Backstage Pass with Lia Chang

The 31st Annual Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival (LAAPFF) International Showcase Lineup

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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.

INTERNATIONAL SHOWCASE
The exciting line-up of international works offers something for everybody, from the sports enthusiast to action and thriller aficionados.  Of course, this line-up brims with incisive and entertaining artistic vision, from the rising Southeast Asian “dragons” including Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Thailand, and Vietnam, to works from Asian cinema stalwarts China, Japan, and South Korea.  Yet, just the fact that an exciting and topical work from Cambodia is included this year speaks to the re-emergence of a long- silenced national “voice” priming for a comeback.

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2030 (NUÓ’C 2030)

Directed by: Nghiem-Minh Nguyen-Vo

(Vietnam, 2014) 98 mins

MON APR 27, 7:00 PM

CGV CINEMAS

It is the year 2030.  Catastrophic climate change as a result of global warming means that most of the arable land in southern Vietnam is now below sea level.  As a worker for a floating far, Sao looks for answers to her husband’s murder, but discovers a huge health risk in the farm’s use of genetic engineering.  Does the chief scientist, who happens to be her ex-lover, have anything to do with her husband’s death?  Her whirlpool-like quest for the truth eventually brings her face-to-face with a dramatic decision.

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CAT FUNERAL (GOYANG JANGRYESIK)

Directed by: Lee Jong-hoon

(South Korea, 2015) 107 mins

TUE APR 28, 6:45 PM

CGV CINEMAS

The death of their beloved cat Gooreumi unexpectedly brings together former lovers Dong-Hoon (Kim Young-woon, aka Kang In of K-Pop supergroup Super Junior) and Jae-Jee (Park Se-Young).  Agreeing to hold a proper funeral for what was once theirs, the two set out for an overnight trip that, despite morose circumstances, colors their reunion.

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THE CHINESE MAYOR (DATONG)

Director: Hao Zhou

(People’s Republic of China, 2014) 89 mins

 SUN APR 26, 4:00 PM

CGV CINEMAS 

THE CHINESE MAYOR follows the work of controversial Datong mayor Geng Yanbo as he undertakes a radical plan to demolish 140, 000 households and relocate half a million people in efforts to restore ancient city walls.  In his vast plans to revitalized the city and its citizens, he hopes Datong could begin to thrive on a “clean” economy from tourism and culture.  Following Geng over two years as he contends with changing ideologies and confrontations with the public, THE CHINESE MAYOR attempts to draw a looming shape of a future China.

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 HOW TO WIN AT CHECKERS (EVERY TIME)

(Thailand, South Korea, USA, 2015) 78 mins

Directed by: Josh Kim

 SUN APR 26, 5:30 PM

CGV CINEMAS

After the loss of both parents, 11-year-old Oat faces an uncertain future when his older brother must submit to Thailand’s annual military draft lottery.  Unable to convince his brother to change his fate, Oat takes matters in to his own hands, resulting in unexpected consequences.  Based on stories from the best-selling book Sightseeing by Rattawut Lapcharoensap, the film is set on the economic fringes of Bangkok and examines the joys and challenges of growing up in contemporary Thailand.  HOW TO WIN AT CHECKERS (EVERY TIME) is director Josh Kim’s debut feature film.

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IN THE ABSENCE OF THE SUN (SEMAMAT PAGI, MALAM)

Directed by: Lucky Kuswandi

(Indonesia, 2014) 94 mins.

TUES APR 28 7:00 PM

Downtown Independent 

A tender, melancholic night is experienced through the eyes of three women as they struggle to find themselves in the ever-changing concrete jungle of Jakarta.  Gia returns home to Jakarta after years of living abroad and realizes that the place she considers home- conservative Jakarta- is no place for a lesbian.  Indri the gym towel-girl wants to climb up the social ladder by losing her virginity to a “Prince Charming” she met in a chat room.  Mrs. Surya loses her identity when she found out her late husband, to whom she had devoted her life, had another woman.

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KUNG FU KILLER (YI GE REN DE WULIN)

(Hong Kong, 2014) 100 mins.

Director: Teddy Chen

FRI APR 24 11:45 PM 

Downtown Independent 

Incarcerated for involuntary manslaughter after an accidental killing of an opponent, Hahou Mo (Donnie Yen) strikes a deal with the police: in exchange for his freedom, he would use his expertise in tracking down vicious killer Fung (Wang Baoqiang), who has been murdering retired martial arts masters, and staying ahead of Fung before he strikes his next victims.  Hahou is granted reprieve despite heavy reluctance by Inspector Luk Yuen-Sum (Charlie Young); when Hahou disappears in pursuit of his own agenda, he ultimately becomes a suspect.  Thrilling face-off sequences with a veritable line-up of Hong Kong action stars make for a seat-gripping crime tale in Teddy Chen’s latest action film.

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THE LAST REEL

(Cambodia, 2014) 105 mins

Director: Kulikar Sotho

SAT APR 25 4:45 PM

DTIND

Sophun was headed down a thorny path- hanging around a local gang and living life riskily in the moment in Phnom Penh- when she runs away and seeks refuge in a derelict cinema.  As if she was brought there by a cosmic push, she discovers an incomplete 1970s melodrama from pre-Khmer Rouge times that starred her now desperately ill mother in her younger, glamourously beautiful element.  Sophoun remakes the missing last reel of the film by reprising her mother’s former role, using it to revive her once vibrant self and mend the psychological scars that still haunt her broken family.

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RIVER OF EXPLODING DURIANS (Liulian Wang Fan)

(Malaysia, 2014) 128 mins.

Directed by Edmund Yeo

WED APR 29, 7:00 PM

DOWNTOWN INDEPENDENT

When a rare earth plant is built near a coastal town, its inhabitants fall into despair, fearful of its radioactive effects.  Ming, a high school student, is indifferent towards the changes.  All he cares about is spending idyllic afternoons with Mei Ann, the childhood friend he secretly loves.  Meanwhile, Ming’s history teacher, Ms. Lim, has started an activist group and recruits her favorite student, Hui Ling, to join her in protest.  As the construction continues, their idealism is severely tested, and all are drawn into a chain of events that irrevocable changes their lives.

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(SEX) APPEAL (HANCHAN XIAOYING)

 (Taiwan, 2014) 107 mins.

Director: Wang Wei-ming

TUES APR 28 9:30 PM

CGV CINEMAS

Things turn awry when Pai, a 22 year-old university student entangles herself in a forbidden, dependent relationship with a professor, Lee.  When her school peers turn on her to support Lee, Pai is left confused at the thought that Lee’s alleged wrongdoing may be unfounded.  Before Pai becomes paralyzed by such trauma, her friends step in to seek justice for her cause.

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THAT THING CALLED MEANT TO BE (THAT THING CALLED TADHANA)

(Philippines 2014) 90 mins

Directed by: Antoinette Jadaone

WED APR 29 9:30 PM

CGV CINEMAS

While struggling to meet strict baggage requirements in order to board a flight home to the Philippines, Mace meets Anthony, who heroically comes to her aid.  Both single and desperate, they form a charming friendship which would take them out of crowded Ninoy Aquino Airport, onto a tour bus, and into the secluded northern city of Sagada where they would attempt to mend each other’s hearts and find the answer to the question, “Where do broken hearts go?”.  THAT THING CALLED TADHANA won at the 2014 Cinema One Originals Film Festival for lead actress Angelica Panganiban’s charming performance.  

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 THE VANCOUVER ASAHI (BANKÛBÂ NO ASAHI)

(Japan, 2014) 132 mins

Directed by: Yuya Ishi

SAT APR 25 2:00 PM

CGV CINEMAS

In pre- WWII Vancouver, second-generation Japanese immigrants had it tough.  Every day, they faced discrimination, hatred, and injustice at the hands of their Caucasian counterparts.  But one thing made their lives worth living: baseball.  They may be the underdogs, but the Vancouver Asahi baseball team has a sense of fair play and smart tactics that set them apart from the brute force of their opponents.  Under the guidance of new team captain Reggie Kasahara, can they rise above all the negativity to win the tournament?  THE VANCOUVER ASAHI is based on the true story of the Japanese-Canadian baseball team that was inducted into The Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame in 2–3.

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WE ARE MOULCCANS (CAHAYA DARI TIMUR: BETA MALUKU)

(Indonesia, 2014) 151 mins

Director: Angga Dwimas Sasongko

SUN APR 26 12:30 PM

CGV CINEMAS 3

 December 1999: In the middle of Maluku’s inter-faith conflicts, former football star Sani Tawainella witnessed a child’s death in the middle of a riot.  Realizing that children in his village of Tuehu were in danger, Sani decides to become a youth football coach in order to redirect the children’s attention away from the conflict.  Sani is challenged by his wife Haspa as well as his friend and former teammate Yousef Matulessy for his seeming over-devotion to the sports team and creating a mixed-faith team of both Christians and Muslims.  WE ARE MOLUCCANS is based on a true story that celebrates the human spirit during a time when the region of Maluku was torn over religious conflict.

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WHERE I AM KING (HARI NG TONDO)

(Philippines, 2014) 91 mins.

Director: Carlos Siguion-Reyna

WED APR 29 12:30 PM

CGV CINEMAS

Ricardo learns he is bankrupt on the same day he is told his granddaughter Anna’s wedding is off and his grandson Ricky is not graduating from college.  Believing his grandchildren’s sheltered upbringing has made them weak, Ricardo takes them to his birthplace, Tondo, where he aims to train his grandchildren to “grow some balls”.  In Tondo, Anna and Ricky meet people unlike those in their wealthy milieu.  In adjusting to a hometown no longer the same as that of his childhood, Ricardo must come to terms with his own demons, while the once-proud Tondo moves on and keeps going.

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THE WORLD OF KANAKO (KAWAKI)

(Japan, 2014) 118 mins.

Director: Tetsuya Nakashima

TUES APR 28 9:30 PM

Downtown Independent

Kanako, a beautiful girl and one of the best students at school, goes missing with all the belongings left behind in her room.  Her father Akikazu is now asked by his ex-wife to look for their daughter.  He starts a desperate search for Kanako using any means, in hopes of getting his “ideal” family back, despite the fact that his problematic personality and behavior was the very reason the family broke up in the first place.  Following tracks of her past and present and talking to her “friends” he starts to get to know his daughter whom he never knew or didn’t even attempt to know.

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.

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:
Tony Award® Nominees Omar Metwally and Arian Moayed to star in Rajiv Joseph’s GUARDS AT THE TAJ, directed by Amy Morton, at Atlantic Theater Company, May 20-June 28
Hamilton leads 2015 Drama Desk Awards Nominations with 13, along with An American in Paris, Something Rotten!, The Visit, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time
Production Photos: Tony Award Winners Chita Rivera and Roger Rees star in Terrence McNally’s THE VISIT
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
Photos: Garth Kravits, Laura Benanti, Brian Nash, Lena Hall, Erin Davie and More in “Broadway Sings Tori” Benefit Concert for RAINN
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
81st Annual Drama League Awards Nominations
Stephen Adly Guirgis’ Between Riverside and Crazy Garners 2015 Pulitzer Prize for Drama
2014-15 Outer Critics Circle Award Nominations; Something Rotten!, On the Twentieth Century, An American in Paris garner most nods
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
Jose Llana, Jill Paice,Telly Leung and more featured on TOKIO CONFIDENTIAL Recording; Set for Release May 12
An Intimate Evening with Author Amy Tan at the New-York Historical Society 
Video: The cast of HAMILTON at The Public Theater pays tribute to A Chorus Line on the 40th anniversary of its first performance in the Newman Theater at The Public
World Premiere Musical HAMILTON Transfers to Broadway; Previews begin July 13
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
Suzan-Lori Parks’ FATHER COMES HOME FROM THE WARS, PARTS 1, 2 & 3 is the 2015 Winner of the Edward M. Kennedy Prize for Drama Inspired by American History 
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
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
Lincoln Center Theater’s revival of THE KING AND I starring Ken Watanabe, Kelli O’Hara, Ruthie Ann Miles, Conrad Ricamora and Ashley Park opens to raves
Joe Mantegna receives Lifetime Achievement Award for Film and Television from The Riverside International Film Festival
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’
“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 GalleryAward Winning Actor Raul Aranas Talks THE BLACKLIST, NAAP’S OLIVER!, Songwriting and the Zen of Cycling
Signature Theatre Company’s Founding Artistic Director James Houghton To Step Down After 2015-16 25th Anniversary Season
May 1: A/P/A Institute at NYU presents Remembering SlutForArt: Tseng Kwong Chi with Muna Tseng, Ping Chong, and Bill T. Jones
Photos: Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute Spring Exhibition, CHINA: THROUGH THE LOOKING GLASS, May 7–August 16
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.
Star Trek’s George Takei & Broadway Bound ALLEGIANCE Create Indiegogo Campaign as Endowment for the Japanese American National Museum 
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Photos: John W. Kuo, Jessica Hagedorn, and Neal Katyal Receive AALDEF 2015 Justice in Action 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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