The Official DC Asian Pacific American Film Blog

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Guest Post - Julia Kwan

I've run into the APA DC Asian American Film Festival gang at various Asian American film festivals over the year and the've gently tried to woo us into coming to their festival. It was an easy decision to come. Not only are Christian and his programmers and staff wonderful people, they also do a wickedly energetic rendition of Violent Femmes, BLISTER IN THE SUN, that I witnessed at a New York Asian American Film Fest karaoke party a couple of months ago. They've given us a very nice slot as the Closing Night film. Thanks to the generosity of the Canadian Embassy, I'm able to fly my twelve-year-old lead actress, Phoebe and her mother, Prinnie, out to DC. This is Phoebe's first time to Washington DC, just like it was her first time to Toronto, Park City, Seattle and Whistler when we attended those festivals.

Of course, I had to make a visit to the Washington zoo with Phoebe to see the panda cub as well as the three tiger cubs. I had already gotten her all excited about it. On the first day, we check out the historical buildings like the Washington Monument, Capitol Hill and the Lincoln and War Memorial. Traveling with an inquisitive eleven year old, I end up being her ill-informed guide and find myself scrambling to answer her questions and embellishing/making stuff up.

Phoebe: Can we go inside the Washington Monument?
Me: No, it's solid ... like that monolith in SPACE ODYSSEY 2001.
Phoebe: Oh, like a chocolate Easter bunny.

Turns out there's an elevator inside the Monument and even a gift shop on the top floor. All this is really boring to her anyway and she can't muster enough interest to walk over to see the White House up close. I would have liked to see the protesters though.

The zoo is much more interesting for Phoebe. On a crowded sunny Sunday afternoon, we zigzag through the crowds and find a comfortable spot to view the panda, Tian Tian and her cub. They are each blissfully licking away at a round apple juice popsicle when Tian drops hers. After half-heartedly looking for it under her feet, she reaches over and takes the cub's popsicle, much to the dismay of the numerous on-lookers who groan and moan at her not-so-generous display. How dare she act so ... animal-like?! Unfazed, the fiesty cub digs around underneath her Mother's feet and manages to find the dropped popsicle. Happy ending - people applaud!

At the festival, there is a great turn-out for the film and people respond extremely well. It's always a pleasure for me to have Phoebe at the q&a sessions because with Phoebe, I can take the backseat and just let her be the center of attention. People connect so much with her character and she deserves all the attention.

The festival folks are wonderfully hospitable and take out us for dinners and throw a fun closing night party at a club called Panache. Phoebe gets special permission to attend and she knows almost all the lyrics to the songs the DJ plays. She requests fellow Canadian, Nelly Furtado's song, PROMISCUOUS GIRL. I am a little mortified. Did I even know what "promiscuous" meant when I was twelve? She's definitely a lot more advanced than I was at her age. I am a little amused though when she innocently asks me what "lard" means. Apparently, someone at school called another girl a "lard-face".

Back in Vancouver again to decompress for a couple of days and then it's off to Bend, Oregon for the Bendfilm Festival. Hoping that I get to meet John Waters. E&F is the Opening Film!


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