The 2012 Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival (LAAPFF) runs May 10 – 20, 2012 at the Director’s Guild of America (DGA), CGV Cinemas located in Koreatown, and for the first time, the Art Theater in Long Beach.
As Southern California’s largest and most prestigious film festival of its kind, the Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival launches the celebration of Asian Pacific Heritage Month through this year’s slate of 188 films from both Asian Pacific American and Asian international directors from over 20 countries. Over the past 28 years, the Festival has presented over 3,500 films and shorts by Asian American and Asian international artists. This year, 46 feature films and 142 shorts will be showcased throughout the 10-day fest. The Festival will feature many returning filmmakers and producers who continue to make films and still hold true to their own voices as exemplified by amazing curated programs, special presentations and sneak previews of upcoming commercial releases, and the launch of two new programs for the production of new Asian American content.
The festival kicks off with the Los Angeles premiere of SHANGHAI CALLING, directed by Daniel Hsia. Hsia is a 2003 alumnus of Visual Communications’ Armed With A Camera Fellowship. Starring international hearthrob Daniel Henney (X-MEN ORIGINS: WOLVERINE; THREE RIVERS) SHANGHAI CALLING is a romantic comedy about modern-day immigrants living in an unfamiliar land. When an ambitious New York attorney (Daniel Henney) is sent to Shanghai on assignment, he immediately stumbles into a legal mess that could spell the end of his career. But with help from a beautiful relocation specialist, a well-connected foreign businessman, a clever but unassuming journalist, and a street-smart assistant, he might just save his job, discover romance, and finally learn to appreciate the many wonders of Shanghai. This is Hsia’s feature-length directorial debut, and co-stars Eliza Coupe (HAPPY ENDINGS) and Bill Paxton (BIG LOVE, HAYWIRE). Filmmaker, cast and crew to attend screening.
SUNSET STORIES, directed by Silas Howard and Ernesto M. Foronda, will be the festival’s Centerpiece Presentation. Foronda is also a Visual Communications’ Armed With A Camera fellow, and the writer/producer of the 2002 hit, BETTER LUCK TOMORROW. This is Foronda’s feature-length directorial debut. SUNSET STORIES, starring Sung Kang (FAST FIVE; NINJA ASSASSIN) and Monique Curnen (CONTAGION; THE DARK KNIGHT), takes you on a ride of a uniquely L.A. story of love and control. SUNSET STORIES had its world premiere at the South By Southwest Film Festival in mid-March.
The festival’s International Centerpiece is the Sundance award-winning VALLEY OF SAINTS, directed by Musa Syeed and produced by Nicholas Bruckman. The film is an India/USA production bringing to the screen the beautiful landscape of Kashmir. The story follows a young tourist boatman and his best friend, as they try to run away from the provincial life in their lake village. A military curfew and political uprising derail their plans, and the two young men must wait it out deciding on a new plan. VALLEY OF SAINTS won two major awards at Sundance – World Cinema Grand Prize and the Alfred P. Sloan Award.
The Saturday Night Gala slot, reserved for a crowd-pleasing film every year, will be filled by sex comedy YES, WE’RE OPEN from Bay Area screenwriter H.P. Mendoza and director Richard Wong. A contemporary spin on a classic predicament, YES, WE’RE OPEN takes an intimate look at liberal San Francisco lifestyles over dinner and drinks with a side of infidelity.
Award-winning director Tsao Jui-Yuan’s JOYFUL REUNION will screen as the festival closing night presentation. A follow up to Ang Lee’s EAT DRINK MAN WOMAN, JOYFUL REUNION introduces us to familial bonds that surround a vegetarian restaurant. It is definitely a ‘foodie’ film about relationships, family ties and showcases Taiwanese and Chinese regional cuisines that will leave your mouth watering.
This year, for the first time, the LAAPFF expands to Long Beach during the Closing weekend, where Film Festival award-winners and a showcase of Pacific Islander works will be presented at the historic Art Theater of Long Beach. The oustanding films kick off with Venice and Sundance favorite THE ORATOR (O le Tulafele), directed by Tusi Tamasese and closes with SIONE’S 2: UNFINISHED BUSINESS (sequel to SAMOAN WEDDING) directed by Simon Bennet. Other highlights include Hawaiian documentary PAPA MAU: THE WAY FINDER, directed by Na’alehu Anthony; Eco-awareness documentary THERE ONCE WAS AN ISLAND (Te Henua e Nnoho), directed by Briar March; Cambodian American feature TWO SHADOWS directed by Greg Cahill; Festival favorite GOLDEN SLUMBERS directed by Cambodian French director Davy Chou about the golden and lost era of Cambodian cinema, which was eventually destroyed by the Khmer Rouge regime.
Through the LAAPFF, VC will also launch two major programs that will expand the organization’s artist services in a major way:
First, the C3 Project Market, a first-of-its-kind program, is a unique opportunity for filmmakers of Asian descent to showcase their narrative feature project to Financiers, Producers, Production Companies, Agents, Managers and Industry Executives enabling them with the contacts, information and confidence they need to make their film. On May 12-13, Industry participants will have the ability to discover new talent and voices, including winning a cash prize of $5000 for the best project pitch.
In addition, the VC Film Development Fund, underwritten by Comcast, was created to nurture established filmmakers with their next film project. The Fund is a multi-year program, wherein VC will select six filmmakers and will serve as Executive Producers to develop narrative feature-length projects, as well as financing up to $100,000 of the budget. The six filmmakers chosen for the Fund will be announced at the Opening Night of the Festival.
This year’s competition of Asian American feature films reflect a varied group of compelling story tellers from both documentary and narrative genres.
The 2012 documentary competition line-up includes:
CHINA HEAVYWEIGHT – Yung Chang
GIVE UP TOMORROW – Michael Collins
MR. CAO GOES TO WASHINGTON – S. Leo Chiang
RESTORING THE LIGHT – Carol Liu
SEEKING ASIAN FEMALE – Debbie Lum
UPLOADED: THE ASIAN AMERICAN MOVEMENT – Kane Diep
WHERE HEAVEN MEETS HELL – Sasha Friedlander
The 2012 narrative competition line up includes:
THE CRUMBLES – Akira Boch
HANG LOOSE – Ryan Kawamoto
I AM A GHOST – H.P. Mendoza
KNOTS – Michael Kang
MODEL MINORITY – Lily Mariye
PARADISE BROKEN – James Sereno
SALAD DAYS – Hiram Chan
SHANGHAI CALLING – Daniel Hsia
SUNSET STORIES – Ernesto M. Foronda, Silas Howard
SURROGATE VALENTINE 2: DAYLIGHT SAVINGS – David Boyle
TWO SHADOWS – Greg Cahill
VALLEY OF SAINTS – Musa Syeed
VIETTE – Mye Hoang
YES, WE’RE OPEN – Richard Wong
Shanghai Calling Trailer
Yes, We’re Open trailer