The Official DC Asian Pacific American Film Blog

Monday, September 29, 2008

Double Feature + T-Shirt deal tonight

Do a double feature on Wednesday AND get a t-shirt, for just $20! At 6:45, Against the Grain: An Artist's Survival Guide to Peru screens at NMWA. It was voted Best Documentary of the festival. Read about the rest of the best docs of the fest here. Directly following it at 8:30, Sita Sings the Blues. This was featured in the Style section of the Post last week. It's a real feast for the eyes-- colorful and funky animation with an Indian twist. Someone mentioned it reminded them of Yellow Submarine and it's definitely on the same psychedelic wavelength as that. It was at Tribeca this year and the filmmaker has been under some heat for interpreting the Hindu Ramayana as a metaphor for her own life. Come watch the film and let us know what you think! View the excellent trailer here.

Tickets are available at the door only and for $5 for each show. Another special deal for those that attend tonight's screenings: We're offering a $5 discount on festival t-shirts. Get one for just $10 tonight. So that's two films + a t-shirt all for $20!

Sunday, September 28, 2008

We heart shorts

Short film programs are so much better than features in many ways. You get to see 7, 8, 9, sometimes 10 different films in the same amount of time you would be seeing 1 feature length film. We're showing two great shorts programs today. Also later at the AFI is Flying on One Engine, one of the best documentaries of the festival, which was featured in the WP Express on Thursday. You won't want to miss seeing the subject of the film, an Indian octogenarian surgeon, perform operations for 12 hours at a time, from a wheelchair, and still have time left to dis Al Gore AND Mother Teresa from his larynx-less throat (he has to speak through his esophagus).

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Two docs, two features today

FOUR films today. Three of them are FREE and at the Freer (so it's a good excuse to come down to the Mall for the Book Festival + see a movie). The 2pm screening was highlighted in the Express on Thursday, Siamese Connection. The 6pm screening was a weekend pick in The Onion this week as well, Santa Mesa. The evening program is Kissing Cousins, and was featured at the happy hour last week. It's a fun movie for "date night". And we're having a fab party afterwards in Columbia Heights. A great lineup for hopefully a rain-free Saturday. See you there.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Skip the debate!

You know you only want to see the good parts anyway. Come see the shorts program tonight. Lots of shorts films, many of them funny, about race and culture clash. Unlike the debate, you cant watch these films later, its the only time they will be shown in DC! And three filmmakers will be in town tonight that you can debate with!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Last chance for discount Opening Night tix

You have until 5:30PM ET on Thursday to get a ticket to Opening Night for $15 instead of $20 at the door. The inside scoop is that right now there are way fewer tickets available for door sales than there are for online sales, so you're better off buying online. You won't have to stand in line and risk a sell-out at the door. And you'll save money, what's easier than that?

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Opening Night tix going fast

You can purchase Opening Night tickets in advance for $15 until Thursday afternoon. After that you can purchase at the door but you won't get the discount. For $15 you get to see the Best Narrative Film of the festival, meet the director and star of the film, and enjoy a fun reception afterwards with free appetizers and special drinks featuring Emperor's Vodka. Trust us, it's gooooood vodka.

For those of you that plan to attend Opening, Closing, and even just a couple screenings in between, the best deal by far is to get a VIP All-Access Festival Pass. The $99 pass gives you access to any/all of the 19 screenings at the festival, INCLUDING the Opening Night Film + Reception ($20 value), the Closing Night Film + Reception w/ free food/drinks (a $15 value), and VIP status for festival parties (read, schmoozing over vodka with filmmakers). As a bonus, you'll also get a free American Apparel brand festival t-shirt ($20 value) AND a free 1-year subscription to GIANT ROBOT magazine ($24 value). We've sold several passes and have a limited number left. Be our VIP today!

As a nonprofit organization, all proceeds from our ticket sales go towards making up the costs for putting together this year's program. Did you know it costs thousands of dollars just to rent a theater for a couple of hours and rent some equipment and insurance just to screen one film? Our festival is 100% volunteer staffed and run. We'll do the work but we need YOU to help us continue to bring you the films that no one else is showing-- films that are about our community, our issues, and the world we live in.

Please consider purchasing a festival pass today. We thank you for your support!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Come see a movie, win a prize

We'll be doing raffles at almost every screening again this year. Your ticket purchase automatically enters you into the raffle. Prizes include gift certificates to the following places in DC:
More raffle items are being donated daily. If your restaurant or business wants to donate a gift certificate or raffle item, contact us right away!

Saturday, September 20, 2008

And the winners are

The grand prize winner for the 2008 Scion/DC APA Film Festival Trailer Contest is Chihwen Lo's frenetic example of the classic battle of "man vs. tape". It's a great reflection of the DIY style of many of the filmmakers in this year's festival and we're proud to have it represent us this year.

Congratulations to Chihwen, Paul, and Jason for their terrific entries into the contest and thank you for picking the winner! You can see the winning trailer before any screening of the film festival starting on Opening Night on Thursday.

The official winners for this year's film Best Film Awards are:

Best Narrative - Amal (Opening Night)

Best Documentary - Against the Grain: An Artist's Survival Guide to Peru

Best Narrative Short - Damn the Past!

Best Documentary Short - Pierre-Pierrot

Tickets to all of these films are on sale now at discounted prices. Opening Night tickets are $15 in advance and $20 at the door (door sales may sell-out quickly). Tickets to the shorts program are just $5 each when you buy 6 or more. Individual multi-ticket packages are also available. Buy now and save!

Friday, September 19, 2008

The Best of the Fest (Narratives)

We don't announce the official winners for Best Short, Best Short Documentary, Best Narrative, and Best Documentary until tonight at the Kickoff Party. But we'll let you know now which ones were some of our favorites. Who will be the winners? You'll just have to come to the party and find out!

Part Three: Best Narratives:
  • Amal screens on Sept. 25th at 7:30pm at Landmark's E Street. This is the Opening Night film of the festival so you shouldn't need much of an explanation as to whether or not we think you should see it. It's a well-built character study, complimented by a fine ensemble supporting cast, and set in one of the largest cities in India, making the whole package an intriguing, and ultimately, uplifting experience to watch. The ending is one of the best parts, and that's all I'll say about that. Filmmaker and lead actor will be at the screening, and a reception with free food afterwards, so there's really no excuse not to be there.
  • Santa Mesa screens on Sept. 27th at 6pm at the Freer/Sackler. Another one of our FREE film screenings. Watching this film made me want to visit the Philippines. It captures the energy of people going about their everyday lives and is rich with emotion about children and adults dealing with grief and loss.
  • Kissing Cousins screens on Sept. 27th at 8:30pm at the Navy Memorial. Rom-com alert! It's definitely a comedy, but the romance part is a little more tricky-- it's about a girl cousin that fakes being her boy cousin's girlfriend to help him survive better in his breeder friends' world. Pokes fun at happy couples, dysfunctional couples, married couples, the hopelessly single, and the hopeful single. Do you have "It's Complicated" up on your Facebook right now? Watch this film and you'll feel better.

Kickoff Party Tonight - music videos, awards and more

The Kickoff Party for the festival is tonight. We'll be announcing the trailer contest winner, film award winners, and giving away program books and festival schedules. Come by 9:30 to see a music video program by APA musicians and directors. The videos we'll be screening are:
  • Exit Clov's "MK Ultra"
  • Kid Koala's "Floor Kids" by Jonathan Ng
  • "Silence" by Kurt Nishimura
  • "Drive" by Ahree Lee
  • "You Will Remember" by Yasmine Gomez
  • "Karappo City Blues" by Sukho Lee
  • "Squared Circle" by Erica Eng

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

The Best of the Fest (Docs)

We don't announce the official winners for Best Short, Best Short Documentary, Best Narrative, and Best Documentary until this Friday at the Kickoff Party. But we'll let you know now which ones were some of our favorites. Who will be the winners? You'll just have to come to the party and find out!

Part Two: Best Documentaries
  • The Siamese Connection screens on Sat, 9/27 at 2:00 at the Freer/Sackler Gallery. First, this is a FREE screening. Second, this gem of a film, clocking in at just 75 minutes, is far from your typical talking-heads documentary. The history of Cheng and Eng Bunker, famous for making the term "Siamese Twins" part of popular vernacular, is a real 19th century soap opera, laced with subplots of world travel, family feuds, slavery, and the economic development of the American South. Most interesting are gatherings that reunite descendants of the twins at family reunions in rural North Carolina still today. A fascinating commentary on the myth and miracle of the American Dream.
  • Flying on One Engine screens on Sun, 9/28 at 9:00 at the AFI Silver. This doc premiered at the SXSW Film Festival this year. The subject, a 78 year old Indian American doctor named Sharadkumar Dicksheet (yes, that's really his name), travels to India every year to perform free reconstructive surgeries on thousands of children in need, all while holding onto his own life by a string. The guy is practically a saint, and is treated like one by everyone around him, but he can be a real curmudgeon and has a sharp tongue. Just wait until you hear him insulting Mother Teresa and Al Gore almost in the same breath without batting an eye.
  • Against the Grain: An Artists Survival Guide to Peru screens on Wed, 10/1 at 6:45 at NMWA. Artists have always been scapegoats for inciting social ills, cultivating political unrest, contributing to the decline of morals. This documentary shows how four artists are challenging the ruling political and social class in Peru, by documenting the violence in their community and the stifling of creative expression in a society at the crossroads of democracy and economic growth. Recommended for anyone interested in the art of politics and the politics of art.
  • 62 Years and 6500 Miles Between screens on Fri, 10/3 at 7:00 at Navy Memorial. Part memoir, part homage to the activists in the democratic and women's rights movements in Taiwan. Most personal documentaries are either too self-absorbed or too self-deprecating. This one does it exactly right-- by drawing the viewer in through universal themes that are relevant to one individual's story. In this case, themes of personal and collective histories, generation and cultural gaps, and holding on to the memories of those closest to us.
  • The House of Sharing screens on Sat, 10/4 at 4:30 at Navy Memorial. A moving, intense record of atrocities committed just decades ago, still unknown to many, where Korean women were kidnapped and trafficked into sexual slavery for the Japanese army. This film interviews several survivors of this mass-scale human rights violation, as they live together in a residential care and educational facility in Korea, struggling to survive as they recount their painful memories in an effort to educate the next generation with the hopes that it shall never happen again.

Monday, September 15, 2008

The Best of the Fest (Shorts)

We don't announce the official winners for Best Short, Best Short Documentary, Best Narrative, and Best Documentary until this Friday at the Kickoff Party. But we'll let you know now which ones were some of our favorites. Who will be the winners? You'll just have to come to the party and find out!

Part One: Best Shorts
  • Southern Exposure screens on Fri, 9/26 at 7:00pm at the Goethe-Institut in Chinatown. This animated short packs in lot of laughs and witty animation in just 6 minutes. Director/Animator/Pharmacist Susan Chien delivers a perfect deadpan narration about her reluctant graduation from pharmacy school and relocating to the southern US, where she encountered more than a few strange looks and the unfortunate, but hilarious nickname "Chop-Chop". Worth it alone for seeing cartoon animals dressed in KKK robes(!) and the delightful pop song that goes with the ending credits. Plus, I hear that Susan will be in attendance at the screening that evening.
  • Superhero Training Center screens on Sun, 9/28 at 2:00pm at the Goethe. This short interviews Asian students talking about their experiences of dealing with things like language barriers and cultural differences while on a college campus. The interviews were then used as the voices of the fictional animated character s in the short film. The catch is that the characters are all visualized as different types of futuristic superheroes. A very clever combination of documentary, animation, science fiction, and comic book genres.
  • What Happened on the Fourth Date screens on Sun, 9/28 at 4:00 at the Goethe. A comedy about a guy on a fourth date that tries to get past the awkward stages of beginning a physical relationship by putting his true feelings out there for everyone to see. Literally. In the style of a comedy sketch by Kids in the Hall or Woody Allen, this short film had us in shock, hysterics, and finally appreciation. The director is currently a fellow at DC's Arena Stage, so hopefully he'll be at the screening to explain whether or not the technique works!
  • Light Years screens on Thurs, 10/2 at 7:00pm at the Navy Memorial. This film accomplishes in 15 minutes what most features coming out these days wish they could do but don't even come close-- a set of richly developed characters, beautiful images, and a dramatic plot that leaves you breathless at the end. A must-see for fans of films that show overlapping plots all happening at the same time (Four Rooms, Magnolia, Nashville, etc.)
  • California King screens on Fri 10/3 at 8:30pm at the Navy Memorial. There's something about this short that just makes my 'ol cynical heart melt like a little trendy frozen yogurt cup every time I think about it. A simple story about a girl, a guy, and the physics of the heart (not to mention a good mattress). We're a fan of filmmaker Eli Akira Kaufman; his previous short film Winning the Peace, screened at our festival back in 2005.

Happy Hour with us

It's Monday morning and you're making your plans for happy hour this week. Why not plan to meet your friends at our Sneak Preview Happy Hour at Circle Boutique on Thursday? I challenge you to find a better deal. We're giving away samples of Emperor's Vodka, free nibbles, and projecting clips from films onto the wall of a hip boutique that is frequented by beautiful people. And it's metro accessible. And did I mention the free vodka? Bring your ID and see you there!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Win Tickets to the festival

Like entering contests? We're doing a ticket giveaway contest with Washington CityPaper for the 9/27 screening of Kissing Cousins. Enter to win a pair of tickets at the CP's website. If you're usually unlucky with these sorts of things, just go buy a discounted advance ticket online. Even better, find five other people and get a group of 6 tickets for just $7 each. This is going to be a big, fun screening and one of the producers of the film will be at the event!

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

the 2008 schedule has been posted

We've posted our complete schedule of films for the festival here. It may take you awhile to read through everything, but the lineup of films is outstanding. There's something different every day, and depending on the shorts program, there could be something different every 5 to 15 minutes. These films were lovingly (and sometime contentiously!) picked by our all-volunteer staff of film programmers. There's one thing we can agree upon though-- that these films are not to be missed. A lot of these films won't be screened outside of film festivals and the living rooms and artist communities of the filmmakers, so now is your only chance to see them. It's not because they aren't good. It's because they weren't meant for the profit-driven, explosion-loving, blockbuster film industry and the big movie distributors won't get near them for even a second. The incredible thing about film is that it can be an abstract artform, an avenue for teaching, a way for people to communicate, or a call to action to change the world we live in, sometimes all at the same time. The above are just a few of the examples of some of the films in this year's festival that do just that. Check out the schedule and stay tuned to our blog for more recommendations, information on filmmaker guest appearances, and more.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Your Vote Counts! (It really does this time...)

The voting polls are now open for the Scion/DC APA Film Trailer Contest! It's easy-- watch the three finalists on our website, then vote for your favorite one. The winner will be announced at our Festival Kickoff Party and their trailer will get to be shown before every screening during the festival. They also get a sweet cash prize to put towards their career in filmmaking. There's no spinning, slinging, or sweet-talking-- what you see is what you get. We even have THREE different candidates to offer. Now if only the election coming up were this easy. VOTE NOW!

VENUES for the film festival

You'll have 6 different venues to choose from this year to see films. The Opening Night film on Sept 25th, AMAL, will be at Landmark's E St theater, in downtown near Metro Center. Over the weekend, we'll be at Goethe-Institut in Chinatown, the Freer/Sackler Galleries on the Mall, the Burke Theater at the Navy Memorial in Penn Quarter, and the AFI Silver in Silver Spring. The second week of the festival we'll be at National Museum of Women in the Arts and finish up with three straight days of screenings back at the Navy Memorial, including the Closing Night film THE KILLING OF A CHINESE COOKIE. The entrance is a little tricky to find, but it's basically 50 feet from the Navy/Archives Metro, away from Penn Ave and towards D St. NW.

We'll have a slew of special events nearby the venues to go with the screenings, including receptions after the Opening Night and Closing Night films, parties, and happy hours. These are great opportunities to mix and mingle with filmmaker guests and network with other like-minded film/arts people in the area. At our events I've met journalists, business owners, musicians, IT folk-- a really diverse crowd. And the one thing we have in common is enjoying independent film. For the die-hard attendees, both new and old, we're going to be offering a limited number of V.I.P. Festival Passes this year-- unlimited access to screenings and events for one flat price (at a huge discount off of regular ticket prices). Stay tuned for more info on that next week when the schedule and ticketing goes live.