Danny Pudi checks out the goods in a scene from the film THE TIGER HUNTER - directed by Lena Khan - the Festival's Opening Night and World Premiere. Photo courtesy of the Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival

2016 Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival Opening Night Film- World Premiere of Lena Khan’s “THE TIGER HUNTER” Starring Danny Pudi; Centerpiece Film – “TYRUS”; Closing Night Film – “PALI ROAD”; Festival Runs Apr. 21- 28

Danny Pudi checks out the goods in a scene from the film THE TIGER HUNTER - directed by Lena Khan - the Festival's Opening Night and World Premiere. Photo courtesy of the Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival
Danny Pudi checks out the goods in a scene from the film THE TIGER HUNTER – directed by Lena Khan – the Festival’s Opening Night and World Premiere. Photo courtesy of the Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival

March 15, 2016 – LOS ANGELES   Visual Communications (VC), the nation’s premier Asian Pacific American media arts center, announced the Opening, Closing and Centerpiece film programs for the upcoming 32nd edition of the Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival (LAAPFF) running April 21-28, 2016. This annual film celebration will be presented across Los Angeles from Little Tokyo to Downtown Los Angeles to Koreatown and to West Hollywood featuring 140 films from over 20 countries.

VC will celebrate 32 years as Southern California’s largest and most prestigious film festival of its kind.  The LAAPFF launches the pre-celebration of Asian Pacific Heritage Month through this year’s slate of over 130 films from both Asian Pacific American and Asian international directors from over 20 countries.  For over three decades, the Festival has presented nearly 5,000 films and shorts by Asian American and Asian international artists.

Opening this year’s Festival at the Aratani Theatre in Little Tokyo is the World Premiere of dramatic comedy THE TIGER HUNTER from an amazing new director Lena Khan. The film centers upon Sami Malik (Danny Pudi of NBC TVs – COMMUNITY), a young South Asian man who travels to America to become an engineer in order to impress his childhood crush and live up to the legacy of his father — a legendary tiger hunter back home. When Sami’s job unexpectedly falls through and he ends up living in a tiny co-op with two oddball roommates, he must resort to constructing an elaborate charade with the misfit accomplices in hopes of convincing his sweetheart that he’s far more successful than he truly is…or perhaps ever could be. As Sami tries to pull off the farce of a lifetime, what ensues is a series of adventures involving outlandish schemes, an arch-nemesis in an absurd office environment, and a somewhat functional Dodge Charger with a character of its own. Together, although their plans may contradict each other with terrible consequences, Sami and his rag-tag group must work together while meeting the usual host of obstacles — the “usual,” that is, if back-alley brawls, trips to prison, or catastrophic LSD-related misunderstandings are just your usual, everyday fare. The film also stars Rizwan Manji, Jon Heder, Karen David, Kevin Pollak, Sam Page and Iqbal Theba.

Jackson Rathbone and Michelle Chen in a scene from PALI ROAD - A FILM BY JONATHAN LIM is the Festival Closing Night film. Photo Courtesy of the Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival
Jackson Rathbone and Michelle Chen in a scene from PALI ROAD – A FILM BY JONATHAN LIM is the Festival Closing Night film. Photo Courtesy of the Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival

Jonathan Lim’s powerful drama PALI ROAD starring Michelle Chen, Sung Kang, Elizabeth Sung, Tzi Ma and Jackson Rathbone will close out the eight – day film extravaganza at the Directors Guild of America on April 28, 2016.  PALI ROAD centers on Lily (Michelle Chen), a Chinese doctor doing her residency in a Hawaiian hospital under Dr. Kayne (Sung Kang).  She had fallen in love with schoolteacher Neil (Jackson Rathbone) — at least this is what she remembers. But after a terrible car accident, Lily wakes up to discover, in horror, a married life with Dr. Kayne, that includes a 5-year-old son she has never seen. With everyone around her denying Neil’s existence, Lily begins to question her own sanity, but memories of Neil force her to embark on a journey to retrace her past and discover the truth.

The amazing artist Tyrus Wong in his kite studio in a scene from the acclaimed documentary TYRUS - A FILM BY PAMELA TOM, the festival's centerpiece film. Photo Courtesy of the Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival
The amazing artist Tyrus Wong in his kite studio in a scene from the acclaimed documentary TYRUS – A FILM BY PAMELA TOM, the festival’s centerpiece film. Photo Courtesy of the Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival

The LAAPFF Centerpiece offering this year is the moving and insightful documentary TYRUS on Saturday, April 23rd, from director Pamela Tom which brings the life of Chinese American painter, production illustrator, lithographer, and kite builder Tyrus Wong to the big screen.  Wong is best known for his concept art for Walt Disney’s feature animated film BAMBI. His strikingly beautiful concept paintings and sketches continue to influence the work of generations of animators and production designers. TYRUS celebrates not only the beauty of his art, but reveals to a larger audience a lesser known part of the Chinese American experience — that of its artists and creators.

“We are excited and proud to present these three films as our celebrations,” states VC Executive Director Francis Cullado.  “Having Lena Khan’s THE TIGER HUNTER as our opening, Jonathan Lim’s PALI ROAD as our closing night, and Pamela Tom’s TYRUS as our centerpiece film certainly highlights the amount of Asian American directorial talent out there. The big word this year in Hollywood has been ‘diversity’ and the Festival is one of the ways we address this issue at Visual Communications and for our community. For us, it’s not just about diversity – it’s about inclusivity. We will be releasing more of the Festival line up in the next week and everyone will be able to celebrate inclusion and diversity on the screen, as it should be.”

For program information, a complete listing of sponsors and partners, and to purchase tickets, log on to www.vconline.org/festival or contact Visual Communications at (213) 680-4462. Tickets are available to the general public on Monday, March 21st.

Screening Venues:

  • Aratani Theatre @ Japanese American Cultural & Community Center – Little Tokyo, 244 South San Pedro Street, Los Angeles, CA  90012
  • Tateuchi Democracy Forum @ Japanese American National Museum – Little Tokyo, 111 N. Central Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90012
  • Downtown Independent – Downtown LA (DTLA), 251 S. Main Street, (between 3rd and 2nd Streets), Los Angeles, CA  90012
  • CGV Cinemas – Koreatown – Mid-Wilshire, 621 Western Avenue (between 6th Street and Wilshire Blvd.), Los Angeles, CA 90005
  • The Great Company – Downtown LA (DTLA), 1917 Bay Street (between Wilson and Mateo Streets), Los Angeles, CA  90021
  • Directors Guild of America – West Hollywood, 7920 Sunset Blvd. (at Hayworth), West Hollywood, CA  90046
Lia Chang. Photo by Garth Kravits
Lia Chang. Photo by Garth Kravits

Lia Chang is an award-winning filmmaker, a Best Actress nominee, a photographer, and an award-winning multi-platform journalist. 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 and Hide and Seek, which will screen at the Disorient Film Festival in Eugene Oregon in April. She is profiled in Examiner.comJade Magazine and Playbill.com.

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Click here for the Lia Chang Articles Archive and here for the Lia Chang Photography Website.

All text, graphics, articles & photographs: © 2000-2016 Lia Chang Multimedia. All rights reserved. All materials contained on this site are protected by United States copyright law and may not be reproduced, distributed, transmitted, displayed, published or broadcast without the prior written permission of Lia Chang. You may not alter or remove any trademark, copyright or other notice from copies of the content. For permission, please contact Lia at lia@liachangphotography.com

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