With Dada Chen at NYAFF 2013

With Dada Chen at NYAFF 2013
With Dada Chen at NYAFF 2013

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

ACF 170: 15th Annual Filipino American Cinefest this weekend in San Francisco


This festival will take place this weekend in San Francisco. Here's the info I've got on it. Check it out if you're in the area.

Filipino American artists will celebrate their own cinema with the premiere of at least nine new works at the 15th Annual Filipino American Cinema Festival on Friday, October 31 ( 1-5 pm) and Saturday, November 1, 2008 (3-6 pm) at the San Francisco Main Library, Koret Auditorium. (100 Larkin Street @ Grove Street, Civic Center, San Francisco)

All screenings are free to the public. (Please see schedule below.)

The yearly festival is organized by FACINE or filipino arts & cinema, international, a not-for-profit media arts organization based in San Francisco that aims to promote and develop Filipino American as well as Philippine national cinema.

Two full-length documentaries, five short films and two web videos form the centerpiece of this year’s festival.

Cielito Torrijos’s Pag-asa sa Paglaya/Hope after freedom, is a compelling documentary on a timely subject, the social rehabilitation of Filipino ex-offenders and the divisive issue of death penalty abolition in the Philippines.

Jonald J. Reyes’s That Asian Thing inquires into the question of the relative invisibility of Asian America in mainstream American culture by way of interviews with prominent artists in Chicago.

The festival is open to all media artists of Filipino ancestry as well as non-Filipino filmmakers with works whose subject is Filipino or Filipino American..

Two action-adventure videos by LA-based filmmaker Ron Santiano which take a bow to popular adventure series like Heroes, while featuring Filipino American actors, provide interesting mix to this year’s festival: EVE: Beauty & The Blade and Wonder Woman.

Five short films complete the programme in a variety of genre and subject: the hilarious instructional video, Salo-Salo (how to cook dinuguan/meat cooked wirh pork blood); Yasmine Gomez’s music video You Will Remember, featuring Lumaya; and the short features, Jeannie Barroga’s Be His and Robert Casipe’s Afterplay, both inquire into the complexity of women’s relationships with men..

Noel Shaw’s Kundiman completes the program in a highly charged, provocative look at the impact of politics on an individual’s life.

A panel discussion will follow the screenings on Saturday, November 1 with guest filmmakers, Ron Santiano, Yasmine Gomez, Noel Shaw, Robert Casipe and Jeannie Barroga, to be moderated by FACINE Director, Mauro Feria Tumbocon, Jr.

The festival is co-presented with the Filipino American Center of the San Francisco Main Library. For information, please contact, Mauro Tumbocon, Director, FACINE at (415) 756-7331 or email: mftworks@hotmail.com.

Full festival schedule:

Friday, October 31, 2008

1:00 – 2:11 Pag-asa sa Paglaya/Hope after freedom (New Breed Productions,
71 min, 2008) Produced by Cielito Torrijos

2:11 – 2:31 Short Films Special: Blast from the Past
HoME (5 min, 2002) Directed and written by Matthew Abaya
she (7 min, 2001) Directed by Mark Bella and written by Bella
and Christopher Castillo
Silencio (9 min, 1995) Directed, produced and written by Michael


2:45 – 4:10 That Asian Thing (Groovy Ghost Films, Inc., 84 min, 2008)
Directed, produced and written by Jonald J. Reyes

4:10 – 4:50 Wonder Woman: Balance of Power (Redcape Cinema, 40 min,
2006) Directed, produced and written by Ron Santiano

Saturday, November 1, 2008

3:00 – 4:20 Short Films Collection NOW
Salo-Salo (Poolboy Films, 5 min, 2008) Directed by Travis Kraft and Produced by Madley
Be His (JNJ Productions, 7 min, 2008) Directed, produced and
written by Jeannie Barroga
Eve: Beauty and the Blade, Episode 1 (Redcape Cinema, 30
min, 2008) Directed, produced and written by Ron Santiano
Afterplay (Tiny Oak Pictures/Crosshairs Entertainment, 12 min,
2008) Directed and written by Robert Casipe
Lumaya: You Will Remember (Subject to Change Productions,
4 min, 2008) Directed, produced and co-written by Yasmine
Kundiman (Pinoy Noir Films, 20 min, 2008) Directed, produced
and written by Noel Shaw

4:30 – 5:45 Panel Discussion: Filipino American film: what’s up, fifteen years after?
Guest filmmakers: Ron Santiano, Yasmine Gomez, Noel Shaw,
Robert Casipe and Jeannie Barroga
Moderated by Mauro Feria Tumbocon, Jr., director, FACINE

Sunday, October 26, 2008

ACF 169: "Crossing the Line" doc @ The Korea Society & other venues

On Tuesday, October 28th, The Korea Society will be screening what looks to be a fascinating documentary about James Joseph Dresnok, a U.S. serviceman who deserted to North Korea during the Korean War and who still lives there today. Subsequent creenings will be taking place at other venues over the following days.Here's the info I received about it:

Crossing the Line
Screening and Discussion
Nicholas Bonner, Producer
Tuesday, October 28, 2008
6:00 PM–6:30 PM • Registration and Reception

6:30 PM–8:30 PM • Screening and Q&A

The Korea Society
950 Third Avenue, Eighth Floor
(Building entrance on SW corner of Third Ave and 57th St)
New York, NY

In the 1960s, four U.S. soldiers serving in the Korean Demilitarized Zone crossed the most heavily fortified border on earth and defected to Communist North Korea. Trapped in the most secretive country on earth, their life was hidden from the outside world for 40 years. Not even the U.S. government knew their fate. James Joseph Dresnok, one of these four American defectors, is the only one who remains in North Korea today.

The Korea Society has organized a screening tour of Crossing the Line, a new documentary film that tells his story, from October 27 through November 12, 2008. The program includes a post-screening discussion led by the documentary's co-producer Nicholas Bonner who will talk about Dresnok, North Korea and the experience of filming a documentary in one of the least media-friendly environments in the world.

The filmmakers of Crossing the Line were allowed unprecedented access by the North Korean authorities to the subject of their documentary. They were permitted not only to interview Dresnok extensively but also to follow him through his daily life in Pyongyang. Their film, narrated by actor Christian Slater, presents a story that the New York Daily News has called “fascinating” and “unforgettable.”

Join The Korea Society on Tuesday, October 28, 2008 for a screening of this unique documentary, followed by a conversation with co-producer Nicholas Bonner, or check the schedule below for a screening near you.

$10 for members and students, $15 for nonmembers(Walk-in registration will incur an additional charge of $5.)

Buy tickets

For more information or to register for the program at The Korea Society, contact Heewon Kim at (212) 759-7525, ext. 355.

Tour Schedule:
Wednesday, October 29, 2008–5:30 PM
Johns Hopkins University
Kenney Auditorium in the Nitze Building
1619 Massachusetts Avenue, NW
Washington, DC

Contact #: (202) 663-5830

Thursday, October 30, 2008–6:30 PM
Ohio State University
University Hall 0014
230 North Oval Mall
Columbus, OH

Contact #: (614) 688-4253

Monday, November 3, 2008–6:30 PM
University of Missouri at Columbia
100 Stewart Hall
University of Missouri
Columbia, MO

Contact #: (573) 882-6902

Wednesday, November 5, 2008–7:30 PM
University of Notre Dame
Eck Visitors Center Auditorium
100 Eck CenterNotre Dame, IN

Contact #: (574) 631-8873

Tuesday, November 11, 2008–4:30 PM
University of California at L9os Angeles

314 Royce Hall
UCLA Campus
Los Angeles, CA

Contact #: (310) 825-3284

Wednesday, November 12, 2008–6:15 PM
University of California at Santa Barbara
McCune Conference Center (HSSB 6020)
UCSB Campus
Santa Barbara, CA

Contact #: (805) 893-3907

About the Speaker:
Nicholas Bonner is the director of Koryo Tours, which has specialized in travel to and cultural exchanges with the DPRK since 1993. Working in conjunction with VeryMuchSo Productions, Bonner has produced three documentaries inside North Korea: The Game of Their Lives (2001), A State of Mind (2005) and Crossing the Line (2007). He is currently developing a romantic comedy feature film to be shot in Pyongyang in 2009. Also a collector of North Korean art, pieces from Bonner's collection of woodcut prints is currently on display in North Korean Images at Utopia's Edge at The Korea Society Gallery.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

ACF 168: In-Young Sohn Dance Company


Here's an announcement that I just received and thought might be of interest:

New York, NY—October 20, 2008—Energetically mixing the traditional steps of ancient shamans and peasants with the stark, cool movements of modern Korea, choreographer In-Young Sohn and the NOW Dance Company will present Tradition & Its Changes at the NYU Skirball Center for Performing Arts on Friday, October 24, 2008.

The eight dance routines of Tradition & Its Changes are drawn from over a thousand years of Korean history. They include a traditional palace dance performed by a troupe of female dancers who swoop and swirl while skillfully wielding stylized swords, as well as the munyomu, a ritual dance traditionally performed by Korean shamans in order to lift them to a higher state of consciousness. Throughout the performance, the dances are infused with new rhythms and movements that capture the vitality of contemporary Korean choreography. The performance reaches its climax with kabae, an exuberant, 25-minute farmers' dance meant to celebrate the harvest.

This performance marks the third leg of a four-city tour organized by The Korea Society, a non-profit organization which, among its activities, sponsors Korean performing arts tours around the country. Following Tradition & Its Changes’ successful debut at Synod Hall in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, where the group delighted over 300 audience members with music and dance on October 19, the show travels to Cornell University in Ithaca, New York today, October 21.

After the performance at NYU Skirball Center for Performing Arts (presented by the World Music Institute) on October 24, the tour closes at Bryant University in Smithfield, Rhode Island on October 25 (presented by the Korean–American Association of Rhode Island).

In-Young Sohn is the founder and artistic director of the Seoul-based NOW Dance Company, which has performed traditional and contemporary Korean dance around the world since 1992. A former member of the Korean Traditional National Dance Company and former artistic director of the Seoul Performing Arts Company, Sohn holds an MA in arts education from Columbia University.

The Tradition & Its Changes tour is organized and sponsored by The Korea Society, a New York City-based private, nonprofit, nonpartisan, 501(c)(3) organization that is dedicated solely to the promotion of greater awareness, understanding and cooperation between the people of the United States and Korea.

Info and tickets for the October 24th performance in New York City here.

A video clip of "Tradition & Its Changes" and a downloadable PDF of the Program Notes are also available at the bottom of the linked page.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

ACF 167: "Bleach the Movie: Memories of Nobody" to have Canadian debut 10.20.08

VIZ Media will present BLEACH THE MOVIE: MEMORIES OF NOBODY in a special one-night-only event on Monday, October 20th at select Cineplex Entertainment and Empire Theatres locations across Canada. Adapted from Japanese artist Tite Kubo’s very popular animated series and best-selling manga series (both distributed and published in North America by VIZ Media), this special event will mark the film’s Canadian debut.

BLEACH THE MOVIE: MEMORIES OF NOBODY begins as unidentified beings known as “Blanks” start popping up. They are soon followed by a Soul Reaper named Senna who makes them disappear. Puzzled by these unknown beings and the even more mysterious girl, Ichigo and Rukia set out to learn more, but uncover an evil plot when a menacing clan tries to kidnap Senna. Banished from the Soul Society long ago, the clan’s leader has sent the World of the Living and the Soul Society on a collision course, and Senna seems to be the key to his diabolical plot for revenge. Ichigo and his fellow Soul Reapers are tasked with saving the two worlds from annihilation.

For more information, advance tickets and a complete list of participating theatres go to www.empiretheatres.com/bleach or www.cineplex.com

For more information on BLEACH and BLEACH THE MOVIE: MEMORIES OF NOBODY please visit the official BLEACH website at bleach.viz.com.

Friday, October 17, 2008

ACF 166: Tora-san, Our Loveable Tramp (Episode 1) tonight @ Japan Society

Photo © Shochiku Co., Ltd.

Tora-san, Our Lovable Tramp / Otoko wa tsuraiyo
Episode 1
Directed by Yoji Yamada
With Kiyoshi Atsumi, Sashiko Mitsumoto, Chieko Baisho
1969, 91 min., 35mm, color

This is the first of the forty-eight Tora-san films, almost all of which were both written and directed by Yoji Yamada.

Twenty years after leaving the small town of Shibamata, Tora-san (Kiyoshi Atsumi) returns home and is reunited with his younger sister Sakura (Chieko Baisho), who has been raised there by their aunt and uncle. Sakura is now a beautiful young woman with many suitors. When Hiroshi, a neighborhood factory worker, vows to win Sakura over, Tora-san stirs the pot with clumsy schemes that backfire into disaster.

Tonight's screening will be the first of eight Tora-san films that Japan Society will be showing from now thru May as its second annual Monthly Classics Film Program.

Japan Society
333 East 47th Street (just west of First Avenue)
New York, NY 10017

Friday, October 17 at 7:30 pm

Director Yoji Yamada live from Tokyo via digital video after the screening!

Info, pics, and tickets at www.japansociety.org/film

Thursday, October 16, 2008

ACF 165: "Kamachop" to close New York - Tokyo Film Grand Prix 2008

Image © 2007 "Kamachop" Production Committee

Directed by Anji Matsumoto
Japan, 2007, 80 min.
Japanese with English Subtitles
International Premiere

Tonight's screening of Kamachop, director Anji Matsumoto's feature film debut, marks the end of the New York -Tokyo Film Grand Prix 2008.

The film, made on a $6,000 budget (!), is about two young, baseball uniform wearing ghosts named Kamachi and Chop. Together they are known as Kamachop. They've taken up residence in a Tokyo hotel room.

They become intrigued by the selflessness of an older woman who has come to Tokyo to borrow money from a loan shark. She intends to give the money to her n'er-do-well slacker of a son to help him out.

Director Matsumoto will be putting in an appearance after the screening.

Also, complementary drinks will be served after the movie in honor of the finale of the NYTFGP 2008 Festival.

Tribeca Cinemas
54 Varick Street
New York, NY
Doors open 6:30 - Film starts 7:00pm

Buy tickets here.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

ACF 164: Best of Tora-san @ Japan Society

The beloved Tora-san series consists of 48 films made from 1969 to 1996. They chronicle the exploits and experiences of the eponymous vagabond street vendor, played by Kiyoshi Atsumi, as he travels throughout Japan.

Japan Society will present eight Tora-san films personally selected by Yoji Yamada, who directed most of the series, as its second annual Monthly Classics Film Program. The program will run from October 2008 thru May 2009. It celebrates both the 40th anniversary of the first film and the 80th anniversary of Atsumi’s birth.

The Best of Tora-san starts on Friday, October 17th, 2008 at 7:30 PM with a screening of Tora-san, Our Loveable Tramp, the very first episode in the series. Director Yamada, who more recently has helmed a wonderful trilogy of samurai-themed movies, will address the audience and engage in a Q&A live from Tokyo via digital video after the screening.

Info and tickets here.

Monday, October 13, 2008

ACF 163: Black Republic @ Korea Society

Black Republic
Directed by Park Kwang-su
Korea, 1990, 100 minutes

This Thursday, October 16th, 2008, Korea Society’s Classic Movie Night will feature Black Republic. The film is set in the aftermath of the “Gwangju Uprising” of 1980, in which pro-democracy supporters were brutally suppressed by the military regime led by Chun Doo Hwan. It portrays the plight of Han Tae-hoon, an idealistic protester on the run from the police.

He finds shelter in a remote, small mining town, a bleak place left behind in South Korea’s rapid industrialization. There he falls in love with a waitress at a local teahouse, and begins to imagine a better life. But he lives under the threat posed by his past actions and the government forces that seek to catch up with him.

Showtime is 6:30 PM. Light refreshments will be served. A brief lecture and a Q&A session are scheduled to follow the screening.

Buy tickets ($5 for members and $10 for non-members) online at www.koreasociety.org or RSVP to Yuni Cho at yuni.ny@koreasociety.org or at 212.759-7525, ext. 323.

The Korea Society
950 Third Avenue @ 57th Street, 8th Floor
New York, NY

Korea Society presents Classic Movie Night the third Thursday of each month.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

ACF 162: "Death Note II: The Last Name" multi-city screening across U.S.

VIZ Pictures and NCM FATHOM will present a special two-night, multi-city screening of DEATH NOTE II: THE LAST NAME (English dubbed version) at nearly 400 theaters across the United States on October 15 and 16 at 7:30pm local time. VIZ Pictures previously teamed with NCM FATHOM to present the first DEATH NOTE live-action film in a similar event earlier this year. So if you live in just about any major U.S. city, you’ll be able to catch this next chapter of this gripping tale of vigilante “justice” that blends the supernatural with a police procedural.

The theater screenings will also feature an exclusive behind-the-scenes look about the creation of this live-action event, an in-depth interview with director Shusuke Kaneko (who also directed the original DEATH NOTE movie), and a unique profile of the cast.

DEATH NOTE II: THE LAST NAME, like the first film, is based on the hit manga series written by Tsugumi Ohba and illustrated by Takeshi Obata. It picks up right after the conclusion of the original DEATH NOTE movie. Light Yagami joins the investigation team in pursuit of the vigilante/serial killer known as Kira. While super-detective L still strongly suspects (correctly) that Light is Kira, Yagami continues to seek out the real name of L so he can kill him with his Death Note.

Making things even more unpredictable is the emergence of a second “Kira.” This new vigilante has the “Eyes of Death” which enables the owner to know the true identity and lifespan of any person. Light Yagami seeks to learn the identity of the other Kira so they can join forces to get rid of L.

I’ve only seen the subtitled versions of both DEATH NOTE movies, but I’m confident that the dubbed version, since it’s coming from VIZ, will be of high quality. I highly recommend both films.

A complete list of theatre locations, prices and ticket information here. (Theatres are subject to change).

The original DEATH NOTE is available on DVD from VIZ Pictures. Here’s a link to it at Amazon.com, provided purely for your convenience, no benefit – financial or otherwise – accrues to AsianCineFest.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

ACF 161: R.I.P. Kim Chan

Beloved actor Kim Chan died in Brooklyn, New York, last Sunday, October 5th, 2008. He is survived by his son Michael Chandler.

Chan was in his 90s when he passed away. According to his niece Judy Gee, he was probably 93 or 94. On IMDb.com, his birth was listed as being in 1917, which would have made him about 91. No matter his exact age: he lived a full and productive life and will be remembered and cherished for years to come.

Born in China, he came to the United States with his father and two older sisters in 1928. He worked for years in various jobs in laundries, restaurants, etc. During this time he also sought roles as an actor in film, television and the theater. His breakthrough role was as Jonno, the butler to talk show host Jerry Langford (Jerry Lewis) in Marin Scorsese's King of Comedy (1982). My first real memory of him was his ongoing role in Kung Fu: The Legend Continues, which ran on television 1993-1997.

Pictured above is Mr. Chan as crime boss "Uncle Benny" in Lethal Weapon 4. The screenshot is from early in the scene at the dentist office where he is given a large dose of laughing gas to get him to talk. A terrific scene, in my opinion.

One of his quotes at IMDb is: "I always like comedy. I enjoy making somebody laugh."

That you did, Mr. Chan. That and much more. Thanks for all the wonderful memories.

Friday, October 10, 2008

ACF 160: "Sanujro" remake to get East Coast Premiere on 10/15/08

Directed by Yoshimitsu Morita
Japan, 2007, 119 min.
Japanese with English subtitles
East Coast Premiere

Next Wednesday, October 15th, 2008, ANA (All Nippon Airways) will present the East Coast premiere of this remake of Akira Kurosawa's Sanjuro (1962). The original film starred Toshiro Mifune as Sanjuro Tsubaki. This remake features Yuji Oda (Bayside Shakedown, Whiteout) in the title role of the scruffy ronin who helps a group of idealistic youths fight corruption.

Director Yoshimitsu Morita's previous films include Lost Paradise and The Family Game. "I always wanted to revive Sanjuro and make a film about him with today's actors and actresses in Japan." he has said.

This remake, like the 1962 version. is based on the original script written by the legendary trio of Akira Kurosawa, Ryuzo Kikushima and Hideo Oguni.

To get on the list for this special screening, you must RSVP to:

The film will be shown at:

The ImaginAsian
239 East 59th Street
New York, NY

Doors will open at 6:16 PM
Screening starts at 7:00 PM

This screening of Sanjuro is presented by ANA (All Nippon Airways) as Part 14 of its NIPPON EIGA film series.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

ACF 159: The Chasing World @ NYTFGP

The Chasing World
Directed by Issey Shibata
Japan, 2008, 98 min.
US Premiere

The Chasing World will screen tomorrow night, Wednesday, October 8th as part of the New York - Tokyo Film Grand Prix 2008 Festival. Shibata's film, for which he also wrote the screenplay, is based on writer Yusuke Yamada best selling novel Riaru onigokko/Tag for Real. Both book and film tell the action-packed story of a surreal game of tag. While the novel was set in 3000 A.D., director Shibata has chosen to utilize the concept of a parallel universe.

The US Premiere will take place at:

Tribeca Cinemas
54 Varick Street
New York, NY 10013
Doors open 6:00 - Film starts 7:00pm

Monday, October 06, 2008

ACF 158: "Asyl - Park and Love Hotel" opens New York - Tokyo Film Grand Prix

Asyl - Park and Love Hotel
Directed by Izuru Kumasaka
Japan, 2007, 111 min.
North American Premiere

Asyl - Park and Love Hotel will kick off the New York - Tokyo Film Grand Prix (NYTFGP) 2008 Festival tomorrow night, Tuesday, October 7th.

This film took the prize for "Best First Feature Film" at this year's Berlin International Film Festival. It tells the story of four women who spend their time on the rooftop of a love hotel. Modernity, alienation and hope are themes the film explores.

Doors will open at 6:00 PM, the film will screen at 7:00 pm, and there will be a Q&A with director Kumasaka at approximately 9:00 PM, after the screening. The film will be shown at:

Tribeca Cinemas
54 Varick street
New York, NY 10013