Jun. 13: LIKE A ROLLING STONE, THE LIFE AND TIMES OF BEN FONG-TORRES, Directed by Suzanne Joe Kai, to Premiere at The Tribeca Film Festival

Rolling Stone music editor and journalist Ben Fong-Torres. Photo: Fred Morales, Jr.

I am thrilled to be attending the World Premiere of LIKE A ROLLING STONE: THE LIFE & TIMES OF BEN FONG-TORRES, a documentary directed, produced and written by Suzanne Joe Kai, when it screens on Sunday, June 13 at 1:00pm at The Tribeca Film Festival at The Battery in New York.

The film will also stream beginning Monday, June 14 at 6:00 p.m. Tickets are $15 and the film will be available on demand through June 23. Click here to purchase tickets for the stream.

Even if the name “Ben Fong-Torres” doesn’t ring a bell, you’ve probably read his work. Soon after graduating from San Francisco State College, he started writing for Rolling Stone in 1968. The next year, he was hired as an editor and writer. Fong-Torres’s cover stories on Bob Dylan, Marvin Gaye, and Jefferson Airplane helped to shape the way a country understood its counterculture, while Rolling Stone, under Fong-Torres’s guidance as a senior editor, became Rolling Stone.

Suzanne Joe Kai’s documentary is much more than a time capsule of an era: it’s a portrait of someone who can’t be reduced to a profession. Fong-Torres walks us through his upbringing as the child of Chinese immigrants in the 1950s, his earliest interest in rock and soul as a way of belonging, and the remarkable career that followed. Through conversations with colleagues and friends like Annie Leibovitz, Cameron Crowe, and Steve Martin, as well as authentic recordings from Fong-Torres’s archives—including Elton John—we understand why Fong-Torres was the interviewer that most bands actually requested: he treated each musician with a deep admiration for their craft, and saw them as people rather than icons.
—Cara Cusumano

Cast: Ben Fong-Torres, Elton John, Carlos Santana, Steve Martin, Quincy Jones, Bob Weir, Cameron Crowe, Annie Leibovitz and many more.

Suzanne Joe Kai received two Emmy® Award nominations and was named Best Woman News Reporter while a broadcast journalist at San Francisco’s NBC affiliate KRON-TV. She worked at KCBS Radio (CBS) and television stations KTVU (FOX), KGO (ABC), KGUN (ABC), and RottenTomatoes.com. Kai holds a master’s in documentary film from Stanford University.

Ben Fong-Torres was born in Alameda, California, in 1945, and raised in Oakland’s Chinatown, where his parents owned a restaurant. He attended San Francisco State College from 1962 through 1966, majored in Radio-TV-Film and served as a reporter and editor of the campus daily.

He began writing for Rolling Stone magazine in 1968, in its eighth issue. He had a full-time job at another publication: Pacific Telephone’s employee magazine. By night, he was a volunteer editor at East West, a bilingual Chinatown newspaper. In May, 1969, Ben joined Rolling Stone as news editor. His interview subjects included Bob Dylan, the Rolling Stones, Ray Charles, Paul McCartney, Elton John, Stevie Wonder, Bonnie Raitt, the Jackson 5, Linda Ronstadt, Neil Diamond, Diana Ross, Marvin Gaye, the Grateful Dead, Ike & Tina Turner, Diane Keaton, and Steve Martin. The Ray Charles interview won the Deems Taylor Award for Magazine Writing in 1974.

Ben was also a weekend DJ on KSAN from 1970 to 1980. He wrote and narrated a syndicated radio special, San Francisco: What a Long, Strange Trip It’s Been, which won a Billboard Award for Broadcast Excellence. He was the host of KQED-FM’s live, weekly arts show, Fog City Radio, and in 2016 created Moonalice Radio, an online station for the jam band. He programs the music and does a DJ show, 9 to 12 am and pm.

Ben has co-anchored KTVU-TV’s coverage of the Chinese New Year parades since the Year of the Ox – or 1997. He and co-anchor Julie Haener have won four Emmys.

Also on television, Ben did profiles on Evening Magazine in 1977, and, in 1982, went to China as scriptwriter for a special, Cycling Through China. His most unique TV credit was his 1993 appearance on “Wheel of Fortune”. Over three nights, he won some $99,000 in cash and fabulous prizes. He also appeared on the nationally syndicated “Your Big Break” in spring of 2000, doing an impersonation of Bob Dylan.

Ben left Rolling Stone in 1981 and has since written for dozens of magazines, including Esquire, GQ (where he was pop music columnist for three years), Parade, Playboy, Sports Illustrated, Travel & Leisure, American Film, TV Guide, Harper’s Bazaar, Billboard and The Hollywood Reporter. He wrote the main biographies for People magazine’s tributes to Jerry Garcia and Frank Sinatra.

In 1983, Fong-Torres joined the San Francisco Chronicle, where he was a feature writer and radio columnist until 1992, when he left to write his memoirs, The Rice Room: From Number Two Son to Rock and Roll, published in 1994 by Hyperion (and in softcover by Plume/Dutton), which reached the San Francisco Chronicle’s best-sellers list. He continues to write the Radio Waves column in the Sunday Datebook.

Ben also edited several anthologies while at Rolling Stone, wrote the main text for The Motown Album: The Sound of Young America (St. Martin’s Press). In 1991, he published Hickory Wind: The Life and Times of Gram Parsons (Pocket/Simon & Schuster). The book was nominated for the Ralph J. Gleason Book Award, and St. Martin’s Press published an updated version of it in fall of 1998.

Fong-Torres has been anthologized in numerous books, including Garcia; The Rolling Stone Film Reader; The American’s Search for Identity; Chink!: Studies in Ethnic Prejudice, and two college textbooks.

In 1993, on completion of The Rice Room, Ben joined Gavin, the San Francisco-based trade weekly for the radio and recording industries, as managing editor. He vacated that post in late 1997 to work on The Hits Just Keep On Coming: The History of Top 40 Radio, which was published by Miller Freeman Books in fall of 1998.

In 1999, Ben published Not Fade Away: A Backstage Pass to 20 Years of Rock & Roll, which was followed by a second collection, Becoming Almost Famous, in 2006. He wrote The Doors by the Doors (2007) and the Grateful Dead Scrapbook (2009). His most recent book is Willin’: The Story of Little Feat.

Fong-Torres is frequently called on to emcee community and fund-raising events, and to conduct on-stage interviews at events like South by Southwest in Austin, Texas, and at the Mill Valley Film Festival. He is also known for his impressions of, among others, Elvis Presley and Bob Dylan. Both are featured in one song, “Rainy Day Bookstores,” on a CD entitled Stranger Than Fiction, featuring best-selling authors performing music. He is a real-life character in Almost Famous, the 2000 film by Cameron Crowe. www.benfongtorres.com

Credits

Director, Producer, Screenwriter: Suzanne Joe Kai

Additional Executive Producers: Andy Hsieh, Kathryn Everett

Cinematographer: Hiroshi Hara, Jason Joseffer, Fraser Bradshaw

Editor: Doug Blush, Dan Lawrence, Greg Byers, William Gilmore

Executive Producer: Freida Lee Mock, Doug Blush, Tony Hsieh, Bryn Mooser

Associate Producer: Justin Lacob

Co-Producer: Greg Byers

Rolling Stone: 16 Movies We Can’t Wait to See at Tribeca 2021

kron4.com: Rock ‘n’ roll royalty: Ben Fong-Torres reflects on his career

vogue: Here Are 4 Documentaries Not to Miss at the 2021 Tribeca Film Festival

prnewswire.com: ‘Almost Famous’ Expanded Soundtrack In A Limited-Edition Uber Box Set Released July 9 Via UMe

June 2: Queens Museum Presents Inside the Cutting room: A Conversation & Scenes from “when home is elsewhere” with Filmmaker Alvin Tsang

Queens Museum is presenting a virtual panel, Inside the Cutting room: A Conversation & Scenes from “when home is elsewhere” with Filmmaker Alvin Tsang.

Tsang takes an inside look into the creative development of his current work-in-progress, “when home is elsewhere” on Wednesday, June 2, 2021 at 7:00 p.m in a virtual panel discussion. Click here to RSVP.

“when home is elsewhere” is sponsored by New York Foundation for the Arts and supported by Queens Council on the Arts.

Despite the COVID-19 disruption, Tsang pushed forward into post-production, taking this opportune moment of quarantine to further research and reflect on the colonial experiences of the past and today’s ongoing international displacement of people by wars and local xenophobic violence.

Tsang will share scenes and, with the film’s co-producer and artist Siyan Wong, discuss the making of a film that goes well beyond the experience of one man’s lifelong search for a home. Tsang’s 75-year-old father was a pre-teen orphan, a refugee from Vietnam to Hong Kong, an immigrant who moved his family to the United States, and a divorcee. By working with personal archives on this film, Tsang connects the more personal human experience to bigger issues of family, migration, community, and war that many from around the world experience today. His artistic goal for this film is to inspire reflections on the past and positive changes happening now, stimulating imagination for what the future could be.

Follow on FB/IG: @whenhomeiselsewhere @alvinwtsang

Apr. 13: Tony Winner André De Shields Guest Stars on “New Amsterdam” season 3 episode 7: “The Legend of Howie Cournemeyer”

André De Shields

Tony winner André De Shields (Hadestown) guest stars as Dale Rustin in “The Legend of Howie Cournemeyer,” the seventh episode of the third season of  NBC’s “New Amsterdam,” and the forty-seventh episode overall. It will air on Tuesday, April 13, 2021. (10pm EST)

It’s National HIV Testing Day and Max has offered free care to all HIV+ patients who come to New Amsterdam. Max learns the truth about New Amsterdam’s gay blood ban and resolves to do something about it. Bloom and Reynolds butt heads over their opposing bedside manners. Iggy eagerly awaits the return of a friend. Sharpe discovers that she may need more hands on with her niece.

André De Shields. Photo by Lia Chang
André De Shields. Photo by Lia Chang

André De Shields is the triple crown winner of the 2019 awards season, having won the Outer Critics Circle, Drama Desk, and Tony Awards for Best Featured Actor in a Musical for his critically acclaimed performance as Hermes in Hadestown. The Actors’ Equity Foundation followed suit with the Richard Seff Award, honoring veteran stage actors’ best supporting performances of the year. In 2020, Mr. De Shields received the 2020 Grammy Award for Musical Theater Album for Hadestown, the 2020 AUDELCO for Lifetime Achievement, an honorary Doctor of Arts Degree from Boston Conservatory at Berklee and the 2020 Red Bull Theater Matador Award for Excellence in Classical Theater. In 2019, he received the 2019 Project1Voice Lifetime Achievement Award, the 2019 SAGE Joyce Warshow Lifetime Achievement Award, The York Theatre Company’s 2019 Oscar Hammerstein Award for Lifetime Achievement in Musical Theatre, and was inducted into the Theater Hall of Fame. He received the Key to the City of Baltimore from Mayor Bernard C. “Jack” Young in August, 2019. Prior to his Tony Award win, Mr. De Shields was best known for his show-stopping performances in four legendary Broadway productions: The WizAin’t Misbehavin’ (Emmy Award), Play On! (Tony Nomination), and The Full Monty (Tony Nomination). In a career spanning fifty one years, he has distinguished himself as an unparalleled actor, director, and educator, receiving in 2018 the 8th Annual Off Broadway Alliance Legend Award, and the 33rd Annual Bob Harrington Life Achievement Bistro Award. Among his other accolades are the 2009 National Black Theatre Festival’s Living Legend Award and the 2007 Village Voice Obie Award for Sustained Excellence of Performance. His film and TV projects include Anton Ego in Ratatouille: The TikTok Tok Musical, the Algebra Tutor in “John Mulaney & The Sack Lunch Bunch”  on Netflix, Chubby in “Katy Keene” on the CW, Wyndham on “Almost Family.” He can be heard on the podcasts Live From Mount Olympus as Hermes and One Speckled Hen. He can next be seen as Gavin Plimsoll in Charles Busch’s  new film, The Sixth Reel. De Shields is a proud member of AEA, SAG-AFTRA, and SDC. andredeshields.com

ABOUT NEW AMSTERDAM
In the wake of the ambulance crash that ended Season 1, medical director Dr. Max Goodwin grieves the death of his wife, Georgia, and learns the difficulties of being a single parent – all the while continuing his commitment to solve systemic health care issues at the hospital. Add in his new responsibilities as a father and with cancer still lingering in the rearview mirror, everyone around Max must wonder how long he can sustain this impossible load. But “How can I help?” is not just Max’s catchphrase, it’s his reason for living. As long as he’s helping others, Max is able to find hope in the most hopeless of places. The cast includes Ryan Eggold, Janet Montgomery, Freema Agyeman, Jocko Sims, Tyler Labine,  Anupam Kher, Christine Chang and Daniel Dae Kim.

David Schulner and Peter Horton executive produce along with Michael Slovis, David Foster, Aaron Ginsburg and Shaun Cassidy.

Broadwayworld: VIDEO: See André De Shields in the Promo for Upcoming NEW AMSTERDAM Episode

Filmmaker Ang Lee to be honoured with BAFTA Fellowship at the 74th EE British Academy Film Awards on April 11

Ang Lee. Photo by Lia Chang
Ang Lee. Photo by Lia Chang

 The British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) will honour multiple BAFTA award-winning filmmaker Ang Lee with the Fellowship at the 74th EE British Academy Film Awards on Sunday, April 11 on BBC One.

Lee is one of the world’s most pioneering and revered contemporary filmmakers whose ground-breaking films are highly acclaimed spanning multiple genres throughout his producing, writing and directing career.

Awarded annually, the Fellowship is the highest accolade bestowed by BAFTA upon an individual in recognition of an outstanding and exceptional contribution to film, games or television. Fellows previously honoured for their work in film include Charlie Chaplin, Alfred Hitchcock, Steven Spielberg, Sean Connery, Elizabeth Taylor, Stanley Kubrick, Anthony Hopkins, Laurence Olivier, Judi Dench, Vanessa Redgrave, Christopher Lee, Martin Scorsese, Alan Parker, Helen Mirren, Sidney Poitier, Mel Brooks, Sir Ridley Scott and Thelma Schoonmaker. Kathleen Kennedy received the Fellowship at last year’s Film Awards.

He first rose to prominence in the 1990s with his Taiwanese Father Knows Best comedy trilogy consisting of Pushing Hands, The Wedding Banquet and Eat Drink Man Woman, all of which he co-wrote, produced and directed.

These films received acclaim in the US and internationally, with The Wedding Banquet winning the Golden Bear at the Berlin International Film Festival as well as being nominated for Best Foreign Language Film at the Oscars® and the latter leading to his first BAFTA nomination for Film Not in the English Language in 1995.

The following year, his first English language film, Sense and Sensibility starring Emma Thompson, Kate Winslet and Hugh Grant received major accolades including his first BAFTA Film Award for Best Film and another Berlin Golden Bear.

In 2000, Lee produced and directed the martial arts action-adventure Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, one of his most critically acclaimed cinematic masterpieces. The film dazzled global audiences, grossing over $213 million worldwide and holds the record for the highest grossing foreign language film in US history. The film was nominated for 14 BAFTA Film Awards and 10 Oscars®, winning four at each ceremony including a BAFTA for Director and Film not in the English Language and an Oscar® for Foreign Language Film.

Five years later, Lee was back on the global stage with his ground-breaking LGBTQ+ love story Brokeback Mountain starring Jake Gyllenhaal the late Heath Ledger. The film struck a chord with critics and audiences alike and was a turning point for queer cinema breaking into the mainstream. The film garnered nine BAFTA nominations and won four: Best Film, Director, Adapted Screenplay and Actor in a Supporting Role. He also won Best Director at the Oscars®.

Lee once again broke new ground with the visually stunning 3D CGI epic Life of Pi, pushing the limits of technology and storytelling to deliver an emotionally resonant tale about a teenage boy lost at sea with a fearsome Bengal tiger. His most successful film to date, the film grossed over $600 million worldwide and garnered further awards recognition: nine BAFTA Film Award nominations and a Children’s BAFTA win for Feature Film in 2013 as well as another Oscar® for Best Director.

His other directing credits include Lust, Caution, Taking Woodstock, Hulk, Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk and most recently, Gemini Man.

Marc Samuelson, Chair of BAFTA’s Film Committee said: “Ang Lee is a master of his craft.  He is an incredibly versatile, daring and exceptional filmmaker who effortlessly moves between genres.  His films have been truly ground-breaking both in terms of their technical expertise and for the subject matters he tackles. His pioneering work in Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, Brokeback Mountain and Life of Pi and so many other titles not only showcase his technical ability and deep understanding of the filmmaking process, but also his ability to infuse every story – no matter how epic or simple – with humanizing characters we can all relate to on an emotional level through his exceptional work. We are thrilled to present him with BAFTA’s highest honour.” 

Ang Lee commented: “England has been particularly good to me in my career, especially with Sense and Sensibility, which was like a second film school for me. It’s a tremendous honour to receive the Bafta Academy Fellowship and be counted among such brilliant filmmakers.”

This year, the EE BAFTA Film Awards will be celebrated across the weekend of April 10-11.  Two shows, recognising the very best in film, will be broadcast virtually from London’s Royal Albert Hall. The first show, celebrating the craft of film, will be broadcast on Saturday, April 10 on BBC Two and BBC Two HD.  The show on Sunday, April 11 will be broadcast on BBC One and BBC One HD. Both programmes will be broadcast in all major territories around the world. 

About BAFTA

The British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) is a world-leading independent arts charity that brings the very best work in film, games and television to public attention and supports the growth of creative talent in the UK and internationally. Through its Awards ceremonies and year-round programme of learning events and initiatives – which includes workshops, masterclasses, scholarships, lectures and mentoring schemes in the UK, USA and Asia – BAFTA identifies and celebrates excellence, discovers, inspires and nurtures new talent, and enables learning and creative collaboration. For advice and inspiration from the best creative minds in working in film, games and television, visit www.bafta.org/guru. For more, visit www.bafta.org.

Sneak Peek: KUNG FU, Starring Olivia Liang, Kheng Hua Tan, Shannon Dang, Jon Prasida, Eddie Liu, Gavin Stenhouse, Vanessa Kai, Tony Chung and Tzi Ma, Premieres on April 7 on The CW

Oliva Liang as Nicky Shen in KUNG FU. Photo: Nino Muñoz/The CW — © 2021 The CW Network, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

(L-R): Tzi Ma as Jin Shen and Olivia Liang as Nicky Shen in KUNG FU. Photo: Katie Yu/The CW — © 2021 The CW Network, LLC. All Rights Reserved

The new series KUNG FU, starring Olivia Liang, Tzi Ma and Kheng Hua Tan, will debut Wednesday, April 7 (8:00-9:00pm ET/PT) on The CW.

A quarter-life crisis causes a young Chinese American woman, Nicky Shen (Olivia Liang), to drop out of college and go on a life-changing journey to an isolated monastery in China. But when she returns to San Francisco, she finds her hometown is overrun with crime and corruption and her own parents Jin (Tzi Ma) and Mei-Li (Kheng Hua Tan) are at the mercy of a powerful Triad.

(L-R): Tzi Ma as Jin Shen, Shannon Dang as Althea Shen and Kheng Hau Tan as Mei – Li in KUNG FU. Photo: Kailey Schwerman/The CW — © 2021 The CW Network, LLC. All Rights Reserved

Nicky will rely on her tech-savvy sister Althea (Shannon Dang) and Althea’s fiancé Dennis (Tony Chung), pre-med brother Ryan (Jon Prasida), Assistant District Attorney and ex-boyfriend Evan (Gavin Stenhouse), and new love interest Henry (Eddie Liu) as well as her martial arts skills and Shaolin values to protect her community and bring criminals to justice…all while searching for the ruthless assassin who killed her Shaolin mentor Pei-Ling (Vanessa Kai) and is now targeting her.

KUNG FU stars Olivia Liang as Nicky Shen, Kheng Hua Tan as Mei-Li Shen, Shannon Dang as Althea Shen, Jon Prasida as Ryan, Eddie Liu as Henry Yan, Gavin Stenhouse as Evan Hartley, Vanessa Kai as Pei-Ling Zhang, Tony Chung as Dennis Soong and Tzi Ma as Jin Shen.

Christina M. Kim wrote the pilot episode and serves as executive producer/co-showrunner of the series with Robert Berens. Greg Berlanti, Sarah Schechter, Martin Gero and David Madden also serve as executive producers. Hanelle Culpepper is directing and co-executive producing the pilot episode. KUNG FU is produced by Berlanti Productions and Quinn’s House in association with Warner Bros. Television and is inspired by the original series created by Ed Spielman.

On Sunday, April 11 (10:00-11:00pm ET/PT), TNT will air an encore presentation of the premiere episode of The CW’s KUNG FU.

 

Hui Tong and Kelly Ng’s CURTAIN UP! Wins DisOrient 2021 Award for Best Feature Documentary

Congratulations to Hui Tong and Kelly Ng, who produced and directed Curtain Up!,  on their DisOrient 2021 Award for Best Feature Documentary, announced tonight at the closing night ceremony of the Festival.In America, every child of immigrants has an assimilation story, but not all of them include an opportunity to premiere the kids’ adaptation of hit musical “Frozen,” and the struggles with identity that come with it.

For over ten years now, the PS 124 theater club in New York’s Chinatown has been the only Asian-American team to compete at the renowned Junior Theater Festival, a gathering of young thespians from across the world. It even earned the privilege of being one of a select few schools nationally to premiere the kids production of Frozen. As the kids gear up for the much-anticipated show, Curtain Up! follows their lives behind the scenes and the challenges that have surfaced.

What can theater help these children uncover about who they are? Which cultural stereotypes does these kids prove, and which do they debunk? What unexpected turns will these kids be confronted with, as they present their final elementary school performance, before graduating into middle schools?

Through rehearsals and time behind the scenes, the experience of growing up and the heartbreaks that come with it, this charming documentary tackles deep questions of identity and transitions from a kids-eye view and will leave an audience provoked. This charming documentary will also underscore – amidst high-pitched voices and youthful exuberance – how much we can learn from these nine- and ten-year-olds.

You can purchase a ticket for Curtain Up! until 11:59pm PST/2:59am EST and you can watch it Click here to purchase a ticket to watch the film.

Hui Tong
Hui Tong

Hui Tong – Director/Producer

Hui Tong is a documentary filmmaker from Beijing and currently based in Beijing. Six years ago he came to the U.S. for college and developed a strong interest in the intersection of history, arts, and identity. He has been making narrative and documentary shorts since high school, and in writing covered Asian American identity issues. Curtain Up! is his first feature-length documentary.

He has just finished his first book on the issue of identity, through the lenses of Asian American, Chinese American, mainland Chinese and overseas Chinese students.

Kelly Ng
Kelly Ng

Kelly is a journalist and documentary filmmaker from Singapore, drawn particularly to stories on minority communities, education and mental health. Her video and written stories have been published on, The Atlantic, NBC, and South China Morning Post, among others. She spent most of her journalism life in print before venturing into documentaries. Curtain Up! Is her filmmaking debut.

Kelly continues to work on documentaries outside her full-time job as a correspondent at Singapore’s The Business Times.

Curtain Up! Website

 

DisOrient Asian American Film Festival: The role of Asian American filmmakers in supporting Black Lives Matter Panel Discussion Featuring Karen Ishizuka, Hisonni Mustafa, Ursula Liang, Daisy Truong and Tadashi Nakamura

(Left to Right) Karen Ishizuka, Hisonni Mustafa, Ursula Liang, Daisy Truong and Tadashi Nakamura

The DisOrient Asian American Film Festival of Oregon is  celebrating 16 years of uplifting Asian American and Pacific Islander stories and voices this year and is being held virtually from March 19-28, 2021. The curated program includes narrative and documentary films, livestreamed events and recorded Q&A’s to enrich your film experience.

(Left to Right) Karen Ishizuka, Tadashi Nakamura, Hisonni Mustafa, Ursula Liang, Daisy Truong

On Sunday, March 21 at 3pm PST/6pm EST, DisOrient is presenting a panel discussion on The role of Asian American filmmakers in supporting Black Lives Matter:  Moderated by DisOrient Founder Jason Mak. Panelists: Daisy Truong, Hisonni Mustafa, Karen Ishizuka, Tadashi Nakamura and Ursula Liang. Click here for tickets. Tickets required—“Pay what you can”.

Check out trailers of the films featured in the Festival below.

Check out the website for the full festival schedule, program, and film trailers. Facebook

Life Imitates Art for Emy Coligado with Dream Role in Mallorie Ortega’s THE GIRL WHO LEFT HOME

Mar. 19-28: DisOrient Asian American Film Festival of Oregon Lineup 

Mar. 28: Disorient Asian American Film Festival Closing Night Film Q & A with Virginia Wing, Lia Chang, Jason Ma, Garth Kravits and Jo Yang for WHEN THE WORLD WAS YOUNG, and Donald Young for COMING HOME AGAIN 

Mar. 28: Disorient Asian American Film Festival Closing Night Film Q & A with Virginia Wing, Lia Chang, Jason Ma, Garth Kravits and Jo Yang for WHEN THE WORLD WAS YOUNG, and Donald Young for COMING HOME AGAIN

The Closing Night Film program of the 16th Annual DisOrient Asian American Film Festival of Oregon will feature the Pacific Northwest premieres of Garth Kravits’ short film When the World Was Young starring Lia Chang, Jason Ma, Virginia Wing and Jo Yang; and Wayne Wang’s Coming Home Again, based on a personal essay by Chang Rae Lee, and starring Justin Chon, Jackie Chung, and Christina July Kim.

The Festival is being held virtually this year from March 19-28, 2021. Click here to purchase tickets to view the films.

The Livestreamed Q&A on Sunday March 28 @ 4:00pm PST/7:00pm EST will feature Lia Chang, Jason Ma, Virginia Wing, Jo Yang and Garth Kravits for When The World Was Young and Donald Young for Coming Home AgainClick here for tickets.

Jason Ma, Virginia Wing and Lia Chang in WHEN THE WORLD WAS YOUNG. Photo by Garth Kravits

In WHEN THE WORLD WAS YOUNG, siblings Benjamin (Jason Ma) and Audrey (Lia Chang) return home to confront their Mother’s (Virginia Wing) memory loss and discover a hidden key to her past. The cast also features Daniel Dunlow, Michelle Simone Miller and Mark York.

Jason Ma, Lia Chang and Virginia Wing in When the World Was Young. Photo by Garth Kravits

Written and directed by Garth Kravits, the film is Executive Produced by Lia Chang’s production company Bev’s Girl Films, with producers Garth Kravits of Cut & Dry Films and Eric Elizaga. The film was shot on location in New York.

The production team includes 1st A.D. Eric Elizaga, 2nd A.D. Anastasia Shulgina, Key Hair and Make-up by Dorothy Bhadra; Kristen Lee Rosenfeld on Piano, Emma Svetvilas on Cello, Garth Kravits on Guitar recorded live at Yes It Is Productions.

Watch the trailer for WHEN THE WORLD WAS YOUNG below:

Virginia Wing. Photo by Lia Chang

Virginia Wing (Virginia) is a Chinese-American actress whose ancestors came to the “Gold Mountain” from Canton (now Guangdong) in the mid-1800s, lured  by the Gold Rush and the building of the railroads. She is currently writing about growing up Southern in the Mississippi Delta, where she was born and raised. Professionally, she has run the gamut from opera, theatre, cabaret, TV, film, playwriting, directing and producing to script analysis. She modeled in her youth and is in the Breck Girl Hall of Fame. She was the model in the Mitsouko by Guerlain ad in the 60s, which won awards internationally. She was a nominee for Best Actress in the Hollywood NAACP Image Awards. She is most proud of this film because the characters did not have to have Chinese accents, did not have to speak Chinese or refer to themselves as being Chinese. They were not written as Exotic or Other, but as Americans who happen to be Chinese, caught up in a universal story. At last! She can be seen in NYTW’s production of Three Sisters in the Spring of 2020. Click on the  Performing Arts Legacy Website for more about Virginia Wing.

Jason Ma. Photo by Lia Chang

Jason Ma (Benjamin) is a son of an immigrant family, and a grateful descendant of a long line of those who were able to persist, overcome and succeed on their way to becoming Americans. He wrote book, music and lyrics for Gold Mountain and is the 2017 recipient of the ASCAP Foundation’s Cole Porter Award for his work as a composer/lyricist. Along with writing, he is an actor who has been seen on Broadway and Off-Broadway stages, in regional theaters and many international venues. Please visit: www.goldmountainthemusical.com

Lia Chang
Lia Chang

Lia Chang (Audrey) is an actor, a multi-media content producer and co-founder of Bev’s Girl Films, making films that foster inclusion and diversity on both sides of the camera. Bev’s Girl Films’ debut short film, Hide and Seek was a top ten film in the Asian American Film Lab’s 2015 72 Hour Shootout Filmmaking Competition, and she received a Best Actress nomination. BGF collaborates with and produces multi-media content for artists, actors, designers, theatrical productions, composers,  musicians and corporations. Lia has appeared in the films Wolf, New Jack City, A Kiss Before Dying, King of New York, Big Trouble in Little China, The Last Dragon, Taxman, Balancing Act, Belongingness, When the World was Young and Hide and Seek.

Jo Yang

Jo Yang (Amah) began her professional stage acting career in the Pacific Northwest and now lives and works in New York City. Recently she appeared as Sook Ja in New York Theatre Workshop’s production of “Endlings” before it was abruptly shut down by the pandemic in Mar 2020. She is grateful that the play had its world premiere and a full run at The American Repertory Theatre the year prior. Less than six degrees of separation bring Virginia Wing and Jo together on this project as they also worked with each other at the Eugene O’Neill Theatre Festival. As well as theatre, Jo’s credits extend across the board, in film, tv, radio, commercials and print. She has recurring roles on “The Affair” and  “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel”, speaking Mandarin. Her Film/TV credits are listed here.

Garth Kravits. Photo by Lia Chang
Garth Kravits. Photo by Lia Chang

Garth Kravits is an actor, singer, musician, composer and award winning filmmaker, director and editor. He made his Broadway debut in the Tony award winning musical The Drowsy Chaperone and originated the role of Ritchie in the Broadway show Gettin’ the Band Back Together’. His Off-Broadway credits include Old Jews Telling Jokes, Toxic Audio and Smart Blonde. He has appeared regionally in Gettin’ The Band Back Together, Meet Me in St. Louis: A Live Radio Play, and It’s A Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play, (Bucks County Playhouse) Kravits has appeared on TV in “Mr. Robot,” “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel,” HBO’s “Divorce,” “30 Rock,” “The Blacklist,” “Nurse Jackie,” “The Carrie Diaries,” “Hostages” and in the new TV shows “The Hunters” (Amazon Prime) and “Tommy” (CBS). Bev’s Girl Films’ Hide and Seek and Rom-Com Gone Wrong have also been official selections of Disorient. DisOrient is the premiere Asian American independent film festival of Oregon, celebrating films with authentic Asian Pacific American voices, histories and stories. They highlight social justice themes that translate to universal human experiences. They promote representation, diversity and inclusion to broaden the narrative of who is American, and to strengthen and build community.

All-access passes ($48) and single tickets ($9) for all films may be purchased online at www.disorientfilm.org. Check out the website for the full festival schedule, program, and film trailers.

Garth Kravits’ Short Film WHEN THE WORLD WAS YOUNG Starring Virginia Wing, Jason Ma, Lia Chang and Jo Yang is an Official Selection of The 16th Annual DisOrient Asian American Film Festival of Oregon

Broadwayworld: WHEN THE WORLD WAS YOUNG Set For Virtual World Premiere At The New York Shorts International Film Festival

Life Imitates Art for Emy Coligado with Dream Role in Mallorie Ortega’s THE GIRL WHO LEFT HOME

Mar. 19-28: DisOrient Asian American Film Festival of Oregon Lineup

The DisOrient Asian American Film Festival of Oregon is  celebrating 16 years of uplifting Asian American and Pacific Islander stories and voices this year and will be a held virtually from March 19-28, 2021. The curated program includes narrative and documentary films, livestreamed events and recorded Q&A’s to enrich your film experience. Check out the trailers below.

(Left to Right) Karen Ishizuka, Tadashi Nakamura, Hisonni Mustafa, Ursula Liang, Daisy Truong

The role of Asian American filmmakers in supporting Black Lives Matter: Saturday, March 21 @ 3:00pm PST. Tickets required—“Pay what you can”. Moderated by DisOrient Founder Jason Mak. Panelists: Daisy Truong, Hisonni Mustafa, Karen Ishizuka, Tadashi Nakamura and Ursula Liang. Click here for tickets.

2021 Filmmakers
2021 Filmmakers

Film Highlights: Opening Night film: The Girl Who Left Home: A live-action, musical feature film by writer/director/lyricist/producer Mallorie Ortega, and producer Angelo Santos. The film will be followed by two short films, Anna Anaka’s  Looking Back, and Joella Cabalu’s Ode to a Seafaring People. Livestreamed Q&A on Saturday, March 20 @ 4:00pm PST/7:00pm EST featuring Mallorie Ortega, Haven Everly, Emy Coligado, Paolo Montalban, Joella Cabalu and Anna Anaka.

Click here for tickets.

Haven Everly, Emy Coligado and Paolo Montalban in Mallorie Ortega’s THE GIRL WHO LEFT HOME.

Life Imitates Art for Emy Coligado with Dream Role in Mallorie Ortega’s THE GIRL WHO LEFT HOME

Centerpiece film: Cane Fire: Pacific NW Premiere; Feature Documentary. Merging film history with the personal and political, filmmaker Anthony Banua-Simon offers an eye-opening look at the Hawaiian Island of Kauai. The film will be preceded by two short films, Where Smoke Rises and The Pākalā Kids. Livestreamed Q&A on Friday, March 26 @  6:30pm PST/9:30pm EST. Click here for tickets.

Closing Night Film: Coming Home AgainPNW Premiere. Feature film by Wayne Wang, based on a personal essay by Chang Rae Lee, and starring Justin Chon, Jackie Chung, and Christina July Kim.

Our film, When the World Was Young, directed by Garth Kravits and starring Virginia Wing, Jason Ma, Lia Chang and Jo Yang, will screen before Coming Home Again. Livestreamed Q&A on Sunday March 28 @ 4:00pm PST/7:00pm EST. Click here for tickets.

Other film highlights include: Water Like Fire: Mainland US premiere. Lovely, poetic, Hawaii-made indie film. Sansei Granddaughters’ Journey 5 artists honor their ancestors and the 120,000 people ofJapanese ancestry who were unjustly incarcerated during WWII. See You ThenFeature Narrative by award-winning filmmaker Mari Walker. After 15 years, Kris is finally ready to explain her transgender journey to college girlfriend Naomi (Lynn Chen). Screening with Kaye: This Life Around, the artistic journey of a musician rediscovering her music. Take Out GirlFeature film by award-winning director Hisonni Mustafa, with an Asian American hip-hop soundtrack; screening with the world premiere of Blue Lanterns. 4 shorts programs: Emerging Voices, Japanese American Voices Past and Present, Voices of Family, Raising Our Voices All-access passes ($48) and tickets for all films may be purchased online at www.disorientfilm.org. Check out the website for the full festival schedule, program, and film trailers. Facebook

Video: #NYCITFF2021 Q & A with RAYA AND THE LAST DRAGON’s Qui Nguyen and Marc Schultz

New Ohio Theatre, located in Manhattan’s West Village, is presenting the 2021 NYC Indie Theatre Film Festival, showcasing over 30 shorts, features and web series episodes, running March 10 – 14.

The NYC Indie Theatre Film Festival presents work from New York City independent theatre artists defying labels and branching out into digital media and film. For 2021 they’re taking the festival online and opening it up to include indie theatre artists from across the United States. They’re excited to take advantage of the internet’s wide reach to meet a new, national community of fellow theatre artists and showcase new perspectives and voices from across the country. North and South. Coast to coast. This time, it’s national.

The NYC Indie Theatre Film Festival celebrated Opening Night of its 2021 edition on March 10 with a free, online interview and Q&A with playwright and screenwriter Qui Nguyen, co-writer of the new Disney film, Raya and the Last Dragon. The talk was moderated by Festival Co-Producer Marc Stuart Weitz, who says, “Qui has a wonderful perspective on being an artist in New York City and in Hollywood, and I know our audiences will be fascinated by his experience.”

Qui Nguyen is a playwright, TV/Film writer, and Co-Founder of the OBIE Award-winning Vampire Cowboys. For the screen, he’s written for AMC’s “Dispatches from Elsewhere,” Netflix’s “The Society,” Syfy’s “Incorporated,” PBS’s “Peg+Cat,” and Marvel Studios. He’s currently a screenwriter for Walt Disney Animation Studios where he penned the recent Raya and the Last Dragon starring Kelly Marie Tran and Awkwafina. Past awards include a 2016 Daytime Emmy Award, a 2016 Steinberg Award for his play Vietgone, and GLAAD nominations for his plays She Kills Monsters and Soul Samurai.

New Ohio Theatre’s Artistic Director Robert Lyons says, “I’ve known Qui for a long time now. Including the good fortune of co-writing a piece with him. He’s a singular talent and that’s why we invited Vampire Cowboys into our Archive Residency program, where they premiered Six Rounds of Vengeance in 2015. He is perfect as our Guest Artist for this festival as a quintessential indie theatre guy who’s making good in LA.”

“I’m so thrilled to partner on this year’s edition of the festival to help broaden its reach to a wider audience,” says Festival Co-Producer Allyson Morgan. “As a longtime partner of the festival with F*It Club’s annual Film Race, I am excited to bring both my theatre and film festival experience together to celebrate a nationwide community of artists in 2021.”

Festival passes are $35 and include admission to all screenings, Q&As and panels during the festival. To purchase, view screenings and events, and for more info go to https://nycitff2021.eventive.org.

A complete list and schedule of films and events, along with prices for individual tickets and blocks, will be announced at the end of February.

New Ohio Theatre is a two-time Obie Award-winning theatre under the leadership of Robert Lyons, Artistic Director, and Jaclyn Biskup, Creative Director. The New Ohio serves New York’s most adventurous theatre audiences by developing and presenting bold work from today’s vast independent theatre community. They believe the best of this community, the small artist-driven ensembles and the daring producing companies who operate without a permanent theatrical home, are actively expanding the boundaries of where American theatre is right now and where it’s going. From their home in the West Village’s historic Archive Building, the New Ohio provides a high-profile platform for downtown’s most mature, ridiculous, engaged, irreverent, gut-wrenching, frivolous, sophisticated, foolish and profound theatrical endeavors. For info visit http://NewOhioTheatre.org.