The Annual Gather-up of Los Angeles Asians in Entertainment is upon us.
I mean, the Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival.
Starting tomorrow, from April 27 to May 4, the LAAPFF will showcase a week of films from the opening of Better Luck Tomorrow for its 15th anniversary, the centerpiece Gook starring Justin Chon, the closing film Columbus with John Cho as the romantic lead, and a whole slew of shorts and features in between.
To be exact, there are 45 features and 139 shorts to choose from. Here are the few select ones that have caught my attention as Josephine Chang and I will cover the festival:
- The LAAPFF opening will have Justin Lin present his 2002 Sundance cut of his Better Luck Tomorrow, with the director and many of its cast members present. To this day, BLT is considered a classic in the realm of Asian American cinema so if you want to see where Lin got his start (as well as the argued origin of Fast & Furious’ Han), be sure to check this out.
- Gook is this year’s festival’s centerpiece and marks the solo directorial debut from actor Justin Chon who also wrote, produced, and starred in it. Taking place on the day of the Rodney King verdict and the 1992 Los Angeles riots, Gook was this year’s Sundance Audience Award winner and a great artistic mark for Chon who took upon this passion project with such fervor.
- Columbus will close out the festival and is the feature directorial debut of the single-named Kogonada. It stars John Cho in the romantic lead role alongside Haley Lu Richardson, Parker Posey, and Rory Culkin and if you’re a huge fan of the hashtag movement #StarringJohnCho, this film will definitely whet your appetite for all things John Cho.
- Our own group is the community partner for Who is Arthur Chu?, a documentary featuring the polarizing 2014 11-time JEOPARDY! champion and self-proclaimed nerd who has used his platform to voice various social injustices ranging from toxic masculinity, Black Lives Matter protests to #GamerGate. Shaun Lau (aka @NoTotally on twitter) will be officially speaking on behalf of the NOC at the screening.
- I love watching all things animated in film festivals so it goes without saying that attention needs to be given for the Wildest Imagination shorts program and Window Horses (which includes stellar voice cast including Sandra Oh, Ellen Page, and Shohreh Aghdashloo).
- A glorious selfish promotion right here but I’m plugging in the two shorts I will be in, the first being the co-lead in Lost Dogs starring Chris Lee and supporting in I Won’t Miss You starring Joy Regullano and Kelly Sry. They will be part of the I Got You Fam & Rebel Hearts shorts program respectively.
We’ll start with that for now and if there are any new films and short film programs that catch my attention, I will be sure to review them here as we will also be utilizing The Nerds Of Color Twitter handle to talk about all things LAAPFF.
It must also be noted that the festival’s career achievement award for this year will be given to John Cho, whose films will be quite present throughout the festival as they will be screening three films starring him, including Better Luck Tomorrow, a 20th anniversary showing of Yellow, and the closer Columbus. So if you’re a lover of John Cho, you would do yourself a solid by checking out all three screenings.
The 2017 Los Angeles Asian Film Festival will once again be playing in LA from April 27th to May 4th with reruns playing in the OC area from May 5th to 11th. The eight day festival will take place at various SoCal venues, including sites in Hollywood, the downtown arts district, Koreatown, Little Tokyo, and Westwood. The day after the fest closer, May 5, Buena Park will host encore-presentation screenings of many of the films.