The Official DC Asian Pacific American Film Blog

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Future Music Video Stars of America - Pt. 5

As Eric Byler's YouTube activism workshop showed yesterday, individuals and communities can make their voices heard using the technology available to us now. In today's music video, Blue Scholars use hip hop as a medium to express their views and make a statement. On Monday night, A DREAM IN DOUBT and the short documentary preceding it will provide a window into very personal experiences occurring in a post 9/11 world in our nation and abroad. Since our film festival is based in Washington, DC, films of a political nature tend to draw an audience and lead to some very lively Q&A sessions afterwards so please buy your tickets in advance.

Co-sponsored by Future Rockstars of America

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Festival's Opening Night

By many accounts, Opening Night of the 8th annual APA film festival was a success. We couldn’t have asked for a better opening venue than downtown Silver Spring’s AFI Silver Theater, where Justin Lin’s Sundance-debuting feature mockumentary, FINISHING THE GAME, screened to a receptive, enthusiastic audience. The crowd, consisting of students, professionals and fellow filmmakers, took the opportunity during an engaging Q&A to pick the minds of ever-candid director Justin Lin, actors Roger Fan and Sung Kang, and producer Julie Asato, who had arrived in DC earlier that afternoon, their latest stop on a months-long, nationwide grassroots tour to promote their film.

For those who missed FINISHING THE GAME on Thursday, you can catch it On Demand on October 5, the same day the film opens in New York at the IFC Center.

Before screening the feature, we revealed the winner of the 2nd annual film festival trailer contest. Congrats to Paul Moore, whose entry, FILM RAMEN, will be shown before each screening as our official festival trailer. Also unveiled was the POV Youth Workshop film, an impressive, first-time filmmaking effort by a group of young individuals, whose enthusiasm for film was evident from the way they engaged actor Roger Fan in the lobby of AFI after the crowds shuffled outside.

For the reception, we headed over to nearby Gallery Restaurant and Lounge, where festival-goers, staffers and volunteers sipped martinis and noshed on complimentary food in the cool, cavernous basement lounge. For those feeling extra alert, the partying continued at DC night spot 1223 with Justin, Roger and Sung into the wee hours of the night.

Interested in learning more about Justin Lin? A brief feature on the director, and his entourage, appears in the “A Night Out With…” column in the Sunday New York Times.

The festival continues today with an entire day’s worth of choice documentaries and feature films, beginning with BOLINAO 52, a powerful documentary about the Vietnamese boat people, followed by slick crime drama UNDOING, at the Rosslyn Spectrum Theater. Day three of the festival continues with MY BODY/MY LOVE, a selection of Queer Asian shorts at the Navy Memorial Theater, before concluding with AMERICAN ZOMBIE, Grace Lee’s film about zombie subculture in Los Angeles, at the National Museum of Women in the Arts, and THE GREAT HAPPINESS SPACE: TALE OF AN OSAKA LOVE THIEF, an entertaining glimpse into the world of male host clubs in Japan, showing at the Navy Memorial Theater.

These, and other films, you can purchase tickets for, and read about, here.

Future Music Video Stars of America - Pt. 4

After starting out with several male Asian American artists, the next video in our lineup is from the female fronted band Asobi Seksu and directed by So Yong Kim and Bradley Rust Grey, the creative team behind the feature, In Between Days. Asian American female directors have been producing some outstanding films and this weekend, we are showcasing several including AMERICAN ZOMBIE, directed by Grace Lee and TIE A YELLOW RIBBON, directed by Joy Dietrich. Besides those films, we are also presenting the documentary, THE GREAT HAPPINESS SPACE - TALE OF AN OSAKA LOVE THIEF, one of the most intriguing documentaries I've seen in a while, MY BODY/MY LOVE, our LGBT shorts program, and UMMA, a very personal documentary about the relationship between a mother and daughter.

Co-sponsored by Future Rockstars of America

Friday, September 28, 2007

Future Music Video Stars of America - Pt. 3

Thanks to all the people who were able to make it out to Opening Night and if you missed Finishing the Game, you can get it On Demand on October 5th. The next video in our series of music videos is by Jin who performed here as part of our film festival two years ago. With a track from his first album in Cantonese, Jin raps about dim sum along with several familiar faces from Finishing the Game. If you still can't get enough of the guys from Finishing the Game, come out to see TROUBLE WITH ROMANCE starring Roger Fan on Friday night and UNDOING starring Sung Kang on Saturday afternoon. Grab some dim sum this weekend (my favorite is in Silver Spring) and catch a screening at the film festival.

Co-sponsored by Future Rockstars of America

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Future Music Video Stars of America - Pt. 2

Opening Night is closing in and is bound to be an amazing event. I'm already thinking about the first shorts program we're screening the next night which leads me to the second video in our online music video program, "Floor Kids : B-Boy O-Live vs. B-Boy Nugs" with music by Kid Koala and animation by Jonathan Ng. If you like this, come out to the IT'S THE HARD-KNOCK LIFE shorts program on Friday night where you'll be able to see another short showcasing the work of Jonathan Ng and be able to meet him in person.

Tickets are still available for Finishing the Game at the box office and come out to the Opening Night reception directly following the screening.

Co-sponsored by Future Rockstars of America

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Future Music Video Stars of America - Pt. 1

The 8th Annual DC Asian American Film Festival is about to kick off Opening Night with Finishing the Game, Justin Lin's comedy about finding a replacement for the late Bruce Lee. Come out to the AFI Silver theater for a great film and go to the Gallery afterwards to party with the cast and crew, including Justin Lin, Sung Kang, and Roger Fan.

In conjunction with film screenings occurring over the course of the next ten days, I'm setting off an online music video program where a music video will be posted each day to tie in with the screening the next day. The first music video is "Round and Round" by Far East Movement, a song from the soundtrack of Justin Lin's previous feature film, The Fast and The Furious: Tokyo Drift. You'll be able to recognize several people from the video appearing in the Opening Night film.

Check out the trailer for Finishing the Game of their official web site:

Buy tickets to Opening Night:

Co-sponsored by Future Rockstars of America

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Two more days to the festival!

The year has flown by and it's festival time again. Although we're most known for the festival in the fall, we hosted several programs earlier in the year in addition to co-sponsoring some events with other APA and film-related groups in town. The most notable was our youth filmmaking workshop held this summer, called POV. Young adults from our own backyard spent the summer learning about filmmaking and shot their own short. (Read more on this blog about their experience.) We're going to premiere their short on Opening Night. They've worked really hard so come and give them your support!

For this year's festival we brought back a fun event from last year-- the trailer contest. We held an open call for submissions and had some of our favorite filmmakers serve as judges. They selected three finalists and the public voted online for their favorite. Voting is over, so come check it out when we announce the winner at Opening Night.

Some NEW things we're excited about this year are festival t-shirts (on sale at every screening-cash only please) and advance online ticketing for all programs.

One thing that hasn't changed-- the quality of the films, the diversity of programs (we've got films made by and starring Asian/Pacific Islanders from all around the globe), and of course, the special events during the festival, including an official karaoke night!

We've got an incredible lineup of films, no matter what your taste. Are you obsessed with Asian American male film stars? Come to Opening Night , The Trouble with Romance, or Undoing. Been meaning to ask that person out on a date? Invite them to the Queer Shorts or The Great Happiness Space. Want to impress your film snob friend? Tell them to see Dark Matter. Interested in women's issues? So are the directors of Never Perfect, And Thereafter II and Tie a Yellow Ribbon. Do you need an excuse to stare at Kelly Hu and Ken Leung for over an hour? See them both in Shanghai Kiss.

Can't decide on what type of film you want to see? The answer is to come to one of our shorts programs, where you can get documentary, drama, comedy, thriller, experimental/indie, animation, and satire all in about 90 minutes. For some of these films you may be the first people ever to see it in a theater. For others, this may be the only time this film will be shown at all in the US.

So share our website with a friend (or ten) and make a date to come to the festival!

Friday, September 21, 2007

Countdown to the Festival

We're expecting a great turnout by filmmakers and cast members at this year's festival, but why keep it to ourselves? A number of individuals are scheduled to be in town next week to attend the 8th annual festival.

Director Justin Lin and cast members Roger Fan and Sung Kang of FINISHING THE GAME will be around Opening Night. For those Roger and Sung fans unable to catch the opener at AFI Silver Theater, you can always catch performances by Roger in TROUBLE WITH ROMANCE and Sung in UNDOING.

Director Joy Dietrich, director of TIE A YELLOW RIBBON, is scheduled to make an appearance.

On the documentary side, Lisette Marie Flanary, director of MEN OF HULA; Socheata Poeuv and Charles Vogl of NEW YEAR BABY; Yaeri Song, director of ENTRY LEVEL; Tami Yeager, director of A DREAM IN DOUBT; and Regina Park, director of NEVER PERFECT are all scheduled to appear when their films screen to audiences.

The directors of several shorts, including Jonathan Ng of the animated ASTHMA TECH and Thomas Lieu and Kevin C.W. Wong of BEEF will be present as well.

Want to attend the festival but feeling a little short on cash? Not to worry, this year we have a fantastic line-up of free films and events. On Saturday, 9/29, APA Film, in conjunction with APIAVote, presents a workshop by Eric Byler (Director, TRE) and grassroots coalition builder Annabel Park on political activism and YouTube videography.

On Sunday, 9/30, the festival prevents two free screenings: the documentary, UMMA, followed by Joy Dietrich's TIE A YELLOW RIBBON, at the School of Advanced International Studies' (SAIS) Rome Auditorium.

The following Friday, 10/5, visit the stunning National Museum of the American Indian for Lisette Marie Flanary's documentary NA KAMALEI: MEN OF HULA, which will be followed by a live hula performance by Halau O'Aulani, a local dance school in Maryland.

Finally, prior to our Closing Night presentation, Owl and the Sparrow, on Saturday, 10/6, we present a couple of free afternoon screenings at the Freer Gallery of Art's Meyer Auditorium, beginning with Meena Nanji's VIEW FROM A GRAIN OF SAND, followed by Socheata Poeuv's NEW YEAR BABY.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

POV Week5

Week 5 was truly whirlwind as we wrapped up shooting on location at
the Georgetown Day School Campus. Since this was our 2nd and final
day of shooting, the pressure was on for all the POV students to give
110% and to stay on schedule. Amanda, Vivian, Joanne, and Grace
arrived a bit early, so we decided to just review the production
schedule and make sure we had everything prepared. They soon realized
there was a problem with the choice of black costumes for the montage
scene that would be staged in a theater. Since the theater at GDS was
pitch black, if the actors wore black costumes, they would be rendered
invisible on screen. The POV crew quickly improvised and borrowed
some outfits from the GDS costume room. When Alex, Nam, and George
arrived we set-up the lighting, camera, and props for the montage
scene. With Amanda, Jo-Anne, & Vivian directing, the scene was
completed in short order. The actors were allowed to improvise within
certain limits as the camera rolled. The improvised costumes turned
out to be a blessing because they added a lot of humor and visual
interest. Next, we staged a scene in front of school lockers. This
was Alex's scene and Nam was his cinematographer. Alex had a very
clear storyboard for the scene and he proved to be very decisive on
the set. Soon, we were outside tying up the final loose ends of the
movie. Chris helped Grace shoot scenes of the car arriving in front
of the library, which would be used in the opening scene of the movie.
And finally, Grace filmed some wide shots of the exterior of the GDS
building to be used as inserts, or cutaway shots. By this time the POV
crew was mighty hungry so pizza was served. While we ate, we watched
the dailies (raw footage) from both shooting days. Alex shared with
us some of the music he composed for the movie and the other POV
students offered comments and suggestions. Having completed a long
day of work (everyone staying an extra 2 hours), we said goodbye until
next week.