With the coming of May is the celebration of Asian Pacific American Heritage Month and HBO is using that opportunity to showcase their Asian Pacific American Visionaries, a collection of three short films by emerging APA directors on May 1 across various HBO platforms. I had the pleasure of watching them during the Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival and I’m excited that they will available for the public to see starting today on HBO NOW, HBO GO, HBO On Demand, and HBO Zone throughout the month of May.
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:
Like many others in this nation, I am still processing the results of election night and coming to acceptance [denial] that we will have Donald Trump as our Commander in Chief starting January 2017.
But what does this mean for the Hollywood entertainment industry, which is known to be overwhelmingly liberal? It is too early to exactly tell what the ramifications are but according to this Hollywood Reporter article, we may have rather troubling times ahead.
The trailer for The Great Wall, starring Matt Damon and directed by Zhang Yimou, dropped yesterday and my first reaction to seeing it:
What. The. Frack?
Why is a white dude in a film about the construction of the Great Wall? And there’s dragons? One of them is voiced by Willem Dafoe? HUH??
Last week was a pretty discouraging one for the APA community — and for all POC folks — with Scarlett Johansson as Motoko Kusanagi, Tilda Swinton as a bald Tibetan monk, and Nat Wolff as Light Yagami. There has been massive outrage on many fronts and thankfully, the concern has been taken seriously by major publications such as the Hollywood Reporter. Over here at NOC, it’s been covered numerous times, so it’s safe to say that the anger and frustration is still very much present for many of us.
Let’s, for the time being, look at a happier place; to a story where a relatively unknown Asian American actress by the name of Kelly Marie Tran has been cast to play the new female lead for Star Wars Episode VIII. Not much is known about the role but being an actor in Los Angeles, it helped knowing a few folks who went in when auditions took place last September. The role was open to ALL ETHNICITIES and was surely for the new female lead in the upcoming Star Wars chapter. Whoever would get the role had to have a chemistry test with John Boyega (whether it’s a love interest for Finn or someone who is best friends with him is unknown) and once they nailed that, the rest would be history.
“Give Me A Chance and I’ll Change The World” — Beau Sia
One of my favorite spoken word poems of all time belongs to Beau Sia. In his piece “Give Me A Chance” he talks about the extreme difficulties of being an Asian performer in a country where far too often he is seen as an exotic commodity or is just plain invisible. Although the poem came out over 10 years ago, it is just as relevant today as it was back then, as his poem has been on my mind the past few days, what with the recent reveals of Tilda Swinton playing a Tibetan bald monk in Doctor Strange and now Scarlett Johansson as Motoko Kusanagi in Ghost in the Shell. And in case people forgot, The U.S. adaptation of Death Note is now coming to Netflix with Nat Wolff playing Light Yagami. Yes, just like the other anime adaptation, they didn’t bother to change his last name (I can already hear the arguments that white people can have Japanese surnames too, how dare you be so narrow-minded Edward).
I remembered watching that scene from that film and actually yelling out loud how incredibly stupid and unnecessarily melodramatic that was.
That’s exactly how I felt after watching Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice.
On last night’s episode of the ABC comedy show black-ish, the sitcom took a big chance and dedicated an entire episode on police brutality, racism, and the effectiveness of the American justice system. Although I only catch an episode of this show every now and then, I was made very well aware of this particular episode for some time because of its decision to center this episode on such heavy topics. And boy, it did not disappoint.
Now that the film has been released for over a week — with considerable box office success, trade publications like Deadline and Variety, among others have released articles about how the Asian American media watchdog group, MANAA, has followed Keith’s lead and declared the film to be guilty of whitewashing: