One of the greatest things about doing this blog is that I get to fuel my love of ALL types of film! This weekend, i was invited to watch one of the standouts of the 30th Annual Asian-American Film Festival held at the Directors Guild of America in Hollywood.
As an African-American actress, I forget sometimes that actors of other ethnicities get discriminated against by constantly being asked to perpetuate stereotypes onscreen. It’s a premise for African-Americans that Robert Townsend satirized in his credit card funded film “Hollywood Shuffle” and one that director Steven J. Kung exposes for Asian-Americans in “A Leading Man”.
We find out just how far some are willing to go when a young and talented Chinese American actor(Jack Yang) is fired from his starring role on television and attempts to salvage his career by entering into a romantic relationship with a successful casting director(Heather Mazur).
The whole scenario is hilarious, entertaining and eye-opening to watch! In a Q&A afterwards, Kung explained his motivation for making the film stemmed from one thing – discrimination. Watching how a generalized image of a black kid in a hoodie was immediately associated with kids from “the hood” up to no good ultimately resulted in the demise of Trayvon Martin and how Kung’s colleagues on some very successful television shows would demoralize or criticize actors after their auditions made him want to to bring this subject to light to make people think just a little bit longer before saying or doing something they regret.
The dialogue with the actors in the hallway, the expectations of family when they have an actor as family, even the desperation of letting down your moral guard all in the quest for that big break.
I knew I was in for a treat when I ran into Tsai Chin (Joy Luck Club) in the waiting area. She is the quintessential queen of portraying the perfect condescending family member. I adore her and she doesn’t disappoint in “A leading Man”. We even had a moment to snap a quick pic.
The 30th Annual Asian-Pacific Film Festival runs now through May 11th.
Check out my video coverage and the trailer below..