With Dada Chen at NYAFF 2013

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

Sunday, June 27, 2010

ACF 599: Simon, Sammo, and Me!

Last night, between the screenings of Eastern Condors and Echoes of the Rainbow at The Film Society of Lincoln Center's Walter Reade Theater, The Hong Kong Economic Trade Office, New York and The New York Asian Film Festival held an invitation-only reception to honor Sammo Hung, Simon Yam, and this year's line-up of Hong Kong films. And yours truly was one of the most-fortunate invitees. Not only that, but I got to meet and speak, albeit briefly, and get my picture taken with both Simon Yam and Sammo Hung. (The previous night, Friday, Simon received the Star Asia Award, while Sammo got the Star Asia Lifetime Achievement Award, which was presented by Angela Mao, to Sammo's utter surprise and shock.)

Both of these gentlemen and huge stars of Hong Kong Cinema were very gracious to all. Both posed for numerous photographs and signed both programs and DVDs that people had brought. Truly class acts.

Simon Yam and me

Simon arrived at the reception first, while Sammo was still at the Q&A following Eastern Condors. I told Simon how much I'd enjoyed him in PTU: Police Tactical Unit and so many other films. I also briefly described how I'd come to be interested in and write about Asian films. I was so touched when, a few minutes after we'd parted, he came over to me and thanked me for my interest in and love of Hong Kong movies.

Sammo Hung and me
(That's Joyce Mina Godenzi, Sammo's wife,
in the background behind my right shoulder)

Sammo arrived a bit later. I'm not a celebrity whore by any means, but I was in total awe of being in his presence. I mean, above and beyond his extensive credits as actor, director producer, action choreographer, etc. this guy went at it with Bruce Lee in Enter the Dragon!

My wife took two shots of Sammo and me. After taking the first, she told me that I should smile. When I later looked at the first photo, I saw that I looked like I was terrified, probably because I was so nervous just being next to a legend whom I admire immensely. So glad this second one came out as it did.

After thanking Sammo for all of his wonderful work, I told him that I was sorry if what I was about to say brought up any unpleasant memories. I then told him that I thought that his series Marshal Law was one of the greatest things that had ever happened on American TV, and that I was so sorry that it had been ruined by others. (By this I meant those who decided to turn the "fish-out-of-water" police actioner into a TV version of Rush Hour by bringing in Arsenio Hall, though I didn't mention this specifically to Sammo.) Sammo seemed to take this in stride, but in any case I just had to let him know what a great show it had been to watched initially.

The New York Asian Film Festival has been off to a great start this weekend, and I expect that it's going to be a phenomenal success this year. In the meanwhile, it's provided me with one of the most memorable evenings and photo mementos of my life. Thanks to The Hong Kong Economic Trade Office and to all those at SubwayCinema which presents the NYAFF.

P.S. - The food and drink were both plentiful and delicious!

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