Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival, Executive Director Francis Cullado

** Spotlight on the Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival

Visual Communications, the nation’s premier Asian Pacific American media arts center, announced its outstanding program of films and events for the upcoming 35th edition of the Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival (LAAPFF) running MAY 2 – MAY 10, 2018. The all encompassing annual film celebration is presented across Los Angeles in West Hollywood, Downtown LA, Little Tokyo, Koreatown, and Hollywood. Visual Communications proudly celebrates the Film Festival’s 34 years as Southern California’s largest and most prestigious film festival of its kind.  LAAPFF launches the celebration of Asian Pacific Heritage Month through this year’s slate of over 100 films from both Asian Pacific American and Asian international artists. For over three decades, the Festival has presented nearly 5,000 films by Asian Pacific American and Asian International talent. This year’s festival  will feature over 130 short films during the nine day fest from May 2 – May 10. These cinema gems from around the globe featuring stories about love, family, heartbreak, friendships, and self acceptance are all part of the exciting line up. The Festival opens May 2nd with the World Premiere of YELLOW ROSE directed by Diane Paragas and starring Broadway legend Lea Salonga and emerging star Eva Noblezada. Two acclaimed festival favorites will screen as the Centerpiece Films at the Festival; GO BACK TO CHINA directed by Emily Ting and MS. PURPLE directed by Justin Chon. The closing night film is the world premiere of EMPTY BY DESIGN directed by Andrea A. Walter premiering on Friday, May 10.  LAAPFF Executive Director Francis Cullado of Visual Communications stops by to talk about the ever expanding interest in Asian filmmakers and the trailblazing artistry being done by them.

 

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 For news and updates go to: festival.vcmedia.org/2019

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Yellow Rose, Director Diane Paragas

** 2019 Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival

Anchored by a riveting performance Yellow Rose tells the story of Rose, (Eva Noblezada) an undocumented 17-year old Filipina, dreams of one day leaving her small Texas town to pursue her country music dreams. Her world is shattered when her mom, Priscilla, (Princess Punzalan) suddenly gets picked up by Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Rose, facing this new realty, is forced to flee the scene, leaving behind the only life she knows, and embarks on a journey of self-discovery as she searches for a new home in the honky tonk world of Austin, Texas. Director Diane Paragas stops by to talk about heartwarming and insightful film, working with Dale Watson and the film’s World Premiere at the Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival.

For news and updates go to: yellowrosefilm.com

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Eating Up Easter, Director Sergio Mata’u Rapu

** 2019 Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival

EATING UP EASTER, directed by native Rapanui filmmaker Sergio Mata’u Rapu, explores the dilemma his people are facing. Crafted as a story passed down to his newborn son, Sergio intertwines the authentic history of the island with the stories of four islanders. In their own voices, these Rapanui reveal the reality of modern life and the actions they are taking to preserve their culture and environment amidst rapid development. A local ecologist leads recycling efforts to tackle the mounting trash arriving with tourists and the waves of plastic washing up on shore. Two musicians struggle to build a free music school they hope will preserve cultural practices and reunite their fractured community. Sergio’s father, formerly the island’s first native Governor, attempts to balance traditions against the advantages of development while building a mini-mall in the island’s only town. EATING UP EASTER reveals and suggests ways forward in tackling the universal complexities of balancing growth and sustainability faced by local communities worldwide. Producer / Director Sergio Mata’u Rapu joins us for a conversation on the impacts of globalization and tourism are having on his beloved community and how the challenges facing them are the same challenges we all face.

 

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About the filmmaker: Sergio Mata’u Rapu

Native Rapanui Producer/Director Sergio Mata’u Rapu is the only Easter Islander working in production in an English speaking country. He has spent the last 15 years shooting, and producing documentaries that have aired on History Channel, Travel Channel, National Geographic, and NOVA. Through his work, Sergio aims to show the diversity of life through thought-provoking media to inspire resolutions to social, economic, and environmental conflicts.

For news and updates go to: Eatingupeaster.com/the-film

Help the peoples of Rapa Nui by contributing to the Easter Island Foundation

Blowin’ Up, Director Stephanie Wang Breal

In 2004, the United States’ first problem-solving court around prostitution was created in Queens County, New York. The court, presided over by the Honorable Toko Serita, attempts to redress the way women and young girls arrested for prostitution are shuffled through the criminal justice system. With unparalleled access to the workings of the court, BLOWIN’ UP captures what it feels like to go through these criminal proceedings as a female defendant. The overwhelming majority of women arrested are undocumented Asian immigrants, black, Latina and transgender youth. We hear directly from these women, in their own words, and we begin to understand the complex scenarios that bring them into the courtroom. As BLOWIN’ UP progresses, and a new administration takes over in the White House in 2016, the courtroom’s fragile ecosystem is tested and the fates of those who pass through become less certain. Director Stephanie Wang-Breal is an award-winning filmmaker and commercial director. BLOWIN’ UP is her third feature length film. Her first film, Wo Ai Ni Mommy (I Love You, Mommy), was nominated for an Emmy®, and was the recipient of three Grand Jury Best Documentary Awards at the AFI/ Discovery Silverdocs Film Festival, the Asian American International Film Festival and the San Francisco International Asian American Film Festival, as well as a 2011 CINE special Jury Award. The film had its national television broadcast in 2010 on the award-winning PBS series POV. Director Stephanie Wang Breal stops by for a conversation on the vicious cycle of poverty, few job prospects, lack educational resources and criminalization of sex work.

 

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For news and updates go to: blowinupfilm.com

For more on the films of Stephanie Wang Breal.com

Learn more about the organization in the film and how you can get involved

Queens Human Trafficking Intervention Court 

The Legal Aid Society 

Gems (Girls Education & Mentoring Services)

Sanctuary For Families 

Garden Of Hope

Sex Workers Project

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“A true justice league of wonder women in action… one of the most hopeful real-world visions of heroic women ever to fill the screen.”  – Sheri Linden, THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER

“Stephanie Wang-Breal’s fascinating film is an immersive portrait of a courtroom in Queens with a refreshingly nuanced take on a timely issue… Wang-Breal approaches the vastly misunderstood topic of sex work from a non-judgmental feminist perspective.” – Jude Dry, INDIEWIRE

“A powerful film about an innovative court in Queens where judgments are made with real world considerations beyond the letter of the law… The result is brilliant in every way.” – Stephen Saito, THE MOVEABLE FEST

“Candid in its politics and slow and meticulous in its exploration of a workplace and its cast of characters…these individual testimonies show how difficult it is to put someone into a convenient box, effectively blowing up the neat compartments we build around criminals and victims.” – Amy Zimmerman, THE DAILY BEAST

The Wind, Director Emma Tammi

THE WIND tells the tale of an unseen evil haunts the homestead in this chilling, folkloric tale of madness, paranoia, and otherworldly terror. Lizzy (Caitlin Gerard) is a tough, resourceful frontierswoman settling a remote stretch of land on the 19th-century American frontier. Isolated from civilization in a desolate wilderness where the wind never stops howling, she begins to sense a sinister presence that seems to be borne of the land itself, an overwhelming dread that her husband (Ashley Zukerman) dismisses as superstition. When a newlywed couple arrives on a nearby homestead, their presence amplifies Lizzy’s fears, setting into motion a shocking chain of events. THW WIND masterfully blends haunting visuals with pulse-pounding sound design, while director Emma Tammi evokes a godforsaken world in which the forces of nature come alive with quivering menace. Director Emma Tammi stops by for a conversation on “Penny Sermons” and the challenges of isolated, desert shoots and framing a non-traditional western from a woman’s perspective

 

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For news and updates go to: ifcfilms.com/the-wind

“This pioneer chiller shines a gender-specific spotlight on the ways isolation and hardship can ravage a woman’s mind.” – Jeannette Catsoulis, New York Times

“”The Wind” doesn’t seek to make infallible heroes of its women, but to understand and empathize with even their most unforgivable acts. And it’s a hugely promising debut in terms of Tammi’s steady, assured directorial craft.” – Jessica Tiang, Variety

“The Wind is a confident, thoughtful, yet creeping and powerful film, with well-earned jump scares and demons both real and possibly imaginary, enough to make you afraid of the dark and the emptiness of even the most beautiful places.” – Shelagh Rowan-Legg, ScreenAnarchy

“The Wind is a western, but it’s not about a man. It’s also a folkloric, supernatural horror but it’s not exactly about monsters, either. The Wind is a film about a woman, and the domestic space she tends and defends.” – Tara JudahDesist Film

People’s Republic of Desire, Director Hao Wu

In an increasingly digital universe where live streamers earn as much as $200,000 a month, can virtual relationships replace real-life human connection? PEOPLE’S REPUBLIC OF DESIRE tells the stories of two such online stars who have risen from isolation to fame and fortune on NASDAQ-listed YY, China’s largest live streaming platform. Live-streaming  showrooms have become virtual gathering places for hundreds of millions – from the super rich who lavish these online stars with digital gifts, to poor migrant workers who exhaust meager savings idolizing them. All of these characters are brought together in a series of bizarre online talent competitions, where they discover that happiness in their virtual world may be as elusive as in the real one. Director Hao Wu talks with us about his mind-boggling, high-energy documentary that chronicles a technical /social revolution taking place in the world’s most populous country.

 

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For news and updates go to: desire.film

SOCIAL MEDIA

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WINNER – Grand Jury Award for Best Documentary Feature at SXSW

WINNER – Grand Jury Award for International Doc at Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival

WINNER – Best Cinematography at CAAMFest

WINNER – Best International Director at Doc Edge Festival

96% on Rotten Tomatoes

“Tragic and terrifying in equal measure, Hao Wu’s look at China’s live-streaming culture offers a dark window into our collective future.” – IndieWire

“Provocative and unsettling as it brings us on a guided tour through the digital marketplace for something resembling human contact.” – Variety

“Yes, Black Mirror is already here.” – Ars Technica

“The ability of “People’s Republic of Desire” to show these familiar desires playing out in futuristic surroundings is invariably surprising and never less than compelling.” – Kenneth Turan, Los Angeles Times

“A microcosm of the bizarre fantasy economy and complex, parasitic interdependencies of late capitalism as a whole.” – Katie Rife, AV Club

Carrie Lozano, Director IDA Enterprise Documentary Fund

The International Documentary Association (IDA) is dedicated to building and serving the needs of a thriving documentary culture. Through its programs, the IDA provides resources, creates community, and defends rights and freedoms for documentary artists, activists, and journalists. IDA is the only group advocating specifically for the documentary filmmaking community. In many ways, this makes IDA’s advocacy work the most important and relevant work we do. Documentary storytelling expands our understanding of shared human experience, fostering an informed, compassionate, and connected world. The Enterprise Documentary Fund is one of the many logistical and financial programs offered by IDA.

About the Enterprise Documentary Fund: 

In the face of an all-out assault on the press, IDA is committed to standing behind the independent storytellers and watchdogs that make up our community—in large part, through the newly created Enterprise Documentary Fund. Made possible by a generous grant from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, the fund will disburse $1 million per year for the next four years, in the form of production grants up to $100,000 and development grants up to $15,000. The fund is intended to support primarily mid-career filmmakers producing feature-length, in-depth explorations of original, contemporary stories with a journalistic foundation or that incorporate journalistic practice into the filmmaking process. The mission of the Enterprise Documentary Fund is admittedly ambitious: It seeks to provide valuable resources and support systems (not unlike those in newsrooms) for filmmakers taking on the critical stories of our time. Originally sparked by the findings in “Dangerous Documentaries,” the fund is a response to pleas from filmmakers themselves. In interviews recently conducted by Toni Bell, IDA’s Filmmaker Services Manager, filmmakers reiterated the major findings in “Dangerous Docs”: They want access to information about digital and physical security, research databases, legal and other experts, public relations strategists and mentors. Exercising our rights to free speech and freedom of the press are critical for a healthy democracy. As I write this, these rights are clearly under assault, and we owe it to ourselves and to the public to staunchly call ourselves journalists and artists—they are not mutually exclusive.”Carrie Lozano, Director of the Enterprise Documentary Fund

 

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For news and updates go to: documentary.org

For updates on funding resources go to: documentary.org/funding

Letter from Masanjia, Director Leon Lee

Written and directed by internationally acclaimed filmmaker and Peabody Award winner, Leon Lee, LETTER FROM MASANJIA is an astonishing & riveting documentary follows the true story of an Oregon woman who finds a desperate SOS letter penned by a political prisoner in her Halloween decorations and the nail-biting chain of events that it sparks when she takes the letter public, exposing appalling flagrant human rights violations – that leads to sweeping labor reform in China. The impact of what those two unlikely heroes have accomplished is even more profound in today’s rapidly boiling over political climate, not just in China but around the rest of the world. LETTER FROM MASANJIA is a devastating tale of human rights violations in current day China with corporate giants across the globe receiving prisoner labor efforts for Halloween decorations, asking no questions in a price for pennies on the dollar. This is the tale of one political prisoners desperate plea to alert the world to horrors most of society sweeps under the carpet. Director and writer Leon Lee stops by to talk about the hundreds of thousands of people currently incarcerated in labor camps, and the millions more living in fear as well as the people resisting a totalitarian regime.

 

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For news and updates goto: letterfrommasanjia.com

100% on Rotten Tomatoes

“Sun Yi’s stoicism is admirable and moving, but it’s his ex-wife Fu Ning’s tearful recollection of their separation that cements the story in your mind.” – Adam Keller, Film Threat

“‘Letter From Masanjia’ is a bracing reminder of our sometimes blindered approach to globalization and the effects of simple actions.” Kevin Crust, Los Angeles Times

“It’s an important story, made more intense by its tight focus.” – Ken Jaworowski, New York Times

“A disquieting exposé of China’s human-rights abuses… The perseverance on show should leave viewers inspired to learn more.” – Lucy Liu, Georgia Straight

Half the Picture, Director Amy Adrion

HALF THE PICTURE celebrates the groundbreaking work of female film directors and investigates the systemic discrimination that has, for decades, denied opportunities to far too many talented women in Hollywood. The film consists of interviews with high profile women directors including Ava DuVernay, Jill Soloway, Lena Dunham, Catherine Hardwicke and Miranda July, among many others, who discuss their early careers, how they transitioned to studio films or television, how they balance having a demanding directing career with family, as well as challenges and joys along the way. HALF THE PICTURE also includes interviews with experts about gender inequality in Hollywood including the ACLU’s Melissa Goodman, Sundance Institute’s Caroline Libresco, Vanity Fair’s Rebecca Keegan, USC’s Dr. Stacy Smith and San Diego State University’s Dr. Martha Lauzen, who establish the magnitude of this employment discrimination issue as women are shut out, across the board, of an industry that systemically denies their expression and point of view. HALF THE PICTURE Director / Producer Amy Adrion joins us to talk about a unique time in the film industry where systemic change seems possible and whether, unlike previous efforts to address gender inequality in Hollywood, will this time be different?

 

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For news and updates go to: halfthepicture.com

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100% on Rotten Tomatoes

“Half the Picture is a vital, comprehensive documentary on a subject that’s so fundamental to the industry it’s about, you have to wonder why dozens of movies on this scale or bigger haven’t already been made.” – Leslie Felperin

“Half The Picture is an inspiring, important documentary that should be seen by as many people as possible, particularly those who aren’t aware of the problems women face in Hollywood.” – Manon de Reeper, Film Inquiry

“Half the Picture, Amy Adrion’s no-frills documentary, offers a diligent, straightforward overview of the innumerable obstacles facing today’s female directors, both aspiring and accomplished.” – Natalia Winkelman, Film Threat

“A platform for those who want to hear about the reality of being a woman in Hollywood from dozens of women who have lived it, it’s an invaluable resource.” – Rebecca Pahle, Film Journal International

“It’s experiential revelation as advocacy filmmaking, an incisive and inviting example of the personal as political.” – Serena Donadoni, Village Voice

*The Fever and the Fret, Director Cath Gulick

Fourteen-year-old Eleanor (ADELINA AMOSCO) is tormented at school because of the large red birthmarks across her face. Eleanor’s devoted teacher Ms. Gutierrez (KATHLEEN CHANGHO) encourages her to ignore her bullies and focus on her studies. But when things get really bad, Eleanor runs away from school to work in a restaurant run by Alex (ROD RODRIQUEZ), a grown man with whom she is having a casual affair. At home, Eleanor is raised by her grandmother (SHIRLEY CUYUGAN O’BRIEN), who dotes on her granddaughter even though she does not understand her. Eleanor prefers to be alone. At night, if she gazes at the water stains on her bedroom wall, they transform into mountains, leading into a vast, desolate landscape. In this world, Eleanor is alone and free. One day the kids start to tease Eleanor, “who’s the father?” and she discovers a baby crying alone in her dreamed landscape. When another student, Carly (VANESSA CARMONA) asks Eleanor what happened to her baby, Eleanor breaks down and attacks her. Eleanor is arrested and confined until Ms. Gutierrez is able to get her released and enrolled in a new school. Eleanor wants to succeed there, but the pressure of her impending assault trial and the increasing complexity of her life in her dreamed world may push this hope out of her reach. Director Cath Gulick joins us to talk about her haunting, lyrical portrait of a young woman searching for her own place in a hostile world.

 

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For news and updates go to: thefeverandthefret.com

* For news and updates on the Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival go to: Festival.VConline.org/2018

Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival, Festival Co-Director David Magdael

Visual Communications, the nation’s premier Asian Pacific American media arts center, announced its outstanding program of films and events for the upcoming 34th edition of the Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival (LAAPFF) running MAY 3 – MAY 12, 2018. The all encompassing annual film celebration is presented across Los Angeles in West Hollywood, Downtown LA, Little Tokyo, Koreatown, and Hollywood. Visual Communications proudly celebrates the Film Festival’s 34 years as Southern California’s largest and most prestigious film festival of its kind.  LAAPFF launches the celebration of Asian Pacific Heritage Month through this year’s slate of over 100 films from both Asian Pacific American and Asian international artists.  For over three decades, the Festival has presented nearly 5,000 films by Asian Pacific American and Asian International talent. This year, 39 feature films and 79 shorts from the over 800 submissions will be showcased during the ten-day fest. The Festival opens with the Los Angeles premiere of Aneesh Chaganty’s feature debut  SEARCHING starring John Cho and Debra Messing giving audiences an early chance to see the movie that took the NEXT audience award and the Alfred P. Sloan award at the 2018 Sundance Film Festival. Other programs include  CENTERPIECE FILMS will feature two outstanding world premieres with IN THE LIFE OF MUSIC and FICTION & OTHER REALITIES. Centerpiece Films will be presented on Saturday, May 5th at the Aratani Theatre at the Japanese American Community and Cultural Center (JACCC) in Little Tokyo – Downtown Los Angeles.  The CLOSING NIGHT FILM will be the Los Angeles premiere of the acclaimed 2018 Sundance World Documentary Special Jury Award winner MATANGI/ MAYA/ M.I.A., directed by Stephen Loveridge.  Inspired by her roots, M.I.A. created a mashup, cut-and-paste identity that pulled from every corner of her journey; a sonic sketchbook that blended Tamil politics, art school punk, hip-hop beats and the voice of multicultural youth. Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival Co-Director David Magdael will join us to talk about this years’s exciting festival line up.

 

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For news and updates on the Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival go to: Festival.VConline.org/2018