The Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival has announced encore screening dates for both its Grand Jury Award-winning films, WHERE HEAVEN MEETS HELL by Sasha Friedlander and VALLEY OF SAINTS by Musa Syeed. WHERE HEAVEN MEETS HELL, which follows the lives and families of four sulfur miners working in Kawah Ijen, an active volcano East Java, Indonesia, will screen on Sunday, May 20 at 12:00 PM. VALLEY OF SAINTS, which essays a budding love affair on a Kashmiri resort town wracked by sectarian violence, will screen also on Sunday, May 20, at 2:00 PM.
WHERE HEAVEN MEETS HELL follows the lives and families of four sulfur miners working in Kawah Ijen, an active volcano East Java, Indonesia. Before daybreak, five hundred miners collect and carry up to 200-pound loads of pure sulfur as they trek the rocky four-kilometer path up and down the crater, amidst billowing clouds of sulfur dioxide gases. Like generations before them, they carry the sulfur to the village at the base of the volcano and unload, repeating this arduous round-trip journey several times a day. The miners sell the sulfur to the government, used in sugar and rubber refinement, for a small fee equivalent to eight dollars a day, a pittance but still more than they would make working as farmers. Combined with a lack of education, the cycle of poverty is perpetuated, which prevents future generations from breaking away from the mine.
VALLEY OF SAINTS is set in and around Dal Lake, widely considered to be the crown jewel of the northwestern Indian region of Kashmir. The lake is a sprawling aquatic community where idyllic life is sometimes disrupted by political violence that occurs on shore. Gulzar, a young working class boatman, lives with his elderly uncle but harbors a strong desire to escape his current living situation with his best friend for the bright lights of the big city. However, his plans are temporarily thwarted by a military curfew. Forced to wait it out, Gulzar takes a job assisting Asifa, an attractive young scientist who is in Kashmir to collect water samples for an environmental study. When Asifa’s research reveals harmful pollutants in the water, Gulzar’s world-view is shaken as he realizes that his livelihood, as well as a community and entire way of life may soon disappear.
“We’re astounded that our awards juries received both WHERE HEAVEN MEETS HELL and VALLEY OF SAINTS so warmly,” said Film Festival Artistic Director Anderson Le. “Both films were key highlights of this year’s program line-up, and we’re tickled to have the opportunity to give audiences who might have missed either or both films a chance to screen them a second time.”
The encore screenings of WHERE HEAVEN MEETS HELL and VALLEY OF SAINTS caps a full weekend of encore screenings at the historic Art Theatre of Long Beach, site of the Festival’s Encore Weekend May 18-20. Also slated for encore screenings are Film Festival award winners GIVE UP TOMORROW and PARADISE BROKEN (May 18); and YES, WE’RE OPEN (May 19).
Also set for Encore Weekend are a Pacific Islander Showcase including the screenings of the award-winning THE ORATOR on May 18; PAPA MAU: THE WAYFINDER and THERE ONCE WAS AN ISLAND on Saturday, May 19; and SIONE’S 2: UNFINISHED BUSINESS on Sunday, May 20. The encore screening sof TWO SHADOWS on Saturday, May 19 and GOLDEN SLUMBERS on Sunday, May 20 comprise a focus on Cambodian films at the Festival.
Finally, the Film Festival will include a special presentation of Patrick Wang’s multi-award winning IN THE FAMILY on Saturday, May 19.