Backstage Pass with Lia Chang

The 31st Annual Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival (LAAPFF) Narrative Features in Competition

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Visual Communications (VC), the nation’s premier Asian Pacific American media arts center, announced its Narrative Features in competition for the upcoming 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.

NARRATIVE FEATURES in competition

This stellar roster of narrative competition features are firmly rooted in “Americana”- perhaps more so than in recent years.  This is no doubt due to the fact that generations of acculturation have yielded a community more ingrained to American mores, yet aware of its challenges as “the other” in a society in which race and class endures as impediments to mainstream enfranchisement.  Laugh, cry, be repulsed, be offended, even.  But above all, be aware that the stories contained in this selection of new works will cross boundaries and borders- literally, figuratively, and metaphorically- and do so in profound and entertaining ways.

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ADVANTAGEOUS (West Coast Premiere)

Director: Jennifer Phang

FRI APR 24, 8:00 PM ARATANI THEATRE  

Gwen, a gifted corporate spokeswoman, must decide whether to undergo a radical medical procedure in order to keep her lucrative job and give her daughter, Jules,the only chance for a better future.   Set in a dystopic 2041, ADVANTAGEOUS is the new sci-fi feature film from award winning Sundance director Jennifer Phang.  (HALF-LIFE).  Co-written by and starring Independent Spirit award-nominated actor Jacqueline Kim, the film marks the return of Obie award-winning actor James Urbaniak to an indie dramatic role.

The 31st Annual Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival (LAAPFF) presents Jennifer Phang’s ADVANTAGEOUS Featuring Jacqueline Kim, James Urbaniak, Freya Adams, Ken Jeong, Jennifer Ehle, Samantha Kim, Jeanne Sakata, Jennifer Ikeda and Matthew Kim at the Aratani Theatre on April 24

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EVERYTHING BEFORE US (World Premiere) 

Directors.: Wesley Chan, Philip Wang

OPENING NIGHT FILM

THURS APR 23, 7:00 PM, ARATANI THEATRE 

High schoolers Seth (Brandon Soo Hoo) and Haley (Victoria Park) are a happy, loving couple, but can their love sustain them through a long-distance relationship?  Meanwhile, twenty-something professionals Ben (Aaron Yoo) and Sara (Brittany Ishibashi) are already a former couple who would want nothing more to do with each other.  The relationship activities of both couples who would want nothing more to do with each other.  The relationship activies of both couples are documented and monitored by the Department of Emotional Integrity (DEI) a DMV- styled agency that issues a relationship score to keep individuals accountable for their relationship activity and choices.  The score is public for all to see, and affects various aspects of their daily life.  Can our two couples conduct their lives in accordance with the DEI?  Or will the restrictive nature of the agency undermine their aspirations.

Wong Fu Productions’ EVERYTHING BEFORE US kicks off 31st Annual Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival (LAAPFF) at the Aratani Theatre on April 23

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JASMINE

Director:Dax Phelan

TUES APR 28, 9:15 CGV CINEMAS

Leonard To (Jason Tobin, Better Luck Tomorrow) is a man who’s struggling to come to terms with the unsolved murder of his beloved wife, Jasmine (Grace Huang, Overheard, Cold War, The Man With The Iron Fists).Nearly a year after Jasmine’s death, Leonard returns home to Hong Kong, determined to move on with his life once and for all. He searches for a new job, attends grief support group meetings, and reconnects with Grace (Hong Kong Film Award-winner Eugenia Yuan, Revenge of the Green Dragons, Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon: The Green Legend), a woman from his past.  But, when a visit to the site of his wife’s murder leads him to a mysterious interloper (Mann) he believes is her killer, Leonard decides to take justice into his own hands and things take a startling turn toward the unexpected.

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KTOWN COWBOYS (West Coast Premiere) 

Director.: Daniel Park 

SAT APR 25, 8:00 PM ARATANI THEATRE

WED APR 29, 9:15 PM CGV CINEMAS 

Director Daniel Park’s award-winning web series, KTOWN COWBOYS is now a full-length feature that re-introduces viewers to the young men who troll the bars and cafés of Los Angeles’ Koreatown: Jason (Shane Yoon) and his cohorts Sunny (Sunn Wee), Peter (Peter Jae), Danny (Danny Cho) and Robby (Bobby Choy)- a motley crew of drinking buddies. This time, Jason is in jot water: the family company to which he has been entrusted teeters on the brink of insolvency as a result of an embezzlement scandal. Banding together to help Jason out, the friends hatch an improbable scheme to put Jason’s company back on track. As their individual struggles come to light, and through late nights at seedy after-hours soju bars, partying with karaoke, drinking, girls and even a stint in jail, each “K-Town Cowboy” emerges as a better version of himself. And as for Jason’s company? Well…..

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MAN UP (L.A. Premiere) 

Director : Justin Chon 

SUN APR 26 3:30 PM, DOWNTOWN INDEPENDENT

At 19 years old, things aren’t exactly going well for Martin.  Believing he makes an inadequate potential father, his pregnant Mormon girlfriend ends their relationship.  Adding salt to the wound, his tiger mother kicks him out of the house after hearing the news.  The only person Martin has now is his stoner best friend, Randall.  And while Randall is supportive- taking Martin into his run-down home with the promise of turning him into a good father- he finds that Randall actually may be even more inadequate than he would have ever imagined.

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MARGARITA, WITH A STRAW (L.A. Premiere) 

Director: Shonali Bose; Co-Director: Nilesh Maniyar 

CLOSING NIGHT FILM

THU APR 30, 7:00 PM, DIRECTOR’S GUILD OF AMERICA

Based loosely on the experiences of the director’s own sister, MARGARITA is a winning film with vitality and heart. In it, Kalki Koechlin stars as Laila, a Delhi University student and aspiring writer who crafts lyrics and electronic sounds for an indie band. A wheelchair user with cerebral palsy, Laila is an adventurous soul who doesn’t let much get in the way of her life. When Laila is admitted to New York University and leaves India with her mother for Manhattan, she meets a fiery activist, Khanum who challenges her beliefs, sparks her creativity, and, eventually, takes her to bed. While her journey of sexual discovery threatens the relationships between her family and friends, Laila’s sojourn offers her a way to gain a measure of independence and self- worth. 

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MISS INDIA AMERICA

Director: Ravi Kapoor 

SUN APR 26, 6:00 PM, DOWNTOWN INDEPENDENT 

Lily Prasad is graduating from her Orange County high school at the top of her class.  And she has a plan- “The Lily Plan.”  She will become a brain surgeon like her father while her sweet, lost boyfriend Karim will become a petroleum engineer.  They’ll get married, have kids, and live happily ever after.  But the plan is thrown into confusion when Karim runs off with Reshma, the reining Miss India National beauty queen.  Not happy about losing at anything Lily decides that she herself must become the new Miss India National as a means of personal vindication.

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  THERE IS A NEW WORLD SOMEWHERE (World Premiere)

Director: Li Lu 

SUN APR 26, 8:30 PM, DOWNTOWN INDEPENDENT

WED APR 29, 4:30 PM, CGV CINEMAS 

New York is a little too hectic for Sylvia, a struggling artist with a heavy mind and financial troubles in tow. She retreats to her hometown in Austin, Texas for a friend’s wedding, searching for a little space and clarity through her personal turbulence. There, she unexpectedly meets Esteban, a stranger with whom she finds almost an immediate electrifying connection. Succumbing to her vulnerability and lust for careless adventure, Sylvia is forced to trust her heart, even if it sends her down dark and unfamiliar paths.  

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LOVE ARCADIA (L.A. Premiere) 

Director: Lawrence Gan 

MON APR 27, 7:00 PM, DOWNTOWN INDEPENDENT

WED APR 29, 9:15 PM, JAPANESE AMERICAN NATIONAL MUSEUM

Jake, a recent high school graduate, likes his life and his food sugar-coated.  His best friends Samantha and Louie are headed off to college, but Jake is a creature of habit that appreciates simplicity and can’t think of a better existence than the one he already has in Arcadia at his family’s tea shop.  Everything changes when Joanna, a worldly and ambitious young woman representing her estranged father’s successful business venture, walks into the shop with a demolition order- the tea shop and the tight network of mom-and pop stores surrounding it are due to be converted into luxury condos.

For program information, a complete listing of sponsors and partners, and to purchase tickets, log on to  www.vconline.org/festival or contact Visual Communications at (213) 680-4462 x59.  Tickets are on sale now. 

The Festival is honored to return home to Little Tokyo this year and is proud to be partnering with our following screening venues across Los Angeles:

  • Aratani Theatre @ Japanese American Cultural & Community Center – Little Tokyo – 244 South San Pedro Street, Los Angeles, CA  90012
  • Tateuchi Democracy Forum @ Japanese American National Museum – Little Tokyo – 111 N. Central Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90012
  • Downtown Independent – Downtown LA (DTLA)  – 251 S. Main Street, (between 3rd and 2nd Streets), Los Angeles, CA  90012
  • CGV Cinemas – Koreatown – Mid-Wilshire  – 621 Western Avenue (between 6th Street and Wilshire Blvd.), Los Angeles, CA 90005
  • The Great Company – Downtown LA (DTLA)  – 1917 Bay Street (between Wilson and Mateo Streets), Los Angeles, CA  90021
  • Directors Guild of America – West Hollywood  – 7920 Sunset Blvd. (at Hayworth), West Hollywood, CA  90046

 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.

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Lia 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:
Thom Sesma, Emily Padgett, J. Elaine Marcos and Thai Superstar Bie Sukrit lead the cast of the world premiere of WATERFALL at The Pasadena Playhouse, May 29 – June 28 and Seattle’s 5th Avenue Theatre, October 1-25
Production Photos: Tam Mutu, Kelli Barrett, Tom Hewitt, Lora Lee Gayer & Paul Alexander Nolan in DOCTOR ZHIVAGO on Broadway; Opens April 21
Photos: Inside THE FORTRESS OF SOLITUDE CD Release Concert with André De Shields, Kevin Mambo, Adam Chanler-Berat, Michael Friedman and More
David Henry Hwang, Laura Poitras, Amitav Ghosh, Deeyah Khan, Bill Rauch, Robert Battle, Carrie Mae Weems named among 13 Ford Foundation “Art of Change” Fellows
Photos: Traveling through the mouth of the Dragon with BIG TROUBLE IN LITTLE CHINA’s James Hong, Peter Kwong, Lia Chang, Gerald Okamura, George Cheung, Al Leong, Jeff Imada, James Lew, Gary Goldman, Eric Lee, Joycelyne Lew
Photo: The Public Theater Presents Tony Award-winner Lemon Andersen’s TOAST starring Tony Nominees Keith David and John Earl Jelks, Hill Harper and more, April 21 – May 10 
A Sumptuous View of Ken Watanabe, Kelli O’Hara, Ruthie Ann Miles, Ashley Park, Conrad Ricamora, Jon Viktor Corpuz, Paul Nakauchi and More in Lincoln Center Theater’s Revival of The King and I
Joe Mantegna receives Lifetime Achievement Award for Film and Television from The Riverside International Film Festival
Hamilton tops Lucille Lortel Award Nominations along with Into the Woods, Between Riverside and Crazy, The Invisible Hand, The Nether and The Fortress of Solitude
The Women in the Arts & Media Coalition, Inc.: 2015 Collaboration Award recognizing Women Working with Women Open Call
Sinatra: An American Icon Exhibit on View through September 4 at The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts
“Matthew Weiner’s Mad Men” on view at Museum of the Moving Image through June 14; Required Viewing: Mad Men’s Movie Influences Film Series Screenings through April 26
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
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“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
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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
Jerome Preston Bates, Michael Chenevert, Stephanie Berry, Terria Joseph, Kim Weston Moran, Tony Sallemi and Count Stovall set for World Premiere of Richard Wesley’s AUTUMN at Crossroads Theatre in New Brunswick, April 23 through May 3
May 1: A/P/A Institute at NYU presents Remembering SlutForArt: Tseng Kwong Chi with Muna Tseng, Ping Chong, and Bill T. Jones
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Photos: Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute Spring Exhibition, CHINA: THROUGH THE LOOKING GLASS, May 7–August 16
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Photos: National Black Theatre Festival 2013; NBTF runs August 3-8, 2015 and will include Act III – A Celebration of Life Reception saluting the late theatre icon Garland Lee Thompson, Sr.
Photos: John W. Kuo, Jessica Hagedorn, and Neal Katyal Receive AALDEF 2015 Justice in Action Awards
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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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