GQ takes an inside look at the North Korean Film Festival

An Rong Xu’s short film series “New Romantics”


Angry Asian Man:

Filmmaker and photographer An Rong Xu, is launching a new project called “New Romantics,” a year-long film series in which he directs twelve shorts — one per month — exploring modern day love. He just released the first episode in the series, Here, starring Nicole Tung with music by Big Phony.

Check it out:

Can’t wait to see more installments in the series. To see more of An Rong’s work, check out his website.

George Takei’s documentary “To Be Takei” now available for digital download


Angry Asian Man: 

The feature documentary To Be Takei is a fun and insightful look at the life and career of celebrated actor, activist and internet personality George Takei. Or, as I like to call him, Uncle George.

If you missed To Be Takei in theaters or have not yet seen it on DVD, it’s now available as a direct digital download. Want a discount on the download?

The film, directed by Jennifer M. Kroot, chronicles Takei’s seven-decade journey from a World War II internment camp, to the helm of the Starship Enterprise, to the daily news feeds of five million Facebook fans. Join George and his husband Brad on this star’s playful and profound trek for life, liberty, and love.

Here’s the trailer:

To Be Takei is now available as a digital download in both a standard edition ($9.99) and deluxe edition ($19.99) with 80 minutes of bonus scenes (including 15 exclusive scenes featuring William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy, Nichelle Nichols and more hilarity with George and Brad Takei) and the film’s soundtrack.

Jia Zhangke’s SMOG JOURNEYS

Screen Shot from Smog Journeys
Beyond Chinatown:

Jia Zhangke’s (贾樟柯 /  賈樟柯) latest lamentation on contemporary China is Smog Journeys, a short film made for environmental activist group Greenpeace East Asia about the country’s notorious air pollution problem.   Delving past the alarming Air Quality Index numbers and infamous and often unbelievable photos, the director of I Wish I Knew (海上传奇 / 海上傳奇) and A Touch of Sin (天注定 / 天註定) says in an interview with Greenpeace, “I wanted to make a film that enlightens people, not frightens them.”

Following the fictional lives of a mining family in Hebei Province, home of 9 of China’s 10 most-polluted cities, and an upper-middle class family in neighboring Beijing, the understated film pushes two messages.

First, air pollution is everybody’s problem.  “No one gets to be different when it comes to smog no matter what jobs we do,” Jia declares, reinforcing the message that the environment should be everybody’s concern.  However, not discussed in the interview but evident from the film is that there is a difference — one based on class — how they are affected.  In Hebei, the babies suffer from respiratory problems.  Meanwhile, in Beijing, the kid takes soccer lessons.

The second message speaks to the stoicism of the Chinese people (Zhao Tao’s silent, fragile gaze plays particularly well here).  Jia was quite moved that people living the airpocalypse continue to live their lives as Chinese have done through many difficult times throughout history:

One thing that fascinated and shocked me the most was the fact that even on smoggy days, people still lived their lives as usual.  For example, when the Air Quality Index hit 200 or 300 and the air turned opaque or gray, I still saw people dancing their square dances, young people still hanging out.  Everyone was doing what they would normally be doing.

On the other hand, it was also a pretty sentimental situation.  In such bad air pollution where [everybody] should be wearing masks outdoors, there was still a woman eating youtiao (Chinese deep-fried dough strips) out there another old lady dancing around, and a little kid playing football [and doing somersaults] and there you felt [a vitality], no matter what the circumstances and situations could be.  I was quite touched by that.”

Colorful and cute animal-themed face masks stand-out in the gray dinge.  Children sing about an idyllic day while a classmate writes the PM 2.5 count.  A man removes an air-filtering scarf before a kiss.  These scenes are surreal, but they’re part of everyday life.

Greenpeace hopes that the video will generate buzz on Chinese social media and lead to public awareness and action: “Greenpeace has been working on air pollution for three years, and we’ve produced a lot of data, scientific reports, investigations and all of this.” said Li Yan, head of the Climate and Energy Campaign Greenpeace East Asia.

But we started to realize that normal people’s lives were already profoundly changed by air pollution, and we wanted to see if an artist could play a role in contributing to the air pollution fight.”

Sundance spotlight on Jennifer Phang’s ‘Advantageous’ 

Advantageous2

 Audrey Magazine:

Today is the start of Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah and for the lucky attendees, that means snow, parties and most importantly, tons of movies to watch. Here at Audrey we have highlighted the Asian and Asian American films premiering at Sundance this year, but we wanted to give a special spotlight to the film Advantageous which is directed by, written by and starring Asian American women. Because the amount of working female directors hasn’t increased since 1998, and the fact that “moviegoers were as likely to see an other-worldly [non-human or alien] female as they were to see an Asian female character” in 2013, we are heartened by the amount of roles Advantageous provides for Asian women both in front of and behind the camera.

Sundance has already uploaded a video highlighting Advantageous writer and director Jennifer Phang, who briefly discusses her film. While Advantageous takes place in a sci-fi future, the emphasis of the film seems to be motherhood, parental sacrifice and what it means to be selfless.

According to the synopsis posted on the Sundance website, Advantageous takes place “in a metropolis in the near future, Gwen Koh, a beautiful woman full of poise and grace, works as the spokesperson for the Center for Advanced Health and Living, a company that offers a radical new technology allowing people to overcome their natural disadvantages and begin life anew. But when a shift in company priorities threatens her job and her family, will Gwen undergo the procedure herself?”

Advantageous is based off a short film by Jennifer Phang, which is available to watch below:

So if you are lucky enough to be at Sundance, check out Advantageous! For the rest of us who can’t, we hope that we can see Advantageous in a theater near us very, very soon.

 

Ken Jeong’s “30 for 30″ short for ESPN tells the story of Reggie Ho- Notre Dame’s legendary 5’5” walk-on kicker.


Angry Asian Man: 
This is the incredible story of the most unlikely person to ever play college football. A guy who, if you just looked at him, had no business playing the game for Notre Dame. But he became a football folk hero.

No, it’s not Rudy.

ESPN‘s latest “30 for 30documentary short Student/Athlete, directed by Ken Jeong, tells the story of Reggie Ho, a pre-med student from Hawaii who walked on to Notre Dame’s football team as a placekicker because he wanted to be “a more well-rounded person.

At 5-foot-5 and 135 pounds, he was one of the smallest players in college football, but ended up playing a crucial role in the Fighting Irish‘s undefeated 1988 season.

I have nothing against Rudy. He’s a fellow Notre Dame guy,” says former Notre Dame quarterback Tony Rice. “But Reggie Ho deserves better than that. Reggie’s a better story.”
I love it. Reggie kicks four field goals to singlefootedly defeat the University of Michigan. What does he do celebrate after the game? He heads to the library to hit the books. Reggie’s gotta study. True student athlete.

Is anyone working on the Hollywood movie version of the Reggie Ho story?

IFC Films: “The Search For General Tso”

Angry Asian Man: 

General Tso’s chicken. What the heck is it? Where does it come from? Who the hell is General Tso? The feature documentary The Search for General Tso is a globe-trotting quest to answer the culinary mystery of General Tso’s chicken, and how it somehow became a staple of Chinese food in America. The film, directed by Ian Cheney, is now playing in select theaters and available on video on demand from IFC Films.

Here’s the trailer:

It seems evident from the trailer that you’ll be hard-pressed to find a restaurant in China that serves General Tso’s chicken. Surprise, America. This is not just a film about a particular dish, but also the story of Chinese food in United States. Here’s more about the film:

This mouthwateringly entertaining film travels the globe to unravel a captivating culinary mystery. General Tso’s chicken is a staple of Chinese-American cooking, and a ubiquitous presence on restaurant menus across the country. But just who was General Tso? And how did his chicken become emblematic of an entire national cuisine?

Director Ian Cheney (King Corn, The City Dark) journeys from Shanghai to New York to the American Midwest and beyond to uncover the origins of this iconic dish, turning up surprising revelations and a host of humorous characters along the way. Told with the verve of a good detective story,The Search for General Tso is as much about food as it is a tale of the American immigrant experience. A Sundance Selects release from IFC Films.

The Search for General Tso is now playing in New York and Los Angeles, and opening in more theaters in coming weeks. You can also find it on iTunes, Amazon and other VOD options. For further information about The Search for General Tso, visit the film’s website and follow updates on Facebook.

New York Korean Film Festival

Co-presented by The Korea Society and Subway Cinema, the New York Korean Film Festival returns on November 20—23 to BAMcinématek with the freshest crop of record-breaking blockbusters and must-see recent works by the peninsula’s most celebrated auteurs and mavericks.

As an extension of the festival, DramaFever will host additional films streaming online.

KAFFNY started in 2006 as a vehicle for bringing filmmakers to audiences. The focus is to highlight existing connections and relationships between diverse peoples, using our perspective only as a starting point.

 

Presenting:

Gyeongju

Thu, Nov 20, 2014 (7:15pm)
LOCATION:
Peter Jay Sharp Building
BAM Rose Cinemas
RUN TIME: 145min
FORMAT: DCP
GENERAL ADMISSION: $14
CINEMA CLUB MEMBERS: $9 (Movie Moguls free)
SENIORS/STUDENTS/VETERANS: $10 (Students 29 and under with a valid ID, Mon—Thu)

 

A Hard Day

Fri, Nov 21, 2014 (9:40pm)
LOCATION:
Peter Jay Sharp Building
BAM Rose Cinemas
RUN TIME: 111min
FORMAT: DCP
GENERAL ADMISSION: $14
CINEMA CLUB MEMBERS: $9 (Movie Moguls free)
SENIORS/STUDENTS/VETERANS: $10 (Students 29 and under with a valid ID, Mon—Thu)

The Admiral: Roaring Currents

Sat, Nov 22, 2014 (6:45pm)
LOCATION:
Peter Jay Sharp Building
BAM Rose Cinemas
RUN TIME: 108min
FORMAT: DCP
GENERAL ADMISSION: $14
CINEMA CLUB MEMBERS: $9 (Movie Moguls free)
SENIORS/STUDENTS/VETERANS: $10 (Students 29 and under with a valid ID, Mon—Thu)
Man On High Heels

Sat, Nov 22, 2014 (9:30pm)
LOCATION:
Peter Jay Sharp Building
BAM Rose Cinemas
RUN TIME: 125min
FORMAT: Digital
GENERAL ADMISSION: $14
CINEMA CLUB MEMBERS: $9 (Movie Moguls free)
SENIORS/STUDENTS/VETERANS: $10 (Students 29 and under with a valid ID, Mon—Thu)
 The Pirates

Sun, Nov 23, 2014 (4:45pm)
LOCATION:
Peter Jay Sharp Building
BAM Rose Cinemas
RUN TIME: 130min
FORMAT: Digital
GENERAL ADMISSION: $14
CINEMA CLUB MEMBERS: $9 (Movie Moguls free)
SENIORS/STUDENTS/VETERANS: $10 (Students 29 and under with a valid ID, Mon—Thu)
Futureless Things

Sun, Nov 23, 2014 (7:30pm)
LOCATION:
Peter Jay Sharp Building
BAM Rose Cinemas
RUN TIME: 107min
FORMAT: DCP
GENERAL ADMISSION: $14
CINEMA CLUB MEMBERS: $9 (Movie Moguls free)
SENIORS/STUDENTS/VETERANS: $10 (Students 29 and under with a valid ID, Mon—Thu)

37TH ASIAN AMERICAN INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL (July 24 – August 2 in New York City)

Angry Asian Man:

New York film fans! Here’s what’s up. Mark your calendars, because the 37th Asian American International Film Festival, presented by Asian CineVision, will soon be upon us. AAIFF is the nation’s longest running festival of its kind and the premier showcase for the best in independent Asian and Asian American cinema. This year’s lineup includes a total of 18 features and 33 shorts, ranging over 21 countries and regions.

The festivities kick off on July 24 with the Opening Night Gala screening of the documentary Sold at Asia Society, and continues through August 2 at venues throughout New York City. Here’s a sampling of some of the festival’s spotlight presentations:

 

AAIFF’14 OPENING PRESENTATION:

SOLD

Jeffrey D. Brown | 95min | USA | English, Hindu w/ES
Asia Society | 7:00PM | Thursday July 24, 2014

Directed by Academy and Emmy award-winner, Jeffrey D. Brown and Executive Produced by two-time Academy Awards winner, Emma Thompson, SOLD follows Lakshmi (by the stunning Niyar Saikia), a thirteen-year-old girl who travels from rural Nepal to the “Happiness House,” a sordid brothel in Kolkata, India. There she bonds with the other residents with incredible optimism, tenacity and camaraderie that enable her to survive. Adapted from Patricia McCormick’s globally acclaimed book and based on true events, SOLD sheds light on the brutality of the global crime of child and sex trafficking and seeks to raise pertinent dialogues.

 

AAIFF’14 CENTERPIECE PRESENTATION:

TRANSIT

Feature | Hannah Espia | 93min | The Philippines | English, Hebrew w/ES, Tagalog w/ES
City Cinema Village East | 7:30PM | Sunday July 27, 2014

When Moises, a Filipino caregiver comes home to Tel Aviv for his son, Joshua’s fourth birthday, his world is turned upside down by the unnerving political news: the Israeli government is deporting children of all foreign workers. An earthy portrait of the displaced – refugees, immigrants and foreign workers, TRANSIT poses the problem of subject identity, home and national identity in question that is distinctively relevant to the globalization of the present world. TRANSIT was the Filipino entry for the 2014 Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film.

 

AAIFF’14 CLOSING NIGHT PRESENTATION:

HOW TO FIGHT IN SIX INCH HEELS

Feature | Ham Tran | 90min | USA, Vietnam | English, Vietnamese w/ES
City Cinema Village East | 7:30PM | Saturday August 2, 2014

Anne is a flourishing New York-based fashion designer with a seemingly perfect love life. But she suspects that her fiancé Kiet, relocated to Vietnam for business, has a supermodel mistress. Now Anne has made her cunning plan to infiltrate the Vietnamese fashion industry, and battle for the truth. The uproariously comedic HOW TO FIGHT IN SIX INCH HEELS not only satiates the haute couture appetites, but is also spiced up with hearty moments of love and friendship. Vietnamese American director Ham Tran and writer/producer/star Kathy Uyen team up to create this vibrant box-office hit that demonstrates the best of Vietnam’s film industry today.

Looks like Asian CineVision has put together another really solid program. For further information, including tickets, venues and the full slate of screenings and events, visit the AAIFF website.