Paolo Montalban on Memories of ‘Cinderella’ and the Making of a Filipino American Musical

The 1997 version of Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Cinderella has been available to stream on Disney+ for two weeks already, and for Paolo Montalban, he is thrilled. The actor, who played Prince Christopher in the film, found out about its upcoming release on the streaming platform from his agent, about a week before it was officially announced to the public.

Continue reading “Paolo Montalban on Memories of ‘Cinderella’ and the Making of a Filipino American Musical”

A Conversation with Toronto Black Film Festival Creator Fabienne Colas

On January 19, the ninth annual Toronto Black Film Festival (TBFF), presented by TD Bank in collaboration with Global News, announced the official online program and events lineup running February 10-21, 2021. Created by the Fabienne Colas Foundation, TBFF returned for an impactful ninth edition, which amplifies more black voices through a record number of 154 films from 25 countries and various special events. 

Continue reading “A Conversation with Toronto Black Film Festival Creator Fabienne Colas”

NOC Review: ‘They Call Me Babu’ Visualizes an Untold Story

The archival documentary filmmaking style is able to take us to times long past that can’t necessarily be recreated with the same sensitivity and grace through mere recreation — as opposed to just seeing footage of the actual subject matter in question. Unlike casting an actor to portray someone else’s experience or reinterpreting events through animation, using archival footage helps to see the real faces that once lived in spaces that no longer exist, to actual haunting, horrifying scenes of war in places where peace now exists. This synthesizes both the preservation of both art and history, because beyond just pinning names to a person on a list, archival footage can help better visualize untold stories and those who lived through them. 

They Call Me Babu is an documentary that composites archival footage to tell the story of Alima, a nanny who worked for a Dutch family in the former Dutch East Indies — Indonesia — during the 1940s. It originally premiered at the International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam (IDFA) to audiences within the Netherlands. It was also slated to debut and tour in other regions in 2020, if not for the disruption of many events due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Continue reading “NOC Review: ‘They Call Me Babu’ Visualizes an Untold Story”

NOC Sundance Review: ‘Judas and the Black Messiah’

While the details of Judas Iscariot’s betrayal of Jesus Christ are debated, Judas goes down in history as one of the most infamous traitors — all over 30 pieces of silver. Maybe Judas didn’t like the fact that the people hailed Christ as a “Messiah” — a title the FBI used as code names for Black radical liberators in the 1960s to the late 1970s. One such “Messiah” is the young Black Panther activist and Chicago native Fred Hampton, mercilessly killed thanks to Black a panther Party (BPP) infiltrator and informant William O’Neal, FBI Agent Roy Mitchell, and J. Edgar Hoover.

Directed Shaka King, Judas and the Black Messiah tells the story of Fred Hampton’s betrayal in great detail. As an activist, Hampton aimed to unite people from all walks of life against systemic oppression. Still, the counter intelligence program (COINTELPRO) FBI death squad stopped all. Can’t have people of color and poor whites thinking they have any power.

Continue reading “NOC Sundance Review: ‘Judas and the Black Messiah’”

‘Waikiki’ Doesn’t Pull Any Punches about the Realities of Tourist Hot Spot

The Hawai’i International Film Festival is capping off its 40th rendition with Christopher Kahunahana’s feature film debut, Waikiki. The story follows a woman, Kea (Danielle Zalopany), as she works multiple jobs in order to break away from her abusive relationship and get herself a place to call home. When she accidentally hits a homeless man, Wo (Peter Shinkoda), with the van she’s living out of and later finds her van missing altogether, the two sporadically travel and connect with each other, all the while Kea confronts the traumas of her past.

Continue reading “‘Waikiki’ Doesn’t Pull Any Punches about the Realities of Tourist Hot Spot”

‘Water Like Fire’ Explores Life and Loss in Contradictory, Unexpected Ways

Water Like Fire is another film part of the lineup for the 40th Hawai’i International Film Festival. Directed by Mitchel Viernes, Chanel (Taiana Tully) navigates her days working at a local restaurant, while surfing in her spare time. With both her parents gone, her only remaining family member is Caleb (Randall Galius); her brother who’s fighting a drug addiction. No matter how strained their relationship is, nothing keeps Chanel from being by Caleb’s side, after he winds up in the hospital from a hit-and-run. Continue reading “‘Water Like Fire’ Explores Life and Loss in Contradictory, Unexpected Ways”

‘Story Game’ Navigates Celebration of Storytelling Through Odd Plot Choices

The Hawai’i International Film Festival is marking their 40th year with a 25-day virtual program. Of the wide variety of stories coming from Hawaii and beyond, Jason K. Lau’s Story Game stands out as a film about just that: storytelling.

College friends James (Alberto Rosende), Chika (Lyrica Okano), and Nicole (Greer Grammer) go camping in Hawaii when they decide to challenge each other to telling the best story possible. With the guide of an app called Story Game, each friend must telling a supernatural story set in Japan, featuring a character with green eyes. Each friend goes at it as they attempt to one up one another, as their narratives come to life.

Continue reading “‘Story Game’ Navigates Celebration of Storytelling Through Odd Plot Choices”

Arabian Sights

The Middle Geeks Episode 18: DC’s Arabian Sights Festival and DC’s MENA Heroes

This month we’re discussing films we watched as part of Washington DC’s Arabian Sights Film festival. With films from Palestine, Lebanon, Tunisia, and more, this festival conveys the array of work being done by MENA filmmakers and we are so … Continue reading The Middle Geeks Episode 18: DC’s Arabian Sights Festival and DC’s MENA Heroes

Fantasia Film Fest 2020 Review: ‘The Columnist’

I’ve had my many run-ins with cyberbullying. The thought has, and will probably continue to cross my mind, that if I ever met some of these bullies I’m going to give them a piece of my mind. Avo Van Aart’s new film The Columnist takes that sentiment to a whole different level. Actress Katja Herbers stars as an author, former columnist, and homicidal maniac that uses murder to cure writer’s block. This absurdist black comedy goes deep into the psyche of a woman who is tired — tired of patriarchy and tired of cyberbullying.

Continue reading “Fantasia Film Fest 2020 Review: ‘The Columnist’”

A Howlin’ Virtual Time at the 2020 HorrorHound Festival

We’re back with another horror film festival that’s coming to a monitor near you (which shouldn’t be pretty far as we continue the #PandemicLife), this time with the folks at HorrorHound, one of the most popular horror/genre conventions & film festival dual combos in the United States! And yes, once again, our Make A Wish short film starring Josephine Chang and yours truly will be playing at this festival. But first, an official press release statement from HorrorHound itself so you can know the full extent of how in-depth this event will go as it is not a typical film festival:

Continue reading “A Howlin’ Virtual Time at the 2020 HorrorHound Festival”

Fantasia Film Fest 2020 Review: ‘Come True’

I participated in a sleep study six years ago. It was a claustrophobic experience. All sorts of tubes and wires hooked onto my body to determine the source of my night terrors.  Well, turns out the problem was poor sleep due to anemia (of which I had no idea night terrors were a symptom). While finding the solution to my problem was simple (it came in the form taking iron pills), the lead character in Anthony Scott Burns’ new sci-fi horror film Come True, doesn’t have it so easy.  

Continue reading “Fantasia Film Fest 2020 Review: ‘Come True’”

Fantasia Fest 2020 Film Review: ‘Undergods’

Capitalism kills in the new Chino Moya apocalyptic film Undergods. In Moya’s universe, men and women are equally terrible because capitalism itself breeds greed, dishonesty, and hierarchy. It’s a war of the haves and the have-nots, and those at the bottom of the food chain will have their retribution. In 2020, class warfare rules the day and strict examinations of our society are needed, but from this film you’ll gain no insight. It can’t be called an anthology because that would require cohesion. This is all about spectatorship. The viewer must watch things happen to people with no real plot line to direct them to a conclusion. 

Continue reading “Fantasia Fest 2020 Film Review: ‘Undergods’”

A Bloody Virtual Good Time at the 2020 Horrible Imaginings Film Festival

With the pandemic still very much interwoven into our lives, so has it affected film festivals around the world as they had to adapt quickly and either convert their screenings to drive-in theaters or go completely virtual. And for folks like myself and my fellow NOC writing & real life partner, Josephine Chang, our timing couldn’t be any worse as our short film Make A Wish started its festival circuit run right when the U.S. shutdowns occurred in March (or at least it did for us Californian folks at that time).

But we’ve been very fortunate to be accepted by so many wonderful genre/horror film festivals that took a chance with our fun little project. And along the way, one in particular stood out and it is here that I want to bring a special spotlight to a horror film festival that’s coming up virtually on September 1 and running till September 7th (available only for the West Coast and South West United States areas as it is geolocked). That festival is the Horrible Imaginings Film Festival which is located in Santa Ana, California.

Continue reading “A Bloody Virtual Good Time at the 2020 Horrible Imaginings Film Festival”

Southern Fried Asian: ‘Far East Deep South’

On June 5, the Oxford Film Festival will host the virtual world premiere of the documentary feature, Far East Deep South, a film about a Chinese American family discovering its unexpected history in Mississippi. Before its premiere, the filmmakers, Larissa Lam and Baldwin Chiu, sit down for this month’s episode of Southern Fried Asian.

Continue reading “Southern Fried Asian: ‘Far East Deep South’”

NOC Review: Wait ‘Til They Get a Load of This ‘Joker’

Hey NOCs! My camera is on the fritz so until I get things fixed, I’ll be going back to written reviews for a bit, starting with our review of Joker, which debuts today at the 76th Venice International Film Festival. Minor spoilers ahead!

Continue reading “NOC Review: Wait ‘Til They Get a Load of This ‘Joker’”

LAAPFF Review: Charming ‘Blinded by the Light!’ is a True Film for Every POC

The 35th Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival has come and gone, and among one of the gems The Nerds of Color had the privilege of watching was  Gurinder Chadha’s (Bend it Like Beckham) latest film, Blinded by the Light. The film is inspired by British journalist, Sarfraz Manzoor’s real-life story of growing up as part of a conservative Pakistani family in a racist 1980s England. It chronicles how Manzoor, called “Javed” in the film rose above the challenges of growing up during that era through his discovery of Bruce Springsteen’s music.

Continue reading “LAAPFF Review: Charming ‘Blinded by the Light!’ is a True Film for Every POC”

Groovy Times at the 2018 Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival

May is now upon us and for those of us in Los Angeles, that means the Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival is here!

Starting tomorrow, from May 3rd to May 12th, a whole community of Asian American artists and creatives in the entertainment industry will gather together and showcase their work throughout multiple venues from the Director’s Guild of America to the Aratani Theatre. Now in its 34th year, this festival sports a rather groovy intro. Check it out in the video below:

Continue reading “Groovy Times at the 2018 Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival”

Our Picks For The 2017 Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival

 

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:

Continue reading “Our Picks For The 2017 Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival”