Backstage Pass with Lia Chang

#AAIFF2015 Tribute to Arthur Dong- Screenings of THE KILLING FIELDS OF HAING S. NGOR and FORBIDDEN CITY, U.S.A., plus an on-stage conversation, July 25-26

aaiff-2015-picThe 38th Asian American International Film Festival (AAIFF), presented by Asian CineVision, will run from July 23 – August 1, 2015 at various venues in Manhattan and Queens. As the nation’s first and longest running Asian American film festival, AAIFF 2015 celebrates the contributions of Asian and Asian Americans in media by showcasing new talent, highlighting local filmmakers and paying tribute to the trailblazers of the 21st century.

2015 Asian American International Film Festival Lineup, July 23-Aug. 1

Asian CineVision is presenting a tribute to Oscar®-nominated and three-time Sundance award-winning filmmaker Arthur Dong during the Festival. Highlights include an on-stage conversation with Dong, as well as screenings of  the new digitally remastered FORBIDDEN CITY, U.S.A. (1989), and his latest documentary THE KILLING FIELDS OF HAING S. NGOR. A film visionary who has earned a multitude of prestigious awards for not only his work in film, but also for his public service, Dong is known for his prowess in utilizing the art of film as a means to investigate social issues and examine undisclosed parts of Asian American and LGBT history and identity.

FORBIDDEN CITY, U.S.A. (1989)- Saturday, July 25th at Cinema Village East at 4:00 P.M.

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.

Arthur Dong takes a glimpse into the lives of the performers of the Forbidden City, an all-Chinese nightclub in San Francisco in the 1930s and 40s. The film blends song and dance with more serious themes of racism and identity to showcase a group of performers willing to challenge cultural stereotypes. Dong’s compilation of original video footage with interviews with the aging performers offers viewers the chance to meet the “Chinese Fred Astaire” and the “Chinese Sophie Tucker,” pioneering Chinese-American entertainers.

FORBIDDEN CITY, U.S.A. has been digitally remastered from original film elements by the UCLA Film & Television Archive, revealing beautiful and crisp details never before seen.

“Forbidden City, U.S.A.” book signing with Arthur Dong will take place after the screening of the film in the lobby of Village Cinema East at 5:15 p.m. Click here for tickets.

CONVERSATION WITH ARTHUR DONG- Saturday, July 25th at Cinema Village East at 5:15 P.M.

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

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

The on-stage conversation with filmmaker Arthur Dong will be punctuated with clips from Dong’s oeuvre of award-winning films spanning over thirty years. This illuminating talk will cover the personal challenges and emotional thrills of creating artistic and socially relevant independent media. Click here for tickets.
THE KILLING FIELDS OF DR. HAING S. NGOR – Saturday, July 25th at Village Cinema East at 6:30 P.M.

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

Winner of the BEST DOCUMENTARY AUDIENCE AWARD at the Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival, The Killing Fields of Dr. Haing S. Ngor chronicles a journey of love, loss and reconciliation, set against the backdrop of Cambodia’s Khmer Rouge reign of terror. Survivor Haing Ngor drew upon his own experiences as a war slave for “The Killing Fields,” winning an Oscar® for his first acting job. But he played his greatest role as the worldwide ambassador for justice in his homeland, only to be murdered in Chinatown Los Angeles – a case still surrounded by conspiracy theories. Through an inspired blend of original animation and rare archival material – anchored by Ngor’s richly layered autobiography – the years encapsulating the Khmer Rouge’s tyrannical rule over Cambodia are experienced though a politically charged transnational journey of loss and reconciliation.

Join Oscar® nominated director Arthur Dong and subjects from the film, Sophia Demetri (Ngor’s niece), Wayne Ngor (Ngor’s nephew), and Jack Ong (executive director of Ngor’s foundation) for the New York premiere. Click here for tickets.

BOOK TALK WITH ARTHUR DONG AND RECEPTION- Sunday, July 26, 2015 at 6:00 P.M.

forbidden city usa

AAIFF and Museum of Chinese in America are presenting a book talk and signing with award-winning writer/filmmaker Arthur Dong, who will introduce his book, Forbidden City, U.S.A. on Sunday, July 26th at 6:00 P.M. at MoCA, 215 Centre St, New York, NY 10013. Admission is Pay What You Wish. Suggested Donation: $10

Forbidden City, U.S.A. captures the magic and glamour of the Chinese American nightclub scene, which peaked in San Francisco during World War II. Previously unpublished personal stories, along with over four hundred stunning images and rare artifacts, are presented in this sexy and insightful chronicle of Asian American performers who defied racial and cultural barriers to pursue their showbiz dreams.

It was the mid-1930s: Prohibition was repealed and the Great Depression was waning. With a global conflict on the rise, people were out to drink, dine, dance, and see a show to forget their woes—and what a surprise for the world to behold an emerging generation of Chinese American entertainers commanding the stage in their own nightclubs. Forbidden City, USA reveals the sassy, daring, and sometimes heartbreaking memories of the dancers, singers, and producers who lived this story, and it weaves in a fascinating collection of photos, postcards, menus, programs, and yes, even souvenir chopsticks. Together they recreate a forgotten era, treating readers to a dazzling night on the town.

Forbidden City, U.S.A. is the culmination of filmmaker and writer Arthur Dong’s nearly thirty-year devotion to the topic, originally inspired by the author’s research for his documentary of the same name.

Lia Chang Picks: Arthur Dong’s Forbidden City: Chinese-American Nightclubs, 1930-1970

Arthur Dong

Arthur Dong

Arthur Dong
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. 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.

To learn more about the full schedule of events, visit http://aaiff.org/2015.

Festival Ticket Information
Tickets for general admission are $14. Tickets for seniors (65+), students and handicapped (must present valid ID) are $12. Tickets for ACV members and Community Partners are $10.50. Tickets will be available for purchase on the AAIFF website on Tuesday, June 23, 2015. For Opening, Centerpiece, and Closing Night Events, please check website for ticket details.

General Festival Information
The Asian American International Film Festival (AAIFF) is a presentation of Asian CineVision. The festival is a celebration of inspiring Asian and Asian American works in film and video from innovative artists around the world. AAIFF 2015 takes place July 23-August 1, 2015 in Manhattan and Queens. Manhattan venues include: Cinema Village East (181-189 2nd Avenue); Asia Society (725 Park Avenue); Museum of Chinese in America (215 Centre Street); Queens venues include: Museum of the Moving Image (36-01 35th Ave, Astoria); Queens Botanical Garden (43-50 Main Street, Flushing); and Flushing Town Hall (13735 Northern Boulevard, Flushing).

About Asian CineVision:
Asian CineVision (ACV) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit media arts organization devoted to the development, exhibition, promotion, and preservation of Asian and Asian American film and video.

cropped-lia-chang_photo-by-carlos-flores-3.jpg 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 is co-hosting AAFLTV’s “Focus on the Philippines“, Monday nights in June. She is profiled in Jade Magazine.

Related Articles
2015 Asian American International Film Festival Lineup, July 23-Aug. 1
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 
CAAMFest 2015 Honors Filmmaker Arthur Dong with World Premiere Screenings of Forbidden City, USA (3/14), The Killing Fields of Dr. Haing S. Ngor (3/15) & In Conversation with B. Ruby Rich (3/20)
April 23-30: The Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival (LAAPFF) Lineup includes EVERYTHING BEFORE US, KTOWN COWBOYS, Shonali Bose’s MARGARITA, WITH A STRAW, Jennifer Phang’s ADVANTAGEOUS, Arthur Dong’s FORBIDDEN CITY, U.S.A. and THE KILLING FIELDS OF DR. HAING S. NGOR
Randall Park, Tamlyn Tomita, Dante Basco, George Cheung, Al Leong, Stephen Dypiangco and Patrick Epino to attend Los Angeles launch premiere of AWESOME ASIAN BAD GUYS on June 23
Filmbuff to release YouTubers’ AWESOME ASIAN BAD GUYS on June 23
Jennifer Phang’s ADVANTAGEOUS debuts on Netflix on Jun. 23; Screens at Cinema Village in NY and Roxie Theatre in SF, Jun 26- July 2
Wong Fu Productions’ EVERYTHING BEFORE US Available Exclusively on Vimeo On Demand
FILM LAB PRESENTS “Focus on the Philippines” featuring John Day’s Matud Nila 
Behind the Scenes of the Asian American Film Lab’s 72 Hour Shootout with Lia Chang, Garth Kravits, Evan Daves and Alicia Manns in HIDE AND SEEK
Photos: The 11th Annual 72 Hour Shootout Filmmaking Launch Party at The Korea Society; TWO FACES is this year’s theme 
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
Me and Earl and the Dying Girl, Advantageous, Oh Lucy!, Meru, Umrika, The Chinese Mayor, The Stanford Prison Experiment Among 2015 Sundance Film Festival Award Winners
Sundance Film Festival Premiere Photo: Jennifer Phang’s ADVANTAGEOUS Featuring Jacqueline Kim, James Urbaniak, Freya Adams, Ken Jeong, Jennifer Ehle, Samantha Kim, Jeanne Sakata, Jennifer Ikeda and Matthew Kim, Screens at 2015 Sundance Film Festival through Jan. 31
Jennifer Phang’s ADVANTAGEOUS Featuring Jacqueline Kim, James Urbaniak, Freya Adams, Ken Jeong, Jennifer Ehle, Samantha Kim, Jeanne Sakata, Jennifer Ikeda and Matthew Kim, Screens at 2015 Sundance Film Festival, January 26-31
2015 Sundance Film Festival Lineup
Jan. 25: 11th Annual Asian American Pacific Filmmakers Experience in Park City at Club 301 – The Funn Networks Space
Click here for other film articles.

Other articles by Lia Chang
Photos: Garth Kravits, Michael Keyloun, Klea Blackhurst, Eloise Kropp, Maxine Linehan, and Aaron Ramey in GROUNDED FOR LIFE at The York
Stella Abrera and Misty Copeland Promoted to Principal Dancer with American Ballet Theatre; Copeland is 1st African American Female Principal Dancer in Company’s 75-Year History
WORLD PREMIERE of THE TOP TEN 72 Hour Shootout films of 2015 at Village Cinema East on July 25
China: Through the Looking Glass Exhibition Extended through September 7 at Metropolitan Museum
Photos & Video: Tony Award winner Chuck Cooper, Josh Young, Erin Mackey, Harriett D. Foy, Laiona Michelle and Tom Hewitt in AMAZING GRACE
Ebony Jo-Ann Celebrates PLEASE SAVE YOUR LOVE FOR ME CD Release, with a concert at Ashford & Simpson’s Sugar Bar on July 15
Two-Time Tony nominee André De Shields, Tony Winner Lillias White, ORANGE IS THE NEW BLACK’s Lori Tan Chinn, Stephanie Powers, Georgia Engel & More Will Lead Broadway-Bound Musical GOTTA DANCE in Chicago
Behind the Scenes of the Asian American Film Lab’s 72 Hour Shootout with Lia Chang, Garth Kravits, Evan Daves and Alicia Manns in HIDE AND SEEK
Photos: The 11th Annual 72 Hour Shootout Filmmaking Launch Party at The Korea Society; TWO FACES is this year’s theme 
The Kilroys 2015’s ‘The List’ includes plays by Eugenie Chan, Sam Chanse, Hansol Jung, Nambi E. Kelley, Rehana Lew Mirza, Leah Nanako Winkler, Lynn Nottage, Jiehae Park, Lisa Ramirez, Tanya Saracho, Jen Silverman, Susan Soon He Stanton, Lauren Yee and More among the 53 most recommended works
Photos: Quick Silver Theater Conversation: “Why are Women MIA in STEM?” 
Sanjit De Silva, Mel Duane Gionson, Teresa Avia Lim, James Saito, Jon Norman Schneider, David Shih, Alok Tewari, and Henry Yuk in NAATCO’s AWAKE AND SING! at The Public Theater, July 6- August 1 
The Old Globe Presents World Premiere of Christopher Gattelli Helmed IN YOUR ARMS Featuring Vignettes written by David Henry Hwang, Rajiv Joseph, Douglas Carter Beane, Nilo Cruz, Christopher Durang, Carrie Fisher, Terrence McNally, Marsha Norman, Lynn Nottage, and Alfred Uhry, September 16 – October 25 
Jose Llana and Hoon Lee to play King of Siam in Tony Award-winning production of Rodgers & Hammerstein’s THE KING AND I
The King and I wins 4 Tony Awards including Best Revival of a Musical, Kelli O’Hara (Best Leading Actress in a Musical), Ruthie Ann Miles (Best Featured Actress in a Musical) and Catherine Zuber (Best Costume Design)
The King and I’s Ruthie Ann Miles Wins #TonyAwards for Best Featured Actress in a Musical
Photos: 2015 Tony Award Winners and Performances
Tony Award winning playwright David Henry Hwang’s Commencement Speech at SUNY Purchase
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
Coming to America through The Angel Island Immigration Station
Michael K. Lee, Christopheren Nomura, Greg Watanabe and More Join George Takei, Lea Salonga and Telly Leung in Broadway’s ALLEGIANCE; Full Cast Announced!
Photos: Edie Falco, Bryce Pinkham, Stephanie McKay, Lena Hall, Nick Blaemire, Jacob Ming-Trent, Matthew Saldívar at The 52nd Street Project’s Gala FANCY THAT
Stephen Adly Guirgis’ Between Riverside and Crazy Garners 2015 Pulitzer Prize for Drama 
ABC Renews “Fresh Off the Boat” and Picks up Ken Jeong’s “Dr. Ken”
An Intimate Evening with Author Amy Tan at the New-York Historical Society 
World Premiere Musical HAMILTON Transfers to Broadway; Previews begin July 13
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

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s