Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival Celebrates 34 Years

April 3, 2018 – LOS ANGELES   Visual Communications (VC), the nation’s premier Asian Pacific American media arts center, announced its outstanding program of films and events for the upcoming 34th edition of the Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival (LAAPFF) running MAY 3 – MAY 12, 2018. The all encompassing annual film celebration is presented across Los Angeles in West Hollywood, Downtown LA, Little Tokyo, the Arts District, Koreatown, and Hollywood.

 VC proudly celebrates the Film Festival’s 34 years as Southern California’s largest and most prestigious film festival of its kind.  LAAPFF launches the celebration of Asian Pacific Heritage Month through this year’s slate of over 100 films from both Asian Pacific American and Asian international artists.  For over three decades, the Festival has presented nearly 5,000 films by Asian Pacific American and Asian International talent. This year, 39 feature films and 79 shorts from the over 800 submissions will be showcased during the ten-day fest.

“Festival No. 34 maintains LAPFF’s spirit of producing this annual showcase through the process of creating our ideal communities,” states VC Executive Director Francis Cullado on this year’s LAAPFF.  “Our programmers and staff imagine our ideal communities to be inclusive while striving toward equity and change. And with regards to the ongoing discourse about diversity, we aim to have a space that engages intra-diversity amongst AAPIs and inter-diversity with other communities and groups.  We at Visual Communications and this Festival proudly present a slate of artists and creators who continue to shift narratives and challenge perspectives.”

 The Festival opens with the Los Angeles premiere of the award winning feature  SEARCHING starring John Cho and Debra Messing.  The film, which will hit theaters in August via Sony Screen Gems, gives audiences an early chance to see the movie that took the NEXT audience award and the Alfred P. Sloan award at the 2018 Sundance Film Festival. The film is directed and co-written by first-time feature filmmaker Aneesh Chaganty.

SEARCHING is a suspenseful and hyper-modern thriller about a desperate father searching for his missing teenage daughter. After an unsuccessful local investigation, David (John Cho) decides to search the one place no one has looked yet – the internet. Joseph Lee and Michelle La also star in the film. This Opening Night film will screen on Thursday, May 3rd at 7PM at the Directors Guild of America in West Hollywood, and will be followed by a Q&A with the director and members of the cast and crew.

 “We are very excited to open the Festival with the multiple award winning SEARCHING from director Aneesh Chaganty, starring John Cho and Debra Messing,” says Festival Artistic Consultant Anderson Le. “This innovative mystery thriller, which takes place all within a computer screen, is a unique experiment that is very outside-the-box, yet it all takes place within the “box” of a computer screen.  Through Chaganty’s deft direction and an intense performance by Cho, this film showcases a new voice in Asian American and stretches the parameters of genre filmmaking, similar to how Jordan Peele’s GET OUT flipped the script on horror film conventions.”

A first for LAAPFF,  their  CENTERPIECE FILMS will feature two outstanding world premieres with IN THE LIFE OF MUSIC and FICTION & OTHER REALITIES.  Both films are from Los Angeles based filmmakers, who share how music can craft identity and individuality, while serve as a guiding light in one’s path.  IN THE LIFE OF MUSIC is the first Cambodian film to be presented as a Festival Centerpiece film. Co-Directed by Caylee So (an LAAPFF alumnus and leader of the vibrant Long Beach Cambodian community) and Sok Visal, their film is a touching family drama on how music can tether a family almost eradicated by the Khmer Rouge regime.

 FICTION & OTHER REALITIES is inspired by stalwart Korean American musician Bobby Choy (a.k.a. Big Phony)’s move to Seoul to focus on his music and realign with his roots. The film is a funny and poignant music-infused love story, reminiscent of ONCE. It is co-directed by Steve Lee and Bobby Choy, who also wrote the film and stars as the lead.  Centerpiece Films will be presented on Saturday, May 5th at the Aratani Theatre at the Japanese American Community and Cultural Center (JACCC) in Little Tokyo – Downtown Los Angeles.

The CLOSING NIGHT FILM is the Los Angeles premiere of the acclaimed 2018 Sundance World Documentary Special Jury Award winner MATANGI/ MAYA/ M.I.A., directed by Stephen Loveridge.  Inspired by her roots, M.I.A. created a mashup, cut-and-paste identity that pulled from every corner of her journey; a sonic sketchbook that blended Tamil politics, art school punk, hip-hop beats and the voice of multicultural youth. Never compromising, Maya Arulpragasm kept her camera rolling through her battles with the music industry and mainstream media as her success and fame grew. Loveridge draws from Maya’s 22-years cache of personal tapes and captures her remarkable journey from immigrant teenager in London to the international popstar M.I.A.

“This is so exciting that we are sharing this incredible film with Los Angeles,” exclaims Festival Programming Manager, Sheryl Santacruz. “It transcends your standard music doc, and in such a multi-cultural and intersectional city like ours, there is so much in Maya’s story that we can all relate to.  As the Closing Night film, it is truly a global story.  It’s not only fun and celebratory, but also intimate and unflinching.”

 For program information, a complete listing of sponsors and partners, and ticketing information, please visit festival.vconline.org. VC Member presale ticketing is available now until Friday, April 6th; ticketing for the general public will be available starting Friday, April 6th, at 5:00pm PST.

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