Backstage Pass with Lia Chang

April 26: The 31st Annual Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival (LAAPFF) Artist Spotlight- Arthur Dong’s FORBIDDEN CITY, U.S.A. and THE KILLING FIELDS OF DR. HAING S. NGOR

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Visual Communications (VC), the nation’s premier Asian Pacific American media arts center, is presenting the 31st edition of the Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival (LAAPFF) running April 23-30, 2015. This annual film celebration will be presented across Los Angeles from Little Tokyo to the Arts District in Downtown Los Angeles to Koreatown and to West Hollywood featuring 134 films from over 20 countries. 

VC proudly celebrates 31 years as Southern California’s largest and most prestigious film festival of its kind.  The LAAPFF launches the pre-celebration of Asian Pacific Heritage Month through this year’s slate of over 130 films from both Asian Pacific American and Asian international directors from over 20 countries.  For over three decades, the Festival has presented more than 3,700 films and shorts by Asian American and Asian international artists.  This year, a total of 134 films comprised of 32 feature films and 102 shorts will be showcased throughout the eight-day fest.

Arthur Dong's Forbidden City U.S.A.  Choreographer Walt Biggerstaff with the chorus of Andy Wong's Chinese Skyroom, the first Chinatown nightclub in the world (San Francisco, 1937)! Photo courtesy of the Andy Wong Collection.

Arthur Dong’s Forbidden City U.S.A.
Choreographer Walt Biggerstaff with the chorus of Andy Wong’s Chinese Skyroom, the first Chinatown nightclub in the world (San Francisco, 1937)! Photo courtesy of the Andy Wong Collection.

This year’s Film Festival casts its Artist Spotlight on the award winning documentary filmmaker Arthur Dong.  Dong will present a re-mastered version of his classic FORBIDDEN CITY, U.S.A., from original film elements by the UCLA Film & Television Archive on Sunday, April 26, 2015. 

GRANT AVENUE FOLLIES will be performing at the LA screening of Forbidden City, U.S.A. on April 26. Members include veterans dancers from San Francisco's golden era of Chinatown nightclubs. Photo courtesy of Arthur Dong/Facebook

GRANT AVENUE FOLLIES will be performing at the LA screening of Forbidden City, U.S.A. on April 26. Members include veterans dancers from San Francisco’s golden era of Chinatown nightclubs. Photo courtesy of Arthur Dong/Facebook

The presentation includes live performances by San Francisco favorites, the Grant Avenue Follies, starring original dancers from the Chinatown nightclub era: Ivy Tam, Cynthia Yee, and Pat Chin. Dong will also give a presentation highlighting his critically acclaimed book, “Forbidden City, USA: Chinese American Nightclubs 1936-1970.” A reception and book signing follows.

forbidden city usaDong will also present the Southern California premiere of his latest film THE KILLING FIELDS OF DR. HAING S. NGOR which tells the dramatic story about the most recognizable survivor of the Cambodian genocide – a man who became a world ambassador justice in his homeland, only be murdered in a LA Chinatown alley – a case still muddled with conspiracy theories. This special Spotlight program takes place on Sunday, April 26 beginning at 4:30PM with FORBIDDEN CITY, U.S.A. and then at 7:30PM with THE KILLING FIELDS OF DR. HAING S. NGOR at the Tateuchi Democracy Forum @ Japanese American National Museum in Little Tokyo, 111 N. Central Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90012. Click here  for more information and to purchase tickets to the screenings. 

PHOTO: Dr. Haing S. Ngor on location for “The Killing Fields.” Courtesy the Dr. Haing S. Ngor Archive

PHOTO: Dr. Haing S. Ngor on location for “The Killing Fields.” Courtesy the Dr. Haing S. Ngor Archive

“Arthur Dong is one of our most prolific filmmakers of our time and our community,” says longtime Visual Communications staff member Abraham Ferrer. “We are proud to have Arthur bring back the classic FORBIDDEN CITY, U.S.A. and then present his latest film and discussion around the controversial case of the murder of Academy Award® winning actor Dr. Haing S. Ngor.  This will be a very exciting and eye opening session at the Festival.”

Filmmaker Arthur Dong and cinematographer Stephen Lighthill. Photo by Zand Gee

Filmmaker Arthur Dong and cinematographer Stephen Lighthill. Photo by Zand Gee

Arthur Dong is an  Oscar®-nominated and three-time Sundance award winning filmmaker. A San Francisco native who has earned a multitude of prestigious awards for not only his work in film, but also for his public service, Arthur Dong is an inspiration for Asian American filmmakers worldwide. With over three decades of championing equality through telling Asian American and LGBTQIA stories, Dong’s films have been theatrically distributed throughout the United States, broadcast internationally, and continue to be featured at film festivals worldwide. Known for his prowess utilizing the art of film as a means to investigate social issues and examine undisclosed parts of Asian American and LGBT history and identity, Dong’s voice has spread much further than film alone. As a film student at San Francisco State University, Arthur Dong produced Sewing Woman, his Academy Award nominated short documentary in 1984. The film focused on his mother’s immigration to America from China. Instead of finding an outside distributer for the film, Dong then started his own company, DeepFocus Productions, and serves as its producer, director and writer. Dong has produced, directed, written, edited, and filmed independent films on social issues such as gay rights and the Chinese American experience. He has gone on to produce many other highly praised films including Coming Out Under Fire, winner of the Peabody Award in 1995. A two-time Rockefeller Media Arts Fellow as well as a Guggenheim Fellow in Film, Dong has served on the boards of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, Film Independent, OutFest, and the National Film Preservation Board at the Library of Congress. In addition to the 1995 Peabody Award for  his highly praised film Coming Out Under Fire, the honors include three Sundance Film Festival awards, an Oscar nomination, the Berlin Film Festival’s Teddy Award, Taipei’s Golden Horse Award, a GLAAD Media Award, and five Emmy nominations. Dong has taught documentary film around the world and his impact on the film industry is undeniable.

 The 2015 Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival is sponsored by:

PLATINUM: Comcast NBC Universal; Sony Pictures Entertainment; GOLD: Directors Guild of America; Nielsen; SILVER: HBO; BRONZE: FilmLA; Creative DCP; SAG Indie; STAR: Modern VideoFilm; Motion Picture Editors Guild; SAG-AFTRA; Union Bank; Writers Guild of America/West; Yu & Co.; VENUE SPONSORS: Aratani Theatre/Japanese American Cultural & Community Center; Directors Guild of America; Japanese American National Museum; Downtown Independent; CGV Cinemas; The Great Company; MEDIA SPONSORS: AngryAsianMan.com; KPFK – FM; LA-18 KSCI; LA Weekly; MYX TV; Yelp; GOVERNMENT: National Endowment for the Arts; Los Angeles County Arts Commission; Department of Cultural Affairs, City of Los Angeles; California Arts Council; Cal Humanities; FOUNDATION: Aratani Foundation; James Irvine Foundation; Weingart Foundation; Parsons Foundation; SAG-P IACF; Asian Pacific Community Fund; Sony Pictures Entertainment;  RECEPTION: Asahi; Kirin; LA-18 KSCI; Stella Artois; Ketel One; MYXTV; IN KIND: Telepath Corporation; IKON Office Supplies; Meiji; LA18; HBO; Red Giant.

cropped-lia-chang_photo-by-carlos-flores-3.jpgLia Chang is an actor, a performance and fine art botanical photographer, and an award-winning multi-platform journalist. Lia has appeared in the films Wolf, New Jack City, A Kiss Before Dying, King of New York, Big Trouble in Little China, The Last Dragon and Taxman. She has guest starred on “One Life to Live,” “As the World Turns,” and “New York Undercover.” Lia starred as Carole Barbara in Lorey Hayes’ Power Play at the National Black Theatre Festival in Winston-Salem, N.C., with Pauletta Pearson Washington and Roscoe Orman. She is profiled in Jade Magazine.

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Click here for other film articles.

Other Articles by Lia Chang:
May 1: A/P/A Institute at NYU presents Remembering SlutForArt: Tseng Kwong Chi with Muna Tseng, Ping Chong, and Bill T. Jones
Apr. 20: Garth Kravits joins Laura Benanti, Lena Hall, Scott Alan and more for BROADWAY SINGS TORI Concert to Benefit RAINN at (le) poisson rouge
Sinatra: An American Icon Exhibit on View through September 4 at The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts Disney Developing Live-Action ‘Mulan’
Kenny Leon Helmed ‘The Wiz’ Set as NBC’s Next Live Musical to air on Dec. 3; Broadway Revival Slated for 2016-17
Chinese American: Exclusion/Inclusion Exhibition on view at New-York Historical Society through April 19; Photos of An Evening with Amy Tan
“Water to Paper, Paint to Sky: The Art of Tyrus Wong,” – Retrospective of Disney Legend at MOCA through September 13
Dining out at élan with Artist Arlan Huang; New Paintings on view at Trestle Gallery
Photos and Video: Rachel York, Alan Ariano, YoonJeong Seong and More in Dallas Summer Musicals’ THE KING AND I at the Music Hall at Fair Park through April 5
Award Winning Actor Raul Aranas Talks THE BLACKLIST, NAAP’S OLIVER!, Songwriting and the Zen of Cycling
Tony Award Winners Chita Rivera and Roger Rees, Jason Danieley, Mary Beth Peil, David Garrison & More Begin Previews in Terrence McNally’s THE VISIT on March 26
Vanity Fair: Ken Watanabe, Kelli O’Hara, Jon Viktor Corpuz and More of Lincoln Center’s Revival of The King and I
Photos: David Byrne, Alex Timbers, Jaygee Macapugay, Celia Keenan-Bolger, Adam Guettel, Sarah Saltzberg and More Celebrate Jose Llana’s Lincoln Center American Songbook Debut
Signature Theatre Company’s Founding Artistic Director James Houghton To Step Down After 2015-16 25th Anniversary Season
Photos: Hudson Yang, Randall Park, Eddie Huang, Richard Lui, Lori Tan Chinn and More at #FreshOffTheBoat Viewing Party at The Circle NYC
The Women in the Arts & Media Coalition, Inc.: 2015 Collaboration Award recognizing Women Working with Women Open Call
Photo: Stan Egi, Ellen Crawford, Paige Lindsey White, Bruce Turk, Greg Watanabe and More in Jessica Kubzansky helmed PYGMALION at The Pasadena Playhouse through April 12; PYGMALION Themed Activities
LA Times Critic’s Choice FIGARO at A Noise Within; April 4, 5, 9, 10, 19, 30, May 1 and 10
Jon Tenney, Tessa Auberjonois, John de Lancie, Emily Ruth James and Kwana Martinez Set for World Premiere of Rajiv Joseph’s MR. WOLF at South Coast Repertory, April 12-May 3
Apr. 13:THE FORTRESS OF SOLITUDE Original Cast Album Release Party at Joe’s Pub will feature André De Shields, Adam Chanler-Berat, Kevin Mambo, Kyle Beltran, Ken Barnett, Britton Smith, Akron Watson and Juson Williams
Rebecca Naomi Jones kicks off run as Yitzhak in HEDWIG AND THE ANGRY INCH on April 14
East West Players’ Honors Paula Madison of Madison Media Management LLC and “Fresh Off The Boat” Executive Producers Nahnatchka Khan and Melvin Mar on April 20
Photos: Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute Spring Exhibition, CHINA: THROUGH THE LOOKING GLASS, May 7–August 16
15th Annual New York Indian Film Festival (NYIFF) Lineup includes Shonali Bose’s MARGARITA WITH A STRAW & Aparna Sen’s SAARI RAAT; May 4-9
Tony Award® Nominees Omar Metwally and Arian Moayed to star in Rajiv Joseph’s GUARDS AT THE TAJ, helmed by Amy Morton, at Atlantic Theater Company, May 20-June 28
World Premiere Musical HAMILTON Transfers to Broadway; Previews begin July 13
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Photos: John W. Kuo, Jessica Hagedorn, and Neal Katyal Receive AALDEF 2015 Justice in Action Awards
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Photos: Ellen Burstyn, Baz Luhrmann, John Leguizamo, Elizabeth Rodriguez, Stephen McKinley Henderson, John Patrick Shanley, David Henry Hwang, Liza Colón-Zayas, Kenneth Lonergan and More Celebrate Stephen Adly Guirgis at The Mimi Awards
Crafting a Career

Click here  for the Lia Chang Articles Archive and here for the Lia Chang Photography Website.

All text, graphics, articles & photographs: © 2000-2015 Lia Chang Multimedia. All rights reserved. All materials contained on this site are protected by United States copyright law and may not be reproduced, distributed, transmitted, displayed, published or broadcast without the prior written permission of Lia Chang. You may not alter or remove any trademark, copyright or other notice from copies of the content. For permission, please contact Lia at liachangpr@gmail.com

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