Our fabulous team of Film Festival 2012 programmers have had a chance to step back and look at what they’ve programmed as part of Festival Week 2012. While they really, really liked everything they selected, they want to make sure you don’t overlook the following productions. Check out what they’re loving right about now…
PATRICK ALLOCCA Recommends…
MOTHER’S MILK by Andy DeJohn
Strong, intense performances from the three leads is just one of many reasons to see this pitch-perfect coming of age tale.
BLUE by Stephen Kang
This Cannes winner stars Blue, an ex-TV mascot with a permanent smile, who now waits tables. It’s more surreal than it sounds, yet surprisingly moving.
SANTALAND by Kim Nguyen
This wonderfully quirky documentary chronicles life within a community of aging Santa Clauses. Their everyday struggles make their commitment to spreading cheer even more commendable.
THIEF by Jay Chern
All is not what it seems in this deliciously clever short about love and theft. Like life, its story unfolds in unexpected ways.
REUNION by Jason Wong
Dark and affecting, REUNION will ensnare you in its revelatory web.
PATRICK ALLOCCA started out as an embryo in Brooklyn and lived most of his post-postnatal life in Jersey. In 2009, he moved to the left side of the country to escape the stigma of fist pumps and enjoy the sights and sounds of California’s numerous freeways.
ESEEL BORLASA Recommends…
THE SPIRIT OF NIHONMACHI by Greg Masuda
A profile piece on a humble Canadian town that celebrates the residents of past and present, and honors what that land means to those people.
JOHNNY LOVES DOLORES by Clarissa de los Reyes
This is an Asian-in-America story on a whole different level. It takes you straight to the affairs of the heart; punctuated with emotions from a Filipino immigrant experience.
PIGEON KICKER by Daniel Long
It beats with a different rhythm, somewhere between a slow guilt and a fast-paced revenge. Director Long is definitely a new storyteller to watch.
OBAKE by Christopher Yogi
Director Yogi gives us a delicate narrative that seamlessly connects past, with present, and the hope of what is next to come.
MOUTHBREATHER by Gloria Calderon Kellett
Entertaining performances from 2 actors AND 2 cats. It’s a perfect night in with this film. It’s Fancy Feast time!!
ESEEL BORLASA is honored to again work as a Short Films Programmer for the festival. Still down for indie music and indie film, she is a film publicist at David Magdael & Associate, where she sometimes doubles as office deejay. Occasionally she takes the flower out of her hair, and just chills at home with her cats.
AUSTIN JOSE Recommends…
LOVE, NY by Vincent Lin
Like a bite from a Big Apple, this piece is refreshing – a juicy find amidst typical rom-coms that merely exploit the beautiful New York backdrop.
SHOES AKA KIDS THESE DAYS by Joseph Mangat
Kids these days think if there’s something to be said, you should just say it – however, this piece speaks wonders, with very minimal dialogue.
NICO’S SAMPAGUITA by Aaron Woolfolk
From a seed of tragedy, this film flowers into an affirmation of life, and a celebration of all things beautiful – family, love, and music. Tissues required.
HEW by Laurie Tsou
Instantly engaging, this poignant powerhouse commands you to beg for more viewings – if not for the completely stunning visuals, for the seven-layer cake of meaning.
MIYUKI’S WIND BELL by Ken Ochiai
Enrapturing cinematography mixed with a heart-wrenchingly good story – this Wind Bell hits a lot of subtle notes, pulling you deeper into its sweet, melodic tone.
AUSTIN JOSE is a Jersey native and an occupational schizophrenic – trader, production manager, graphic artist, film enthusiast, musician, and part-time lover. He enjoys dreaming up things like bananarangs, and loves to tuck-and-roll randomly while exiting his bed. He spends his days like his money – making sure every purchase is worthwhile.
KRISTEN LEE Recommends…
ROOM 107 by Elaine Shengya Hu
Director Elaine Shengya Hu shows off her photographic creativity on the big screen in this quirky suspenseful short. ROOM 107 is guaranteed to have you squirming in your seat.
IN SEARCH OF A DONKEY by Maria Nicollier
Three Japanese hunters contemplate spirituality and exotic meats in this unconventional flick. Swiss director Maria Nicollier will have you HEE-HAWing.
NANI by Justin Tipping
Take some storytelling tips from Director Justin Tipping in this coming-of-age tale of a whimsical street art duo. This American Film Institute (AFI) Thesis Project deserves a premature applause.
LAN by Taylour Chang
Dear Asian American (and Mandarin fluent) film-atics, you have my permission to cheer, laugh, clap (and hum) to this nostalgic film. Hawaiian American Taylour Chang’s blossoming talent will challenge the future of cinema.
THAT WHICH ONCE WAS by Kimi Takesue
The performances in Director Kimi Takesue’s film are phenomenal in this fictional fable. Takesue achieves both the social awareness of hidden natural disaster tragedies and it’s mental impact on young and elderly minds.
After watching over 500+ short films in two years, it’s safe to say KRISTEN LEE (#hapaklee) is addicted to cinema. A graduate of UCLA’s Asian American Studies Masters Program, Kristen is settling into her Hollywood home. Her short film MiXeD mE, produced by UCLA EthnoCommunications, was showcased in the 2011 LAAPFF Digital Posse program. This past summer, Kristen served as a mentor for the imMEDIAte Justice apprenticeship, a program which educates Los Angeles high school women on reclaiming their sexual rights through animated film production. Miss Lee is attempting to write her first fictional narrative short this year.
VERA DeVERA Recommends…
PARADISE BROKEN by James Sereno
Unlike most on-screen Hawaiian vistas set amid swaying palm trees and calm ocean views, this film gives us a gritty, honest portrayal of the local underground reality of Waikiki’s tourist hotel strip.
IN THE FAMILY by Patrick Wang
This subtle, quietly beautiful story of a father’s quest to maintain custody of his son tugs at your heartstrings as you wonder whether inequality or justice in gay parents’ rights can prevail.
VERA DE VERA is a former Visual Communications board member and supporter since ChiliVisions days. Also a previous Film Festival programmer from “way back” (1999, to be exact), she’s amazed at the advances in film technology — from screening entries on Beta to now downloading films for instant viewing. Kind of like floppy disks vs. clouds.
FENG-MEI HEBERER Recommends…
SALAD DAYS by Hiram Chan, Jeff Mizushima, and Emily Yoshida
This feature celebrates its love of incredible romantic nerdiness, offers characters we must love if not identify ourselves with, and displays heart-winning but unpretentious humor.
RESTORING THE LIGHT by Carol Liu
Carol Liu’s debut feature documentary follows its characters with an intimacy and closeness that do not need to take advantage of a voyeuristic gaze and dramatizing voice.
FENG-MEI HEBERER is currently writing her dissertation on Asian transnational filmmakers and otherwise follows her passion of researching for and mediating new film works as curator for several film festivals.
ROCHELLE LOZADA Recommends…
I AM A GHOST by H.P. Mendoza
This uniquely stylized ghost story feels both classic and contemporary all at the same time. Get lost within the mind frame of Emily’s experience– where space and dimensions get twisted.
WHERE HEAVEN MEETS HELL by Sasha Friedlander
Kawah Ijen is an active volcano in Indonesia, standing at 2,600 meters tall with a 200-meter deep sulfur lake. Real sulfur miners share their unheard stories as they travel up and down this grandiose sight.
ROCHELLE LOZADA is a fan of the arts, sciences and laughing. With a filmmaking background, and love for travel, she is fond of getting lost and found in films. Her journey is fulfilled by crossing paths with others on multiple levels, bringing about colorful trails everywhere she goes.
ERICA CHO Recommends…
FIRST BIRTHDAY by Andrew Ahn
This quiet work directed by CalArts graduate Andrew Ahn offers unadorned moments of family life that make closeted anguish feel so real.
USELESS “HOW TO SEX” TIPS FOR LESBIANS by Sae Amamiya and Yoshi Uchida
An animated story from Plica-chan, a popular 2005-07 manga serialized in LOUD (Lesbians of Undeniable Drive) News and online by the women-run sex shop Love Piece Club.
ERICA CHO is a video artist, independent curator, and Visiting Assistant Professor in Film and Media Studies at Swarthmore College and Bryn Mawr College.
JULIE CHO Recommends…
LIBANGBANG by Chia-chi Tseng
Striking brush stroke illustration and spoken poetry combine into a powerful tribute to the Yami, the only oceanic aboriginal tribe of Taiwan. Awarded Best Art Direction at the 2011 Taipei Film Festival.
Inspired by festival fans who sought to introduce little ones to the delights of independent movies, JULIE CHO is tickled to be bringing her six year old to the Film Festival’s Leap Year family program. A former Festival artist and Armed With a Camera artist mentor, Julie teaches at UC Irvine’s Departments of Asian American Studies and Film & Media.
CHRISTILILY CHIV Recommends…
BORN FO BANG by FYI Films
A young boy tres to create a new path for himself, but has to face the challenge of going against his homies.
EL MONTE by Elaine Tang
A creative animated piece that shed light on the abuse of garment workers and their path to freedom.
CHRISTILILY CHIV graduated from University of California Riverside with a degree in Media and Cultural Studies. She was born and raised in LA and is a daughter of refugee parents from Cambodia. She is believes that media plays a powerful role in shaping peoples’ perspective.
GRACE SU Recommends…
2012 by Genki Sudo
This one is crazy cool.
SCHIZOPHRENIA by Daniel “DPD” Park
This one is just crazy!
GRACE SU is an actress, filmmaker, blogger, and ambivert. She has been involved with Visual Communications since 2004 when she started out as an Armed With a Camera fellow. This is her sixth year curating the music video program. For more info, you can Google her or check out www.peachies.net.
You can also read the Programmers’ Picks from Anderson Le and Abraham Ferrer, the senior programming team of the Festival.