San Diego Asian Film festival

The San Diego Asian Film Festival started yesterday and it was a great time.  This annual event is important to help spread Asian culture and awareness, topics still very much lacking in mainstream America.  It’s paramount that we support these types of events, otherwise, our stories as Asians and Asian Americans–as real people–remain unheard.  These films are usually low budget, marketed primarily through word of mouth, and has a cast which includes Asians in multi-dimensional roles, unlike their American counterparts.

This festival is definitely a spectacle not to be missed.  Christmassy-lights are hung up all over the theatre and when you walk the red carpet, you feel like you’re the  star–just remember to smile and keep your posture upright!  Just follow the line of paparazzi with their cameras ready to snap pictures and the several important-looking people in casual conversation dressed in suits and slacks.  Mini booths here and there have a staff more than happy to assist you to take a survey, spin and win a prize, browse the Asian DVDs vendors have on display.  Go ahead and whiff up the smell of boba, sushi, or other treats emanating from the room.  And while you’re at it, grab an Asian dude, I mean some Asian food:)

And if you are star struck then OMG!, this is the place to catch sight of one: John Cho, Dustin Nguyen, Leonardo Nam, Justin lin…you name it.  Various panels and award recognitions are presented so you’re guaranteed a sighting.

It was about this time last year where I made my first post on this San Diego Asian Film Festival, and I’m reminded of the film Ip Man.  Without this festival, I would have never heard of the movie, let alone see it in an actual theatre surrounded by enthusiastic fans.  Now it is my all-time favorite martial arts film.  I’m going to write a blog/review solely about this film.  All I have to say for now is, watch it!

Go to San Diego Asian Film Festival to see the schedule of films, even if you can’t attend, because you can get an idea of what films to look for on DVD.

Here are a couple of the more-talked about films:

Legend of the Fist: a martial arts flick starring Donnie Yen

Ip Man 2: needs no introduction:)…if you only see one Asian film in your life, this is the one!  Heroism, Chinese philosophy, Eastern concepts of restraint, zen, and the power of qi–it’s all there.

Time Traveller: Girl who Leapt Through Time: a story based on a hugely successful
Japanese novel

Goemon: a fantasy about a 16th century Japanese ninja

Bodyguards and Assassins: Revolutionaries from China defend their leader from the Emperor’s hired killers, starring several big-name actors.

Air Doll: A blow-up doll falls in love with a store clerk; story about the loss of innocence

City of Life and Death: the important period in Chinese history known as the “Rape of Nanking”; the first of its kind ever done

The Photograph: an Indonesian film about two lonely people finding a connection

Au Revoir Taipei: a love story taking place over one night; winner of numerous awards

Fool for Love: a romantic comedy starring Asian heartthrob Dustin Nguyen of 21 Jump Street back in the day; highest grossing film in Vietnam in 2009.  This one’s not to be missed!

Update: 10/25/10

I went to the festival Thursday through Sunday and watched 5 films.  Here’s a quick summary of the ones I really liked.

Bodyguards and Assassins: WOW!  This film completely blew me away and exceeded my expectations.  The portrayal of a group of revolutionaries kept me engaged throughout–the perfect example of heroism at its finest.  Filled with with action and intrigue and has an epic quality coloring the film throughout.  How the filmmaker showed the importance of each moment leading to the safe passage for Sun Yet Sen was truly spectacular.  Fans of Chinese history, especially of historic events that shaped China’s future, will appreciate this film.  Plus, the hot actors are a bonus:)

Fool for Love: A very over-the-top and funny Vietnamese comedy.  The main characters played by Dustin Nguyen and Kathy Uyen were perfectly cast.  Their charisma and rapport shines.  Interesting note on Kathy…I saw her before on some panel featuring Asian Americans and didn’t think much of her.  Then her name started popping up more and more and, suddenly, this once ordinary-to-me girl evolved into a real beauty.  This film captured her essence, captivating charisma, and physical beauty.  Films have a way of turning regular people into larger-than-life characters.  My point is it’s great to see everyday people, especially Asians, given their chance to shine in the spotlight.

On another note, the only film I attended that was sold out is Fool for Love.  Even for Bodyguards and Assassins, the theatre was only about 65-70% full.  I like a full audience so please help spread the word…

Love Asian, Support Asian!   and if you don’t, here’s your chance to FINALLY open you horizons.  Be adventurous!

5 thoughts on “San Diego Asian Film festival

  1. Does San Diego do the 48-Hour Film Project? I’ve done it two years in a row here in the South. There’s nothing like seeing something you’ve written open on a silver screen in front of an audience… and to have them laugh in all the right places. 🙂

    • Thanks for stopping by:)

      Yes, San Diego does have a 48-hour film project. In the last few years this event has gotten more and more popular, with the talent level of the productions skyrocketing.

      I’m sure it’s a wonderful feeling having your “baby” shown in front of an audience, especially in a theater-seating type of arrangement. What are your films normally about? Where does you inspiration come from?

  2. Most of them are comedy… characters trying to communicate and falling woefully short of that goal.

    I’ve always been a writer but I never knew my love of filmmaking until The 48. When you get the right group of people together on a project, there is this alchemy you don’t find with too many other things.

    • I can definitely relate to your roots as a writer, as that’s where I began my journey as well. For a while I wanted to branch out into filmmaking and took several film classes and made a few shorts, but all the stress and time it takes to put film together, seems too much for me.

      In theory, writing is easier as it can be done anytime, anywhere, and the only person to rely on is yourself, but it is definitely not an easy thing to write consistently every day or even every week.

      And honestly, in the back of my mind, I would like to gather a crew someday to finally make shoot a short screenplay I wrote–I’m pretty sure I’m just overthinking things.

      The bottom line is I do consider myself a writer and would love to get my work out there someday.

  3. Pingback: SFIAFF30 SFIAFF30 SFIAFF30 « The Kreen of the Crop

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