH SOONGAVA - DANCE OF THE ORCHIDS 8:00PM | NYIT
WHEN I WALK 6:30PM | AFA CH
FORGETTING TO KNOW YOU 1:00PM | AFA CH
MARILOU DIAZ ABAYA: FILMMAKER ON A VOYAGE 7:00PM | PCG
INNOCENTS 3:00PM | AFA CH
AN UNBOUNDED ROMANCE SHORTS PROGRAM 7:30PM | AFA MD REQUIEME! 9:00PM | AFA CH TAIWAN CINEMA DAYS SHORTS PROGRAM 10:00PM | AFA MD
AFA CH AFA MD AS MOCA
MUMBAI’S KING 5:00PM | AFA CH HAFU: THE MIXED-RACE EXPERIENCE IN JAPAN 5:30PM | AFA MD PECULIAR VACATION AND OTHER ILLNESSES 7:00PM | AFA CH KARNAL 8:00PM | AFA MD
Anthology Film Archives Courthouse Theater - 32 Second Avenue Anthology Film Archives Maya Deren Theater - 32 Second Avenue Asia Society - 725 Park Avenue Museum of Chinese in America - 215 Centre Street
FOR YOUTH BY YOUTH
NOOR 6:30PM | AFA CH
SHORTS PROGRAM 5:00PM | MOCA
STEVE CHONG FINDS OUT THAT SUICIDE IS A BAD IDEA 7:00PM | AFA MD
ANIMAL STYLE REVISITED: SKATE SHORTS PROGRAM 8:30PM | AFA CH
HARANA 6:30PM | AFA CH
HIM, HERE, AFTER 9:30PM | AFA MD
GO GRANDRIDERS 9:00PM | AFA CH
THURS 8.1 BEST FRIENDS FOREVER 6:30PM | AFA CH ENDURING ENCOUNTERS SHORTS PROGRAM 7:00PM | AFA MD
KOREAN WAR REMEMBERED SPECIAL PROGRAM 1:30PM | AFA MD IN TIMES OF INNOCENCE SHORTS PROGRAM 3:30PM | AFA MD TOUCH OF THE LIGHT 4:30PM | AS
BEYOND THE MAT 8:30PM | AFA CH GOOD MORNING, TAIPEI
OUR HOMELAND 7:00PM | AS
9:00PM | AFA MD
TO BE ANNOUNCED Please visit AAIFF.org for more information regarding this year’s program schedule and events
MOMI NYIT PCG
Museum of the Moving Image - 36-01 35th Avenue New York Institute of Technology - 1871 Broadway Philippine Consulate General - 556 Fifth Avenue
SHOLAY - 3D MOMI
EVENTS SAT 7.27
72 HOUR SHOOTOUT 1:00 PM | AFA CH | $12
COMMUNITY PARTNER Asian American Film Lab
AAIFF is proud to co-present with the Asian American Film Lab the 72 Hour Shootout screening and awards ceremony. Contestants are given 72 hours to write, shoot, and edit a 5-minute short film on a surprise theme. The top ten films of this year’s competition will be revealed.
WORK-IN-PROGRESS WORKSHOP 5:00 PM | MOCA | FREE, RSVP ONLINE Each year, AAIFF selects one work-in-progress from the submissions for a dynamic workshop. This year we’ve chosen June INUZUKA’s DHARMA ROAD: A PERSONAL JOURNEY, a documentary short about the filmmaker’s journey to Wyoming where her great uncle, a former mine worker, was buried and where she discovers the buried history of what were once Wyoming’s “Jap Towns.”
SCREENPLAY READING 5:00 PM | NYU A/P/A INSTITUTE (8 WASHINGTON MEWS, NEW YORK, NY 10003) | $10 AAIFF’13 embraces the return of Asian American International Screenplay Competition to discover the next classic. The winner of AAISC’13 gets a reading by local NYC actors on Aug 1st. The event is co-presented by the Asian American Film Lab. Go to AAIFF.org for location and updates.
MUSIC NIGHT OUT 10:00 PM | FAT BUDDHA (212 AVENUE A, NEW YORK, NY 10009) | FREE Featuring the best music videos from independent Asian and Asian American artists. Come drink and dance the night away with AAIFF’13! For full list of music videos, please see reverse page. 21+ only event
24 FESTIVAL EVENTS
BOX OFFICE TICKET PRICES
HOW TO BUY TICKETS
REGULAR PRESENTATIONS General $12 Members/Students/Seniors/Disabled $10 *Must show valid ID if member, student, or senior
ONLINE AAIFF.org Tickets are available until 9:00PM the day before a film screening Minimal processing fees will apply Save on processing fees by sharing event via Facebook and Twitter
OPENING NIGHT PRESENTATION & GALA Screening, Q&A with filmmaker and producers, Gala reception with chef’s tasting tables, Open bar, and Gala gift bag VIP All Stars - VIP reception before the screening & priority seating $250 General $75 Members/Students/Seniors/Disabled $65 CENTERPIECE PRESENTATION & RECEPTION General $20 Members/Students/Seniors/Disabled $15 CLOSING NIGHT PRESENTATION & AAIFF AWARDS CEREMONY & GALA General $40 Members/Students/Seniors/Disabled $35
BY PHONE 212-989-0017 Monday-Friday, 12pm-5pm EST only Processing fee of $1.50 per ticket will apply Please have credit card ready IN PERSON Available at respective theaters July 24 August 3 Venue box office opens one hour prior to first program of day and closes half hour after start of last program of day at each venue Cash or credit card only For more info: www.AAIFF.org For inquiries: firstname.lastname@example.org
MUSIC NIGHT OUT PLAYLIST CLOWNS AND HEROES DIRECTOR CHEN JIE Song by ZHANG JIE
LOVE, I DON’T DARE SAY IT DIRECTOR CHEN JIE Song by ZHANG JIE
TANG ORK DIRECTOR AARON MAN Song by HUGO
FUKUSHIMA DIRECTOR DEREK LIU Song by MAGNETIC NORTH & TAIYO NA
MOON HOOCH DIRECTOR IEMI HERNANDEZ-KIM
WAITING FOR GODOT DIRECTOR CAITLIN PASHALEK Song by JANINA GAVANKAR
HOME: WORD DIRECTOR WONGFUPRODUCTIONS Song by MAGNETIC NORTH & TAIYO NA ft. SAM KANG KOKOLOGY DIRECTOR DAWN CHAN
PHOSPHENES DIRECTOR CRAIG NISPEROS Song by MITCHELL GREY SUPREME PAIN FOR THE TYRANT DIRECTORS CHENG WEN-TANG & CHANG YIH-FENG Song by CHTHONIC
YOYOYO DIRECTOR VINCENT LIN Song by BLUE BELT
FESTIVAL BOX OFFICE 25
AA COA CR DA DOC FE
FR HIS ID LGBTQ PE
SP TCD W
AA COA CR DA DOC FE
FR HIS ID LGBTQ PE
SP TCD W
best friends forever beyond the mat chink forgetting to know you go grandriders GOOD MORNING, TAIPEI hafu: the mixed-race experience in japan harana him, here, after innocents innocent blood karnal linsanity marilou-diaz abaya: filmmaker on a voyage mumbaiâ€™s king noor our homeland peculiar vacation and other illnesses requieme! sholay - 3D someone I used to know soongava - dance of the orchids steve chong finds out that suicide is a bad idea together touch of the light when I walk
SHORTS PROGRAMS animal style revisited an unbounded romance enduring encounters for youth by youth in times of innocence into the penumbra korean war remembered taiwan cinema days 26 FILM GENRES/THEMES/SUBJECTS
FESTIVAL VENUES ANTHOLOGY FILM ARCHIVES (AFA) 32 Second Avenue New York, NY 10003 ASIA SOCIETY (AS) 725 Park Avenue New York, NY 10021 NEW YORK INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY AUDITORIUM ON BROADWAY (NYIT) 1871 Broadway New York, NY 10023 MUSEUM OF CHINESE IN AMERICA (MOCA) 215 Centre Street New York, NY 10013 MUSEUM OF THE MOVING IMAGE (MMI) 36-01 35th Avenue Astoria, NY 11106 PHILIPPINE CONSULATE GENERAL (PCG) 556 Fifth Aveunue New York, NY 10036
FOR USE WITH CHART ON REVERSE PAGE
A AA COA CR DA DOC
Asian Asian American Coming of Age Crime Differently Abled Documentary
FE FR HIS ID LGBTQ PE
Female Experiences/Filmmakers Family/Relationships Historical Identity Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer Personal
RF SI SP TCD W
Road Film Social Issues Sports Taiwan Cinema Days War
FESTIVAL VENUES 27
NOMINEES EMERGING DIRECTOR IN NARRATIVE FEATURE LOY ARCENAS: REQUIEME! REQUIEME! is LOY ARCENAS’ second film. His first film, NINO, ˜ was co-winner of the Best Film Award in the New Currents section of the Busan International Film Festival 2011. ARCENAS has an established career as a theatrical set designer as well as a director. For his design work, he has received the Obie for Sustained Excellence of Scenic Design, the Drama Desk Award, the Bay Area Critics Circle Awards, the Jefferson Award, the L.A. Drama Critics Circle Award, and the Michael Merritt Award for Design Collaboration. His directing work in New York includes THE ROMANCE OF MAGNO RUBIO, for which he received his second Obie. BREA GRANT: BEST FRIENDS FOREVER BREA GRANT is an actress best known for her roles on HEROES, DEXTER, and HALLOWEEEN 2. She received national attention for both her acting and “geek” stardom in such publications as New York Post and CNN.com. Brea’s love for the independent film scene has put her in many indies including HOMECOMING, for which she won the Best Actress award at the FirstGlance Film Festival. Brea wrote, directed, and starred in her own indie apocalyptic feature BEST FRIENDS FOREVER which premiered at Slamdance to great reviews.
ROX CHAO-JEN HSU: TOGETHER ROX CHAO-JEN HSU was born on 2 August 1970 in Taipei. He has been working in the film industry since 1989 and has been assistant director to filmmakers such as Edward YANG, CHANG Tso-chi, LEE Kang-sheng and TAKAHISA Zeze. In 2003, HSU directed his television movie debut, IN THE AIR. Since then, he has made many successful Taiwanese television series. TOGETHER is HSU’s first full-length feature film.
QUAN LING: FORGETTING TO KNOW YOU QUAN LING, born in Chongqing, now living in Hong Kong, published her first short novel in 1999, and has persisted in writing short novels ever since. Her works have been published among the magazines such as Writer, Harvest and People’s Literature. Her Chu Nv Gong Mu and Ha Dai Shi Pian Zhong De Shen Mi Zhong Jie were selected as one of the best short novels of the year by Chinese Novelists Association. In 2009, she first founded “the Coffee House Short Novel Prize.” FORGETTING TO KNOW YOU is her first film, which got the “Most Creative Award” of CFPC in the Shanghai International Film Festival 2010. YANG YONGHI: OUR HOMELAND YANG YONGHI is a second-generation Korean resident who was born in Osaka, Japan, on November 11, 1964. She belongs to the ethnic Korean minority community in Japan, many descendants of Koreans brought there during Japan’s 1910-1945 colonial rule of Korea. YANG studied at the Korea University in Tokyo and The New School, where she gained a master’s in media studies. She is fluent in three languages. Her famed documentary DEAR PYONGYANG picked up the Jury Special Award at the World Cinema section for documentaries at the 2006 Sundance Film Festival, and the NETPAC Award at the 2006 Berlin International Film Festival. ÇAGLA ZENCIRCI & GUILLAUME GIOVANETTI: NOOR ÇAGLA ZENCIRCI (Ankara,1976, at left) and GUILLAUME GIOVANETTI (Lyon,1978, at right), the directorial duo based in Paris, Istanbul, and Lahore, started their journey into filmmaking with short fictions and documentaries shot in the Middle East, Central Asia, and Europe, and have been screened and awarded in more than 50 festivals (Berlinale, Barcelona, Rome, Cork, Brest, Istanbul, etc.) and have broadcasted on several European TV channels (France’s Planete, Spain’s TVE, Eurochannel, etc). The co-directors have recently finished CAMERA OBSCURA, a feature documentary shot in Istanbul, where they followed blind people writing and directing their own short films, for several weeks, which premiered in the 29th Istanbul Film Festival. AWARD NOMINATIONS: NOMINEES 29
NOMINEES EMERGING DIRECTOR IN DOCUMENTARY FEATURE BENITO BAUTISTA: HARANA BENITO BAUTISTA is an independent filmmaker based in San Francisco, California. He travels back and forth from San Francisco to the Philippines to create his films. He founded Wanderlustproject Films in 2001 and has since made short and feature narratives and documentaries. Benito is also the co-founder of IndieEAST, a film series dedicated to promoting and exhibiting visionary and exceptional Filipino independent films in major cities in the United States.
JASON DASILVA: WHEN I WALK Now Brooklyn-based, JASON DASILVA has been a prolific filmmaker for the past 10 years. He has directed four short films (OLIVIA’S PUZZLE, A SONG FOR DANIEL, TWINS OF MANKALA, and FIRST STEPS) and two feature-length documentary films (LEST WE FORGET and WHEN I WALK). OLIVIA’S PUZZLE premiered at the 2003 Sundance Festival and qualified for an Academy Award. He also produced SHOCKING AND AWFUL, a film installation on the anti-Iraq war movement, exhibited at the 2006 Whitney Biennial. He recently produced and directed an Op-Doc (opinion documentary) for the New York Times called THE LONG WAIT, published in January 2013. DASILVA’s latest film, WHEN I WALK, was an Official Selection of the 2013 Sundance Film Festival and won Best Canadian Feature at HotDocs 2013.
HUA TIEN-HAU: GO GRANDRIDERS Born in 1981 in Taipei, HUA TIEN-HAU has engaged in the production of documentaries, commercials and promotional videos since 2002. He harbors the creative philosophy that film is but a medium through which to transmit ideas. The emphasis is on the characters and their spirit. Through his intricate and sensitive powers of observation and his use of a collage of images and music, he is able to capture the true sense and emotion of the moment.
MEGUMI NISHIKURA & LARA PEREZ TAKAGI: HAFU: THE MIXED-RACE EXPERIENCE IN JAPAN MEGUMI NISHIKURA (Producer/Director/Videographer, at left), a film graduate of New York University, regularly produces documentaries for the United Nations and various NGOs on global and social issues. She recently began to re-explore issues of multiculturalism, diversity, and identity. Her passion is to use the medium of ﬁlm to remind ourselves of our common humanity. LARA PEREZ TAKAGI (Director/Co-Producer/Videographer, at right) was born in Tokyo and raised in various cities around the world. Passionate about filmmaking, she returned to Tokyo to create her first art-documentary MADRID X TOKYO. Curious about the experiences of other hafus like herself, she jumped on board to start the production of HAFU. 30 AWARD NOMINATIONS: NOMINEES
NOMINEES EXCELLENCE IN DOCUMENTARY SHORT FILMMAKING SAMANTHA CHAN: MORE THAN A FACE IN THE CROWD Samantha CHAN is a New York based filmmaker, who grew up the San Francisco Bay Area. Sami earned her BA degree in Anthropology and Documentary from New York University. She has directed and produced several short student films. MORE THAN A FACE IN THE CROWD marks the second time that she has explored her family’s history and the history of Chinese Americans through film. Her previous work includes a short documentary about Locke, California, the last surviving Chinese town in America, and a short portrait film of illustrator James YANG.
CHEN DONGNAN: THE TRAIL FROM XINJIANG CHEN Dongnan hails from Xi’an China. Having received her MA in documentary from New York University, she is currently active as a journalist and an independent documentary filmmaker in New York City. Her works have been seen at 2012 HotDocs and media networks like PBS, NBC, NYC TV, and Sinovision TV.
DEANN BORSHAY LIEM & RAMSAY LIEM: MEMORY OF FORGOTTEN WAR Deann Borshay LIEM is the Producer/Director/Writer of the Emmy Award-nominated documentary, FIRST PERSON PLURAL and the award-winning film, IN THE MATTER OF CHA JUNG HEE, both of which were broadast nationally on PBS. A Sundance Institute Fellow and a recipient of a Rockefeller Film/ Video Fellowship, DEANN is currently completing GEOGRAPHIES OF KINSHIP - THE KOREAN ADOPTION STORY. Ramsay LIEM is professor emeritus of psychology and visiting scholar at the Center for Human Rights and International Justice at Boston College. He is responsible for the oral history project “Korean American Memories of the Korean War” and served as project director for the multi-media exhibit “Still Present Pasts: Korean Americans and the Forgotten War.”
CAROLYN WONG: HOWARD
Carolyn WONG is a Toronto based filmmaker from Victoria, B.C. Carolyn has over 20 years’ experience in the Toronto film industry, which includes work as a cinematographer on documentaries, independent dramatic, and experimental shorts, and as director/DP on art music videos that have been broadcasted and shown at national and international festivals.
AWARD NOMINATIONS: NOMINEES 31
NOMINEES EXCELLENCE IN FICTION SHORT FILMMAKING MIN DING: THREE LIGHT BULBS
Born and raised in China, Min DING immigrated to the United States at the age of 17, where she received her BFA in Graphic Design and later worked for the award-winning new media company Funny Garbage in New York City. She received her M.F.A. in Film Directing at Columbia University School of the Arts in 2013. Min was the recipient of the Columbia Women-in-Film Fellowship and the Student Production Grant from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. THREE LIGHT BULBS is now in the permanent collection at the Museum of the Moving Image and showing at many film festivals.
CHRISTIAN GOSSETT: ONLY CHILD
Christian GOSSETT’s graphic novel background informs his approach to filmmaking in every way, resulting in a distinctly original voice. He was one of the first designers hired by Lucasfilm Licensing to retro-design the STAR WARS galaxy in 1993. GOSSETT’s character and concept designs have been sought by such visionaries as Sir Richard TAYLOR, Peter JACKSON, and Tim BURTON’s ALICE IN WONDERLAND. His ongoing project, THE RED STAR, is one of the most critically acclaimed independent comics’ series of the decade, has successfully launched as a PS2 / PS3 game, and is now in development as a feature film at Warner Brothers.
LEON LE: DAWN
Born and raised in Saigon, Vietnam, Leon LE moved to the States at the age of 13. An accomplished professional dancer/singer/actor, he has performed everywhere from Disneyworld, dinner theaters, regionals, national tours to the Broadway stage. He also appeared in numerous TV Series/Films/Commercials in the US and Vietnam. As a selftaught photographer/filmmaker, he has a passion for telling stories and expressing his views through images. DAWN marks Leon’s second short film. Currently he is working on his first feature film.
NOBUYUKI MIYAKE: NO LONGER THERE
Nobuyuki MIYAKE was born and raised in Kyoto, Japan. While attending MFA program at City College of New York, he wrote, directed and produced short films, including 116, which received awards in the US and Japan. His short film THE PORTRAIT received Semi Grand Prix at Yamagata International Movie Festival, and Grand Prix at Yasujiro Ozu Tateshina Kogen Film Festival. LOST AND FOUND, his first feature project, won the Best Picture Award at Austin Film Festival 2008 and shown internationally. His latest work is a short film called RAFT, which was produced by Agency for Cultural Affairs of Japan and screened internationally. 32 AWARD NOMINATIONS: NOMINEES
NOMINEES EXCELLENCE IN FICTION SHORT FILMMAKING (CONTINUED) CHRIS LAM and EUNSOON JEONG: COUCH AND POTATO Chris LAM is a recent graduate from San Jose State University’s Animation/Illustration program. He completed his final two years at SJSU working with peers and faculty on over ten animated short films. With a concentration in CG character animation, Chris aspires to collaborate with other artist and animators to create endearing films and memorable stories. Eunsoo JEONG is a student at San Jose State University (SJSU) majoring in Animation/ Illustration. She has worked on various student animation shorts at SJSU as background artists. In 2010, her experience at California State University Summer Arts’ Toy Design class sparked her interest to pursue 3D computer modeling as well as building physical sets and toys. With her newly found interest, she continuously attempts to merge both forms of modeling and set construction into her work.
JENNIFER PHANG: ADVANTAGEOUS Jennifer PHANG wrote and directed the award-winning feature HALF-LIFE, which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival, screened at SXSW, and premiered internationally at the Tokyo International Film Festival as a Grand Prix Nominee. LOOK FOR WATER, PHANG’s follow-up feature film project, was selected for the Sundance Screenwriters Labs and won the L’Oréal Woman of Worth Vision Award at Tribeca All Access and has received an Annenberg Feature Film Grant and a Cinereach Grant to support its further development.
AWARD NOMINATIONS: NOMINEES 33
JURORS EMERGING DIRECTOR FOR NARRATIVE FEATURE
A native of Hong Kong and a published photographer at 18, RADIUM CHEUNG took a detour from photography and spent the next 15 years in the U.S. learning the craft of cinematography through working as a gaffer on many acclaimed motion pictures. He then began to pursue the study of Tibetan Buddhism and Zen Buddhism which led him on another 2-year quest to unlearn all that he’s ever learned. Under the influence of his Buddhist re(un)-learning, CHEUNG lensed director Sean BAKER’s international festival hit and Spirit Award winner STARLET and recently completed photography on prolific American writer/director Adam RAPP’s forthcoming picture WHY NOW.
ERIC NAKAMURA graduated from UCLA with a degree in East Asian Studies. He got his start in magazine making through a stint at the Palisadian Post newspaper but worked on numerous punk rock zines in the early 90s. In addition to founding and publishing issues of Giant Robot magazine since 1994, curating the art galleries, and picking products for the shop (Giant Robot) and gallery (GR2), located on Sawtelle Blvd in West Los Angeles, Nakamura has made an independent movie called Sunsets in 1997. He consults companies on Asian popular culture and designs t-shirts for the Giant Robot brand. Recently, Nakamura curated a series of museum exhibitions, “Giant Robot Biennale” at the Japanese American National Museum in Los Angeles, and continues to work on projects outside of Giant Robot for different communities and entities. Giant Robot continues to be a leading source of Asian popular culture and is often considered a lifestyle brand for fans of animation, art, and design.
ELIZABETH SHELDON is Vice President of Kino Lorber, Inc. where she oversees acquisitions and business development as well as the company’s educational division. Recent acquisitions include: 5 BROKEN CAMERAS (Oscar nominated for Best Feature Documentary 2012), PUTIN’S KISS, and EL BULLI. SHELDON received her master’s degree from Princeton University, is a Fulbright Scholar and a graduate of Mills College. She is a frequent panelist, guest lecturer at Hofstra University, Rice University, and Stanford University, contributing writer and juror to film festivals, as well as the recipient of three NEH Film Development grants. She is a master rower and was recently recognized as one of the ‘50 Most Powerful People’ in the documentary world by POV.
PATRICK WANG (director/actor) graduated from MIT with a degree in Economics and a concentration in Music and Theatre Arts. As an economist, he has studied energy policy, game theory, and income inequality. As a theater director, he has specialized in classical verse drama and new works. A collection of his short drama was published as The Monologue Plays. His performance in M. Butterfly was the subject of Leah Hager Cohen’s book, The Stuff of Dreams. His first film, IN THE FAMILY, was nominated for an Independent Spirit Award and was a critic’s pick of the New York Times, Time Out Chicago, Chicago Reader, Time Out New York, New York Magazine, Flavorpill and NOW Magazine. WANG received film site Hammer to Nail’s 2011 Golden Hammer award, was one of Instinct Magazine’s Leading Men of 2012, and was featured in Filmmaker Magazine’s 2012 list of 25 New Faces of Independent Film. 34 AWARD NOMINATIONS: JURORS
JURORS EXCELLENCE IN DOCUMENTARY SHORT FILMMAKING & EMERGING DIRECTOR FOR DOCUMENTARY FILMMAKING RYAN HARRINGTON is the Director of Documentary Programming for the Tribeca Film Institute, where he provides grants to up to 45 feature documentary projects annually, while developing filmmaker training labs and workshops world-wide. Throughout his tenure at TFI, he has supported over 200 films and over 550 filmmakers. Previously, HARRINGTON managed production at A&E IndieFilms, the theatrical documentary arm of the A&E Television Networks, where he championed the films AMERICAN TEEN and MY KID COULD PAINT THAT and the Oscar-nominated MURDERBALL and JESUS CAMP. He recently produced Participant Media’s A PLACE AT THE TABLE, which opened in US theatres earlier this year.
YUNAH HONG is an award-winning filmmaker based in New York City. Her latest documentary, ANNA MAY WONG: IN HER OWN WORDS (2010) premiered at Busan International Film Festival and was broadcasted on PBS in May 2013, reaching more than two hundred stations across the country. She co-authored with Prof. Peter X. FENG the article about Anna May WONG, “A Twentieth Century Actress”, published in Quarterly Review of Film and Video, Routledge 2006. She graduated from Seoul National University where she studied art history, photography, and design and earned an M. A. in Communication Arts at the New York Institute of Technology. While working as a designer, she began to experiment with video and has made eight films so far, including BETWEEN THE LINES (2001), BECOMING AN ACTRESS IN NEW YORK (2000), etc. Her feature screenplay, MONDAY, was an official selection of Busan’s PPP in 1998.
LYNNE SACHS makes films, videos, installations, and web projects that explore the intricate relationship between personal observations and broader historical experiences by weaving together poetry, collage, painting, politics, and layered sound design. Supported by fellowships from the Rockefeller and Jerome Foundations and the New York State Council on the Arts, Lynne’s films have screened at the New York Film Festival, the Sundance Film Festival and Toronto’s Images Festival as well as a five-film survey at the Buenos Aires Film Festival. The San Francisco Cinematheque recently published a monograph with four original essays in conjunction with a full retrospective of Lynne’s work. In 2012, Lynne began a series of live film performances of YOUR DAY IS MY NIGHT which she then premiered in 2013 in the Documentary Fortnight at the Museum of Modern Art. Lynne teaches experimental film and video at New York University and The New School.
DR. YING ZHU, a professor in and Chair of the Department of Media Culture at the College of Staten Island-CUNY, is the author/editor of eight books, including TWO BILLION EYES: THE STORY OF CHINA CENTRAL TELEVISION (New Press, 2012). A leading scholar on Chinese cinema and media studies, her writings have appeared in major academic journals, books, and publications such as The Atlantic, The New York Times, and The Wall Street Journal. ZHU is a recipient of a National Endowment for the Humanities Fellowship (2006) and American Council of Learned Societies Fellowship (2008). She reviews manuscripts for major publications in the U.S. and U.K. and evaluates research proposals for research foundations in Australia, Canada, Hong Kong, the U.K., and the U.S. ZHU also produces current affairs documentary films, including GOOGLE VS. CHINA (2011) and CHINA: FROM CARTIER TO CONFUCIUS (2012). She is working on a new project concerning Sino-Hollywood courtship. AWARD NOMINATIONS: JURORS 35
JURORS EXCELLENCE IN FICTION SHORT FILMMAKING PEILIN KUO is a filmmaker born and raised in Taiwan. In 2002 She relocated to New York and has been based here to pursue her career as a filmmaker. Peilin’s first short film EVERYDAY won the Someone to Watch 2005 award from CineWomen NY and was broadcasted by PBS Reel New York in 2007. Her latest short film PRESCOTT PLACE was screened at the 64th Cannes Film Festival ShortFilm Corner. Her works have been shown and awarded at numerous film festivals including Sundance, Cleveland International, Mexico International, AAIFF, Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival, etc. Peilin’s current project in production is her first feature film, A THOUSAND DEATHS, a biopic about the first Chinese American star Anna May WONG. ANDREW K. LI is a New York-based filmmaker. He has produced numerous narrative films that have been screened at festivals internationally, including MoMA and Lincoln Center, and branded entertainment for the I LOVE NEW YORK tourism campaign. He has worked for Producer Michael HAUSMAN (BROKEBACK MOUNTAIN, GANGS OF NEW YORK), Larry MEISTRICH (YOU CAN COUNT ON ME), Hong Kong producer David CHAN (BLIND DETECTIVE), and veteran Hong Kong film director Teddy CHAN (BODYGUARDS AND ASSASSINS, THE ACCIDENTAL SPY) in both feature development and physical production. Andrew is in pre-production to direct THE TWO RAVENS.
WILL MCCORD is an award-winning filmmaker and graduate of Columbia’s MFA program in film. His films have screened internationally including New Directors/New Films and Miami, among others, have aired on New York’s PBS station, been written up favorably in the New York Times and Indiewire, and received DVD distribution with Film Movement. He was chosen as 1 of 25 filmmakers to participate in the new IFP/Lincoln Center program Emerging Visions, held during the New York Film Festival. CASUAL ENCOUNTERS is his first feature and is the recent winner of the jury award for Best Feature at the Art of Brooklyn Film Festival. He has also screened films, analyzed screenplays and programmed film events for the Film Society of Lincoln Center, Tribeca Film Institute, IFP, Picture House and Grand Marnier Film Fellowships. SHIH-CHING TSOU was born and raised in Taipei, Taiwan. She came to New York for her Master’s degree in Media Studies at The New School, where she met Sean BAKER and co-created her first feature film TAKE OUT. It is a social-realist drama about an undocumented Chinese immigrant in New York City, which premiered at the Slamdance Film Festival, and won the Regal Cinemas Dreammaker Award. It was also nominated for the John Cassavetes Award in Independent’s Spirit Awards in 2009. After TAKE OUT, TSOU’s next cooperation with BAKER was to executive-produce his latest feature STARLET, winner of the Robert Altman Award at the 2013 Independent Film Spirit Awards. Currently, Shih-Ching is working on her second feature-LEFT HANDED GIRL with Sean BAKER, which will be shot in Taipei, Taiwan. JONATHAN YI is the creator and director of HBO’s award-winning Asian Heritage series EAST OF MAIN STREET, which entered its fourth year in 2013. He is an accomplished commercial director and cinematographer and has been showcased in such magazines as Creativity and Vice. MoMA at the AICP Awards honored him in 2006 for his advertising work, while his short film, SHIFT, also won many accolades and played in many film festivals. In addition, YI teaches at New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts and is currently in production of his first documentary feature film entitled MAD TIGER.
36 AWARD NOMINATIONS: JURORS
JURORS SCREENPLAY COMPETITION NANCY BULALACAO has been creating cultural programs for the Asian American community for 20 years. She has worked for a range of institutions including the Asian American Writers’ Workshop, Asia Society, and Museum of Chinese in America. Her next project, FAM (Filipino American Museum), is a multimedia multidisciplinary venture that will bring together writers, artists, performers, poets, activists, and entrepreneurs in experimentation and exploration.
CLARISSA DE LOS REYES worked at several jobs in New York City before her acceptance to NYU’s graduate film program. She was the recipient of scholarships and awards like the New York Women in Film and Television Production Grant, the Maurice Kanbar Scholarship, Grand Jury Prize at the San Diego Asian Film Festival, Nestor Almendros Excellence in Cinematography award at the First Run Film Festival, and the Best Cinematography award at the Fusion Film Festival, and was selected to participate in the 6th Berlinale Talent Campus. She worked as a camera operator for Oscar-nominated filmmaker John SAYLES’ latest feature, AMIGO, and award-winning documentarist Ramona DIAZ’s THE BILL. Her latest project, DOCUMENTED, a feature documentary on the undocumented immigrant Jose Antonio VARGAS - for which she was both the co-producer and DP - premiered as the Centerpiece Presentation of the AFI Docs Film Festival in Washington, D.C. LILY MARIYE’s feature writing and directorial debut, MODEL MINORITY, has received 11 awards at 11 domestic and international film festivals - London Independent, Sacramento International, AAIFF, Los Angeles Asian Pacific American, among others - for Best Film, Best Director, Best Actress, and Best Cinematography. Her first short film, THE SHANGRI-LA CAFÉ, has been screened in over 25 film festivals worldwide, including the BBC British Short, Seattle International, and Palm Springs Short. As an actor, she is best known as nurse Lily Jarvik on the award-winning TV series, ER, for which she shared the SAG Award for Best Ensemble in a Drama Series four times. She has appeared in many films such as EXTRAORDINARY MEASURES and gueststarred in over 25 TV shows including SHAMELESS. Graduated from UCLA with a B.A. in Theatre, she is also an award-winning theatre actress, performing in N.Y., L.A. and other regions around the country. LEE SKAIFE is a New York-based film and video director with an impressive track record on both the creative and business side of the industry. Lee spent 10 years as a writer and director of promotions and PSAs for the NBA’s in-house agency and served as the creative director of on-air promos for NBATV during her last years at the NBA. Prior to her work with the NBA, she ran her own production company, G-Force Films, where she directed commercials and corporate videos for high-profile clients such as UNICEF. She co-directed feature film USE YOUR HEAD, which premiered at SXSW and went on to play in film festivals worldwide. Lee has an MFA in Motion Graphics and Experimental Animation from Cal Arts. In 2006, her short film TISSUE EXISTENCE was selected as part of Cal Arts Retrospective at MOMA and the Centre Pompidou. CHRIS TASHIMA is an award winning actor, director, and screenwriter from Los Angeles. He received an Academy Award® for the dramatic short film, VISAS AND VIRTUE, which he directed, co-wrote, and starred as Holocaust rescuer, Japanese diplomat Chiune “Sempo” Sugihara. He directed, cowrote and acted in the PBS Special, DAY OF INDEPENDENCE, depicting the struggles of a young Japanese American baseball player in a World War II internment camp, for which he received an EMMY® nomination. Onscreen, Chris is featured as the alcoholic father in Lily MARIYE’s indie drama, MODEL MINORITY, which won the AAIFF ‘12 Audience Award for Narrative Feature. This year, at AAIFF ‘13, he stars in Jeffrey Gee CHIN’s narrative short, LIL TOKYO REPORTER, portraying title character Sei Fujii, an early Civil Rights pioneer and newspaper publisher. AWARD NOMINATIONS: JURORS 37
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WED 7.24 | 7:30PM | AS
DIRECTOR EVAN JACKSON LEONG DOCUMENTARY FEATURE | USA | 2013 | 88 MIN
Where were you on February 4, 2012? That was the day when Jeremy LIN, a young Chinese American backup point guard galvanized the New York Knicks with his jaw-dropping performance: a career high of 25 points, five rebounds and seven assists. LIN’s explosive performances turned around the injury-plagued Knicks’ losing season with a 7-game winning streak and swept the NBA and basketball fans by storm. Soon, Linsanity become a heady incantation and Linsanity jerseys the top seller at Madison Square Garden, as sports fanatics put across their passionate responses to LIN’s accomplishments game after game. Opening with LINSANITY the film, the 36th Asian American International Film Festival hails the legend of Jeremy LIN coming a full circle to its place of inception, where LIN has left the indelible legacy in the city’s sports culture and history. LINSANITY tracks Jeremy LIN’s see-sawing career with the NBA until the unforgettable frenzy around his meteoric rise in 2012. Narrated by actor Daniel Dae KIM (HAWAII FIVE-O, LOST), the documentary weaves a mix of personal interviews, home-video footage from LIN’s childhood, and clips from his high school and college careers, as well as game-play commentary from sports television coverage, into a glowing and insightful sport tribute. Having followed LIN since his Harvard years, director Evan Jackson LEONG’s long-term filming pays off with unparalleled access to and a rare intimacy with a young basketball player struggling to find his place in the game, with a resilience and perseverance attributable to his upbringing and faith. As the story suddenly blew up to global proportions after LIN’s explosive rise, the classic Asian American immigrant-family success story took on a new twist in a profession rarely associated with Asian Americans; so did racial slurs and taunts in the media arise in reaction to the non-typical success and buzz. LEONG’s lens, however, has refrained from delving into any isms but instead stayed close with LIN--recounting the moments of doubt, pride and reflection. What the film has captured proves Linsanity not to be a never-before-never-again feel-good fad, but a lasting story of a determined young man who did what seemed the unbelievable, and was able to take us all to the heights with him.
PRESENTED IN ASSOCIATION WITH ASIA SOCIETY COMMUNITY PARTNERS AAPI’s @ Facebook Asian American Bar Association of New York Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund Dynasty Project National Association of Asian American Professionals Taiwanese American Professionals New York Wells Fargo A sixth-generation Chinese American and native of San Francisco, EVAN JACKSON LEONG will be participating in his third Sundance Film Festival. However, LINSANITY marks his first entry as a director at the festival. He previously worked with director Justin Lin on Better Luck Tomorrow (Sundance 2002) and on the action blockbuster, The Fast and the Furious. He also served as co-producer of Lin’s Finishing the Game (Sundance 2007). Leong directed two half-hour, nationally broadcast films: Him Mark Lai: The People’s Historian and Forging a Feature: The Journey of Better Luck Tomorrow. He previously completed his first feature-length documentary, 1040: Christianity in the New Asia.
SPECIAL PRESENTATIONS: LINSANITY 41
SAT 7.27 | 8:00PM | NYIT
dance of the orchids
DIRECTOR SUBARNA THAPA NARRATIVE FEATURE | NEPAL, FRANCE | 2012 | 85 MIN Featuring two luminous performers, Deeya MASKEY as Diya and Nisha ADHIKARI as Kiran, SOONGAVA - DANCE OF THE ORCHIDS is a tender and heartbreaking tale about two young women in love. The independent and strong-willed Diya trains as a traditional dancer. As Diya’s dancing grows increasingly fluid and radiant with practice, so does her relationship with her fellow student Kiran, who is emboldened to exhibit her desire. Their friendship deepens and slowly blossoms into a romance, despite the arranged marriage Diya has agreed to in order to please her family. For each challenge they encounter, they respond with blunt honesty. Eventually, her intimate affair with Kiran is brought out into the open. After breaking off the engagement and confessing to her shocked family, Diya elopes with Kiran. The open avowal of their relationship exposes them to scrutiny and alienation, ubiquitous at their workplaces, in the neighborhood, and within families. The couple’s strength and determination to stay in love against widespread misunderstanding and resentment constitute the climax of the film and their moral triumph which, after all, is not without a cost. Without pomp, flamboyance, or melodrama, SOONGAVA - DANCE OF THE ORCHIDS subtly builds towards a biting indictment of prejudice, familial responsibility, and societal norms through its tranquil, subdued cinematography and acting. Dubbed “Brokeback Everest” by local media, Subarna THAPA’s debut feature is the first Nepali film that deals with the subject of same-sex relationships and the social stigma attached to homosexuality in Nepal, a country where the “third gender” is in fact legally recognized and a same-sex marriage bill is being drafted, but homosexuality is yet to be accepted by the general public.
COMMUNITY PARTNERS Astraea Q-Wave Women’s eNews
SUBARNA THAPA (born in 1973 in Kathmandu) is a Nepali actor and filmmaker living in France since the 1990s. A graduate of drama at Cours Florent in Paris, he has played various roles in France and Nepal, perfecting his craft with the French Comedie and the Japan Foundation in Tokyo. His first short film, FUNERAL (MALAMI) was released in 2008 in Paris.
SPECIAL PRESENTATIONS: SOONGAVA - DANCE OF THE ORCHIDS 43
WED 7.24 | 7:30PM | AS
DIRECTOR YANG YONGHI NARRATIVE FEATURE | JAPAN | 2012 | 100 MIN
Over 90,000 ethnic Koreans in Japan – known as Zainichi Kankokujin – migrated to North Korea as part of a repatriation program that took place from the late 50’s to the 70’s. Yun Sung-ho (IURA Arata) was one of these, sent to live in North Korea at the tender age of 16, leaving the rest of his family behind in Japan. Twenty-five years later, and now in his 40’s, Sung-ho returns to visit his family in Japan to receive an operation to treat his malignant brain tumor. Sung-ho is accompanied, and closely surveilled by his minder, the stern North Korean agent Yang (YANG Ik-June, writer-director-star of the searing South Korean drama BREATHLESS), to ensure Sung-ho isn’t seduced by capitalist luxury. The shy and taciturn Sung-ho is rapturously received by his staunchly pro-North Korean father (TSUKAYAMA Masane), his doting mother (MIYAZAKI Yoshiko), and Rie (ANDO Sakura), his twenty-something younger sister. The title of the film forms the main question that the family has been struggling with all their lives: Where exactly is their homeland? The father’s patriotic act of sending his eldest child to the ideological “paradise” that is North Korea, where Sung-ho was promised a more prosperous life free of the ethnic discrimination they suffered in Japan, has tragically divided the family. It also caused a rift between the father and Rie, who harbored resentment towards her father for separating her from her brother for so many years. Sung-ho’s visit exposes volatile emotional fault lines within the family, where everyone must decide for themselves the answers to these questions: where is the “homeland”? And to whom does it belong? OUR HOMELAND is an intimate, intensely moving human drama that captures the immense feelings of sadness caused by separation, memory, and yearning for a place one can truly call home. These emotions are inextricably linked to the tragic history of the division of the Korean peninsula and the legacies of Japanese colonialism. Korean-Japanese director YANG Yonghi based this film, her first dramatic feature, on her own family story, which she explored in two previous first-person documentaries: DEAR PYONGYANG (2006) and SONA, THE OTHER MYSELF a.k.a GOODBYE PYONGYANG (2010). YANG illuminates her very personal story with a beautifully written script and wonderfully nuanced and riveting performances from her actors. Japan’s entry for the foreign language Oscar nominations, OUR HOMELAND is an indelible portrait of the victims of political and national divisions.
PRESENTED IN ASSOCIATION WITH ASIA SOCIETY PROGRAM SPONSOR Korea Society COMMUNITY PARTNERS AARP Asian Film and Media Initiative, Department of Cinema Studies, NYU Japan Society
YANG YONGHI is a second-generation Korean resident who was born in Osaka, Japan, on November 11, 1964. She belongs to the ethnic Korean minority community in Japan, many descendants of Koreans brought there during Japan’s 1910-1945 colonial rule of Korea. YANG studied at the Korea University in Tokyo and The New School, where she gained a master’s in media studies. She is fluent in three languages. Her famed documentary DEAR PYONGYANG picked up the Jury Special Award at the World Cinema section for documentaries at the 2006 Sundance Film Festival, and the NETPAC Award at the 2006 Berlin International Film Festival.
SPECIAL PRESENTATIONS: OUR HOMELAND 45
good morning, taipei TAIWAN CINEMA DAYS OLD WAVE NEW EDGE SPECIAL SCREENING | THURS 8.1 | 9:00PM | AFA MD DIRECTOR LEE HSING | TAIWAN | 1979 | 102 MIN
For this special screening as part of the TAIWAN CINEMA DAYS program, the Festival chose GOOD MORNING, TAIPEI, a 1979 classic musical film, to celebrate a tradition that was taken over by the first Taiwan New Cinema, but is also remembered in many other forms discernible in the present day Taiwanese cinema. Since the Modern Folk Song Movement in Taiwan began in 1975, its film industry has seen the production of numerous musical films (or singing films, ge chang pian). As opposed to pop songs about sentimental love, the folk songs (min ge) were pop songs with nationalist and spirited lyrics, expressing the love for the people (the min), the life, and the youth. The incorporation of pop melodies was widely used in a large number of officially approved film productions - namely the “healthy realism” – to appeal to urban and youth audiences, resulting in a different kind of “musical film” from the Broadway-styled Mandarin musicals by Hong Kong-based Shaw Brothers and Cathay. They were commercial successes and boasted soundtracks that left indelible marks in the history of mandarin pop music – with works by composers like LIU Jia-chang, Tony ONG (who composed the award-winning theme song for GOOD MORNING, TAIPEI, and whose best known work is the MOON REPRESENTS MY HEART), LO Ta-yu, and singers like Teresa TENG, CHYI Yu, and Julie SU. GOOD MORNING, TAIPEI (1979), directed by seven-time Golden Horse winner LEE Hsing, was made at a time when some of the future New Wave initiators, like HOU Hsiao-sien, Hsiao Yeh and WU Nien-chen were working as screenwriters. Yeh Tein-lin (played by singer/actor Kenny BEE, a heartthrob in both Hong Kong and Taiwan, who also plays the dad in TOGETHER in this year’s festival) is a college dropout and a seemingly loose singer, who is trying to navigate his father’s expectation and his passion for singing. As he learns more about the lives of his orphan friend, Tang Feng and Tang’s girlfriend Su Chi (Joan LIN), a radio station broadcaster, Tein-lin returns to his family to take up responsibilities. A mainstream commercial film at the time, GOOD MORNING, TAIPEI has numerous elements that influenced later generations of Taiwanese films. The youth culture of its time and the character’s artistic profession remain the crucial vehicle for entertainment in films like the landmark CAPE NO. 7 (2008) and even
46 SPECIAL PRESENTATIONS: GOOD MORNING, TAIPEI
TOUCH OF THE LIGHT (2012). Nativism, another important trait of Taiwanese cinema today, is palpable in the depiction of Su Chiâ€™s fishing village: significantly, the villagers sing a complete Taiwanese-dialect song - quite something in a Mandarin-speaking film at that time, since it was four years before the singleuse linguistic restriction was lifted. Yet the commercially successful film was also a peculiar example that heralded the advent of new aesthetics. Without totally shedding melodrama, HOU Hsiao-hsienâ€™s screenplay adopts a less centralized storyline that allows the characters, captured in wide and long shots, to roam around the urban and rural dwellings, make wisecracks, and slip into a love triangle that never comes to fruition. While artistic achievement and box office success have become two almost mutually exclusive gauges for periodizing Taiwanese cinema in the past three decades, GOOD MORNING, TAIPEI prompts us to note the evolution and connection eclipsed in the drastic changes. Nobody speaks and sings like that anymore in a Taiwanese film. But the people, and the lives sung for, will go on. The screening is made possible by the support of Richard Suchenski (Center for Moving Image Arts, Bard College). Print courtesy of the Center for Moving Image Arts, Bard College. PROGRAM SPONSOR Taipei Cultural Center of TECO in New York LEE HSING (born in 1930) is a Taiwanese film director. Born in mainland China in 1930, LEE immigrated to Taiwan in 1948 during the Chinese civil war. From tear-jerkers such as EXECUTION IN AUTUMN to romances such as THE SILENT WIFE, LEE has directed a wide variety of films. He directed more than 30 films between 1959 and 1986 and was among the first to help open up overseas markets for locally produced films. In the 1970s, his films won the best picture award at the Golden Horse Film Festival three years in a row, a record that has yet to be broken. He is regarded, by film critic Peggy CHIAO, as the father of Taiwanese cinema.
SPECIAL PRESENTATIONS: GOOD MORNING, TAIPEI 47
touch of the light TAIWAN CINEMA DAYS | SAT 8.3 | 4:30PM | AS
DIRECTOR CHANG JUNG-CHI | TAIWAN, HONG KONG | 2012 | 110 MIN
Blind pianist HUANG Yu-Siang stars as himself in CHANG Jung-chi’s debut feature, TOUCH OF THE LIGHT, based on Siang’s own true story as a piano prodigy born visually impaired in rural Taiwan. The fictionalized narrative follows Siang as he enters a university in Taipei to study music. With the help of a cassette recorder and some friends, Siang makes impressive progress in adjusting to city life in Taipei, where the vivid urban soundscape contrasts with the idyllic tranquility he has left behind. Meanwhile, the beautiful Jie (French/Taiwanese actress Sandrine PINNA) works in a nearby bubble tea store and aspires to become a dancer one day, something that she regretfully views as a pipe dream. As Jie spends all of her waking hours working to compensate for her mother’s compulsive spending habits, she is forced to abandon her passion in order to sustain herself and her dysfunctional family. The two fortuitously meet one day when, on her way to deliver bubble tea, the kindhearted Jie comes to Siang’s rescue while he nervously tries to cross the busy streets. As they continue to spend time together, his personality and love for music rekindle Jie’s passion for dancing. Presented by WONG Kar-wai, who saw the potential of turning CHANG’s short film, THE END OF THE TUNNEL, into a feature, TOUCH OF THE LIGHT is marked by the graceful performances of the two lead actors – as well as by the great actress LEE Lieh as Siang’s caring mother - and the most creative and stylized cinematography and sound design in Taiwanese cinema in recent years, that recreate the sense of touch in Siang’s world. Beautifully rendered by Siang’s optimism and gentleness and blessed with his virtuosic piano playing, TOUCH OF THE LIGHT has inspired both local and international audiences and scooped up audience awards at the Taipei and Busan International Film Festivals and was Taiwan’s entry for the Best Foreign Language Film at the Academy Awards. Print Courtesy of Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office in the U.S.
PROGRAM SPONSOR Taipei Cultural Center of TECO in New York
COMMUNITY PARTNER AARP
Born in Taipei in 1980, CHANG JUNG-CHI received a master’s degree from the Graduate School of Applied Media Arts at the National Taiwan University of Arts. He started making films while still in university. In 2006, his MY FOOTBALL SUMMER won the Best Documentary Award at the Golden Horse Awards and in 2008, THE END OF THE TUNNEL, his graduation film, won the Best Short Film Award at Taipei Film Festival. That year it was also nominated for the Best Short Film at the Golden Horse Film Awards. At the time, he said that the inspiration for his work mostly came from his everyday life.
48 SPECIAL PRESENTATIONS: TOUCH OF THE LIGHT
when I walk SPECIAL CELEBRATION | FRI 7.26 | 6:30PM | AFA CH DIRECTOR JASON DASILVA | USA, CANADA | 2013 | 85 MIN
In 2006, Jason DASILVA, a talented young filmmaker with promise, tripped and fell while on a family vacation and was unable to stand back up. He was later diagnosed with multiple sclerosis (MS), resulting in loss of vision and motor control functions. DASILVA then decided to pick up his camera and turn it on himself, documenting the subsequent six-year period during which his body gradually deteriorated, which made it ever more difficult to move and perform basic bodily functions. WHEN I WALK is the moving, intimately personal result of DASILVA’s explorations of his physical disability and the miracles he encountered along the way. While he doesn’t shy away from showing us the nearly insurmountable challenges of living with a disease that currently has no cure, DASILVA tells his story with playful visuals - for example, animated depiction of the white blood cells atacking his nerve endings - and with some humor, much of which comes from his no-nonsense mother, exhorting him to stop feeling sorry for himself and telling him that others have it worse. He meets Alice COOK, a woman whose mother is also afflicted with MS; and she later becomes his wife and a collaborator on this film, as DASILVA’s loss of vision and inability to use his hands make it physically impossible for him to use a camera on his own. Jason DASILVA, whose work has been shown at Sundance, PBS, and HBO, takes us on a deeply personal journey in WHEN I WALK, painting not only a motley picture of the daily challenges posed by multiple sclerosis, but also conveying an inspirational story of perseverance. The film is also a showcase for the efficacies of new technologies as tools of empowerment - such as a crowd-sourced AXS accessibility map project – and making this film as a tool for self-therapy and social advocacy is indeed a twist on the home video tradition. Most beautifully and truthfully captured by the camera is the inner life of Jason, who articulates frustration, love, and hope in this Sundance 2013 selection, which will indelibly leave us thinking about the powers instilled in us as storytellers. COMMUNITY PARTNERS Asian American Assocation of Time Inc., Asian American Arts Alliance
Now Brooklyn-based, JASON DASILVA has been a prolific filmmaker for the past 10 years. He has directed four short films (OLIVIA’S PUZZLE, A SONG FOR DANIEL, TWINS OF MANKALA, and FIRST STEPS) and two feature-length documentary films (LEST WE FORGET and WHEN I WALK). OLIVIA’S PUZZLE premiered at the 2003 Sundance Festival and qualified for an Academy Award. He also produced SHOCKING AND AWFUL, a film installation on the anti-Iraq war movement, exhibited at the 2006 Whitney Biennial. He recently produced and directed an Op-Doc (opinion documentary) for the New York Times called THE LONG WAIT, published in January 2013. DASILVA’s latest film, WHEN I WALK, was an Official Selection of the 2013 Sundance Film Festival and won Best Canadian Feature at HotDocs 2013.
SPECIAL PRESENTATIONS: WHEN I WALK 49
sholay - 3D 3D PRESENTATION | MOMI
DIRECTOR RAMESH SIPPY | INDIA | 1975, 2013 | 188 MIN
If there has ever been a Bollywood film that deserves a 3D treatment, it is SHOLAY. Parroting Sergio LEONE, Hollywood’s Westerns, and KUROSAWA Akira’s samurai dramas, the celebrated ”curry-western,” however, is injected with an ”Indian masala” (a mixture of spices) treatment. Two small-time thieves, Veeru and Jai (played by Bollywood titans Dharmendra and Amitabh BACHCHAN, the latter lately seen in Baz LUHRMANN’s THE GREAT GATSBY), are summoned on a reward hunt by a former police officer, the Thakur (meaning ‘chief,’ and played by Sanjeev KUMAR) to capture the ruthless bandit Gabbar (Amjad KHAN) in a small village called Ramgarh. While the Thakur wants vengeance for his family slain by Gabbar’s goons, Veeru and Jai find themselves growing fond of the village and its people, especially their love interests (Hema MALINI and Jaya BHADURI, both Bollywood superstars). What awaits them is a war that might make them heroes as well as cost them their lives. Considered one of the greatest Hindi films of all time, SHOLAY is a vastly entertaining Indian action-cum-musical melodrama, with broad flashes of comedy and witty banter, which defines Bollywood for generations of international audiences. When first released on India’s Independence Day in 1975, SHOLAY whipped up a national fervor. It broke all the box-office records after being shown for five consecutive years in one theater in Mumbai alone. Its immense popularity is owed, in no small part, to the soundtrack by the late Rahul Dev BURMAN, the film composer most sampled by young Indian musicians today, with such numbers as Mehbooba Mehbooba, the famous desert caravan number lensed on a ”cabaret” performance by Helen, the Scots-Burmese dancing legend of Bollywood. The audio-cassettes (remember them?) of the dialogues by the celebrated writing team of Salim KHAN and Javed AKHTAR made the characters’ lines a part of the nation’s vernacular. Over the years, the film has been screened at art museums and festivals across the world. In 1999, BBC India dubbed SHOLAY the ”Film of the Millennium” and it topped the British Film Institute’s 2002 poll of “Top 10 Indian Films” of all time. We would like to call it ”the Taj Mahal of Indian Cinema.” Check www.AAIFF.org for updates on date and screening time
A CO-PRESENTATION OF ASIAN CINEVISION AND THE MUSEUM OF THE MOVING IMAGE
RAMESH SIPPY (born 23 January 1947 Karachi, British India) is an Indian film director, probably best known for directing the popular and critically acclaimed film SHOLAY. In 2005 he received the Filmfare Best Film of 50 Years award for SHOLAY. He has since produced films directed by his son Rohan SIPPY and other directors’ works. He worked in both the production and direction departments and for seven years he worked as an assistant before becoming a director. His other film credits include ANDAZ (1971), SEETA AUR GEETA (1972), SHAAN (1980), SHAKTI (1982), SAAGAR (1985), BHRASHTACHAR (1989), AKALA (1991), and ZAMANA DEEWANA (1995).
50 SPECIAL PRESENTATIONS: SHOLAY - 3D
best friends forever THURS 8.1 | 6:30PM | AFA CH
DIRECTOR BREA GRANT | USA | 2012 | 82 MIN
A droll mix of BFF bickering and road movie with an unusual nuclear apocalyptic setting, BEST FRIENDS FOREVER follows two gals, the unsuccessful optimist Harriet (Brea GRANT, HEROES, FRIDAY NIGHT LIGHTS, DEXTER) and her devil-may-care best friend Reba (Vera MIAO, CSI: MIAMI, NCIS, BROTHERS & SISTERS), as they hit the road to Austin, TX for Harriet’s start-over. As they put L.A. behind, the two best friends are left ignorant of a series of nuclear disasters striking at various locations in the United States—including the very city they just left. Making their way across a bleak desert landscape, they find their friendship constantly tested as they are confronted by what the start of a nuclear apocalypse has unleashed: a trio of desperate hipsters, a crazy cowboy, and secrets they each hold from the other. By the time they arrive in Austin, now a city under lockdown where alcohol has been substituted for water and disorder runs through the streets, their world is utterly changed and their friendship is in danger of falling apart. Without losing the youthful energy and heartfelt spirit at the center of BEST FRIENDS FOREVER, GRANT (director/writer) and MIAO (writer) – who also play the film’s protagonists – have managed to create a film that is simultaneously a road trip buddy movie and an apocalyptic thriller drama. With a solid script, remarkable chemistry, and gorgeous, gritty aesthetics, BEST FRIENDS FOREVER delivers a sincere and charming story that makes a statement about the triumph of friendship and girl power at world’s end. A Slamdance 2013 spotlight, GRANT’s assured directorial debut film will charm and entertain with its fluid commentary on friendship and its darker shadings of panic and vigilantism.
COMMUNITY PARTNERS Women’s eNews
BREA GRANT is an actress best known for her roles on HEROES, DEXTER, and HALLOWEEEN 2. She received national attention for both her acting and “geek” stardom in such publications as New York Post and CNN.com. Brea’s love for the independent film scene has put her in many indies including HOMECOMING, for which she won the Best Actress award at the FirstGlance Film Festival. Brea wrote, directed, and starred in her own indie apocalyptic feature BEST FRIENDS FOREVER which premiered at Slamdance to great reviews.
52 FEATURE FILMS: BEST FRIENDS FOREVER
beyond the mat THURS 8.1 | 8:30PM | AFA CH
DIRECTOR VAN M. PHAM | USA | 2013 | 106 MIN
Aaron Miller (John WYNN), a high school wrestling star and Vietnamese adoptee in middle America, has overcome the racism and isolation resulting from being one of the very few Asian-American students at his school. His future looks bright, with prospects to enter college on a full-ride sports scholarship. His best friend since childhood is Bo (Mark HAPKA), a white student who, like Aaron, is at the top of his weight class; they hope to continue both their friendship and their careers into college and beyond. However, Bo’s loss to his cross-town rival Dominic Bradshaw in their junior year championships drives a rift in their relationship. Bo’s obsession with getting a rematch against his rival causes him to push Aaron from his spot on the varsity wrestling team, potentially harming Aaron’s scholarship prospects. Amidst all this, the arrival of Linh Tran (Teresa Michelle LEE), a Vietnamese American student, compels Aaron to confront his Vietnamese heritage, which he has never fully explored. Through these unexpected hardships, Aaron must face his personal struggles and embrace his passion for the wrestling mat. Van M. PHAM’s debut feature is a solid, well-paced classic sports movie that explores the issues of Asian-American cultural heritage, with clever nods to THE KARATE KID (1984). Set in the visually fresh field of high school wrestling, it is a fulfilling story of self-discovery and personal growth that explores the identity crisis that comes with the high school years. Aaron is an immensely likeable protagonist whose struggles—with peer pressure and societal expectations, with friends and family, and even with himself—are relatable to anyone who has ever been a teenager. His triumph above them, however, will drive hope into everyone’s hearts. BEYOND THE MAT was an official screenplay selection for the Tribeca Film Festival All-Access Program and won Best Sports Film at the 2013 Canada International Film Festival.
COMMUNITY PARTNERS Also-Known-As Inc., Mekong
VAN M. PHAM graduated from the Edward R. Murrow School of Communication at Washington State University with a BA in TV Broadcast Production and received his MFA in Film and Television from Chapman University, with emphasis in Film Directing. As winner of the ABC-Komo4 Fisher’s Broadcasting Scholarship, Van went abroad to study film and production at the University of Wales, Aberyswyth, where he produced a short documentary, A DIFFERENT CORNER, which was screened and honored at numerous film festivals. BEYOND THE MAT is PHAM’s feature debut.
FEATURE FILMS: BEYOND THE MAT 53
chink THURS 7.25 | 9:00PM | AFA CH
DIRECTOR STANLEY YUNG | USA | 2013 | 85 MIN
Incendiary from its very title, CHINK is a macabre portrait of self-loathing Chinese American Eddy Tsai (Jason TOBIN), who has come to internalize years of race-based bullying and epithets such as “chink” and “gook,” into a hatred for himself and all things Asian. Though a big fan of serial killers, he has managed to keep these murderous impulses under wraps to successfully function at his desk job and gain favorable attention from his boss, Mr. Chang (MA Tzi). Mr. Chang brings in Karena (Eugenia YUAN), a beautiful new hire from Hong Kong, who bonds with Eddy, throwing his fragile, tormented psyche into turmoil. For the first time in his life, the qualities that have made him a target of stereotyping -- being smart, quiet, shy, and hardworking -- are now regarded, apparently in Karena’s eyes, as positive, desirable attributes. But this potential romance may have come too late for Eddy, and when he learns that Mr. Chang is having an affair with Karena, the stage is set for a violent showdown. In his directorial debut, Stanley YUNG employs a provocative title (credits also to the feisty screenwriter Koji SAKAI) and an equally provocative (or thought-provoking) race-based twist on the serial-killer genre to violently explode any notions of Asian American-ness and any tropes that constitute it. By trampling on both the myth and the taboo, CHINK roaringly crushes the very isolation responsible for both self-confinement and stigmatization, with fun, bloodlust, and controversy.
COMMUNITY PARTNERS New York Asian Professionals Meetup
STANLEY YUNG grew up loving movies. A graduate of UCLA Film School, Stanley’s thesis project WORLD OF LONGING was featured at the Hawaii International Film Festival and Asian American International Film Festival. Stanley went on to work for Roger Corman’s SCHOOL OF FILM at Concorde/New Horizons Studio. Following in the footsteps of his idols like Martin SCORSESE and Francis Ford COPPOLA, he labored behind the scenes of numerous B-movie classics and worked his way up from being a Production Assistant to Director in just 18 months. CHINK is his feature directorial debut.
54 FEATURE FILMS: CHINK
forgetting to know you SUN 7.28 | 1:00PM | AFA CH
DIRECTOR QUAN LING | CHINA | 2013 | 87 MIN
A crisis is brewing in the marriage of a young couple in the small Chinese town of Baisha, not far from the city of Chongqing. The wife, Cheng Xuesong (TAO Hong), runs a small corner store, while her husband Cai Weihang (GUO Xiaodong) is a carpenter working for a near-bankrupt furniture company. They are wholeheartedly devoted to their sweet young daughter, but communication is strained and affections frayed between the couple, colored by mutual nagging, creeping distrust and financial worries. Feeling like a constant outsider in the family as a Northeasterner, Xuesong demonstrates dissatisfaction and impatience with her mother-in-law and Cai’s incompetence. Cai, on the other hand, is brimming with suspicion of his wife’s perceived indiscretions: Wu (ZI Yi), a taxi driver besotted with her, comes by the store to flirt each day; Yang Jiucheng (ZHANG Yibai), a real estate tycoon (cameo appearance by director-producer ZHANG Yibai) who was once Xuesong’s beau before her marriage, is in town again. Frustrated by his lack of success and jealousy, Cai’s distrust of his wife accrues, driving him to suspect of her adultery and even to attempt a marital rape.Yet despite the seemingly irreversible chill that has crept into their relationship, Xuesong rallies herself and makes an effort to save the marriage by asking a favor of her ex-boyfriend to solve Cai’s financial crisis. But that incurs even more friction. Warmly received at Berlinale 2013, FORGETTING TO KNOW YOU is a promising debut feature by writer-turned-filmmaker QUAN Ling, casting a subtle and unsentimental look at the alienation in an otherwise intimate relationship. The film, produced by the celebrated Chinese auteur JIA Zhangke, resonates with what Chinese independent films have been known for - the incisive details of the every day life of common Chinese people in the changing China. But QUAN Ling certainly has her penchant for more intense drama – the intent is made obvious in the meticulous art direction and the engrossing lead performances by the versatile TAO Hong and GUO Xiaodong.
COMMUNITY PARTNERS China Institute
QUAN LING, born in Chongqing, now living in Hong Kong, published her first short novel in 1999, and has persisted in writing short novels ever since. Her works have been published among the magazines such as Writer, Harvest and People’s Literature. Her Chu Nv Gong Mu and Ha Dai Shi Pian Zhong De Shen Mi Zhong Jie were selected as one of the best short novels of the year by Chinese Novelists Association. In 2009, she first founded “the Coffee House Short Novel Prize.” FORGETTING TO KNOW YOU is her first film, which got the “Most Creative Award” of CFPC in the Shanghai International Film Festival 2010.
FEATURE FILMS: FORGETTING TO KNOW YOU 55
go grandriders WED 7.31 | 9:00PM | AFA CH
DIRECTOR HUA TIEN-HAU | TAIWAN | 2012 | 75 MIN
Well, why not a motorcycle club for senior citizens? In 2007, with an average age of 81, a group of 17 Taiwanese retirees embarked on an unbelievable adventure: a thirteen-day, 1,178 kilometer long motorcycle tour around the island of Taiwan. Starting off to merely document this charity group-sponsored event, HUA Tien-hau’s GO GRANDRIDERS is now in Taiwan’s history as the highest-grossing locally produced documentary. Among these 17 Grandriders, two have battled cancers, four need hearing aids, five suffer from high blood pressure, eight have coronary diseases, and every one of them has symptoms of joint degeneration. But nothing stopped them from being part of this heroic feat, and they conjured up optimism and confidence to rekindle a love for the land that they have lived on. Touring on a scooter around Taiwan is no small challenge: among the Grandriders, one falls asleep and one is knocked off by a truck, and the hazardous bends on the highways often alarm the Grandriders’ medical team. But this documentary reveals that the Grandriders are no stranger to danger - and speaking casually, they reveal significant personal histories. For instance, one Grandrider was a former Kuomintang soldier and another a Kamikaze instructor, fighting on opposite sides of the war. Hailing from diverse backgrounds, the senior riders bond over their common generational experiences (still preferring pay phones!), as they make light of the island’s historical turbulence that they might have witnessed or embodied. Screened at an array of film festivals, GO GRANDRIDERS has charmed audiences worldwide with the joyous mélange of personal, uplifting and awe-inspiring stories. The very first feature project by HUA Tien-hau, who developed the film from a commissioned 15-minute video, this upbeat documentary captures the moving moments of the individual riders with artistic sensitivity, making the audience reconsider what it means to be old and very much alive. FILM TO BE PRECEDED BY HONORABLE JOURNEY (DIR. STEPHEN MENICK | 16 MIN | USA): HONORABLE JOURNEY charts the 70-year struggle of the Japanese-Americans who came of age during World War II. The film features conflicts between loyalty, tradition, family, and country, all played out against the backdrop of world war. Eyewitnesses and descendants recount a lifelong journey that started with barbed wire, battlefields, and jail cells, and ended with vindication and the highest honors in the land. PROGRAM SPONSOR Taipei Cultural Center of TECO in New York
COMMUNITY PARTNERS AARP, Taiwan Center
Born in 1981 in Taipei, HUA TIEN-HAU has engaged in the production of documentaries, commercials and promotional videos since 2002. He harbors the creative philosophy that film is but a medium through which to transmit ideas. The emphasis is on the characters and their spirit. Through his intricate and sensitive powers of observation and his use of a collage of images and music, he is able to capture the true sense and emotion of the moment.
56 FEATURE FILMS: GO GRANDRIDERS
hafu: the mixed-race experience in japan SUN 7.28 | 5:30PM | AFA MD DIRECTORS MEGUMI NISHIKURA & LARA PEREZ TAKAGI | JAPAN | 2013 | 87 MIN
Hafu is a term used to describe a Japanese of mixed heritage and has a plethora of cultural meanings, both positive and negative. With one in thirty babies in Japan now being born to mixed-race couples, a part of Japan’s modern reality is its growing hafu population, which complicates its conceptualization of itself as a monoethnic nation-state. Directed by two hafu filmmakers, HAFU the film explores the underdocumented experiences of mixed-race Japanese in modern day Japan. Through a look into the lives and stories of five hafu Japanese, NISHIKURA and TAKAGI give us an incisive and absorbing look at different ways of being Japanese today. Whether it is being confronted with their identification as half-Venezuelan, being thought to have “green blood” as a half-Ghanaian, or having trouble in Japanese schools because they live in a multilingual household, social perceptions become near-insurmountable barriers to the protagonists’ attempts to balance between their Japanese and Other roots. The film’s five protagonists show us that being a hafu, and thus an outsider to a homogenizing dominant culture, is not easy—and in some cases, even traumatic. But as the film progresses, their identities as hafus become better understood and even accepted by others as well as themselves. Some find new identities that give fresh meanings to their lives while others fall back into the Other roots they embody. Ultimately, HAFU not only explores what it means to be a hafu in Japan, but also what it means to be Japanese in a rapidly changing modern age.
COMMUNITY PARTNERS Asian American Association of Time Inc., Japan ICU Foundation, Loving Day, Women’s eNews MEGUMI NISHIKURA (Producer/Director/Videographer, at left), a film graduate of New York University, regularly produces documentaries for the United Nations and various NGOs on global and social issues. She recently began to re-explore issues of multiculturalism, diversity, and identity. Her passion is to use the medium of ﬁlm to remind ourselves of our common humanity. LARA PEREZ TAKAGI (Director/Co-Producer/Videographer, at right) was born in Tokyo and raised in various cities around the world. Passionate about filmmaking, she returned to Tokyo to create her first art-documentary MADRID X TOKYO. Curious about the experiences of other hafus like herself, she jumped on board to start the production of HAFU. FEATURE FILMS: HAFU: THE MIXED-RACE EXPERIENCE IN JAPAN 57
harana WED 7.31 | 6:30PM | AFA CH
DIRECTOR BENITO BAUTISTA | PHILIPPINES, USA | 2012 | 103 MIN
Does anyone old-school miss the artful rituals of courtship? In the Philippines, if a young man fancied a woman and wanted to express his feelings for her, he would put on his best barong, enlist his friends for support, and possibly play guitar while he serenaded her outside her window. This is harana, the long-abandoned Filipino courtship serenade, which originated from the Spanish colonial period and became popular in the old Philippines. These serenades were gentle, passionate, and romantic and were fearlessly sung by men outside the window of their would-be lovers. Unfortunately, in modern day Philippines, harana has lost its popularity, with only a few surviving practitioners remaining. Florante AGUILAR, a renowned Filipino guitarist, returns to the Philippines from the U.S. for the first time in twelve years to search the remote provinces for the forgotten singers in this award-winning documentary. With director Benito BAUTISTA, AGUILAR discovers the long-forgotten tradition through three of the last remaining harana masters — a farmer, a fisherman, and a tricycle driver — who join him as the Harana Kings to record and perform their music. As they perform at venues high and low, HARANA emotionally weaves their performances to exemplify the past and present, the here and there, and the rural and urban. It gives stage to the three haranistas to reintroduce the tradition before they leave this world, in the hope that the practice will not completely vanish. Apparently lyrical and soothing, HARANA at the heart burns with the artist’s cultural consciousness and affinity to a timeless art.
COMMUNITY PARTNERS AARP, American Museum of Natural History, Filipino American National Historical Society Metro New York
BENITO BAUTISTA is an independent filmmaker based in San Francisco, California. He travels back and forth from San Francisco to the Philippines to create his films. He founded Wanderlustproject Films in 2001 and has since made short and feature narratives and documentaries. Benito is also the co-founder of IndieEAST, a film series dedicated to promoting and exhibiting visionary and exceptional Filipino independent films in major cities in the United States.
58 FEATURE FILMS: HARANA
him, here, after FRI 8.2 | 9:30PM | AFA MD
DIRECTOR ASOKA HANDAGAMA | SRI LANKA | 2012 | 104 MIN
A nameless former Tamil Tiger fighter returns to his hometown, Jaffna, to begin a new life. Jaffna is slowly rejuvenating, visibly so in the soothing hue of green of the rural landscape and the tranquil ruins under the scorching blue skies. However, he is confronted by his neighbors’ resentment and his own haunting past. Even when pawning his mother’s necklace to buy a driver’s license, he is smacked with suspicion and dismissal, and reuniting with his lover does not stop the gunning and chasing in his nightmares. The villagers’ indictments soon become vocal: they denounce him for luring their sons to war, not winning a promised kingdom for them, and being the only one to come back alive. He is recruited as a security guard for a smuggler and forms a strange bond with the wife of the previous holder of the job. They talk, joke, and become travel mates. But the new job does not give him peace, and he has to fight once again and deal with the darkness of his past. Combined into one word, the film’s Tamil title INI AVAN would mean “sweet person” - which is representative of Sinhalese director Asoka HANDAGAMA’s attempt to portray the Tamil combatant in a more sympathetic manner. HANDAGAMA’s film is the first one of its kind to compassionately depict a slowly healing country torn apart by a 26-year long conflict, which ended in 2009 after claiming 100,000 casualties. A beautiful meditation on the aftermath of war, it captures the trauma and disillusionment following the defeat of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Ealam in the Sri Lankan Civil War.
ASOKA HANDAGAMA was born in the South Central of the Island away from the influences of sophisticated urban city life. His entry into filmmaking was via theatre and television. His maiden theatrical effort, BHOOMIKA, was to address the seedling emerging ethnic crisis in the Island. MOON LADY was his debut effort in cinema. HIM, HERE, AFTER is considered as the most accomplished cinematic work of his. Premiered at Cannes 2012 as one of the films under ACID, the film has been listed for many festivals including Toronto, Edinburg, Tokyo, Hanoi, and many more.
FEATURE FILMS: HIM, HERE, AFTER 59
innocents SUN 7.28 | 3:00PM | AFA CH
DIRECTOR WONG CHEN-HSI | SINGAPORE | 2012 | 88 MIN
WONG Chen-Hsi’s exquisite feature debut, INNOCENTS, tells the delicate story of a friendship between two tweens, both estranged from home. During one monsoon season in 1980s Singapore, 11-year-old Syafiqah (Nameera ASHLEY), a Malay girl, is sent to live with her grandmother due to her parents’ marital problems. Intelligent, but friendless at a new school, Syafiqah soon encounters and befriends Ah Huat (CAI Chengyue), a bullied and troubled Chinese boy who is perennially late to class and regarded by teachers as a half-wild prankster. Spending their afternoons in the storm drains behind their school, Syafiqah and Ah Huat create a private fantasy world to escape a repressive and conformist society. The friendship leads Syafiqah on a journey for independence well beyond her years as the two retreat to a lush mountain, away from a dysfunctional adult world driven by divorce, drunkenness, and darkness. But cruelties ensue with the arrival of the heavy monsoon rain. Described as a “tone-poem” by its writer and director WONG Chen-Hsi, INNOCENTS is a deftly crafted and carefully layered exploration of childhood innocence in a rigidly intolerant society where growing up comes with being reduced to parts in the modern machine. Syafiqah and Ah Huat are complex characters struggling with responsibilities and emotions rarely associated with their age – a depth captured in both ASHLEY and CAI’s honest performances as well as WONG’s subtle script. Emotionally and visually restrained, the film is nevertheless rich in sensory experiences. The wonder of childhood imagination is portrayed through the transformation of the simple and ordinary—fish in the river, tin cans, glass cups—into something sublime and extraordinary.
WONG CHEN-HSI is a Singapore-based filmmaker. With a background in aesthetic philosophy, her work investigates memory and displacement in urbanism, often examining the nature of our human fit within our environment. She trained at the prestigious USC School of Cinematic Arts, and has mentored with Oscar-nominated documentarian Roger WEISBERG, and directors Neil LABUTE, Taylor HACKFORD and Jeremy KAGAN. Her films include both fiction as well as documentary work.
60 FEATURE FILMS: INNOCENTS
innocent blood SAT 7.27 | 3:30PM | AFA CH
DIRECTORS DJ HOLLOWAY & SUN W. KIM | USA | 2013 | 101 MIN
“He who seeks vengeance must dig two graves - one for his enemy, and one for himself.” James Park, played by Jun-Seong KIM (best known for his role as Mike Juhn in the 2007 crime film WEST 32nd STREET) is a retired undercover detective turned college professor. His life suddenly becomes a nightmare when a mysterious criminal connected to Park’s past, played by C.S. LEE (best known for his role as the forensics investigator Vince MASUKA on DEXTER) kidnaps his young son, Cody. As Park goes on a chase to track down any and all leads connected to the kidnapper, each visit turns deadly as each lead is killed after Park’s visit. With two detectives on his heels, an increasing body count and a wife who is steadily losing faith in him, Park must move fast in order to bring his son home safely. But as the line between what is right and what needs to be done begins to blur, how far is Park willing to go? In this taut suspense thriller, Sun W. KIM and DJ HOLLOWAY create a protagonist who is forced to justify his past actions as a decorated officer, an ordeal which exposes a personality buried deep within him. Much like Park himself, INNOCENT BLOOD is layered with depth, allowing the audience to watch the transformation of a conflicted character as he struggles to discern between what is morally right and what is morally justified.
COMMUNITY PARTNERS New York Asian Professionals Meetup
DJ HOLLOWAY (at left) is a writer/director/editor originally from Oregon, where he co-founded Unseen Hands Productions with his production partner, James MONEGAN. DJ has a wide range of filmmaking experience, including cinematography, sound design, acting, effects, and composing. He has written and directed numerous feature-length movies and awardwinning shorts. SUN W. KIM (at right) is a director/writer/producer of many excellent films including INNOCENT BLOOD, THE CURE, FORGOTTEN, PIE & COFFEE, STORMDRAGON, SUNSET, A SERIES OF SMALL THINGS, and MR. ESCAPE. As the founder of Talent One Media, Sun has worked tirelessly to fight against social injustices like human trafficking through the medium of film. FEATURE FILMS: INNOCENT BLOOD 61
karnal SUN 7.28 | 8:00PM | AFA MD
DIRECTOR MARILOU DIAZ-ABAYA | PHILIPPINES | 1983 | 123 MIN
A prodigal son Narcing (Phillip SALVADOR) returns from Manila to his family’s isolated hacienda with his urban wife Puring (Cecille CASTILLO). Narcing’s father Gusting (Vic SILAYAN) is shocked at Puring’s resemblance to his late wife who had rebelled against his control, eventually committing suicide after public humiliation. Haunted by his memories, Gusting lusts after his daughter-in-law. Rumors break out that Puring is having an affair with Goryo (Joel TORRE), the town’s outcaste deaf-mute. Narcing learns of his father’s attempts to rape Puring, and a series of bloody, shocking events unfold. Marilou DIAZ-ABAYA emerged during the Second Golden Age of Philippine Cinema (1974-1985) as the angry young woman who produced a series of films that employed a harsh, gritty realism. Her partnership with writer Ricky LEE from BRUTAL (1980) onwards resulted in ten feature films, a number of which have become film classics. The director-writer relationship enjoyed a very unusual synergy in Philippine cinema. As LEE said, “No other director treated my material with the openness and care that she did. Some of the materials we tackled were new to her – queerness, prostitution, incest, promiscuity, atheism – but with her I always had the assurance that she would set aside her biases and preferences and come around to the vision in our material.” Among all these, KARNAL stands out as remarkably unique: “…as a metaphor of the iron-fisted Marcos dictatorship then holding the Philippines in its grip; an indictment of a patriarchal, feudalistic system that even now continues to suppress women and the weak in the Philippines and other countries; a psychological study on the porousness of past and present; and a Greek tragedy, with its sense of inevitability and stark depiction of man’s eternal passions.” (Gil QUITO) The intimate storytelling and meticulous art direction for this period drama demonstrate DIAZ-ABAYA’s strength in research and craftsmanship, which she would carry over to other genres and temporalities in future works. COMMUNITY PARTNERS Ma-Yi Theater MARILOU DIAZ-ABAYA (1955-2012) was an international award-winning Filipino director and writer. Having undergone an intense study of filmmaking in the Philippines, as well as the US at the Loyola Marymount University and at the London International Film School, DIAZ-ABAYA quickly became a visible director in Philippine cinema with her directorial debut TANIKALA (1980). She went to make such films as KARNAL, ALYAS BABY TSINA, among others, that were critical of the Marcos administration. In 2001, DIAZ-ABAYA was bestowed the Fukuoka Asian Culture Prizes. She succumbed to breast cancer on October 8th, 2012.
62 FEATURE FILMS: KARNAL
marilou diaz-abaya: filmmaker on a voyage FRI 7.26 | 7:00PM | PCG
DIRECTOR MONA LISA YUCHENGCO | USA | 2012 | 87 MIN
Marilou DIAZ-ABAYA, who passed away in October 2012, is regarded as one of the most significant figures in Philippine cinema. In this endearing documentary, Mona Lisa YUCHENGCO, a long-term friend of the Filipina filmmaker Marilou DIAZ-ABAYA, recorded her interviews with DIAZ-ABAYA about her life and work. The result is a profile of the energetic, intelligent, and caring human being. The rich history of the Philippine cinema vividly unfolds in DIAZ-ABAYA’s affectionate recollections of her encounters with mentors such as Ishmael BERNAL and Lino BROCKA. Her passion for exploring and embracing the human condition and man’s potential emerges as the driving force of her filmmaking. The documentary captures DIAZ-ABAYA’s staunch belief in the democratic nature of film viewership and filmmaking. It also covers diverse topics including storytelling principles, painting, deep-sea diving, and her penchant for meticulous research (she studied the Quran for her 2001 film NEW MOON). When illness forced her to slow down, DIAZABAYA founded a film Institute. MARILOU DIAZ-ABAYA: FILMMAKER ON A VOYAGE is a fond farewell from Philippine filmmakers indebted to DIAZ-ABAYA’s legacy. Born in 1955, DIAZ-ABAYA was a director, producer, and educator who directed more than 20 feature films. DIAZ-ABAYA’s work “harmoniously blends entertainment, social consciousness, and ethnic awareness” (the 2001 Fukuoka Prize Award Citation). Her groundbreaking films in the 80’s on the theme of the social limits imposed, sometimes brutally, on women – BRUTAL (1980), MORAL (1982), KARNAL (1983), and BABY TSINA (1984) - were powerful commentaries on the country’s patriarchal system as well as the oppressive regime of Ferdinand Marcos, the country’s head of state at the time she started producing her films. After a hiatus of working in TV productions, DIAZ-ABAYA returned to film and continued to produce award-winning epics such as JOSÉ RIZAL (1998), REEF HUNTERS (1999) and NEW MOON (2001).
COMMUNITY PARTNERS Filipino American National Historical Society Metro New York MONA LISA YUCHENGCO was the founder and former publisher of the nationally circulated Filipinas magazine, where she has received numerous honors for her writing talent and community involvement. She continues to tell the stories about her community with PositivelyFilipino.com. She is also the founder and chair of Philippine International Aid, a non-profit organization that sends disadvantaged children to school in the Philippines and San Francisco Bay Area. In 2005, she received the “Woman of the Year” award from California Senator Jackie SPEIER. In 2009 she enrolled in filmmaking classes at the Marilou Diaz-Abaya Film Institute. MARILOU DIAZ-ABAYA: FILMMAKER ON A VOYAGE is her second documentary.
FEATURE FILMS: MARILOU DIAZ-ABAYA: FILMMAKER ON A VOYAGE 63
mumbai’s king SUN 7.28 | 5:00PM | AFA CH
DIRECTOR MANJEET SINGH | INDIA | 2012 | 78 MIN
Described by the Hollywood Reporter as “SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE meets MEAN STREETS.” MUMBAI’S KING offers a look at the other side of Mumbai, in stark contrast to the glittery spectacles of Bollywood. The focus here are the people on the lower end of the economic spectrum, as we follow two young boys’ lives in the city. Teenager Rahul (Rahul BAIRAGI) mostly makes his home on the muddy, garbage-strewn streets, to avoid his life of domestic strife with a violently abusive, drunkard father (Tejas D. PARVATKAR), and his cowed, long-suffering stepmother (Dhanshree JAIN). Rahul lives a life of aimless wandering, having been expelled from school and passes the time by getting into minor mischief. His frequent companion is Arbaaz (Arbaaz KHAN), a 12-year-old balloon seller. The boys hang out together and indulge in petty crimes like stealing candy and roasted potatoes; they also play in a stream overlooking the city, and follow two girls, one of them wearing a strikingly pretty yellow dress. The two of them, along with an older boy, Salman (Salman KHAN) scheme to get revenge against Rahul’s villainous father. In his neo-realist feature debut, Manjeet SINGH depicts Mumbai as a vibrant, crowded city by translating his profound knowledge of Mumbai’s spaces with poetic imageries and dynamic camerawork. The story is set against the backdrop of Ganesh Chaturthi, the festival devoted to Lord Ganesh, the Hindu deity known as ”the Remover of Obstacles.” With its simple plotline and delicately observed, small-scale drama, MUMBAI’S KING shines with the brilliant performances of the non-professional child leads, who kept their real names in the film. Their small adventures are beautifully detailed and artfully rendered by Siddhartha KAY’s documentary-style cinematography, creating an indelible portrait of a unique environment where exuberant celebration and grinding poverty are very close neighbors.
COMMUNITY PARTNERS Lend-A-Hand India, Rubin Museum of Art
MANJEET SINGH left his career as a qualified engineer (MS, Mechanical Engineering) in the USA and moved back to his hometown Mumbai to make films in 2006. Since then he has traveled throughout India, researching for scripts; made short films; wrote cinema blogs and worked with the so-called “new wave” of Indian filmmakers. He was selected at Cannes by NFDC (National Film Development Corporation) India. He has also been selected for the Toronto International Film Festival’s (TIFF) Talent Lab and his debut film MUMBAI’S KING premiered at TIFF 2012.
64 FEATURE FILMS: MUMBAI’S KING
noor FRI 8.2 | 6:30PM | AFA CH DIRECTORS ÇAGLA ZENCIRCI & GUILLAUME GIOVANETTI | FRANCE, TURKEY, PAKISTAN | 2012 | 78 MIN
Once a member of the Khusras – Pakistan’s transgender community – Noor now wants to be a real man, taking up a “manly” job at a truck depot. He only asks one thing of God – to find a woman who accepts and loves him for who he is. He believes God has graced him with a gift when he falls in love with Yasmeen, but his girlfriend’s brother objects to their relationship. An encounter one night with a drunken rapist places him behind the wheel of the man’s stolen truck and sends him on a spiritual journey. His destination is a mountain lake, which according to legend, has magical powers and will help Noor fulfill his dreams. Along the way, Noor encounters fairies and ghosts as if inside a legend: a group of deaf shaman drummers, a woman fleeing her husband’s abuse, and a mysterious loner by the river, as the richly decorated truck Noor drives makes its way through Pakistan’s picturesque northern mountain landscape. NOOR is the debut narrative feature of Çagla ZENCIRCI and Guillaume GIOVANETTI, a Turkish and French writing-directing duo, who have previously made a series of short fiction and documentary films in Central and East Asia, the Middle East, and Europe. With Noor, who plays himself as the lead character in this film inspired by true events in his life, ZENCIRCI and GIOVANETTI have found the ideal guide to a fascinating side of Pakistan little known to most people. This stunning dream-like road movie, a 2012 Cannes Film Festival selection, takes its audience on an existential ride that is at once an artfully observed portrait of a complex identity and a gorgeously lensed anthropological study of Northern Pakistan.
COMMUNITY PARTNERS Q-Wave
ÇAGLA ZENCIRCI (Ankara,1976, at left) and GUILLAUME GIOVANETTI (Lyon,1978, at right), the directorial duo based in Paris, Istanbul, and Lahore, started their journey into filmmaking with short fictions and documentaries shot in the Middle East, Central Asia, and Europe, and have been screened and awarded in more than 50 festivals (Berlinale, Barcelona, Rome, Cork, Brest, Istanbul, etc.) and have broadcasted on several European TV channels (France’s Planete, Spain’s TVE, Eurochannel, etc). The co-directors have recently finished CAMERA OBSCURA, a feature documentary shot in Istanbul, where they followed blind people writing and directing their own short films, for several weeks, which premiered in the 29th Istanbul Film Festival. FEATURE FILMS: NOOR 65
peculiar vacation and other illnesses SUN 7.28 | 7:00PM | AFA CH
DIRECTOR YOSEP ANGGI NOEN | INDONESIA | 2012 | 90 MIN
Yosep ANGGI NOEN’s debut feature, PECULIAR VACATION AND OTHER ILLNESSES, follows Ning (Christy MAHANANI), a young Catholic Indonesian woman, whose life has become stuck in a rut, and finds it difficult to communicate with Jarot (Joned SURYATMOKO), her dull, uncommunicative husband. Ning quits her drab, dusty job at a second-hand clothing shop – which caused her to develop asthma – for a more promising one at a furniture store. Meanwhile, the unemployed Jarot, feeling like a failure as a husband and provider for his family, whiles away the time watching television and going out occasionally to visit prostitutes. Ning is sent on a road trip to deliver a sofa to a remote village, during which she meets a co-worker, Mur (Muhammad Abe BAASYIN), a Muslim man sent along as her driver. The scenic vistas they encounter, as well as their growing attraction to one another, offer Ning a cure from the “illness” of her suffocating and repressed home life. Described by Variety as “a road-trip-cum-slow-burning romantic drama,” PECULIAR VACATION AND OTHER ILLNESSES challenges the mores of Indonesian society, with a quietly restrained visual style, a mysterious cyclical formal structure, and imagery that has been compared to that of the Dardenne brothers. Set in the director’s hometown of Yogyakarta, this delicately observed mood piece finds poetry and a sense of mystery in the quotidian working-class lives of its characters. FILM TO BE PRECEDED BY AS HE SLEEPS (DIR. SHERON DAYOC | 15 MIN | PHILIPPINES): Christina, a woman in her 30’s, is married to Hector, a paralyzed man. Her needs as a woman are unfulfilled and she yearns to liberate herself from their union, but her love and symapthy for Hector keep them together in a “cage of marriage.”
COMMUNITY PARTNERS Ma-Yi Theater
Born in 1983, YOSEP ANGGI NOEN studied Communications of Socio-Politics Faculty of Gadjah Mada University in Yogyakarta, Indonesia. He was selected to participate in Asian Film Academy in Busan. BLOSSOM is a script that was produced in Korea and screened at Busan International Film Festival. ANGGI NOEN has made a few short films and documentaries. He manages Limaenam Films, an independent production company in Yogyakarta. PECULIAR VACATION AND OTHER ILLNESSES is his first feature film.
66 FEATURE FILMS: PECULIAR VACATION AND OTHER ILLNESSES
requieme! FRI 7.26 | 9:00PM | AFA CH
DIRECTOR LOY ARCENAS | PHILIPPINES | 2012 | 97 MIN
Set among the residents of a provincial town in the Philippines in the aftermath of a murder, Loy ARCENAS’ adroitly layered REQUIEME! riffs off the Gianni VERSACE - Andrew CUNANAN case from, literally, the Other side. “Requieme,” a combination of requiem and the gay word “quieme!/kiyeme” (a gentle f**k you, usually performed as an exclamation and with a raised eyebrow), is ARCENAS’ follow-up to his debut film, the moving family drama, NIÑO. The film opens with news of the murder of fashion designer V.V., whose life has been cut short at the hands of his homosexual lover Adolf PAYAPA, who in turn takes his own life. After learning that he is a distant relative, ambitious local politician Swanie (Shamaine BUENCAMINO) moves heaven and earth to get, now dead, PAYAPA’s body for a wake and burial in the Philippines in order to advance her own political career. Oozing with empathy, Swanie contacts PAYAPA’s mother from whom the boy has long been estranged, the irony being that Swanie is herself estranged from her transvestite child, then Jose/now Joanna (Anthony FALCON), who lives in Manila with her boyfriend and earns a living as a seamstress-designer. In picaresque counterpoint, Joanna also goes through a labyrinthine bureaucracy as she sacrifices her breast transplant money to give a neighbor a decent burial. The two unrelated deaths connect the estranged mother and son, each burying the dead long shelved in their hearts. Amidst these unspoken family burials, the neighborhoods’ penchant for funeral fiestas, gossip and secrets, bizarre social events, and the sheer mix of scandal and inebriation complete the picture of dying the Filipino way. With its absurd veneer and colorful characters, REQUIEME! paints an emotionally complex tale of a small Philippine town as it reacts to a faraway incident through its own haze of desire, ambition, and estrangement. It is a film that boldly, and in an entirely original and humorous way, tackles death, family relationships, and politics. COMMUNITY PARTNERS Ma-Yi Theater
˜ Film Award in the New Currents REQUIEME! is LOY ARCENAS’ second film. His first film, NINO, was co-winner of the Best section of the Busan International Film Festival 2011. ARCENAS has an established career as a theatrical set designer as well as a director. For his design work, he has received the Obie for Sustained Excellence of Scenic Design, the Drama Desk Award, the Bay Area Critics Circle Awards, the Jefferson Award, the L.A. Drama Critics Circle Award, and the Michael Merritt Award for Design Collaboration. His directing work in New York includes THE ROMANCE OF MAGNO RUBIO, for which he received his second Obie.
FEATURE FILMS: REQUIEME! 67
someone I used to know SAT 7.27 | 6:00PM | AFA CH
DIRECTOR NADINE TRUONG | USA | 2013 | 79 MIN
In this introspective film directed by Nadine TRUONG and written by West LIANG, three high school friends reunite in a L.A. nightclub after years of separation, each now living deeply different lives. After almost losing his girlfriend, his job, and almost his life, suicidal writer Charlie, played by LIANG himself, heads to L.A. to reconnect with his best friends from high school: Luke (Brian YANG, HAWAII 5-0), a successful and handsome actor, and Danny (Eddie MUI), a rich hedonist. The reunion of the three men now in their thirties turns into one of revelations, as personal conflicts hidden within each of the characters are soon to be uncovered with the catalysts of booze, hallucinogens, old friends and strangers. The nightclub reunion finds a new direction, as the paths of the three men intersect with those of two young women (Emily CHANG, Kara CRANE), one eager to get closer to Luke, and the other under-aged, but earnest and clear-sighted. An additional friend (Rex LEE, ENTOURAGE) joins the group as it shifts to Luke’s hillside home in the Hollywood Hills, where the glittering city reverberates with the restless hearts, and where the gilded facade of this reunion is tested. Nuanced and incisive, and sometimes visually refreshing (with its inspired use of split-screens), this bitter-sweet feature debut of German-born Vietnamese filmmaker Nadine TRUONG plays out a series of revelations and delicate character studies of LIANG’s screenplay as the night wears on. Reminiscent of hang-out films like THE BREAKFAST CLUB, ST. ELMO’S FIRE and DAZED AND CONFUSED, SOMEONE I USED TO KNOW presents a tense, heartfelt drama that stands on the sincere and sensitive ensemble performances of its stellar cast. Laced with brisk humor, wackiness, and moments of solitary, the film makes statements of the modern life: the striving for something greater than “nothingness”, and how genuine companionship now does not come without cost.
COMMUNITY PARTNERS Project by Project
NADINE TRUONG, a German-born Vietnamese filmmaker, worked in talent representation and at various production companies prior to her education at American Film Institute Conservatory, from where she received her MFA degree in directing in 2009. Her directorial credits include CHOPSTICKS, THE MUSE, ONE NEVER KNOWS, MINE, and SUSHI. She was one of eight recipients of the “Armed with a Camera” grant under the Visual Communication for Asian Pacific fellowship program in 2006, and was nominated for the VC Golden Reel Award of 2009. TRUONG is also the proud recipient of the Mary Pickford Scholarship for Excellence in Directing.
68 FEATURE FILMS: SOMEONE I USED TO KNOW
steve chong finds out that suicide is a bad idea FRI 8.2 | 7:00PM | AFA MD
DIRECTOR CHARLIE LAVOY | USA | 2013 | 81 MIN
Steve Chong (Stanley WONG) is a failure. Every time he blunders, Steve scribbles it down on a note card and pins it up on his wall. The last note card he writes says: “F**ked the Tiger Roll and got fired [by his own cousin] today. Also ruined the best and last chance with Alice [his dream girl].” Now that the last bare patch of the wall is covered, he realizes it is time to die. But before he kills himself, he decides to have one last getaway with his estranged friends John, Tom, and Chris to his family’s lake house for one final round of intoxication. While he has decided to keep his suicide plan a secret, Steve lets on a little too much after too many drinks. Initially dismissing it as drunken rambling, the three friends soon discover that Steve means it all. As a result, hijinks ensue when they try to steer him off the plan while pretending that they do not know about Steve’s little secret. But Steve is not the only one with demons to face this weekend. As all the chaos – past wrangling, personal woes, and girls - around them comes to a head, the four will have their friendships and loyalties tested. A comedic Bildungsroman, a cathartic buddy film, and a sincere rendition of what the twenty-something generation has been facing since the economic meltdown - a constant stream of frustration and disappointment - STEVE CHONG FINDS OUT THAT SUICIDE IS A BAD IDEA is a surprising passion project conceived collaboratively by a group of New Orleans film buffs, proudly showing the very real boom of the underground film scene and the independent film movement in Louisiana in a film that is bursting with fresh faces and even fresher ideas. FILM TO BE PRECEDED BY FAUX DEPART (DIR. SHEKHAR BASSI | 6 MIN | UK): Fahim and Haashid, friends out of necessity, sit together on a secluded French beach where they prepare for their journey to London to find a better life. However, neither speak each other’s language, and their plans are thrown into disarray.
COMMUNITY PARTNERS Asian American Association of Time Inc.
CHARLIE LAVOY grew up in the small Northwoods town of Marquette, Michigan, and moved to New Orleans in 2004 to study film at The University of New Orleans. Charlie directed several award-winning shorts at UNO, and started working in the film industry as a graphic artist after graduating in 2008, saving up money to make this movie. In addition to STEVE CHONG FINDS OUT THAT SUICIDE IS A BAD IDEA, Charlie also produced the independent feature, THE MOURNING HILLS (2013), and the pilot pitch short film NEAR DEATH (2013). He currently lives in New Orleans, promoting this and other films and developing future projects with Owen.
FEATURE FILMS: STEVE CHONG FINDS OUT THAT SUICIDE IS A BAD IDEA 69
together SAT 7.27 | 5:30PM | NYIT
DIRECTOR ROX CHAO-JEN HSU | TAIWAN | 2012 | 114 MIN
In a small neighborhood in Taipei, 17 year-old Xiao-Yang (HUANG Shao-yang) observes the complicated relationship among his family and neighbors, beginning closest to home with his parents, who have been slowly drifting apart over the course of their long marriage. His father Ah-Bin (veteran Taiwan/Hong Kong film and pop music star Kenny BEE) runs a small printing shop and is cultivating a flirtatious relationship with his beautiful and much younger neighbor Lily (Sonia SUI), who is recently engaged. His mother Min-Min (LEE Lieh) runs a noodle and juice stand and is exploring her own attraction to the cosplay costume shop owner (MA Chih-hsiang) who works right next to her. Meanwhile Xiao-Yang’s sister (Gina LI), has been unceremoniously dumped by a neighborhood playboy. Unencumbered by romantic attachments of his own, Xiao-Yang speeds along the streets on his scooter, working overtime to sort out the troubled love lives of his family, friends and neighbors. He delivers love letters for his classmates and others in the neighborhood, a rather charming anachronism in this age of emailing, texting, and Facebook statuses. (Not for nothing does the English title of the film break apart into the words “to get her.”) Xiao-Yang also puts together a gang of pals to seek revenge against the womanizer who hurt his sister. TOGETHER is the debut feature of Rox Chao-jen HSU, a veteran of Taiwan’s film and television industry for over twenty years. He has worked with, among others, such major figures of Taiwanese cinema as TSAI Ming-liang, Edward YANG, and CHANG Tso-chi. And although TOGETHER is often reminiscent of YANG’s and CHANG’s complex multi-narrative works such as A ONE AND A TWO and WHEN LOVE COMES, HSU’s dynamically framed long-shots, realistic atmosphere, and engaging light comedy make this remarkable first film entirely his own.
PROGRAM SPONSOR Taipei Cultural Center of TECO in New York
ROX CHAO-JEN HSU was born on 2 August 1970 in Taipei. He has been working in the film industry since 1989 and has been assistant director to filmmakers such as Edward YANG, CHANG Tso-chi, LEE Kang-sheng and TAKAHISA Zeze. In 2003, HSU directed his television movie debut, IN THE AIR. Since then, he has made many successful Taiwanese television series. TOGETHER is HSU’s first full-length feature film.
70 FEATURE FILMS: TOGETHER
animal style revisited: skate shorts SHORTS PROGRAM
FRI 8.2 | 8:30PM | 74 MIN | AFA CH
Curated by Martin WONG of Asian American pop culture icon Giant Robot, the program combines skateboarding and cinema, two dynamic sources that inform his lifestyle and navigating the unknown. Surprisingly fresh and engaging, the program conveys “not only the rush of rolling on four wheels but also how the energy and creativity spill over into so many other facets of life.”
THE WORKING MAN
DIRECTORS SAMROD SHENASSA, RANDAL KIRK II, & WING KO | 9 MIN | USA In this noir-inspired B&W short, a young rogue has been recruited as a double agent for Madam L. Under the assignment of Agent 009, he faces his first test. It is his only chance to prove that his skills as a skateboarder can be used as a good cover for his future assignments.
THE BROTHERHOOD: CHICAGO DIRECTOR WING KO | 35 MIN | USA
Featuring more than 20 years of the director’s personal and previously unseen skate footage and interviews, this documentary traces the fates of three first-wave skaters from the Second City.
WIDE ANGLE SOUNDS: MORIA RUBALCABA
DIRECTORS BEN CLARK & LANGDON TAGUIPED | 5 MIN | USA The TRAVELING SOUNDS team creates a video portrait of ex-professional skater and drummer Mario RUBALCABA, whose bands have included Rocket From The Crypt, Hot Snakes, Earthless, 411, Clikatat Ikatowi, Black Heart Procession, Pinback, Sultans, and OFF!
N.Y. REVISITED 3 REMIX
DIRECTOR R.B. UMALI | 5 MIN | USA The year was 1997 and RB UMALI was busy documenting some of the finest skateboarding to ever go down in New York City while attending his third year of film school at NYU. The N.Y. REVISITED series contains never-before-seen footage of some of NYC’s best-known professional skateboarders in their prime from VHS tape. Shot on location at spots that are no longer skateable, this 5-minute edit is a remix of the third installation, cut to a classic 90s soundtrack.
COMMUNITY PARTNERS Reed Space + Staple Design 72 SHORTS PROGRAMS: ANIMAL STYLE REVISITED: SKATE SHORTS
DIRECTOR WING KO | 3 MIN | USA This extended, extra hyper remix of a short made for a contest held by the Australia-based Penny Skateboard company follows four grown men skating on candy-colored plastic boards through various Downtown L.A. obstacles, landmarks, and locales in search of pizza.
DIRECTORS BEN CLARK & LANGDON TAGUIPED | 17 MIN | USA Pro skater and musician Ray BARBEE travels to the surf town of Ventura, CA, to meet Thump Drums maker Andrew “Jenkins” JONES and Xoco MORAZA from Rey FRESCO. Their personal stories and creative processes are examined and interwoven, and conclude with a jam session featuring the legendary Bones Brigade skater and his new friends.
WILLY SANTOS VS. JO KOY
DIRECTOR ANGELA CALERO | 5 MIN | USA In this surprising collaboration between beloved OG skater for Birdhouse Willy SANTOS and proudly Pinoy stand-up comedian Jo KOY, the masters of their respective fields go mano a mano in a San Diego skatepark.
an unbounded romance SHORTS PROGRAM
FRI 7.26 | 7:30PM | 79 MIN | AFA MD
What is the incomprehensibility of love that seduces us to unravel it? Perhaps it is the pointed question that deters us from loving, as well as compels us to love. These five quirky shorts explore this idea through couples in the form of puppets, travelers, or couch-bound potatoes. They come together and fall apart along their unexpected journeys.
DIRECTOR CHUNG LAM | 5 MIN | CZECH REPUBLIC, USA In an artisanâ€™s shop, two wooden puppets are in love with each other. Hopelessly separated they constantly yearn for each other. One day, by ill-fated chance, they are separated. And yet, by chance that they cross paths, again; and must do whatever it takes to be reunited.
DIRECTOR AMOS EZRA KATZ | 18 MIN | SINGAPORE Set in Malaysia, a young photographer meets a beautiful backpacker while traveling alone. He is immediately attracted to her, and wants to befriend her. However, there is only one ticket left to ride the train. How will they both be able to ride the train? And how will their friendship develop more than mere attraction?
COUCH & POTATOES
DIRECTORS CHRISTOPHER LAM & EUNSOO JEONG | 8 MIN | USA In this beautifully constructed claymation, this couple is a pair of couch-bound TV enthusiasts. They created a world that allows them to never leave the couch. When it breaks, they discover an old, familiar, yet distant world.
JULY 1ST, AN UNHAPPY BIRTHDAY
NO LONGER THERE
DIRECTOR NOBUYUKI MIYAKE | 23 MIN | JAPAN A man tasked with making artificial dentures imagines innumerable friendships with his clients in an imaginary world. Only through fictive conversations is he able to sculpt the perfect dentures. As friendship with one of his clients burgeons, he discovers the difference between his imagined world and reality.
DIRECTOR LI MIAO | 25 MIN | HONG KONG In this intriguing docudrama, Handover LAW, a Hong Kong native, met his girlfriend, Rayna, at the last July 1st march in 2010. This year they will march again to celebrate their meeting, his birthday and protest against the government. This joyful day takes a turn when Rayna runs into her mainland Chinese schoolmate, whom Handover holds an obvious grudge against. As they march on, Handover will blunder on his own prejudice.
SHORTS PROGRAMS: AN UNBOUNDED ROMANCE 73
enduring encounters SHORTS PROGRAM
THURS 8.1 | 7:00PM | 75 MIN | AFA MD
From racial tension in NYC, disillusioned Pakistani refugees in LA to Uyghur pickpockets roaming in the streets of Central China, these heart-wrenching stories provide insights on how the disfranchised are sent on a downward spiral to a limbo where everything could possibly go awry.
In a pre-historic world, there are marvels to be unearthed. A group of adventurous youngsters have a journey of their own, but at the cost of excluding others. However, it is the lonesome protagonist who will prove his self-worth through radically pioneering a way to immortalize the legacy of his time.
DAWN tells the story of two strangers who may have more in common than they first realize. After Tye detects what he considers to be a racist glance from another passenger on the evening train home, a violent confrontation ensues. While disputing their differences, Tye is shocked to discover they share something big in common.
Olive finds herself lost in the woods. When she sees a tree in the clearing, she attempts to climb it. But suddenly the tree springs into life in the form of a giant behemoth. Although it frightens Olive at first, she comes to learn of the kindness of strangers.
After crossing the border into Afghanistan, a tribal Pakistani family is made into refugees. In their government-assisted housing in a Los Angeles ghetto, they accept the path toward Americanism. Having been caught in the fray of warfare and now displaced in America, the question comes to mind: Who is culpable?
DIRECTOR SHAUN SEONG-YOUNG KIM | 7 MIN | SOUTH KOREA, USA
DIRECTOR HARRIET-LANE NGO | 3 MIN | USA
THE TRAIL FROM XINJIANG
DIRECTOR CHEN DONGNAN | 36 MIN | CHINA, USA Many from Xinjiang, China’s Uyghur autonomous region, which was founded in 1955, are bounded to a collective identity notoriously known as “Xinjiang thieves.” Following Musa, Ali and Little Musa, who left their hometown in China’s most western province, THE TRAIL FROM XINJIANG documents the faces and stories behind the crimes.
74 SHORTS PROGRAMS: ENDURING ENCOUNTERS
DIRECTOR LEON LE | 10 MIN | USA
DIRECTOR AMIR NOORANI | 19 MIN | USA
for youth by youth SHORTS PROGRAM
TUES 7.30 | 5:00PM | 50 MIN | MOCA
Encompassing animation, narrative, and documentary shorts, For Youth by Youth program celebrates works by media makers of Asian descent under the age of 21, articulating their perceptions of life and the world in the most original voice. PROGRAM PRECEDED BY THE WELL WISHING TREE (DIRECTOR ELIZABETH MANLY | 8 MIN | USA): A brief glimpse into the daily life and philosophy of Vruksha Montessori School, Chennai, India. MANLY’s documentary is a finalist of the 2013 Asian American Film Festival of the City University of New York.
IN HER SHOES
The son of a skin care specialist, Kevin KIM explores a popular phenomenon of skin fetish. Traveling across Seoul, KIM documents interviews with specialists in the area and digs up his family history.
Kobi, a 16-year-old, is forced by his mother, a cleaning lady, to solely take care of his grandmother, who suffers from Alzheimer’s. Where they live borders the Gaza strip, which is constantly being bombarded. Suddenly, the tension, anxiety, and heavy responsibility that have been imposed on him changes him at the end of the day.
DIRECTOR KEVIN KIM | 3 MIN | SOUTH KOREA
DIRECTOR KAYLA WONG | 6 MIN | USA A timid young warrior finally musters enough courage to save his friendship and embarks on a quest to obtain the greatest treasure in all the land.
DIRECTOR KATHLEEN SILVERSTEIN | 6 MIN | USA A young girl charts her very first (both metaphoric and physical) steps. From before she had any memory whatsoever of being adopted at NYC to the time when she traces her roots back to becoming a discerning woman, Kathleen reflects on her life and the amazing journey she has been on.
DIRECTOR BARAK COHEN | 20 MIN | ISRAEL
MALAYSIA, A COLORFUL COUNTRY
DIRECTORS TAN CHEEYAN, ONG YUKEE, & MJ SOONG | 2 MIN | MALAYSIA Malaysia is the colorful homeland of the narrator, who, with lovely color pencil sketchings, reflects upon the diversity, difference, and unity of Malaysia that consists of more than forty races.
DIRECTOR TANIA SAFI | 5 MIN | AUSTRALIA Suturing multiple media to facilitate her a single story, is a young girl’s complex relationship to what she ambivalently calls “home.” Her mixed feelings wrought by her trip to her distant homeland, Trab Laus, Lebanon, as opposed to her Australia, evokes such lucid sensations of youth, coming-of-age, and reconciliation, that only the montage, imageries, and music can capture.
COMMUNITY PARTNERS Asian Americans For Equality, APEX SHORTS PROGRAMS: FOR YOUTH BY YOUTH 75
in times of innocence SHORTS PROGRAM
SAT 8.3 | 3:30PM | 80 MIN | AFA MD
With a power and imagination uninhibited by their length, these five beautiful shorts capture the strength and pitfalls of familial bonds. The program explores the comedic, dysfunctional and inexplicable tensions that characterize those bonds, and illumines our weaknesses under unknown forces – whether it is power, economic uncertainty, loss of innocence, grief, or simply the unknown.
LITTLE MAO is a farcical retelling of the Chinese Cultural Revolution through 12-year-old Bobby TUNG as Mao Zedong. After an accident, Bobby, in a baseball team on a losing streak, subsequently leads his team to victory. Becoming Chairman Mao incarnate, Bobby must choose between his teammates and his monopolization of power.
30 years into the future the world has become over-populated with scant resources and ubiquitous ennui. In New York City, Gwen, a single mother, must battle through thick and thin for her daughter’s livelihood. Unemployed, how far will she go to provide an advantage for her daughter?
A RAINY DAY FOR EARTH WORMS
THREE LIGHT BULBS
Set in the backdrop of Boston’s Chinatown, Matthew Chung, a fourth grade student, is begrudgingly spending his summer days in Chinese school to retain his Chinese heritage. Lost in the haze of a youth’s summer, he transforms the school grounds into a playground with two other friends. However, when this action precipitates an accident, the trio must reflect and make peace before the summer ends.
Returning to familiar roads, rolling across somber hills of China’s countryside, an urbanite comes home to her father. Held tightly in her arms are the solar panels with which she hopes to change her hometown. Indeed, there is no place like home to return to and to leave behind.
DIRECTOR ALLAN TONG | 7 MIN | CANADA
DIRECTOR GARY MEI | 15 MIN | USA
DIRECTOR CAROLYN WONG | 19 MIN | CANADA Howard was murdered. He was a son, brother and uncle. Although remembered for his many accolades, Howard was in fact embroiled in an existential conflict that resulted in his self-destructive behavior. HOWARD is Howard’s niece, Carolyn WONG’s attempt to collect the vestiges of his past in tribute to his memory.
COMMUNITY PARTNERS China Institute, Columbia Alumni Arts League, Women’s eNews 76 SHORTS PROGRAMS: IN TIMES OF INNOCENCE
DIRECTOR JENNIFER PHANG | 23 MIN | USA
DIRECTOR DING MIN | 16 MIN | CANADA, TAIWAN, USA
into the penumbra SHORTS PROGRAM
THURS 7.25 | 6:30PM | 85 MIN | AFA CH
Asian American representation in mainstream media has always been a struggle. Only those who envisage a possible shattering of the status quo could pioneer change. Through persevering artistic expression, life-risking investigative journalism, or satirical potential of Youtube, these five stories exemplify the various ways by which Asian Americans have made inroads in our history and present.
On the verge of being swept under the Taylorism of the production process in a Chinese toy factory, a young painter rebels.
A mix of stage play, Hollywood re-enactment and historical lesson, KEYE LUKE is an examination and celebration of the life and career of Keye Luke, an Asian American pioneer in Hollywood entertainment having 200+ shows under his belt, playing the original Kato in the 1940s GREEN HORNET, the All-American “Number One Son” in the Charlie Chan films, and Detective James Lee WONG in PHANTOM OF CHINATOWN.
DIRECTOR CHRISTIAN GOSSETT | 6 MIN | USA
DIRECTOR GREGORY BONSIGNORE | 12 MIN | USA A trio of friends must reluctantly accept an offer to make an Internet video. With the long-term prospect of gaining currency in the wilderness of the mediascape, they anticipate how that video will shape them and what exactly the video will entail for their politicized and misused images as so-called “brown” actors. Or can they?
LIL TOKYO REPORTER
DIRECTOR JEFFREY CHIN | 30 MIN | USA
DIRECTOR TIMOTHY TAU | 12 MIN | USA
MORE THAN A FACE IN THE CROWD
DIRECTOR SAMANTHA CHAN | 25 MIN | USA A niece attempts to trace her distant 100-year-old great aunt’s acting career in Hollywood. Sifting through a handful of films in Jane CHUNG’s acting dossier, Samantha hopes to suture the more-than 50 films and TV shows to articulate an oft-forgotten story of Asian American actors/ actresses in Hollywood.
In 1935 Los Angeles, while the country struggles through the Great Depression, the Japanese American community unites for survival. Civil Rights Leader and Newspaperman Sei FUJII prepares for his mission to acquire equal rights. He discovers that he has several hurdles to overcome within and beyond his own community.
COMMUNITY PARTNERS Asian American Bar Association of New York, Asian American Arts Alliance, Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund SHORTS PROGRAMS: INTO THE PENUMBRA 77
korean war remembered SPECIAL PROGRAM
SAT 8.3 | 1:30PM | 90 MIN | AFA MD
Special program KOREAN WAR REMEMBERED examines the history and human effects of the Korean War, a war that most Americans now remember little about. From the imprint warfare’s brutality etched upon the psyches of individual soldiers and civilians to the continuing pain of separation and destruction of families torn apart by their country’s division, the two films are able to invoke the emotionally vivid memories of the war that broke out 50 years ago, but is still resounding today. Followed by a special program by Nodutdol for Korean Community Development.
A DAY IN 1951
MEMORY OF FORGOTTEN WAR
On a day in 1951, an injured British officer is separated from his surviving company and rescued by a neurotic Korean youth. In the isolation of the countryside, the two forge a tenuous friendship until the British soldier makes a misstep that triggers an unexpected reaction in his companion.
Unknown or forgotten by most Americans, the Korean War divided a people with several millenniums of shared history. MEMORY OF FORGOTTEN WAR conveys the human costs of military conflict through deeply personal accounts of four Korean American survivors whose experiences and memories embrace the full circle of the war, from the day-to-day struggle for survival, to separation across the DMZ, to immigration to the U.S., and to the final reunion with relatives in North Korea after four decades. Their stories belie the notion that war ends for civilians when the guns are silenced and foreshadow the futures of countless others displaced by ongoing military conflict today.
DIRECTOR STUART HOWE | 18 MIN | SOUTH KOREA
DIRECTORS DEANN BORSHAY LIEM, RAMSAY LIEM | 38 MIN | USA
COMMUNITY PARTNERS Korean American Film Festival New York, Nodutdol for Korean Community Development 78 SPECIAL PROGRAM: KOREAN WAR REMEMBERED
taiwan cinema days SHORTS PROGRAM
FRI 7.26 | 10:00PM | 84 MIN | AFA MD
The modern Taipei witnesses the reluctant parting of a Singaporean soldier; pineapple patches in the South become the last hide-out for a boy framed for theft; an aboriginal man ruminates on the tribe’s life drastically severed from their tradition in urbanization. Three cherry picked short films, interspersed with two refreshing animation shorts, comprehensively present the various city- and landscapes of Taiwan, and briskly depart from the rich legacies of the Taiwanese masters like HOU and YANG.
WHEN THE COLD WIND BLOWS
After Singapore must demilitarize its bases in Taiwan, a young Singaporean soldier and his Taiwanese girlfriend must part ways. They spend an entire night together roaming the streets of Taipei, hoping to come closer to understanding their future.
Deftly utilizing mixed-media animation that combines illustration, stop-motion, and live action, Taiwan-born, Brooklyn-based animator YANG Yiu-chen presents in THE BOX a story of the loss of innocence and creativity as one transits from childhood to adulthood, from imagination to reality.
DIRECTOR CHIANG WEI LIANG | 20 MIN | TAIWAN
HOW I LEARNED TO TELL A LIE
DIRECTOR GUO SHANG-SING | 30 MIN | TAIWAN Amid the endless, beautiful vistas of Taiwan’s countryside, and fields of pineapples and lush greens, is a young vagabond, Didi, who is abruptly forced into a store by an oncoming storm. Following an altercation, Didi is accused of theft and detained. What he experiences there opens his very young mind to a variety of life lessons regarding class, law and sexuality.
DIRECTOR YANG YIU-CHEN | 6 MIN | USA
DIRECTORS TSENG HUI-CHING, TSENG CHIEN-CHUN, TSENG YUHSUAN | 3 MIN | TAIWAN A round seed falls out of the clutch of a bird’s beak and makes its way through the many cycles of its life. SEED exemplifies the collaborative projects by Tainan-based digital artist TSENG Hui-ching and her daughters who use everyday objects to tell a cute and extraordinary story.
DIRECTOR HSU CHANG-HAO | 25 MIN | TAIWAN Taiwan bears the brunt of climate change - with this anomalous weather pattern, the government has issued a water shortage. Life, as it is, above the detrimental effects of weather shifts, must continue. As myriad youth seek employment, an Atayal (one of the Taiwanese aborigines) family must reconcile with economic concerns and the integrity of their culture.
PROGRAM SPONSOR Taipei Cultural Center of TECO in New York SHORTS PROGRAMS: TAIWAN CINEMA DAYS 79
PRINT SOURCE A DAY IN 1951 EMAIL email@example.com TEL +44 150-849-3507 ADVANTAGEOUS Jennifer PHANG EMAIL firstname.lastname@example.org TEL 646-942-8302 AS HE SLEEPS Gil QUITO EMAIL email@example.com TEL 212-532-8346 BEGINNINGS Jini SHIM Pacific Arts Movement EMAIL firstname.lastname@example.org TEL 619-400-5911 BEYOND THE MAT Jumpstart Pictures EMAIL Vanmpham@yahoo.com TEL 323-528-4385
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THE BOX Yiu-chen YANG EMAIL email@example.com TEL 917-833-8436
FAUX DEPART Shekhar BASSI EMAIL firstname.lastname@example.org TEL 00089324342/07984450410
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HIM, HERE, AFTER Laurent ALEONARD HELIOTROPE FILMS EMAIL firstname.lastname@example.org HONORABLE JOURNEY David PEPPER AARP EMAIL: email@example.com TEL 202-434-2603 HOWARD Carolyn WONG EMAIL firstname.lastname@example.org
LOVE, I DON’T DARE SAY IT Absolutní Music EMAIL email@example.com
SEED Hui-ching TSENG EMAIL firstname.lastname@example.org
MARILOU DIAZ-ABAYA: FILMMAKER ON A VOYAGE Mona Lisa YUCHENGCO EMAIL email@example.com
SHAYA Amir NOORANI EMAIL firstname.lastname@example.org TEL 607-227-1407
MEMORY OF FORGOTTEN WAR MU Films EMAIL email@example.com
SKIN EMAIL firstname.lastname@example.org
HOW I LEARNED TO TELL A LIE EMAIL email@example.com
MOON HOOCH Iemi HERNANDEZ youtube.com/lafayetttestreet123 EMAIL firstname.lastname@example.org
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INNOCENT BLOOD In the Can Film EMAIL Info@innocentbloodfilm.com
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INNOCENTS EMAIL firstname.lastname@example.org KEYE LUKE Timothy TAU FIREBRAND HAND CREATIVE EMAIL email@example.com TEL 310-878-7980 THE KOKOLOGY GAME Dawn CHAN EMAIL firstname.lastname@example.org TEL 661-289-0482 LIL TOKYO REPORTER Lil Tokyo Reporter RILM LLL EMAIL email@example.com TEL 626-532-7523 LINSANITY Brian YANG 408 Films EMAIL BRIAN@408FILMS.COM LITTLE MAO Allen TONG Toronto, ON, Canada, M5T 2W9 EMAIL firstname.lastname@example.org
OLIVE EMAIL email@example.com ONLY CHILD Metamorfic Productions LLC EMAIL firstname.lastname@example.org TEL 818-845-5148 PECULIAR VACATION AND OTHER ILLNESSES Katja LENARCIC m-appeal EMAIL email@example.com PHOSPHENES Matt PANA Mitchell Grey Music EMAIL firstname.lastname@example.org RAIN EMAIL email@example.com TEL +886-955-852025 RAINY DAY FOR EARTH WORMS Gary MEI EMAIL firstname.lastname@example.org TEL 781-363-3536
SOONGAVA - DANCE OF THE ORCHIDS Laurence BERBON Tamasa Distribution EMAIL email@example.com SWEETLY BROKEN Chung LAM EMAIL CFL255@NYU.EDU TEL 646-209-3773” STEVE CHONG FINDS OUT THAT SUICIDE IS A BAD IDEA Charles LAVOY Steve Chong The Movie Prod. EMAIL firstname.lastname@example.org TEL 504-644-1403 SUPREME PAIN FOR THE TYRANT CHTHONIC EMAIL email@example.com TEL +886(2)89319919 THREE LIGHT BULBS Cindy HU EMAIL firstname.lastname@example.org TRAB LAUS Tania SAFI EMAIL email@example.com TOGETHER Shao-yi CHEN SERENITY ENTERTAINMENT INTERNATIONAL EMAIL: firstname.lastname@example.org WAITING FOR GODOT EMAIL email@example.com WHEN I WALK Hilary CROWE Long Shot Factory EMAIL firstname.lastname@example.org WHEN THE COLD WIND BLOWS EMAIL email@example.com YOYOYO Valiant Pictures EMAIL firstname.lastname@example.org PRINT SOURCE 81
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The 36th Asian American International Film Festival is made possible with support, in part, by public funds from the New York State Council on the Arts, with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature and from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs. Additional support is provided by Asia Society, Remy Martin, Taipei Cultural Center of TECO in New York, AARP, Southwest Airlines, Woo Creative, Wells Fargo, Asian Film and Media Initiative, Department of Cinema Studies, N.Y.U., and the many friends of ACV.