The Official DC Asian Pacific American Film Blog

Thursday, October 26, 2006

More festivals!

Even though our festival just ended, our staff is busy keeping their eyes and ears open for new films for next year. Fortunately for us (and for your cinephile friends in other cities) there's an Asian film festival going on almost every other month of the year across the US that we can either attend or work with to check out films that we might want to show here in DC. Coming up in November:

The Vancouver Asian Film Festival is in their 10th year and will present five days of the best of Asian Canadian and Asian American (heck, let's just say Asian-North American) films. Good luck to Su Anne and the folks in Vancouver!

The Toronto Reel Asian International Film Festival is also celebrating their 10th anniversary in a few weeks. Thanks to sponsorship from the Canadian Embassy, staff from our festival will be traveling to Toronto to check out what kind of films our friends up north have come up with over the past year. Check back to our blog and gallery for the report in a few weeks.

If you can't make it to Canada, there's some great events coming up in DC over the next few weeks. Starting this weekend, I recommend checking out +/- at the Black Cat on Saturday the 28th. +/- is one of the bands formed out of old members of Versus, a near cult-status band that's been around for over a decade. Versus is one of the first bands that I can remember hearing about and (pleasantly) surprised that most of the members were Asian American.

Also beginning this Friday is the Arabian Sights Film Festival. I haven't read much about the films being shown, but it looks like a great mixture of themes, ranging from present day political documentaries to narrative thrillers.

This Sunday the 29th, the Freer is screening a documentary by Y. David Chung called KORYO SARAM: The Unreliable People. It's a documentary about the forced deportation by Stalin of ethnic Koreans from the remote northeastern provinces of Russia inland to what is now Kazakhstan. David Chung is also an amazing visual artist whose work has been shown often in the DC area, and was also commissioned to complete several public art projects inside metro stops in the DC area.

Next Saturday is the annual SALTAF (South Asian Literary and Theater Arts Festival) at Natural History Museum. Check out PUNCHING AT THE SUN, the debut feature of Tanuj Chopra, who will also be in attendance to discuss the film.

Kicking off next Thursday is the ASEAN Film and Photography Festival at National Geographic. This festival showcases film and photography from the Southeast Asian diaspora. I just noticed it's $5 a screening, which is a bargain, especially for film festivals in this town.

Happy festival hopping!

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

All About Eve and the Fire Horse

On the Friday before Closing Night it was cold and damp, but we had great turnout for the shorts programs at the Goethe-Institut, which in my opinion were some of the best shorts we’ve ever shown, especially the dark comedy 6 Ft in 7 Min, which programmers voted Best Short of the festival.

I was running late and when I got to the theater for Closing Night, there were already people milling around outside waiting to buy tickets. Our volunteers quickly took over a large cardboard backdrop near the concession stand of some bad action/adventure movie that’s coming out and draped our fancy custom made backdrop on it. It became the spot to see and be seen for many photo opps that night.

We set up the ticketing table and began letting people in. The theater was packed and people were still coming in long after the movie started. Eve and the Fire Horse is a fantastic movie. We were really lucky that Julia Kwan (director) and Phoebe Kut (star of the film) came from Vancouver to attend the screening. I think the film’s strength is that it appeals to many different types of audiences but at the same time cleverly uses a specific time, place, and according to Julia, memory of childhood, to convey universal themes. It’s on the tail end of its festival circuit, and we couldn’t have been happier to be a part of it's travels. We wish everyone the best from the film! Now go support the Canadian economy and buy it on!

The party at Panache on Closing Night was packed and fun. Everyone was there-- sponsors, including Verizon and Hennessy, filmmakers (Eric Byler stopped by, still in town working on the campaign in VA), and lots of festival friends, both old and new. I complain that DC is too small, but I realized that in the Asian American community here, sometime's it's an advantage, because it's easier to make the connections for the support you need. I swear, if you're Asian American and living in DC, MD, or VA, you're less than six degrees of seperation from us.

We'll be taking a break for awhile, but back up sooner than you think. We've got to start picking dates, securing sponsorships, write some grants, and also hopefully bring some off-season screenings to DC for you. If you've heard of any films you'd like to see, let us know. Also, I'll be updating the blog with events and happenings going on over the next few months. Thank you to our sponsors, supporters, friends, families, and volunteers. Please go and support all of these great organizations and companies that made it a point to reach out to the APA community through their sponsorship of the festival. We made it through another year and hope to see you at the next festival if not before!

Friday, October 06, 2006

Hanging with the Queen from VA

Sorry, I took soo long to post. Being president of the this year's festival has got me running around all over chasing alligators and putting out fires. That being said, this festival has been monumental!!! Last Friday, I had the pleasure of being event manager for our much anticipated VA screening of The Queen from VA. Director David Ngo and his mother were present as well. But the star of the evening, our royal majesty herself, Jackie Bong Wright brought out her fellow Ms. Virginia Senior America pageant winners in all their glory. Ngo’s film won Best Documentary at this year’s Asian Pacific film festival in Los Angeles, despite the fact that it was the first thing Ngo had ever shot. The documentary follows Jackie Bong Wright—Ngo’s aunt—at the week-long National Senior beauty pageant in Las Vegas. In doing so, it provides a rare glimpse into a pageant that most people have no idea even exists, and reveals an intimate look of Jackie Bong Wright’s life as the first Vietnamese contestant. The night was full of great food, fine Riesling wine, and the tremendous efforts of Eric Jensen, who is very active with the Coalition of Asian Pacific American Voters In VA (CAPAVA), helped establish venue, equipment and most of all the sold out turnout in attendance. It was also great to have many students, over 20, from UVA and their professor, Dr. Sylvia Chong, Director of Asian Pacific American Studies, in attendance.

They all concurred that the film provided a unique insight to the world of Senior Pagents and that getting old does not mean being less active. Trust me, if I have my way, I will be doing film festivals til I die! Just picture this, an 88 year-old Asian man being a volunteer at the 75th Annual DC APA Film Festival. Okay I know, I am not 20, but did you really think I was going to tell you my real age. Jackie kept me guessing, so I think I should do the same. It's that Asian advantage. I just got carded the other day!! LOL.

Thanks to our volunteers for coming out and making it a fantastic night and to the Arlington Arts Center for providing a beautiful venue. DON"T FORGET TO COME OUT TO CLOSING NIGHT THIS SAT, OCT. 7 for EVE and THE FIRE HORSE!!!!

From The Hallway

It was an exciting night to be downtown and back at the E St. Cinema for our two features "American Fusion" and "Waterborne." I was volunteering for the event, ripping raffle tickets, handing out program books, eating pizza, and helping people find their way around the theater.

As you may have gathered from Wyman's post on this blog about this evening, E St. also just happened to be screening Babel, an upcoming feature starring Cate Blanchett and some dude named Brad Pitt, and director Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu was in the house. Sarah from E St. told us Paramount's anti-piracy crew was in tow allegedly sporting night vision goggles to look for thieves during the screening.

The frequent bursts of warm, hearty laughter coming out into the hallway from inside the theater told me "American Fusion" struck a chord. I peeked in and couldn't stop laughing. People were smiling on their way out, always a good sign.

The second feature of the night was a change-up - the grainy thriller Waterborne, a story from several points of view (including a Sikh family) about tensions boiling over in post 9/11 Los Angeles when terrorists poison the water supply and chaos ensues. Of course, after completing each and everyone of my volunteerly duties, I had a seat in the theater. Just how effective was this movie? Put it this way, watching Waterborne made me yearn for a tall bottle of Deer Park.

After the giveaways, the crowd moved the party uptown to dance, lounge and sip Moet til the wee hours in the VIP room of K St Lounge. Volunteer with DC APA Fest and you will go places! - M.F.S.

Washington, DC - A Film Town

Who said that Washington, DC wasn't a film town? On my way to the screening of American Fusion, I had trouble finding a parking space around the Landmark E Street theater because of all the movie trailers taking up the street parking. Apparently, Antoine Fuqua was shooting his latest film, Shooter, with Mark Wahlberg and Danny Glover a couple blocks away. After circling the block a few times, I finally found parking and walked into the E Street theater to set up for that night's screenings. Soon, several people of Hispanic descent came in and I assumed they were here for our screening of American Fusion, a film starring Esai Morales who plays a Mexican dentist who develops a relationship with Sylvia Chang, a Chinese divorcée with a quirky family. They would come up to us and ask for tickets for Babel. We quickly find out that E Street was having a preview screening and several members of the Mexican Embassy were invited to attend. Also, we soon discover that the director, Alejandro González Iñárritu (21 Grams, Amores Perros), would be present to do a Q&A afterwards. I was very tempted to leave my post and sneak into the screening, but was committed to making sure the screening of American Fusion went well. The audience laughed at all right times during American Fusion and we gave out t-shirts from MTV Chi and The Anime Network, a subscription to Giant Robot, game cards to ESPN Zone, and a gift certificate to Sea Catch Restaurant at the end. Afterwards, I passed my responsibilities to the event manager for Waterborne, a well-made film detailing a terrorist act on a major city that unfolds in unexpected ways. As the Waterborne screening got underway, one of the organizers of the Babel screening invited us to attend the Q&A. Some of the staff went in to watch as Iñárritu gave interesting and intelligent answers to the questions that were asked. We took a photo with him and gave him a souvenir bag from our festival. Several of us took posters for Babel that were available as our female staff began to drool over the pictures of Brad Pitt and Gael García Bernal.

We have a few highly anticipated screenings left. Our shorts programs at the Goethe Institut contain some outstanding films from filmmakers you'll hear more from in the future and our closing night film is Eve & the Fire Horse, a wonderful Sundance film that has received numerous awards. Our film festival is coming to a close, but we are working with some other film festivals that are coming up that I'll write about soon. And did I mention some of our staff hung out with John Singleton and Jimmy Smits on Tuesday night. It's an interesting time to be in DC for film.

Eve & the Fire Horse trailer

Thursday, October 05, 2006

It's Ladies' Night

Last night was our second night at the National Museum of Women in the Arts. That's a mouthful, but so is NMWA (Nim-wha). So call it what you want, it's a beautiful museum where I've seen some amazing exhibits and I'm really glad we joined with them this year to screen films. I called them on a whim two years ago to inquire about a partnership and was told to call back in the spring when they were planning their calendar. After some messages and some email bouncing, I connected with KJ, who is the film programmer there. I think we're kindred spirits in our taste in film, which always helps. Anyway, you should definitely go see films there on a regular basis.

Last night we screened the women's shorts program, this year dubbed "My So-Called Disoriented Life" in reference to
Eric Byler's short film (actually a television pilot) called My Life Disoriented; and of course the show that any teenage girl worth her pair of Doc Martens and a flannel shirt grew up watching in the 90's, My So-Called Life. This program was a staff favorite and contained some of the strongest shorts of the festival. It had a great response, especially the hysterical Fumi and the Bad Luck Foot, an animated short, and Pria, this little Canadian short. I've realized that all but two of the films are appropriate for any audience age and regret not pushing the program to groups that work with Asian American girls.

Following the shorts program was the feature film Kieu. This film uses simply dialogue and imagery to convey the daily life of a young woman caught in a complex situation. It also gives a lot more agency to women actually working in massage parlors and around the issue of sex work by representing them as fully human characters and not somebody that winds up dead on an episode of Law and Order.

We ended the evening with a round at Harry's over by Landmark. All these independent artsy films must have been getting to our heads because the conversation snowballed into a barrage of one-liners from 80's movies, celebrity gossip, the "whatever happened to xx?" game, and some hilarious confessions by our staff to enjoying and owning some of the worst movies ever made. Don't worry guys, I won't tell yours if you don't tell mine.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

More Films…More Fun

Half way through the festival and more great films are yet to come. The films in this year’s festival are some of the best we’ve ever shown. Over 30 feature length films were submitted to us this year. Unfortunately, we had several venue issues and were not able to show all the films that really deserved to be in this festival. With generous support from the community, we’ll continue to grow and promote Asian Americans in the arts. We thank all the sponsors for contributing to our festival to make this year become one of the best film festivals we’ve ever organized. We’ll be giving out prizes from MTV Chi, The Anime Network, Sea Catch Restaurant, and Elephant & Castle at upcoming screenings. We’ll also having parties at K Street Lounge and Panache after the screenings on Thursday and Saturday. So come out and see Asian American cinema at its best.

- Wyman

The Widow Colony

Josh here. I’d like to share my thoughts a couple days after digesting the screening of “The Widow Colony.”

Let me start with the statement that I firmly believe in the power of film to stimulate social progress, especially for segments of humanity that are marginalized, and giving a voice to people that otherwise have none. “The Widow Colony” is a prime example; bringing the story of these widows to an American audience that most likely had little knowledge (including myself) of the genocide that occured in Delhi in 1984.

I won’t go into too many details of the movie, but check out the website for more info:

“The film, directed by Harpreet Kaur, explores the suffering of these women, their battle for justice and their struggle for survival in India… What it achieves in doing most effectively is conveying the trauma that still haunts the lives of these widows… we have forgotten about the survivors and their need for rehabilitation. While the world has moved on marking the massacre as a chapter in history, these widows remain trapped in 1984… The widows express serious doubt in India’s judicial system based on the fact that over 4,000 Sikhs were killed in the capital city alone and 21 years and 11 investigations later, the Government has still not been able to deliver justice.”

I thought the film was well done, although I wish there could have been more background on the buildup to the events. We had a strong turnout for a Sunday afternoon, and I noticed that several people in the audience left the movie with tears in their eyes. One of the most powerful moments in the film for me was when during the interview with the filmaker, one of the widows cried out, sobbing, that she did not want to tell her story unless the interviewer was going to do something about it. Otherwise, she would just rather be left alone, than to be given false hope that someone was actually going to help her. And of course, the filmakers did do something about it, and are traveling the world to screen the movie and raise awareness. Because of this piece of celluloid, things are happening, funds are being raised, and even the prime minister of India is now aware of the movie. Hopefully there will be a breakthrough in the coming future, and if not exactly a happy ending, at least a form of redress.

The production company had team members there to field Q&As, and one of the directors for the opening short, “Sikh on the Street,” also attended.

In closing, my hope is that we will have more filmakers in the Asian American community such as Harpreet that are willing to address these difficult issues. There are so many hidden stories by our communities that go untold, swept under the rugs for fear of “losing face,” or perhaps even sadder, just plain forgotten.

The only marathon I’ll ever do

We here at DC APA like to torture ourselves by doing what we call “marathon screenings”. This entails either viewing hours of films during the screening/programming process and/or presenting hours of films all in one day during the festival. Doesn’t sound so bad, right? All you’re doing is watching movies, you say. Well, have you ever actually tried to watch four movies back to back? If you were there on Saturday, then you’ll know why it’s taken me until now to recover and post…

This year’s marathon took place at the GWU Jack Morton Auditorium last Saturday, starting at 1pm with Slanted Screen and Conventioneers ending at 10pm. Then there was the after-party at Jin Lounge, and rumors of an after-after party as well. Whoever wrote over at that we like to party, it’s absolutely true. If you don’t believe me, come join us on Thursday for the feature screenings and K Street and then on Saturday at Closing Night.

Surprisingly, I got to GW on time to set up for the first screening of Slanted Screen, a great documentary by Jeff Adachi, who we learned from Eric Byler in the Q&A afterwards, is also a public defender by day in San Francisco. Thanks to a great team of volunteers that arrived on time and started setting up, I was able to escape for some much needed coffee. The evening before consisted of the packed screening of I for India (my favorite doc at this year’s fest), and a fabulous after-party at the International Student House with Singha, yummy Indian food, bhangra and Indonesian dancing, and music by Aphrodizia, this live & electronic music collective led by the talented Yoko K. Along with a late night trek to Annandale for noraebang, light beers, birthday cake, and Korean food (yes, in that order), and a very late night trek back into DC (thanks for the ride, Christian!), I hadn’t stayed up that late since I can’t remember when. (Uh, actually, it was the night before, Opening Night. Read more about this fun and interesting evening on Eric Byler’s blog.)

Slanted Screen is a great documentary with lots of historical footage and interviews with past and current Asian American male actors. BTW, did anyone catch Sung Kang on CSI Miami last night? He played an owner of an offshore casino that was producing counterfeit money and was tied to the North Korean government. I was disappointed to see him in a stereotypical role, but I’m sure that the lure of being in a Jerry Bruckheimer production (or maybe he was blinded by all the explosions) worked all too well. But I digress. Everyone stayed for the Q&A after Slanted Screen, which as an event programmer I’m always nervous about. Special thanks to the guests: Eric Byler and Chris Tashima from Americanese, Tony Nam, who’s starring in an upcoming Woolly Mammoth production, and Scott Tong, from NPR’s Marketplace.

Next was Sentenced Home. This timely film about US immigration policy is my second favorite doc of the festival. It’s hard to make a documentary that is driven by both engaging characters and solid direction, and this film has both. We were very fortunate to have the co-director of the film and one of the subjects with us, who both took time away from new members of their families on the west coast to attend the screening. Thank you to Many, Nicole, and the folks at Sentenced Home, and be sure to check it out when it airs on PBS this spring!

After a quick dinner at the “Sizz-Ex” with a group of UVA American studies students, we showed Mighty Warriors of Comedy. Another great doc, this time about the sketch comedy group based in San Francisco called 18 Mighty Mountain Warriors. These guys and gals put on some of the funniest, edgiest humor related to Asians and Asian Americans I’ve ever seen. It was directed by Sung Kim, whose film Book of Rules was our Opening Night film a few years back. He also took time away from his family to be with us, and we really appreciate it.

Finally, the screening I had been waiting hours for: Conventioneers. One of my favorite features of the festival (we have 14 this year!). This film is about a liberal activist woman who attends the protest of the Republican National Convention in New York City and winds up having an affair with an old friend who turns out to actually be a Republican delegate. We got a lovely surprise when the parents-in-law of one of the actors in the film introduced themselves to us. Turns out, not only are they from here but brought 20 of their closest friends to the screening! It’s getting a theatrical release in NYC in October, so be sure to tell your friends up there to check it out. Hopefully it will make it back to DC, but until then, all I’ll say is you should be sorry you missed it because it’s the type of film that you’ll talk about for months after you’ve seen it.

We packed up and coordinated rides over to Jin Lounge. I contemplated Red Bull & vodka vs. coffee as my upper of choice to get me through the next phase of the evening. Red Bull won, and that’s a whole other story.

~ Anna ~

I for India, P for Party

I’m not sure what was more fun: the turnout and enthusiasm at the “I for India” screening on Friday night or the after-party at International Student House. The former had the film, but the latter had food! And beer. Sweet sweet beer.

The turnout for “I for India” at the Freer was a resounding success for us staffers. We filled the theater to a nice capacity, even to the point of running out of program books! We had to call Shawn (another staffer and our newsletteer guru), and he sped right over with another box of programs. Phew. Thanks, Shawn.
The film itself was well-received by the audience. It was actually the first time I had seen it, and I was most impressed by how well-documented the lives were of the Suri family (subject of the film). Decades of audio tapes, films, photos, etc, a true literal documentary. I especially liked how in some parts the director (Sandhya Suri) overlaid family audio recordings over different images, and not images necessarily on the topic of what was being said in the recording you heard. The story of the director’s family’s immigrant experience is something that I think any Asian American can relate with. I think this film was one of the high points of the festival.
After the film, we all headed over to the International Student House in Dupont for the post-screening party. I was looking forward to grabbing a Singha beer! (full disclosure: during festival organization, I helped with securing sponsorship and liaised with the Thai beer company Singha for this product donation for our festival; hence, I was especially looking forward to drinking some of my hard hard work).

The party was, as they say, off the hook (do people still say that? either way, I apologize). The crowd was a melange of festivalgoers and the international students who live in the house, as well as supporters of Asia Society, the event’s sponsor. The space was beautiful, a big old-fashioned wood-decorated hall, with carpets and couches, fireplace, chandelier, and large windows. The DJ played some groovin’ tunes, and the live bhangra dance performance and group lesson were a big hit! Girls lined up on one side, guys on the other, and the two dancers/teachers led the crowd in some bhangra booty-shakin’. I, uh, watched mostly the girl’s side. Josh (another staffer, the Guest Services czar) and I passed out free raffle tickets for a couple subscriptions to Giant Robot (Asian pop culture magazine, one of our sponsors, and in my opinion, the best magazine, like, ever). Some of the international students were a bit bewildered I think by all the Asian-ness going on around them. Yeah, anyway, Anna (festival board member) announced the winners, and we gave them away. The evening ended with some live, mellow electronic/hand drumming/electric violin musical stylings. Delicious tandoori chicken and veggie samosas were eaten ravenously by all, and the bottles of Singha beer flew out of the boxes, we gave it all away!
Wow, I just realized that this blog post makes me sound a bit alcoholic. I hope that’s not what you readers think. If so, I’ll just attribute it to the fact that I’m drunk right now.

A moving documentary, followed by a body-movin’ party. Rock!
See you at the next screening…Oliver

Eric Byler Guest Post: Washington D.C. premiere of Americanese

Read the original post at Eric Byler’s MySpace

Opening Night went about as good as possible. Packed house for the screening. Sound and projection were perfect. Good q/a and GREAT PARTY afterwards. I’ll try to come up with some photos. Several people promised to email me some.

There was a thunder storm tonight. When we left from Gainesville, VA, my parents and I were concerned that we might be late. Traffic was barely moving. There was thunder and lighting directly overhead. I decided to take a nap and not worry about it while my Dad used some short cuts taking country roads to avoid the traffic. We got there with about half an hour to spare. My Mom had about 15 friends there. There were some speeches before the screening, and the microphone was a bit too loud, but it was no where near the 90 minutes of torture we endured in Los Angeles last spring…. The audience seemed engaged during the screening. During the q/a there seemed to be a disagreement among male and female audience members about the character Joan Chen plays. A man asked a question and referred to her as “the crazy lady.” A woman later asked a question but first stated that she didn’t find her “crazy” and identified with her a lot. Murmers insued.

I need to go to sleep, but wanted to post for those who are interested:

I published a piece on about the N-word / M-word scandal in the Virginia Senate race.

More on the festival screening tomorrow.

Eric Byler Guest Post: Insomnia 2: Ugly Exchange at Pizza Joint

View this post on Eric Byler’s personal MySpace

Now that the alcohol is wearing off, my thoughts return to an incident at the end of the evening. Once the lights went up at Chloe — the club that hosted the after party for the Americanese Opening Night premiere — many of us migrated down the street to a pizza joint renowned for gigantic yummy slices.

Because of the festival, the place was inundated with Asian Americans, perhaps more so than usual, even though Washington D.C. is a multi-cutural city if there ever was one. A Caucasian man entered the pizza joint and saw all the Asian faces. According to a hapa woman, who told me after the fact, he said, “What is this, Asia?” The hapa woman went up to him and said, “No, it’s America.” I learned about this only a few minutes later. The hapa woman and her boyfriend (also hapa) had driven down from NYC to see the film. They also attended Wesleyan, so we were chatting a lot both at the after party and at the pizza joint. When she told me what the man had said, she also pointed to him. He and his buddy, also Caucasian, were paying for their oversized slices of pizza.


The guy turned around and looked at the hapa woman and quoted Senator George Allen. “Welcome to America,” he said, with a grin. I quickly retored, “Fuck you.” His buddy looked at me. And I said, “And fuck you too.” They looked at each other and then scurried out of the joint.

Sen. Allen’s “Macaca” attack has inspired many who are opposed to racism. I did not realize until that moment that he has also inspired his base.

More on Sen. George Allen’s use of the M-word, the N-word, and “welcome to America”

Verizon Presents the 7th Annual DC APA Film Festival - First Weekend

We kicked started this year’s film festival with an amazing screening with Americanese and an outstanding party at Chloe! We gave out gift bags and a video iPod!

Big thanks to Verizon and all our sponsors!

More films and panels this weekend where several prizes will be given out.

Fri 9/29: THE QUEEN OF VIRGINIA, Arlington Arts Center, 7:00 PM, $5
Pre-screening reception at Arlington Arts Center, 5:30 PM, Free

Fri 9/29: I FOR INDIA, Freer Gallery, 7:00 PM, Free
Post-screening reception at International Student House, 9:00 PM, $10

Sat 9/30: SLANTED SCREEN, George Washington University Jack Morton Auditorium, 1:00 PM, $7/$5 students
Followed by panel discussion moderated by Scott Tong of NPR’s Marketplace

Sat 9/30: SENTENCED HOME, George Washington University Jack Morton
Auditorium, 3:00 PM, $7/$5 students
Book giveaway ($250 value), courtesy of Foreign Policy in Focus

Sat 9/30: MIGHTY WARRIORS OF COMEDY, George Washington University Jack Morton Auditorium, 6:00 PM, $7/$5 students
Followed by Q&A with director Sung Kim, and DC Improv ticket giveaway

Sat 9/30: CONVENTIONEERS, George Washington University Jack Morton Auditorium, 8:00 PM, $7/$5 students
Post-screening party at Jin Lounge, 10:00 PM, Free

Sun 10/1: RIGODON, Freer Gallery, 1:00 PM, Free

Sun 10/1: WIDOW COLONY, Freer Gallery, 3:00 PM, Free

DC APA Film Festival Kickoff Party: (Red) Lights, (Digital) Camera, (Hennessy) Action!

Well, it’s finally here.

After months of meetings, screening films, calling up sponsors, designing postcards, and flyering the nation’s capital, the seventh annual DC APA Film Festival kicked off with a flurry of activity. Revelers and film fest groupies who showed up at the Eyebar last Thursday night found wall-to-wall Asians, thumping beats, free cocktails, a trailer contest, if you were quick and resourceful enough, free dumplings from Cafe Asia, and Verizon propaganda everywhere (a shameless plug, but hey, even independent bloggers don’t forget who foots the tab for the party).

I rolled in with some friends shortly after doors opened at seven. Seemingly like 99% of the other people in attendance, I found myself looking for the Hennessy girls pretty quickly. Um, just for a drink. Of course. And like 99% of the people, once I found them I picked up a glass of brown liquid off the tray which turned out to be Coke instead of cognac. (Note to self and blog readers attending the post-film parties: the Hennessy trays have mixer AND cognac, so meet the lovely ladies, politely take two glasses and turn yourself into a bartender for a second for the full experience.)

Then came the 7:30 p.m. deluge, as if one large cab dropped dozens of Asians off at the same time. Funny how that happens. Well at least the word got out. Friends brought coworkers. Coworkers brought neighbors. Neighbors brought friends. I asked one attendee how he found out about our little shindig. “Dude, I got like 5 emails about this thing.”

Regardless, if you arrived sometime between 7:30 and 9 and found yourself standing between the bar and the wall, you weren’t going anywhere easily. And the bar wasn’t a bad place to be stuck - the bartenders were quick and friendly and you could pick up from the countertop a film fest schedule or postcard for one of the festival movies, like the much anticipated doc “The Queen of Virginia.”

Christian thanked our sponsors, some of whom were in attendance, and invited revelers to watch and vote for one of the trailers (which basically boiled down to a vote among “The First One,” “The One with the Little Girl,” and “The Panda One”). But he didn’t say anything about how to fill out a ballot in pencil with a martini in your hand.

At some point through the buzz I could swear DJ Ph1ipz dropped the unmistakable beats of “Billie Jean” … and others evidently did too. Though Eyebar doesn’t really boast a dance floor, it didn’t stop some partiers (and you heard it here - APA Film Festival board members) from shakin’ their tushes by the couches. By the end of the night, many faces were red - and it wasn’t just because of Eyebar’s crimson mood lighting. Something about Asians lacking some enzyme. Hmmm…

All in all, kickoff night was a fun party with the promise of much more to come! After all, somewhere, in some hidden location, there are still some bottles of Hennessy left.

See if one of the camerapeople caught you redeyed or redfaced kickoff party night at Eyebar on our Flickr page.

See you at the movies- M.F.S.

Opening Night Tickets Available Now!

Tickets for the 7th Annual DC Asian Pacific American film festival are available now. Get tickets to opening night of the festival on Thursday, September 28th at 7:30 pm. So many things going on for opening night. Winner of the Trailer contest will be announced. Director Eric Byler will be present for a Q&A. Free giveaways. Party at Chloe in Adams Morgan after the film. Purchase online to reserve tickets. Tickets will also be available at the door.