FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT: VINCE JOHNSON VJOHNSON@TCDM-ASSOCIATES.COM
AUDIENCES AT THE 35TH LOS ANGELES ASIAN PACIFIC FILM FESTIVAL PRESENTED BY VISUAL COMMUNICATIONS HAVE SPOKEN – CHOOSING “THE FAREWELL” DIRECTED BY LULU WANG FOR AUDIENCE FAVORITE NARRATIVE FILM AND “JOURNEY TO IFUGAO” FROM DIRECTOR NICANOR EVANGELISTA, JR. FOR AUDIENCE FAVORITE DOCUMENTARY FEATURE
OTHER AWARDS - “YELLOW ROSE,” “HOUSE OF HUMMINGBIRD,” “FOR SAMA,” “OUR TIME MACHINE” AND “SEADRIFT” TOOK TOP JURY FEATURE FILM HONORS AS ANNOUNCED ON FRIDAY
THE GOLDEN REEL AWARDS FOR OUTSTANDING SHORT FILMS WERE BESTOWED ON “MANILA IS FULL OF MEN NAMED BOY” - FOR EXCELLENCE IN NARRATIVE SHORT FILM & “ALL IN MY FAMILY” FOR THE DOCUMENTARY SHORT FILM CATEGORY
THE ANNUAL LINDA MABALOT NEW DIRECTORS/NEW VISIONS AWARD WENT TO “SPEAK EASY, B”
PETER S. LEE AND JULIAN KIM WERE AWARDED THE INAUGURAL EMERGING FILMMAKER AWARD FOR THEIR DEBUT NARRATIVE FEATURE – “HAPPY CLEANERS”
YU GU WAS AWARDED THE INAUGURAL EMERGING FILMMAKER AWARD FOR HER SOLO DIRECTORIAL DEBUT DOCUMENTARY FILM - “A WOMAN’S WORK: THE NFL’S CHEERLEADER PROBLEM”
May 14, 2019 - (Los Angeles, CA) Following the Closing Night of the 35th Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival (LAAPFF), presented by Visual Communications, the audience ballots were tabulated and the results are in. This year, the audience chose the Sundance Fest hit film THE FAREWELL, directed by Lulu Wang, as the favorite narrative feature film. For audience favorite documentary feature, they chose JOURNEY TO IFUGAO, directed by Nicanor Evangelista Jr., which had its world premiere at the Festival that began on May 2 and ended on May 10, 2019.
THE FAREWELL, starring Awkwafina and Tzi Ma, is a funny, uplifting tale based on an actual lie. Chinese-born, U.S.-raised Billi (played by Awkwafina) reluctantly returns to Changchun to find that, although the whole family knows their beloved matriarch, Nai Nai, has been given mere weeks to live, everyone has decided not to tell Nai Nai herself. To assure her happiness, they gather under the joyful guise of an expedited wedding, uniting family members scattered among new homes abroad. As Billi navigates a minefield of family expectations and proprieties, she finds there’s a lot to celebrate: a chance to rediscover the country she left as a child, her grandmother’s wondrous spirit, and the ties that keep on binding even when so much goes unspoken.
“Our audiences really took to Lulu Wang’s film,” stated Francis Cullado, Executive Director of Visual Communications. “It was a true celebration of our own family dynamics filled with humor, drama, and emotion. The packed audience was so moved. People couldn’t stop talking about it.”
The winning documentary – JOURNEY TO IFUGAO is director Nico Evangelista, Jr.’s poetic and performance based film tracing the journey and coming together of five LA-based Filipino artists and healers on their spiritual quest in search of identities and indigenous roots during a trip back to the Philippines. Through Evangelista’s lens, the film follows their journey from Los Angeles across oceans into Manila and the provinces, then finally into a village in Ifugao. Ifugao is mostly well known for the endless rows of rice terraces, occasionally called the “8th natural wonder of the world.”
“The audience treated to this world premiere of a stunning film and personal journey were mesmerized and deeply involved in the film,” added Cullado. “The director’s storytelling style coupled with the intimate experience the subjects were facing truly immersed the audience deep into these life changing moments and perspectives. It was great for LAAPFF to be the world premiere festival for this great work and for us to feature this amazing talent.”
This year’s LAAPFF boasted an increase in audiences throughout the nine-day cinema fest, with many sold out screenings and special events throughout the venues, from Little Tokyo to Downtown LA, and to West Hollywood.
“This 2019 crop of our films truly raised the bar for the work that we presented over the years and for the audiences that were attending,” stated David Magdael, Co-Director of LAAPFF. “This is an exciting time for our Asian Pacific American artists and our audiences. The films that are now being made that we programmed signifies a new chapter in cinema and in Asian Pacific American cinema. So many stories and so many talented artists both in front of the camera and behind the camera are coming to the forefront. And it is great that our LAAPFF is here to showcase the works and to incubate future artists and bring our audiences out to support. It was one of our best festivals to date.”
The jury awards for LAAPFF were announced on Friday and are listed below.
YELLOW ROSE, written, directed, and produced by Diane Paragas, was awarded the LAAPFF Grand Jury Award for Outstanding North American Narrative Feature, while the Special Jury Award for Best Cinematography went to Ante Cheng for the film, MS. PURPLE. A Special Jury Award for Best Actress was awarded to Maya Erskine for her role in PLUS ONE. Actress Eva Noblezada was selected for a Special Jury Award for Breakthrough Performance for her work in YELLOW ROSE.
In the North American Documentary Feature section, SEADRIFT directed by Tim Tsai took home the Grand Jury Award for Outstanding North American Documentary Feature. The jury/panelists also gave out Special Jury Awards to JADDOLAND directed by Nadia Shihab and to ORIGIN STORY directed by Kulap Vilaysack.
LAAPFF also recognized the outstanding international films. In the International Narrative Competition, the Grand Jury Award for Outstanding International Narrative Feature went to HOUSE OF HUMMINGBIRD directed by Bora Kim. Special Jury Awards went to Leon Le for the film SONG LANG, and to the directors ensemble of VAI – ‘Ofa-Ki-Levuka Guttenbeil-Likiliki, Amberley Jo Aumua, Becs Arahanga, Dianna Fuemana, Marina Alofagia McCartney, Matasila Freshwater, Mīria George, Nicole Whippy.
In the International Documentary Feature competition, the jury gave the Grand Jury Award for Outstanding International Documentary Feature to two films this year – FOR SAMA directed by Waad Al-Kateab and Edward Watts; and OUR TIME MACHINE directed by S. Leo Chiang and Yang Sun. Special Jury Awards in this section were awarded to Vea Mafile'o and Jeremiah Tauamiti for their film FOR MY FATHER’S KINGDOM; and Kavich Neang for LAST NIGHT I SAW YOU SMILING.
LAAPFF is proud to be an Academy Award® qualifying Festival for the Short Film Awards. Recipient(s) of the Film Festival’s Golden Reel Award for Narrative Short Film will be eligible for consideration in the Animated Short Film/Live-Action Short Film category of the Academy Awards®. The film that won this year’s Golden Reel Award and is now eligible to qualify in the Animated Short Film/Live-Action Short Film category of the Academy Awards® is MANILA IS FULL OF MEN NAMED BOY, directed by Andrew Stephen Lee.
In addition, the Golden Reel for Best Documentary Short Film went to ALL IN MY FAMILY, directed by Hao Wu, and the annual Linda Mabalot New Directors/New Visions Award went to directors Becca Park and Jun Shimizu for their film SPEAK EASY, B.
The Shorts Jury also gave out a Special Jury Award for Impact to Hammad Rizvi for RANI, and a New Voices Award to Anika Kan Grevstad and Mari Young for their film NO ONE EVER REALLY DIES.
This year, LAAPFF established the inaugural Emerging Filmmaker Award for Narrative Feature and Documentary Feature filmmakers who have shown amazing promise as our future filmmakers/storytellers. The Emerging Filmmaker Award for Narrative Feature went to Peter S. Lee and Julian Kim for their film HAPPY CLEANERS. The Emerging Filmmaker Award for Documentary Feature was given to Yu Gu for her film A WOMAN’S WORK: THE NFL’S CHEERLEADER PROBLEM.
The 35th LAAPFF jurors included: Dan Truong, Jacqueline Lyanga, Quan Phung, William Yu, Christina Chang, Claire Aguilar, Ianeta Le’i, Mike Kaspar, Set Hernandez Rongkilyo, Sudeep Sharma, Ben-Alex Dupris, Marty Syjuco, Marya Bangee, Stephanie Matsuba, Fawzia Mirza, Hussain Currimbhoy, Joe Seo, Justin Tipping, and Marritte Go.
ABOUT VISUAL COMMUNICATIONS
Visual Communications’ mission is to develop and support the voices of Asian American and Pacific Islander filmmakers and media artists who empower communities and challenge perspectives. Founded in 1970 with the understanding that media and the arts are powerful forms of storytelling, Visual Communications creates cross cultural connections between peoples and generations. The organization turns 50 in 2020. Learn more at vcmedia.org.
ABOUT THE LOS ANGELES ASIAN PACIFIC FILM FESTIVAL
Presented by Visual Communications, the 35th Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival (LAAPFF) will take place MAY 2 - MAY 10, 2019 at select cinemas in the Los Angeles area. LAAPFF is the premiere showcase for the best and brightest of Asian Pacific American and international cinema. The largest festival of its kind in Southern California, LAAPFF is also a proud Academy Award®-qualifying film festival for the Short Film Awards. For program information, a complete listing of sponsors and partners, and to purchase tickets, please visit festival.vcmedia.org.
The Festival is proud to be partnering with the following screening venues across Los Angeles and Southern California:
341 FSN: 341 E 1st Street, Los Angeles, CA 90012
Aratani Theatre @ JACCC – Little Tokyo (DTLA): 244 S San Pedro Street, Los Angeles, CA 90012
Aratani Central Hall at JANM (Japanese American National Museum): 100 N Central Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90012
Tateuchi Democracy Forum @ National Center for the Preservation of Democracy: 111 N Central Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90012
Downtown Independent – Downtown L.A. (DTLA): 251 S Main Street, Los Angeles, CA 90012
Pacific Design Center: 8687 Melrose Ave, West Hollywood, CA 90069
Regal L.A. LIVE: A Barco Innovation Center: 1000 W Olympic Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA 90015
The 2019 Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival is sponsored by:
COMCAST NBC Universal
City National Bank
Directors Guild of America
Motion Picture Editors Guild
The Famous Group
MUFG Union Bank
Academy for Creative Media System, University of Hawaiʻi
Hollywood Pantages Theatre
Pacific Islanders in Communications
Walt Disney Television
Walt Disney Animation Studios
Writers Guild of America West
Your Script Produced
GOVERNMENT: National Endowment for the Arts; California Arts Council; Dept. of Cultural Affairs; Los Angeles County Arts Commission; Historical Community Neighborhood Council (HCNC)
FOUNDATION: Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences, Aratani Foundation; Asian Pacific Community Fund; SAG-AFTRA Producers Industry Advancement & Cooperative Fund, KEIRO, Little Tokyo Service Center
MEDIA: Character Media; A-DOC, AH1, Angry Asian Man; Go Little Tokyo; Long Distance; This Filipino American Life; Potluck Podcast Collective; Pacific Rim Video Press; International Documentary Association; Giant Robot Media, YOMYOMF
IN KIND: AAAZA; AFC Soyfoods; Asahi; Asian Pacific Filmmakers Experience, Brewyard Brewery; Boo’s Philly; Cafe 86; Cafe Dulce; IsaMADE; Chef Kryssie Tinsay; Chung Jung One; Creme Caramel; Far Bar; Echo Park Film Center; First Street Catering; Found Coffee; GoGo squeeZ; Hache LA; Harmless Harvest; HiFi Kitchen; KIND; LT Vibes; Mark Redito; Meiji; MFK by Aysee; My/Mo; Ninong’s Pastries & Cafe; Oculus; Passion Planner; Primo Water; Ramar Foods; Rice and Shine; Simple DCP; Spitz; Southern Glazers Wine and Spirits; The Freezin’ Point; The Park’s Finest; Wolf and Crane; Yelp
VENUE: 18 Social; Downtown Independent; Japanese American Cultural & Community Center; Japanese American National Museum; Regal L.A. LIVE: A Barco Innovation Center; 341 FSN, Pacific Design Center
HOTEL: Hotel Indigo