Entertainment Spotlight

  • Catching Up: Santana, Taj Mahal and a déjà vu ‘Blue Christmas’

    Posted by Ben Fong-Torres

    By Ben Fong-Torres It’s short shrift time. I have a life that’s ripe (and slightly wrinkled) for blogs and tweeting; for facebooking and updating. I’m just no good at it. My last column here on AsianConnections was about the memorial in late July for my sister Shirley. My last posting on the authors’ site, Redroom, was about a radio promo tour I did (20 stops, all on the phone...

Arts & Entertainment Articles

  • Congratulations! Ang Lee Wins Best Director Oscar for "Life of Pi"

    Posted by:

    Hollywood

    February 24, 2013

    Ang Lee won the Oscar for Best Director at the 85th Academy Awards for his film "Life of Pi," the adaptation of the bestselling novel by Yann Martel about a boy shipwrecked and stranded in a lifeboat with a Bengal tiger. 

    The film took Lee four and a half years to complete. He has said it was the hardest fim he has ever made.  (Click the top headline for the full story and a peek at Ang holding his new Oscar in one hand, and with his other hand enjoying an In-N-Out burger. This great photo was posted on Twitter by Vanity Fair's publisher Edward Menicheschi!

    This is Ang Lee's second Oscar win. His first Academy Award was in 2006 for directing "Brokeback Mountain." 

    Lee's 2000 Chinese-language film "Crouching Dragon, Hidden Tiger," won the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film. 

    Lee, 58, thanked his wife of 30 years, Jane Lin, a microbiologist, his two sons Haan and Mason, and the 3,000 people involved in the making of his film. He also thanked Taiwan, and Taichung City in central Taiwan where 80 per cent of the film was shot, and his Canadian and Indian partners. 

    Other Oscar contenders for the Best Director award were Steven Spielberg for "Lincoln," David O. Russell for "Silver Linings Playbook," Michael Haneke for "Amour" which won an Oscar for Best Foreign Fim and the prestigious Palm d'Or at the 2012 Cannes Film Festival, and Benh Zeitlin with "Beasts of the Southern Wild."

    And we couldn't help but admire Ang Lee for being so down to earth even on his big night at the Oscars. We know - those burgers are good! This image was posted on Twitter by Vanity Fair magazine's publisher Edward Menicheschi.

  • Happy Birthday James Hong!

    Posted by:

    February 22, 2013

    Happy Birthday James Hong!

    Our favorite actor James Hong celebrated his birthday February 22!

    All of us at AsianConnections.com wish you a very Happy Birthday!

    Here are our favorite interviews we have done with Mr. Hong over the years. 

    Click on the blue headline title to the full story.

    Part 1 of 3: AsianConnections' interview with James Hong:On APAs in Hollywood - Urges Cooperation and Support of organizations like CAPEUSA.org.

    Part 2 of 3: AsianConnections' interview with James Hong: James Hong shares his famous lines from his role as Mr. Ping in Kung Fu Panda

    Part 3 of 3: AsianConnections' interview with James Hong and daughter April Hong:

    James Hong sighting! Mr. Hong attended a CAPE event with Film Independent in Los Angeles February 1, 2012. I had a chance to visit with him and personally wish him Happy Birthday, in advance of his real birthday today!  He was born February 22, 1929 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. He studied civil engineering at the University of Southern California. As a road engineer for Los Angeles County for 7-1/2 years, he would act during his vacations and sick days, eventually quitting to go full time as an actor. Mr. Hong has played in more than 500 television and film roles, including his award-winning role as "Mr. Ping" in Kung Fu Panda, and Kung Fu Panda 2.  

    - Suzanne Joe Kai, Publisher/Editor AsianConnections.com 

     

  • April 10: NYIFF 2013 Presents Screening of Midnight's Children, Deepa Mehta, Salman Rushdie, Sarita Choudhury, Samrat Chakrabarti & More to Attend

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    The 13th Annual New York Indian Film Festival (NYIFF) is presenting an exclusive kick-off screening of Midnight’s Children followed by a special Q&A on April 10, 2013. In attendance will be the film’s acclaimed director Deepa Mehta, award-winning writer of the novel Salman Rushdie who also adapted the screenplay, producer David Hamilton, cast members Sarita Choudhury and Samrat Chakrabarti, plus other special guests. Paladin and 108 Media will be officially releasing Midnight’s Children in major U.S. cities starting in New York City on April 26.

    (L-R) Author and Screenwriter Salman Rushdie and Director Deepa Mehta

    Deepa Mehta returns to NYIFF after her Oscar-nominated film WATERopened the film festival in 2005. “We have had a very long and creatively fruitful relationship with NYIFF. FIRE, the very first film in the elemental Trilogy was shown there and almost every film I have made since,” says Mehta. “Aroon Shivdasani was in fact responsible for the creation ofMidnight’s Children. She brought Salman to the premiere screening ofWATER in New York and that began a close relationship with Salman, which culminated in the very first film adaptation of any of his novels. It is enormously pleasing for me to be once again collaborating with NYIFF and bringing to their extremely discerning audience Midnight’s Children, a film that I have been dreaming of doing since I first read the book over 30 years ago.”With this latest masterpiece,Midnight’s Children, Mehta tantalizes audiences with lush visuals and a magical, wide-spanning story. Two babies, born within moments of India proclaiming Independence from Britain, are switched at birth and are forever marked by history.

    Long-time supporter of NYIFF, Salman Rushdie also narrates the film. “I’m delighted the film of MIDNIGHT’S CHILDREN is to be given this preview screening in New York by my old friends at NYIFF,” says Rushdie. “I look forward to a great evening with you...

  • 13th Annual New York Indian Film Festival Opens with Feroz Abbas Khan’s Dekh Tamasha Dekh on April 30, Closes with Filmistaan on May 4,

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    The Indo-American Arts Council (IAAC) is presenting the 13th Annual New York Indian Film Festival, the oldest and most prestigious film festival for Indian cinema in North America, from Tuesday, April 30 to Saturday, May 4, 2013 in New York City.

    The New York Indian Film Festival will kick off its week-long festivities with a star-studded Opening Night red carpet premiere of Feroz Abbas Khan’s DEKH TAMASHA DEKH on April 30, 2013, which will take place at the Skirball Center for Performing Arts.

    L-R, Nikhil Ratnaparkhi and Satish Kaushik in Dekh Tamasha Dekh.

    Festival screenings will take place throughout the week at Tribeca Cinemas, with Nitin Kakkar’s FILMISTAAN on May 4, 2013, the Closing Night selection to be followed by the annual awards ceremony and after-party at the Skirball Center for Performing Arts. This year marks the launch of a new award at the 2013 Festival that honors student-created short films (five minute or less). Through open, no-fee submissions from film schools, one student will be selected to receive a special award at the Closing Night Award Ceremony

    Lyrically interwoven, DEKH TAMASHA DEKH is a social and political satire that cuts deep to the heart of many current issues, a true story based off true events. Written by renowned marathi playwright Shafaat Khan, who creates finely nuanced characters with depth and dimensions and sets them against a lush visual backdrop of a small village in India. The cast features Satish Kaushik, Tanvi Azmi, Vinay Jain, Sharad Ponkshe, Ganesh Yadav, Apoorva Arora and Alok Rajwade. Director Feroz Abbas Khan has directed some of India’s finest acting talent during his career of over two decades and he is at the forefront of Indian theatre today. His debut Film “Gandhi My Father” received rave reviews and won several national and international awards. He now showcases his new cinematic vision as the opening night film for the festival.

    “IAAC has an imagination that has expanded to...

  • LINSANITY Kicks Off 2013 Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival (LAAPFF) on May 2, 2013 ; Full Lineup Announced

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    March 29, 2013 – LOS ANGELES Visual Communications (VC), the nation’s premier Asian Pacific American media arts center, announced its program of outstanding films for the upcoming 29th edition of the Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival (LAAPFF) beginning May 2- 12, 2013 at the Director’s Guild of America (DGA), CGV Cinemas located in Koreatown, the Tateuchi Democracy Forum at NCPD in Little Tokyo, and the historic Art Theatre of Long Beach.

    As Southern California’s largest and most prestigious film festival of its kind, the LAAPFF launches the celebration of Asian Pacific Heritage Month through this year’s slate of over 140 films from both Asian Pacific American and Asian international directors from over 20 countries. Over the past 29 years, the Festival has presented more than 3,600 films and shorts by Asian American and Asian international artists. This year, 33 feature films and 108 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. In addition, this year also offers an array of celebrated films from prestigious global film festivals including Sundance, Berlin, Toronto and Cannes Film Festival.

    The LAAPFF 29th Edition kicks off with the Los Angeles premiere of the 2013 Sundance Film Festival hit LINSANITY, directed by Evan Jackson Leong, a longtime music video director, non-fiction filmmaker and Visual Communications/LAAPFF alum. This highly anticipated documentary, which received its World Premiere at Sundance 2013, casts a trained eye on Houston Rockets point guard Jeremy Lin starting from his humble beginnings in Palo Alto High School to his Harvard college basketball days and through his magical run in the...