27th Asian American International Film Festival in New York

Posted by Lia Chang on Tuesday, 06 July 2004.

The 27th Asian American International Film Festival is July 16-24 in New York and July 30-August 1 on Huntington, Long Island.

Love is in the air at the nation's oldest and largest film festival dedicated to celebrating the diverse visions of Asian American and Asian filmmakers organized by Asian Cinevision (ACV), and presented by the Asia Society , HBO and Time Warner.

The U.S. premiere of Hong Kong director Ann Huis thriller Goddess of Mercy (Yu Guan Yin) , starring Zhao Wei and Nicholas Tse, opens the festival on July 16th at 6:30pm. A gala reception party follows the screening at the Asia Society with an afterparty at the Forbidden City in the East Village.

During the festival, screen more than 120 features, shorts and documentaries by filmmakers from the U.S. and around the globe at three locations this year: the Asia Society and the new ImaginAsian Theater in NYC (July 16-24), and the Cinema Arts Centre (July 30-Aug.1) on Huntington, Long Island.

This year's terrific lineup includes Yasuaki Nakajimas After the Apocalypse , a futuristic drama about five survivors trying to make sense of a New World after a devastating urban catastrophe challenges all their human needs; Layrente Diazs Ebolusyon , a nine-hour epic narrative about the struggles of a rural Filipino family; Trinh Minh-has Night Passage , a trans-cultural journey made in homage to Kenji Miyazawa's novel, Milky Way Railroad ; Steve Mallorcas Slow Jam King , an offbeat comedy about three guys on the road who find themselves in the heart of the Nashville country music scene and Kawamoto Kihachiros Winter Days , an animated feature that brings to life the poems of one of Japans most famous haiku poets, Matsuo Basho.

Just a few of the documentaries premiering at the festival include Rex Chen's The Fight to Free David Wong which chronicles the fight of David Wong, a Chinese immigrant wrongly convicted for a 1986 murder in upstate New York; Jason DaSilvas Lest We Forget , parallels the treatment of detainees post 9/11 with the treatment of Japanese-American internees during WWII in America; Steve Okina's An Unlikely Hero focuses on the landmark racial discrimination case of Bruce Yamashita - his five-year struggle for justice in the U.S. Marine Corps and his achievements on behalf of minorities in the military; and Dai Sil Kim-Gibsons Wet Sand: Voices from L.A. . The award-winning filmmaker returns to Los Angeles only to discover racism and poverty still persists in the inner city ten years after focusing her lens on Korean Americans during the LA riots of 1992 in her film SA-I-GU .

In Danny Leiner's hilarious Harold and Kumar go to White Castle , John Cho and Kal Penn are two stoner roommates, a Korean American investment banker and an Indian American med school candidate on a mission in New Jersey in search of White Castle burgers. The film has an advance screening on July 18th at 7pm at the ImaginAsian Theater prior to the theatrical release on July 30th.

On the shorts list:
Chris Tashima's Day of Independence is the story of an American family and the decision that challenges a son to find strength, features Derek Mio, Marcus Toji and Alan Muraoka. In Ron Domingo's I'll Shoot the Moon , Martha Millan and Orlando Pabotoy are a couple who embark on a personal journey after their decision to start a family. Esther Hagedorn-Woo's Sundance Sort of Hates Her Life features Jessica Hagedorn and Han Ong as a couple on the verge of divorce. Sangam is a tale about the relationship and contrasting views of an Indian-American and Indian immigrant, by Prashant Bhargava. Experimental artist Kip Fulbeck's Lilo & Me examines the muting of race in mainstream media and its effects on multiracial Americans.

Don't miss the spectacular centerpiece presentation, Buddhist lama Khyentse Norbus Travellers and Magicians about a Bhutanese man and his desires to come to America, which screens on July 23rd at 7pm.

Filmmakers and film aficionados can take advantage of panels, workshops, master classes and networking receptions. Two new highlights of the festival include a 64 Hour Shoot-Out competition in collaboration with the Asian American Filmmakers Collaborative and the presentation of the Emerging Director Award .

Channeling Queens, NY meets Bollywood for his first feature, director Nikhil Advani's Tomorrow May Never Come (Kal Ho Naa Ho) is the closing night film on July 24th at 6:45pm.

Pre-purchase tickets by phone, fax, mail and in-person, by contacting:
Asia Society
27th AAIFF Box Office, 725 Park Avenue, New York, NY 10021
Phone: 212.327.9341| Fax: 212.517.8315
Programs are subject to change, so check the Website for updates. Tickets cannot be reserved without full payment. Cash, Visa, Mastercard, checks, and money orders accepted, payable to Asian CineVision . Order tickets online at the Official Festival Website

Between July 16th 24th, tickets can be purchased at the Asia Society and ImaginAsian Theater box offices during festival box office hours. (The Box Office opens 1/2 hour before the first program of the day and closes 1/2 hour after the last program of the day.)

Asia Society , 725 Park Avenue (@ 70th St.)
ImaginAsian Theater , 239 East 59th Street (b/n 2nd & 3rd Ave.)
Cinema Arts Centre (July 30-August 1), 423 Park Avenue, Huntington, Long Island

Asian CineVision, Inc. (ACV) is a not-for-profit national media arts organization dedicated to the promotion and preservation of Asian and Asian-American media expressions. ACV's programs and services include film exhibitions, mentoring and educational outreach, training workshops, publications, and a media archive. ACV is based in New York City. For more information, please visit Asian CineVision.

Location: ImaginAsian Theater
In Esther Hagedorn-Woo's SUNDANCE (SORTA HATES HER LIFE) , Jessica Hagedorn and Han Ong are the parents of teenager Sundance who are getting a divorce. For Sundance, it all she can do to keep her posture, her smile and holds her tears as her once-perfect family crumbles under a separation that cannot be mended. SUNDANCE is just one of five shorts which feature characters discovering what leads them to love. Q&A with directors follows.

Location: The Asia Society
Teens address racism, debunk stereotypes and protest prejudices through community activism. They not only tackle the definition of their own identities, but also look towards a more optimistic future amidst the questionable present by sharing their own stories and the histories of those who have been forgotten. Free entry for anyone under 18 with valid ID. Q&A with filmmakers follows.

Directors: Kihachiro Kawamoto, I. Takahata, K. Yamamura, R. Servis, et al
Location: ImaginAsian Theater
Winter Days is an amazing, visually stunning collaboration of the greatest animation masters in the world joining forces to create a visual Renku, a style of poetry specific to Japan whereby composers write a poem as a group with each poet creating a different verse.

Location: The Asia Society
A panel of experts will provide many lesser-known facts for independent productions shooting in NYC. Secure your dream location; the ins and outs of obtaining permits; working with unions; work towards a smooth shoot while getting the most out your budget dollars. Have your questions answered.

Location: ImaginAsian Theater
What is the double X point of view? A mystery perhaps, but a closer look reveals that the fairer sex is not from another planet. They just want what most people want- and then some. Q&A with filmmakers follows.

Mina Park reveals what women think about as they wait in line for the bathroom in PENIS ENVY ; Songyi Kim shares a fascinating excerpt from a one-hour-performance during which she repeatedly draws and erases on a chalkboard mask attached to her face in THE PRACTICE ; Karen Lin explores PERFECTION , with Ming-Na as a woman on a mission to achieve perfection and Fatimah Tobing Rony TREASURE is a visual poem depicting a woman hiding in a cellar, grappling with sorrow. It's a A RAINY DAY for Katie who discovers she is pregnant on the day of her mothers funeral by Kit Hui; shy Chikas grandfather is her best friend in Adam Mars' CHIKA'S BIRD and Pei-Ying Lin' s DREAMAPPLE is a lyrical take on the freedom, passion and beauty experienced in dreams and memories. In Desireena Almoradie and Christina Quisumbing Ramilo's GREEN STALK , a Filipina video store clerk is surrounded by trains, planes and a diversity of cultures that define Queens and is at once a part of it and completely removed from it; Il-Hyang Jang's POINT OF VIEW is a heartwarming and humorous animation tale of a girl and a worm living in an apple wholearn to co-exist harmoniously; and Jason Moore's AMERICAN SEOUL , is a biting and hilarious look into the lives of four young Asian American girls living in Los Angeles.

Location: The Asia Society
AAIFF's popular gathering where directors meet editors, actors meet casting directors, DPs meet gaffers, writers meet producers. Bring your pitch and business cards. Free with AAIFF04 ticket stub.

Location: The Asia Society
Activism is very much alive, whether the action is subtle or in-your-face, ultimately justice will be served. Tae-Gon Yoon examines whether the U.S. really is the greatest country in the world in WELCOME TO AMERICA ; Tadashi H. Nakamura's YELLOW BROTHERHOOD is an evocative look at the 30-year evolution of the Asian American self-help group Yellow Brotherhood; Ramsel Ruiz ponders THE QUESTION of guns and their power and Rex Chen documents the ongoing fight to overturn the sentencing of David Wong, a Chinese immigrant wrongly convicted for murder in THE FIGHT TO FREE DAVID WONG . Sanjna Singh and Pia Sawhney focus on the changes to the immigration policy after 9/11 which have created a climate of fear and silence among the Muslim community in OUT OF STATUS ; Phuong Tang and Jenny Cho tell the story of two Asian American female DJs, NYC club scene pioneers Kuttin Kandi and Rekha breaking down barriers of color and gender in ART AND ACTIVISM ON THE ONES AND TWOS and Tadashi H. Nakamura's lyrical video MARCH RAIN shows the Asian American contingent in the anti-war movement. Q&A with directors follows.

Location: The Asia Society
AFGHANISTAN UNVEILED by Brigitte Brault and the Aina Women Filming Group and Mahnaz Afzali's THE LADIES' ROOM (ZANANEH) are two documentaries that shatter misconceptions the West have of Middle Eastern women. In a public bathroom in Iran and on the outskirts of Kabul, these women directors film women's lives through struggles, pain, suffering, comaraderie, and survival.

Director: Minh-Ha Trinh, Jean-Paul Bourdier
Location: The Asia Society
Paying homage to Kenji Miyazawa's Milky Way Railroad, this film follows the spiritual journey of a young woman, her best friend and a little boy who embark on a night train ride. Followed by Q&A.

Director: Eui-Seok Kim
Location: The Asia Society
Swashbuckling action, court intrigue, murder mystery, flying limbs all get a sensational workout in this martial arts epic. Men fighting men is action, man battling man is drama. The film pits the unshakeable bond between two former comrades, sworn brothers until death against a bloody rebellion that forces them to take opposite sides. A visceral thrill-ride, it provides pathos, sweeping action and brooding mystery in equal measure.

Director: Yasuaki Nakajima
Location: ImaginAsian Theater
We do not know their names, we do not hear their voices, yet we are magnetically drawn into this dark and beautiful world. Due to hazardous environmental conditions, speaking is not possible and food is scarce. Four men and one woman have survived. This is humanity at its most animalistic and desperate. Preceded by ETERNAL GAZE . Followed by Q&A.

Director: Sam Chen
Inspired by the life and torment of the legendary artist Alberto Giacometti.

Location: The Asia Society
No matter how you look at New York, it is undeniably the greatest city in the world, as EAST BROADWAY by Kevin Lee and Karen Chien; FISH by Kim Spurlock, THE BAKERY by Rosanne Ma and Rio Puertollano, SANGAM by Prashant Bhargava,
AT NIGHT by Hyoe Yamamoto, ODE TO MARGARET CHO by Greg Pak and Susie Lee, FATE by Peter Wang, and FLIGHT SAFETY by Christine Simpson attest. In this shorts program, filmmakers pay tribute to their beloved city by exploring the sights and sounds that we hold near and dear but also make us want to leave, even if for a hot New York second. Q&A with directors follows.

Location: The Asia Society
Final Cut Pro HD delivers the ability to capture, edit and output broadcast-quality high definition (HD) video. Mac pro Michael Wong, Agent of Change for Apple conducts a comprehensive workshop on all you need to know about using Final Cut Pro HD.

Location: ImaginAsian Theater
In this first annual 64-hour Film Shoot Out, 15 winning teams showcase shorts written, shot, edited and produced in 64 hours around a central theme. Followed by Q&A.

Location: The Asia Society
This open dialogue between the audience and filmmakers Steve Mallorca (SLOW JAM KING ) and Shih-Ching Tsou (TAKE OUT ) will cover their challenges in guerilla style filmmaking.SLOW JAM KING is a coming-of-age comedy, Jo-Jo, a wannabe gangsta-pimp, is on a journey to find his true destiny. In TAKE OUT , bicycle deliveryman Ming Ding races against time to pay his debt to smugglers, as his American dream goes sour.

Director: Jason DaSilva
Location: ImaginAsian Theater
The landscape of America has changed drastically after 9/11. People live in constant fear and suspicion, and civil rights are severely curtailed. Preceded by Digant K. Vyas' PHOTO BOOTH and Prashant Bhargava's SANGAM . Q&A with directors follows.

Location: ImaginAsian Theater
You are not high, we really have two Asian American guys in a Hollywood stoner comedy. These are non-accented males breaking free of exotic cultural cliche who just want to have a good time like the rest of Middle America (who knew?). Like it or not, new ground has been broken and the laughter will come to prove it. Q&A with John Cho and Kal Penn follows.

Location: The Asia Society
Two films by Chinese students from the National Film and Television School (NFTS) in Britain, and two films by students at the Chongqing Film Academy (CFA) in Sichuan province compare how Chinese film students deal with environments inside and outside China. Q&A with directors follows.

Director: Steve Mallorca
Location: The Asia Society
In this coming-of-age comedy, Jo-Jo, a wannabe gangsta-pimp, is on a journey to find his true destiny. Disillusioned by college, Jo-Jo drops out to follow his call to the streets as The Filipino Warrior." Q&A with cast and crew follows.

Location: ImaginAsian Theater
When their wives and girlfriends leave for a quick trip to Bangkok, a gang of four buddies act with military precision and gangland swagger to get laid all in homage to less-than-faithful Ninth Uncle (Tony Leung Kar-fai). A screwball game of hide-and-seek follows as the men try to avoid getting caught. Pang uses an often dead-pan approach to heighten a situations absurdity, but underneath the comedy in his second film lies astute social critique and filmic references. Pang has called his movie a loose derivation of Chu Yuans romantic comedy Wise Wives and Foolish Husbands mixed with Michael Manns Heat . But the film also touches on an important social and political theme in Hong Kong: the question of trust and infidelity, not only with regard to Hong Kong businessmens habit of keeping mistresses in mainland China, but also the mistrust between Hong Kong and its master, the Chinese government.