Q & A with Jason Tobin, star of Dax Phelan’s JASMINE

Dax Phelan’s award-winning film Jasmine starring Jason Tobin, Glen Chin, Grace Huang, Sarah Lian, Byron Mann and Eugenia Yuan, screens on Friday, November 13th at the International House, 3701 Chestnut St. at 7:15pm during the Philadelphia Asian American Film Festival. Producer Jon Anderson will be on hand for a Q & A.

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Leonard To (Jason Tobin) is a man who is struggling to come to terms with the unsolved murder of his beloved wife, Jasmine. After more than a year, he decides to come back to Hong Kong and move on with his life. He searches for a new job, attends group grief support meetings, and reconnects with Grace, a woman from his past. While he still calls the police, hoping Jasmine’s murder case will be resolved, Leonard does seem to start life anew.

A scene from Dax Phelan's JASMINE
A scene from Dax Phelan’s JASMINE

On the first anniversary of Jasmine’s death, Leonard visits her burial site and crosses paths with a mysterious man, who Leonard becomes convinced is a prime suspect for his beloved wife’s death. Leonard decides to investigate and follow this man, in hopes of finding connections to his wife’s murder, and reports the man to the police. However, when the police fail to arrest the man, Leonard realizes that the only way for him to stop his own fiery downward spiral and move on with his life once and for all is to take matters into his own hands. The result: a shocking and unforgettable final revelation.

Dax Phelan. Photo by Lia Chang
Dax Phelan. Photo by Lia Chang

In his directorial debut, Dax Phelan keeps us on an edge of our seats and takes us on a roller-coaster ride with his star-studded cast and crew. With a strong character-driven narrative and constant suspense all set in the bustling city of Hong Kong, Dax Phelan creates a story that is bold, riveting, and shocking with a theme that is universally relatable to anyone who has ever loved and anyone who has ever suffered. Jasmine is dedicated to Dax Phelan’s mother.

Jasmine is playing at numerous film festivals this fall including the Philadelphia Asian American Film Festival (Nov. 13)Bahamas International Film Festival (Dec. 11), at the Anchorage International Film Festival (Dec. 7 & 10).

Jason Tobin. Photo by Lia Chang
Jason Tobin. Photo by Lia Chang

Jason Tobin is a Hong Kong actor and producer who co-wrote, co-produced and stars in Jasmine.  He is best known for his role as Virgil Hu in Justin Lin’s critically acclaimed 2002 film Better Luck Tomorrow (BLT)The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift, #1 Serial Killer and Chris Chan Lee’s Yellow. In our interview over Skype, Tobin talks about the making of Jasmine, the challenges of low budget filmmaking in Hong Kong, and being a part of the Independent Asian American cinema scene including Better Luck Tomorrow.

Chang: How did you get into acting?
Tobin: I was 18. I had finished high school and was supposed to go to University in the UK. At that point, I didn’t know you could become an actor. I literally thought being an actor was a lark. I didn’t realize you could study to be an actor and try to get the job. I just didn’t understand. In high school, you are studying to go to law school or become a doctor, that ‘s your job. When I was 18, my father recognized that I loved movies and liked acting. He showed me an advertisement for an acting class in Hong Kong and I went to it. I was done for. Six months later, instead of going to university in the UK, I packed my bags up and moved to LA.

t16763gy719Chang: What have been your favorite projects?
Tobin: The Asian American features that I’ve done- Yellow with Chris Chan Lee, followed by Better Luck Tomorrow, #1 Serial Killer, Finishing the Game and now Jasmine. When I look at my body of work, I am really proud to have done these Asian American features.In my whole life I always wanted to be part of something important. I feel that having worked in these Asian American films that not only did it satisfy my creative urges as a performer and as an actor, they also satisfied me because I felt like I was part of something important. If I have somehow contributed to Asian American cinema and helped move it forward, you can’t pay for that. That’s a deep sense of satisfaction that you can’t get anywhere else.

Chang: You said, ‘Asian American cinema is where I belong; it is where I want to be.
Tobin: Obviously I lived in America, so I have a lot of friends who are Asian American actors or filmmakers. We frequently talk about how we want to be part of the mainstream. Why can’t they cast more Asians where they don’t have to be the Kung Fu fighter, or have to explain their Asianness? There’s all the talk about wanting to get into the mainstream. I’ve caught myself speaking in those terms too. Several years ago, it occurred to me that I don’t even feel comfortable working in that arena. Younger actors can speak with a lot of bravura. I am happy to stay within my community, my culture, making films that are important to us. To me at least. I’m never going to be a Caucasian man; I’m never going to be a black man. I’m never going to be French or Jewish. I am a Chinese, English speaking guy. I am really happy with that. The stories that I am interested in telling, I have always felt like a bird between two trees. Trying to fit in.

Chang: Are you working on something now?
Tobin: It’s a story about these two down and out Asian American actors who are completely unemployed and can’t get hired at all. They decide to go on a road trip to visit Bruce Lee’s grave in Seattle. That’s the premise. We’ll be shooting that in 2016.

I am working on a Martial arts film. It is not going to be an action packed martial arts film. It is going to be sparse, when you see it, it will be important. I talk about it like a martial arts film – meets American indie film. It’s another thing that we always talk about in Asian American cinema, why do we always have to be the martial arts guy? I completely understand that sentiment, and even though I have practiced martial arts my whole life, and watch so many martial arts film and am a massive Bruce Lee fan, as an actor I always steered clear of it. I wanted to be taken seriously as an actor. I’m getting older, I love the genre, I better do one now before I get older.

finishing-the-game-movie-poster-2008-1020406341I dipped my toes into martial arts films with Justin Lin’s Finishing the Game, the premise is that it’s a mockumentary and I am not in the film. I was cut out. My character Toby Jackson is not in America. The documentarian is in LA and as originally scripted, they would cut to me in Mexico as an underground street fighter, trying to get back into America. He can’t get back in so he’s becomes part of this underground fight club.I was in the best shape of my life, 4% body fat. After the shoot, Justin Lin came up to me at the end of the day and told me that this was the best acting he had ever seen me do. Several months later he calls me in Hong Kong, and says, “I love the footage It’s some of my favorite stuff we shot but I just can’t make the footage work in the film. It just doesn’t make sense.” It was heartbreaking. He says I’ll give you all the footage.

This is the impetus for this Bruce Lee road trip story. They are huge Bruce Lee fans, and one has just been cut out of the film where he’s playing a Bruce Lee type character. Finishing the Game was an important film for me even though I am not in it. Art director Candy Guitterez designed the poster and used a ghost image of me in the poster. It’s my face on the poster with all of the other Bruce Lees layered on top.

Han (Sung Kang), Virgil (Jason J. Tobin) and Ben (Parry Shen) are overachieving high school honor students in Orange County who live second lives at night as a gang responsible for criminal mischief in Better Luck Tomorrow. Photo: MTV Films
Han (Sung Kang), Virgil (Jason J. Tobin) and Ben (Parry Shen) are overachieving high school honor students in Orange County who live second lives at night as a gang responsible for criminal mischief in Better Luck Tomorrow. Photo: MTV Films

Chang: What was your experience with Better Luck Tomorrow?
Tobin: Better Luck Tomorrow was a blessing and an Asian American powerhouse. The gift that keeps on giving. I’ve gotten so much out of that film. When I was in LA at the Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival, I met actors from Revenge of the Green Dragon and Soul Searching. They told me that because of BLT, they were really inspired by me. You can’t pay for that.  Every time I go back to America and I hear about the importance of that films in their lives, it validates me for all of the hardships of being an actor. An actor’s life is full of ups and downs.

BLT shook things up. My audition was on a Sunday, I was feeling jaded but luckily I went to it.  After one or two scenes, we improved and it was cool and fun. When I read the script I was blown away. This is the kind of role, specifically with my character,  an unbelievable role. This is the kind of role that makes careers, that wins Oscars. He’s such a live wire, shows such vulnerability. If this film were cast as a non Asian American film, Virgil would not have been the white guy. I felt incredibly lucky. The third day of shooting, I turned to Roger and said that this movie is a gift. This is a blessing. I am so lucky to be on this film. I have felt that throughout the whole journey.

I am a British citizen and in 2002 we’d gone to Sundance with Better Luck Tomorrow. The film hadn’t been released yet, so I went on vacation to Argentina. On my way back to America I was denied entry. Even though I had been in and out of America many, many times, for some reason, post 9/11 things were computerized and the infraction that I had overstayed my visa by 5 days several years earlier, showed up. They said I had to go back to the UK and reapply for a visa. A lot of people took that to be that I was deported but I wasn’t. It just meant that my Visa application was rejected. It meant that I spent a few years away right when BLT came out. Many people thought that I should have been there to capitalize on the success. I watched BLT’s success from afar.

better_luck_tomorrowI wasn’t there for the poster. That actually is not my body. The day of the photo shoot, the cast had a body double for me. They took my head from another picture and stuck it on. It was sad but I have no regrets. I spent a year in Argentina, learning guitar, learning Spanish. After a year of that I thought I better go back to work. Being a British citizen, I went to London, did a couple of movies, and TV shows. As much as I enjoyed working in the UK I was still an Asian man, an Asian person working in a predominantly white country. I’ve done this before; I’ve fought this battle before. I decided it was time for me to go back to Hong Kong and find a different challenge.

Jason Tobin and his wife Michelle. Photo by Lia Chang
Jason Tobin and his wife Michelle. Photo by Lia Chang

Chang: What is your experience of being Eurasian?
Tobin: I am from Hong Kong and have always loved Hong Kong, but I also have a love hate relationship with it. I am a real product of Hong Kong. I constantly get asked why my English is so good? They don’t understand the history of Hong Kong, that there is a British colony, with two school systems, Chinese speaking and English speaking, and that I’m Eurasian. My Father is white, a British guy; my mother is Chinese, a Cantonese woman from Hong Kong. I wanted to use as much of myself and even to the extent when we meet Leonard at the beginning of the film, he’s come back from somewhere, he’s been away. If you notice my accent changes quite a bit. In America, me as Jason, I grew up speaking Cantonese, speaking English, I went to a British School so I learned to speak English with an English accent. Subsequently I went to America, and learned to speak with an American accent. I spend time in Australia because my wife is a naturalized Australian, so frequently my accent changes depending on who I am talking too. If I am in America and speaking to American people, I am going to sound more American. When I am home and with family, I sound more British. It’s not phony either way. It’s just comfort. I don’t feel comfortable sounding like an American when I am talking to my dad. It doesn’t feel right. I brought little things like that to the character. Aussie, American, added something to Leonard, where is he from? It adds to the fact that he’s trying to be something that is not.

Chang: Dax said, “I wanted to go on record that I would be the first one to make a movie with Jason as the lead.” What is your response to that?
Tobin: I’m unbelievable grateful for Dax’s belief in me because no one else has done that. It really flatters me that he felt that strongly about me as an actor and as a performer.

It is tough to make a film, especially when you have very little money. It’s easy to test your relationship. Our relationship, thank goodness is all the better for it. We’re still friends. It’s something special when someone believes sin you.

Dax Phelan, Jason Tobin and Byron Mann. Photo by Lia Chang
Dax Phelan, Jason Tobin and Byron Mann. Photo by Lia Chang

Chang: How did you and Dax first meet?
Tobin: I had just got back to Hong Kong. I had just worked with Byron on a film and we really hit it off. We hung out a bit and he told me that he had a friend in town, a screenwriter named Dax Phelan. They were working on a project. We had dinner one night. Dax and I talked a lot about films, the kind of films that we liked, and the kind of actors we liked. A few months later in LA we met for coffee and talked about doing a movie together. Just getting to know him in Hong Kong, spending time with him in Hong Kong, it was very much the kind of relationship that I’ve always wanted to have with a director. As an actor, I’ve always wanted to have the kind of actor/director relationships like Scorsese and DeNiro back in the day, or Marlon Brando in Last Tango in Paris. In many ways Dax and I did have that relationship. We really got to know each other. We talked about things that I’ve never really spoken to another director before. We spent a long time talking about things, we spoke about things that we were deeply ashamed of, things that we felt truly embarrassed us, moments in our life that we were not proud or happy to speak of. We had that level of trust. That played into the story of Jasmine.

Chang: How did you and Dax develop the story together?
Tobin: Jasmine is not autobiographical. It did not happen to me and Dax. We did, however, try to channel as much of the loneliness and deep seeded shame.

In terms of the process of writing; I really wanted to use as many aspects of myself as possible. I wanted make the kind of a film that was really organic as possible, and to try and act the way it was organic. I wanted to use as much of myself as possible, whether it be pain, death, or loneliness that I felt in my own life. With regards to my character Leonard, my father’s name is Anthony Leonard Tobin, So I used my father’s middle name. To is actually my Cantonese name, even though my surname is Tobin.

I had never played an adult. I’d always played young people, college age. For the most part, I’d always played very young. Jasmine was an opportunity for me to channel certain aspects of my father. I’m not saying my father is Leonard To. There are all these aspects that I wanted to bring truth to the character. Dax already had an idea, about this unreliable investigator, narrator, and protagonist. To me, I had a lot of feelings that I had about Hong Kong, growing up here, certain isolation, even though it is a massive city and population. There is something about him- the clothes don’t fit him; the suit does not fit him. He’s always the outsider. There is a wealth gap, an elitist gap, the very elite Hong Kong, and people that are trying to be that. That is something I can relate to.

Chang: Why was the scene in the hotel room the scariest day of Dax’s life?
Tobin: We were shooting at Chungking Mansion. (Chungking Express). I think Wong Kar Wai may have grown up there. It’s a very seedy, rundown building and not the cleanest or safest building in Hong Kong. It’s pretty disgusting and full of life. It’s really, really fascinating. We ended up shooting in a very cheap low budget hostel on the 10th floor.

The scene that day was that Leonard was having a very very tough night. Leonard can get though the days because he is interacting with people, but the nights were problematic because that is when the loneliness would overtake him. This is the scene where he is alone in his room at Chungking Mansion. We did a lot of long takes. Improvisational- a lot of it was about behavior, how he spent his time. We start rolling as the scene progressed and he begins to spiral out of control. I started to do things that weren’t in the script. At one point, I opened the window. I was completely naked. I opened the window and stepped out the window and was on the ledge. And Dax said cut! Dax was terrified that I was going to jump. In that instant I knew I had perhaps gone too far as an actor. That was a very risky thing, not a safe thing to do. It really hit a chord in me. I just started crying and bawling my eyes out uncontrollably for half an hour. I stood in the room. It was just me, Guy and Dax and it was deathly silently. They just filmed me for a good 20-30 minutes, crying. That became a 3 second shot in the movie.

Dax and I had talked about Martin Sheen having a mental breakdown in Apocalypse Now. I’m not trying to compare myself to those kind of actors. We had talked about DeNiro, Marlon Brando, and Martin Sheen, so I wanted to step up. I wanted to push myself as much as I could. In that instant it really hit a chord in me. It made me think that my life did flash before me. It made me extremely, extremely sad. In a sense, that is the essence of Leonard To.

Chang: What character does Hong Kong play in the film? 
Tobin: I grew up in Hong Kong. I spent my life living in American, studying to be an actor. I spent a long time as this Asian guy working in a white country and trying to break through that barrier. I felt proud to be part of this Asian American wave of film. I always felt like I fought the good fight. I was glad to be part of Yellow and that whole movement. There was a part of me that wanted to come back to my hometown and make a film here.

In Hong Kong, I’m not local enough, I’m too westernized. Hong Kong movies are always about Hong Kong people. Very rarely are they about people like me who are English speakers. I wanted to make a film in my subculture. I wanted to use that aspect of myself. I wanted to tell this story. I’d always felt this sort of isolation living in Hong Kong. Hong Kong is a big city, but it feels small, like a little village because it is such tiny bit of land. There’s something about the extreme wealth and elitist that is here and also this huge working class population. It’s like a microcosm of America. There’s this great wealth divide. Byron’s character represents the rich, powerful, that have everything, beautiful women, there’s Leonard who can’t fit in. he want it so bad and he can’t have it. He’s trying to fit into his suit. He’s trying to be something that he is not. Even though I am not Leonard To, I can relate to that. As an actor, I sometimes feel as if I am just an imposter. It is something that I wanted to explore.

Chang: What are the challenges of low budget filmmaking in Hong Kong?
Tobin: Low budget filmmaking is challenging regardless of where you are. If you are trying to shoot a film without permits, and you are trying to use real locations, Hong Kong is such a populated city that wherever you stick your camera, someone will be looking right into it. In LA, you can always find a street that is relatively quiet. You wait until people walk by, and you have it for a few minutes. In Hong Kong, you literally have three seconds before someone else starts looking in the camera. We did many, many takes. The other thing that was particularly difficult about our shoot, at the time, we were using the Red One camera. I believe at the time the native ISO wasn’t particularly fast. It is handheld with a wide lens, an unbelievably short lens with a very shallow depth of field. With the aperture wide open, just keeping me in focus was extremely difficult. The film looks great for it. We could have gone the other way and used longer lens. When you use shorter lenses, you are right in the action. I am glad that the visual style of the film is the way it is. it really helps tell the story. Especially with the 1:235 ratio as well. With other films shot in Hong Kong; you can always see someone looking in the camera.

In Hong Kong they usually use long lenses because there are so many people that it is better to be far away because no one knows you are shooting. Guy liked the look of using short lens. Dax believed using 235 was great for landscapes. He wanted to use that more for our faces, it’s unusual. It is not a style that is used that often in Hong Kong.

Byron Mann. Photo by Lia Chang
Byron Mann. Photo by Lia Chang

Chang: How were Byron and Eugenia cast?
Tobin: Byron is a really cool guy. He’s this suave, charming, charismatic kind of guy. He’s like this gentleman/playboy, which is not as an insult. It’s easy to want to be him. I love the guy. It was easy for me as Leonard to want to be Byron. There an ease there, and also he’s a great actor. From the very beginning when we started writing the script, he was always in our mind to play the man. He’s originally from Hong Kong. I think he has a home in LA, in Vancouver; he’s definitely an international jetsetter. He’s actually the kind of guy that I want to be.

Jason Tobin and Eugenia Yuan. Photo by Lia Chang
Jason Tobin and Eugenia Yuan. Photo by Lia Chang

I had known Eugenia for a long time and always thought that she was a great actress. I had never worked with her but we’ve known each other for a while.

Euguenia Yuan and Jason Tobin in #1 Serial Killer.
Euguenia Yuan and Jason Tobin in #1 Serial Killer.

She was someone we had always thought of. For me the shoot was incredibly difficult. As you know, the film is mostly on me. It was a tough shoot. I had to do take after take, long takes, and I had to do such emotional, every scene is emotionally draining. Long takes, and multiple takes. I was exhausted. After two or three weeks of filming, Eugenia showed up for a few days to do her scenes. I was so happy that I had someone to act opposite. As an actor she is really easy to work with. She’s very in the moment, responsive. She was always very organic and in the moment. It elevates your acting.

As scripted, the original cut was two hours and 40 minutes. We had gotten to a shorter edit, 90 minutes at one point, and I said to Dax and Chris, “You’ve been editing to the script for a long time, now you need to throw the script away, and edit the film that you have. You need to rewrite it. I told them to go Malick on it.” To their credit, they tore the film to pieces and rebuilt it with that in mind. They came away with a much better film. What that means is that in the process, a lot of performances, actors and scenes got cut out. You use a lot of clay, pottery, and sculpture, pack a lot on and take things out. Even though I am in a lot of the film, to get those scenes we had to do so much more to get that. In film they always talk about shooting ratio, it’s the acting ratio and writing ratio that makes up that backstory, that got cut out.

Euguenia Yuan. Photo by Lia Chang
Euguenia Yuan. Photo by Lia Chang

Chang: Who is Grace and what was the evolution of her character?
Tobin: As an artist you want to work on a subconscious level. Is she is real or not real. The story evolved and changed through the making of it. There are a lot more intimate scenes where Grace and my character Leonard are getting to know each other and getting reacquainted. If you notice, in Grace’s scenes, there’s a baby crying in the background. Whose baby is that? Could Leonard be the father? With Grace, to me she always symbolized the life that he could have, and that the audience should want him to have. She’s the path that could lead him to some sort of salvation. Psychologically he is unable to.

Those scenes didn’t make it in the final cut, but we had to go through those scenes in order to have one did make it into the film. Eugenia says more than one look, then a script full of dialogue. I sometimes describe it as acting beyond the frame.

Chang: How did your producer Stratton Leopold get involved in the project?
Tobin: Dax and Stratton have known each other for many years. I think he met him when he was working at Mace Neufeld. Stratton mentored him and always believed in him. When Dax approached him about Jasmine, Stratton was on board right away.

The night before the first day of the shoot, one of our investors pulled out. Can you imagine the amount of stress when a major investor pulls out the cash? You’ve hired the people; you’ve booked things out. Then you lose the money at the last minute. It wasn’t all the money, but it was a huge chunk and it would have shut us down. Stratton was literally a guardian angel, not just because he lent his expertise and his name to the project, but also because he literally saved us. Our boat was about to sink. He saved the day.

Chang: How long was the shooting schedule?
Tobin: A good month. A four-week shoot, six days a week. We had a terrible schedule. You could never do this in America. In Hong Kong, and I certainly wouldn’t do it again, we had really short turnarounds. Some days we had 8 hour turn around. That’s ridiculous. I honestly don’t put up with that anymore. The 8-hour turn around was good for my performance. If I was supposed to be tired, I definitely was.

In Hong Kong, there are no unions. As an actor you have to protect yourself. When you are in the states, in the west, there are rules. That being said, I was the producer on this film, so I could have put my foot down. With such a low budget film, with the tight turnarounds, I didn’t enjoy them, but we couldn’t afford not to do it. Fortunately, everyone on board the film, every cast member, every crewmember, really believed in the script and they persevered through it. I would never want to put a crew through that kind of pain and agony again. Dax said that everyone came on board because they wanted to help me, so I am very thankful.

Chang: What challenges did you face in postproduction?
Tobin: The biggest challenge we faced in postproduction was that we had zero budget. We had no money whatsoever. We had tried to raise money prior to the shoot, but we could only raise enough to shoot the film.

We did not have enough to complete the whole postproduction part of it. What that meant was that we had to make the film sporadically and then we had to go back to work. We would return to making the film as we made more money.

After the shoot, we didn’t have an editor, but in the back of mind I’d wanted to introduced Chris Chan Lee to Dax. I’d worked with Chris Chan Lee on his first feature Yellow. I have great respect for Chris. He’s the kind of filmmaker that can do everything. He can write, he can DP, he can direct, he can edit. He’s an all around filmmaker. He was working as an editor and knowing that this was Dax’s first time as a filmmaker, and knowing their personalities as well, I had a feeling that they would really hit it off and that both of their experiences would compliment each other. I feel like a genius for introducing them.

Chang: Why did the film take so long to complete?
Tobin: Right after the shoot, he suffered a few family losses, his mother and grandmother. That set him back. He needed to drop the film for a while so he could regroup and recover. What that meant was that we had an extremely long postproduction. Several years. It was never because the film wasn’t any good. Life got in the way.

We were not going to make this film in any sort of traditional way. We weren’t trying to make a commercial film. We stayed true to the spirit of it, this organic.

We were always very patient. We never rushed ourselves. We were going to make the best film that we could make. Traditionally when people think your film takes a long time to finish, they think it has problems. That was never the case.

After a while a couple of crewmembers and people that worked on the film got upset. It’s understandable. People work on a film; they want to see where their time and energy went. People were paid a pittance on this film. I totally understood it. We went into this film with a certain philosophy. We’re going to take our time.

Nicole Watson, David Tsuboi, Michelle Tobin, Dax Phelan, Jason Tobin, Eugenia Yuan, Jon Anderson and guest attend the #AAIFF2015 screening of Jasmine at Village East Cinema in New York on July 30, 2015. Photo by Lia Chang
Nicole Watson, David Tsuboi, Michelle Tobin, Dax Phelan, Jason Tobin, Eugenia Yuan, Jon Anderson and guest attend the #AAIFF2015 screening of Jasmine at Village East Cinema in New York on July 30, 2015. Photo by Lia Chang

Chang: How did you raise the completion financing?
Tobin: We needed to get sound design and music. Byron knew Nicole Watson, her and her partner Jon Anderson saw the film and loved it. They came in and paid for the postproduction. We could see the finish line. DPS in Hollywood. It would have been cheaper in Hong Kong.

2015 LOS ANGELES ASIAN PACIFIC FILM FESTIVAL GRAND JURY PRIZE FOR BEST FEATURE GOES TO JASMINE, DIRECTED BY DAX PHELAN. HERE, THE TEAM FROM JASMINE CELEBRATES ITS FIVE AWARDS. FIFTH FROM LEFT: CHRIS CHAN LEE (WINNER, BEST EDITING); SEVENTH FROM LEFT: JASON TOBIN (WINNER, BEST ACTOR IN A DRAMA); THIRD FROM RIGHT: DAX PHELAN (DIRECTOR); SECOND FROM RIGHT: GUY LIVNEH (WINNER, BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY). (PHOTO: STEVEN LAM)
2015 LOS ANGELES ASIAN PACIFIC FILM FESTIVAL GRAND JURY PRIZE FOR BEST FEATURE GOES TO JASMINE, DIRECTED BY DAX PHELAN. HERE, THE TEAM FROM JASMINE CELEBRATES ITS FIVE AWARDS. FIFTH FROM LEFT: CHRIS CHAN LEE (WINNER, BEST EDITING); SEVENTH FROM LEFT: JASON TOBIN (WINNER, BEST ACTOR IN A DRAMA); THIRD FROM RIGHT: DAX PHELAN (DIRECTOR); SECOND FROM RIGHT: GUY LIVNEH (WINNER, BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY). (PHOTO: STEVEN LAM)

2015 LOS ANGELES ASIAN PACIFIC FILM FESTIVAL GRAND JURY PRIZE FOR BEST FEATURE GOES TO JASMINE, DIRECTED BY DAX PHELAN. HERE, THE TEAM FROM JASMINE CELEBRATES ITS FIVE AWARDS. FIFTH FROM LEFT: CHRIS CHAN LEE (WINNER, BEST EDITING); SEVENTH FROM LEFT: JASON TOBIN (WINNER, BEST ACTOR IN A DRAMA); THIRD FROM RIGHT: DAX PHELAN (DIRECTOR); SECOND FROM RIGHT: GUY LIVNEH (WINNER, BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY). (PHOTO: STEVEN LAM)

Chang: Being on the Film Festival Circuit…
Tobin: We had our US premiere in Dallas, our LA premiere at the LA Asian Pacific Film Festival. In this day and age, everyone in Hollywood is talking about the West and China co-productions. Everyone is trying to figure it out. Everyone wants to make these films. We did it. Jasmine is a US –Hong Kong co-production. Jasmine is a little indie film that we made. That is the thing that I am most proud of. It’s as much an American film, as it is an Asian American film, as it is a Hong Kong film. For me, I spent my whole career training as an actor in Los Angeles. I spent so many years going to the LA Asian Pacific Film Festival for other films, Better Luck Tomorrow and Yellow. To finally bring my film, a film that I produced, that I co-wrote, that I gave everything to, bled for, to premiere in Hong Kong and in LA, to me that was fabulous.

I grew up in Hong Kong; I went to America to study to become an actor. My whole adult life, my acting life was LA. To me Hong Kong and LA are my hometowns. To make a film in Hong Kong, to premiere in LA, to be so well received. When I won the best actor award at the LA Asian Pacific Film Festival, I was in tears. I was so moved. Hong Kong is my home, but coming to LA with the film felt like coming home as well.

Lia Chang, Bea Soong, Phil Nee, Elizabeth Sung, Eugenia Yuan, Jason Tobin, Tzi Ma and Vic Huey at the #AAIFF2015 screening of Jasmine at Village East Cinema in New York on July 30, 2015. Photo by Ursula Liang

Lia Chang, Bea Soong, Phil Nee, Elizabeth Sung, Eugenia Yuan, Jason Tobin, Tzi Ma and Vic Huey at the #AAIFF2015 screening of Jasmine at Village East Cinema in New York on July 30, 2015. Photo by Ursula Liang

Related articles:
#AAIFF2015: Dax Phelan’s Award winning JASMINE to have New York Premiere at Village East Cinema on July 30 
JASMINE and TWINSTERS Take Top Honors at the 31st Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival; ADVANTAGEOUS, MISS INDIA AMERICA, THE KILLING FIELDS OF DR. HAING S. NGOR among the winners

Lia Chang
Lia Chang

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 Philadelphia Asian American Film Festival on November 21st. She is profiled in Examiner.com, FebOne1960.com BlogJade Magazine and Playbill.com.

Other Articles:
Hide and Seek starring Lia Chang and Garth Kravits screens at the 2015 Philadelphia Asian American Film Festival (PAAFF15) in Women’s Shorts Program at Asian Arts Initiative on Nov. 21
World Premiere of PALI ROAD at 2015 Hawaii International Film Festival (HIFF) on Nov. 16 & 21st
AsAmNews.com: Actor Tzi Ma Rides ‘Hell On Wheels’ to New Heights
Q & A with Oscar-winning documentary filmmaker Ruby Yang; New Film MY VOICE, MY LIFE screens at #PAAFF15 on Nov. 22 at Asian Arts Initiative
Ed Moy’s Animated Short UP IN THE CLOUDS has East Coast premiere screening at PAAFF15 on Nov. 20
Philadelphia Asian American Film Festival Announces 8th Annual Festival Lineup
Gotta Dance Star André De Shields receives 2015 Award for Excellence in the Arts from The Theatre School at DePaul University
AsAmNews.com: Partying with George Takei, Lea Salonga, Telly Leung, Michael K. Lee and the cast of ‘Allegiance’ on opening night
George Takei, Lea Salonga, Telly Leung, Michael K. Lee and more at the first preview of Broadway’s Allegiance; opens Nov. 8
GOTTA DANCE stars André De Shields, Stefanie Powers, Lori Tan Chinn, Lillias White step out for ON YOUR FEET!
Tiger Morse by Mark Shaw: Jet Set Style Quest, 1962, on view at The Liz O’Brien Gallery through Dec. 18
Joel de la Fuente, Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa, Alexa Davalos, Luke Kleintank, Rufus Sewell, DJ Qualls and More at ‘The Man in The High Castle’ New York Series Premiere
Darren Criss, Jenna Ushkowitz, Ann Harada, Kristin Chenoweth, Karen Ziemba, Jon Cryer and More celebrate Great Writers at Dramatists Guild Fund’s 2015 Gala
Greg Watanabe makes Broadway Debut as Mike Masaoka in ‘Allegiance’ 
AsAmNews.com: Q & A with Arthur Dong, Award-winning Filmmaker and Author, Gay Icon, Distinguished Professor of Film
Film Lab Screening of ‪#‎72HrSO‬ Films at Time Warner Theater & Panel Discussion of Mass Media Constructions of Beauty 
AsAmNews.com: Creating an Asian American presence on Wikipedia, one WikiAPA Edit-a-thon at a time 
AsAmNews.com: The King and I’s Special Performance Benefits The Actors Fund 
Playbill.com: Hugs, Laughs and Photobombs By Tony Winners! Go Backstage at the Special Actors Fund Performance of The King and I
Broadwayworld.com: Photo Flash: Phylicia Rashad, Andre De Shields & More Original Cast Members from THE WIZ Reunite in Central Park! 
BIG TROUBLE IN LITTLE CHINA Cast Reunion featured in BLACK BELT MAGAZINE August/September 2015
Drumhead Magazine: Living Colour Drummer Will Calhoun, Photos by Lia Chang 
AsAmNews.com: AAPI Heritage Month: My Grandmother’s Detention on Angel Island 
Crafting a Career

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

All text, graphics, articles & photographs: © 2000-2015 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

The 13th Annual New York Korean Film Festival Lineup at MOMI, Nov. 6 -11

NYKFF 2015 Official Poster

PRESS RELEASE

The 13th Annual New York Korean Festival will run from November 6-November 11, 2015, at the Museum of the Moving Image at 36-01 35 Ave, Astoria, Queens, NY, 11106. This is  the first year Museum of the Moving Image will serve as a partner and the venue for the New York Korean Film Festival, building on past collaborations with the Korea Society and Subway Cinema.

The Korea Society has also invited an exceptional group of Korean guests, including star director Ryoo Seung-Wan and producers Kang Hye-jung and Park Jung (Veteran); directors Shin Suwon (Madonna), Lee Do-yun (Confession), Kang Hyo-jin (Wonderful Nightmare), Oh Seung-uk (The Shameless), and Hong Won-chan (Office); and actress Koh Ah-Sung.

Opening Night tickets: $20 ($12 for TKS members, MOMI Film Lover and Dual members / free for Silver Screen members and above).

All other NYKFF tickets are $12 ($7 for TKS members, MOMI Film Lover and Dual members / free for Silver Screen members and above).

Tickets are available online at movingimage.us.

OPENING NIGHT
Office (오피스)
FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 6, 6:30 P.M.
New York Premiere
With director Hong Won-chan and star Ko Ah-sung in person
Followed by a reception in the Museum lobby and cafe
Dir. Hong Won-chan. 2015, 111 mins. B.R. With: Ko Ah-sung, Park Seong-woong, Bae Seong-woo. After gruesomely murdering his family, a midlevel manager (Bae Seong-woo) dutifully returns to the office, haunting the building like a vengeful ghost and turning the otherwise bland workspace into a house of terror. Legitimately alarmed, his colleagues nonetheless sing his praises to the police—a hint that there’s more to the matter than a disgruntled employee suddenly snapping. Described as “hearty genre entertainment” by Variety, this Cannes “Midnight Madness” selection is a perfect outlet for young leading actress Ko Ah-sung.

“Workplace blues wrought large and crimson red.” — Clarence Tsui, The Hollywood Reporter

“Razor-sharp satire on petty politics in the corporate world […] laced with wickedly bitchy dialogue” — Maggie Lee, Variety

Hong Won-chan was the screenwriter for Confession of Murder (2012), The Yellow Sea (2010), The Scam (2009), and The Chaser (2007—a selection at Cannes), before making his directorial debut with Office.

The youngest of three sisters, Ko Ah-sung started acting at an early age and played the memorable role of the daughter in Bong Joon-ho’s The Host (2006). Her film credits include The Beauty Inside (2015), Thread of Lies (2014), Snowpiercer (2013), Duet (2012), After the Banquet (2009), A Brand New Life (2009), Radio Dayz (2008), and The Happy Life (2007).

Trap (덫, 치명적인 유혹)
International Premiere
SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 7, 1:00 P.M.
Dir. Bong Man-Dae. 2015, 107 mins. DCP. With Yoo Ha-joon, Han Je-in, Kang Yong-gyoo.
Maladjusted screenwriter Jeong-min (Yoo Ha-joon) travels to the countryside to rethink his life and concentrate on his career. But instead of working on his screenwriting, he finds transgressive distraction in the person of temptress Yumi (Han Je-in). The frontier between reality and fantasy blurs as Jeong-min’s mind and body are engulfed in a fatal attraction to the innocent-faced but dangerous Lolita, leading him to increasingly poor life decisions. A standout entry in the filmography of softcore erotic meister “Playboy” Bong Man-Dae.

Confession (좋은 친구들)
With director Lee Do-yun in person
New York Premiere
SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 7, 3:15 P.M.
Dir. Lee Do-yun. 2014, 114 mins. DCP. With Ji Sung, Ju Ji-hoon. Since a tragic mountain incident in high school, Min-soo (Lee Kwang-soo), Hyun-tae (Ji Sung) and In-chul (Ju Ji-hoon) have remained best friends through thick and thin. But when two of them agree to burn down an illegal gambling hall for the insurance payout, the spilt blood of loved ones unearths the bitter ghosts of a dark past. Soon, the group of childhood friends turn on each other in the bleakest of fallouts. Lee Do-yun’s debut feature has been compared with the slow-burning noir of Sidney Lumet’s final film, Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead.

“The film’s stupendous execution and the compelling characters successfully drive the film forward.” -Jason Bechervaise, Screen International

Lee Do-yun was born in South Korea. He directed the short films We. Trippers and Neighbor. Confession, his first feature, had its international premiere in Toronto last year.

The Shameless (무뢰한)
With director Oh Seung-uk in person
New York Premiere
SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 7, 6:00 P.M.
Dir. Oh Seung-uk. 118 mins. DCP. With Jeon Do-yeon, Kim Nam-gil, Park Sung-Woong. In Oh Seung-uk’s highly anticipated return to the director’s chair since his debut masterpiece Kilimanjaro in 2000, Cannes award-winning actress Jeon Do-yeon plays a bar hostess in love with a suspected murderer. Kim Nam-gil (The Pirates) is outstanding as a detective who plays a game of seduction with a dangerous woman. Selected for the Un Certain Regard program at the Cannes Film Festival, The Shameless is an unforgettably stylish noir.

“A mellow pleasure to be slowly savored, this polished work should be welcomed at festivals” — Maggie Lee, Variety

Oh Seung-uk (b.1963) began his career as an assistant director of Lee Chang-dong, co-writing his debut feature Green Fish. In the late ’90s, he co-wrote the landmark romance Christmas in August and Park Kwang-su’s ambitious historical drama The Uprising. Oh made his debut as a director with the crime thriller Killimanjaro in 2000. The Shameless is his long-awaited second feature.

Assassination (암살)
SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 7, 8:55 P.M.
Dir. Choi Dong-hoon. 2015, 140 mins. B.R. With Jeon Ji-hyun, Lee Jung-hae, Ha Jung-woo. Choi Dong-hoon’s follow-up to his 2012 hit The Thieves was Korea’s biggest box office hit of the year. Drawing inspiration from 1980s Hong Kong action comedies and South Korea’s little-known 1960s Manchurian Westerns, Assassination follows the journey of three resistance fighters as their mission takes them to the Manchurian countryside, pre-war Shanghai, and Japanese-occupied Seoul to assassinate an evil Japanese governor and his Korean acolyte. Boasting an all-star cast led by screen-goddess Jeon Ji-hyun and superstar Lee Jung-jae, Assassination is “a sensationally entertaining mash-up of historical drama, Dirty Dozen style shoot-‘em-up, spaghetti Western-flavored flamboyance, and extended action set pieces that suggest a dream-team collaboration of Sergio Leone, John Woo and Steven Spielberg” according to Variety’s Joe Leydon.

Madonna (마돈나)
With director Shin Su-Won in person
New York Premiere
SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 8, 2:00 P.M.
Dir. Shin Su-won. 2015, 121 mins. DCP. With Seo Young-hee, Kwon So-hyun, Kim Young-min.
After her festival hit Pluto (2012), a critically acclaimed high-school drama about bullying and murder which won a Special Mention at the 2013 Berlinale, director Shin Su-won delivers a shocking, noir-tinged tale of privilege and poverty: a nurse’s aide uncovers and tries to prevent the horrific use of a brain dead pregnant street-walker for a heart transplant to a rich patient.

Director Shin Su-Won was a middle school teacher before she began a directing career. Her short, Circle Line, won the Canal+ Prize for Best Short Film at Cannes 2012, and her debut feature, Passerby #3 (2010), won awards at the Tokyo International Film Festival and Jeonju International Film Festival. Her films include Modern Family (2012) and Pluto (2013).

The Beauty Inside (뷰티 인사이드)
SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 8, 5:00 P.M.
Dir. Baik (Baek Jong-yeol), 2015, 127 mins. B.R. With Han Hyo-joo, Park Seo-jun, Mun Suk, Lee Dong-hwi, Lee Mi-do. Since his 18th birthday, Woo-jin wakes up each morning as a different person in a new body. Sometimes he’s old, sometimes he’s young, sometimes he’s not Korean…or even a man. But inside, he remains the same down-to-earth, honest cabinet maker devoted to his craft. And each day he fights to connect with the woman he loves (Han Hyo-joo, in a luminous, standout performance). Beneath the slick romantic fantasy and the gorgeous cinematography, the film asks real questions about identity and true love.

“Blessed with a MLB roster’s worth of veteran character players (Kim Sang-ho, Kim Min-jae, Jo Dal-hwan), and buzzy young stars”—Elizabeth Kerr, The Hollywood Reporter

Veteran (베테랑)
With director Ryoo Seung-wan in person
U.S. Festival Premiere
SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 8, 7:45 P.M.
Dir. Ryoo Seung-wan. 2015, 123 mins. DCP. With Hwang Jung-min, Yoo Ah-in, Yoo Hae-jin. In this instant action/comedy classic—a massive theatrical hit earlier this summer—hardboiled detective Seo Do-cheol (top actor Hwang Jung-min can throw—and take—a punch) and his misfit team defend the powerless against the vicious scion of a prominent family (played with villainous delight by heartthrob Yoo Ah-in, in a widely acclaimed performance).

Ryoo Seung-wan was born in Onyang, South Korea. His films include The Berlin File (2013), The Unjust (2010), Dachimawa Lee (2008), The City of Violence (2006), Crying Fist (2005), Arahan (2004), No Blood No Tears (2002), and Die Bad (2000). He won “Best Director” at the Blue Dragon Film Awards in 2011.

Wonderful Nightmare (미쓰 와이프)
With director Kang Hyo-jin in person
New York Premiere
WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 11, 7:00 P.M.
Dir. Kang Hyo-jin. 2015, 125 mins. DCP. With Uhm Jung-hwa, Song Seung-heon, Seo Shin-Ae. Heaven makes a clerical error, so ambitious lawyer Yeon-woo (played by superstar Uhm Jung-hwa) returns to Earth to find herself married to a salaryman and mother to a rebellious teenager and know-it-all six-year-old. A sharp, hilarious satire about the shift in gender roles in contemporary Korean society that struck a deep chord with local audiences.

Director Kang Hyo-jin’s independent feature, Kill’em with Bare Hands (2004), won the audience award at the Seoul Independent Film Festival. His films include Dirty Blood (2012), Twilight Gangsters (2010), and Punch Lady (2007).

ABOUT THE KOREA SOCIETY
The Korea Society is a private, nonprofit, nonpartisan organization dedicated solely to the promotion of greater awareness, understanding, and cooperation between the people of the United States and Korea. For more information, please visit www.koreasociety.org.

ABOUT MUSEUM OF THE MOVING IMAGE
Museum of the Moving Image advances the understanding, enjoyment, and appreciation of the art, history, technique, and technology of film, television, and digital media. In its stunning facilities—acclaimed for both its accessibility and bold design—the Museum presents exhibitions; screenings of significant works; discussion programs featuring actors, directors, craftspeople, and business leaders; and education programs which serve more than 50,000 students each year. The Museum also houses a significant collection of moving-image artifacts.

ABOUT SUBWAY CINEMA
Subway Cinema is America’s leading 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to the exhibition and appreciation of Asian popular film culture in all forms, building bridges between Asia and the West. With year-round festivals and programs, the organization aims to bring wide audience and critical attention to contemporary and classic Asian cinema in the U.S. In 2002, Subway Cinema launched its flagship event, the annual New York Asian Film Festival (NYAFF), which is North America’s leading festival of popular Asian cinema. Subway cinema’s other events and initiatives include Old School Kung Fu Fest (OSKFF), New York Korean Film Festival (NYKFF), and year-round special screenings and filmmaker tributes.

For more information, visit www.subwaycinema.com, www.facebook.com/NYAFF, and follow @subwaycinema on Twitter (#nyaff15).

Major support provided by the Korea Foundation.

This program is supported, in part, by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in Partnership with the City Council.

Lia Chang
Lia Chang

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 Philadelphia Asian American Film Festival on November 21st. She is profiled in Examiner.com, FebOne1960.com BlogJade Magazine and Playbill.com.

All text, graphics, articles & photographs: © 2000-2015 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.

Moira Announced as Best Picture at Asian World Film Festival, Memories on Stone Receives Top Jury Honor

Moira
Moira

PRESS RELEASE

(LOS ANGELES) November 2, 2015 – The first-annual Asian World Film Festival (AWFF) announced this year’s Festival award winners, which included top prizes for Best Picture to Moira (Republic of Georgia), Jury Award to Memories on Stone (Iraq), Best Actor to He Bing from 12 Citizens (China), Best Actress to Malalai Zikria from Utopia (Afghanistan), Audience Choice to Void (Lebanon), Best Score to Unsolved Love (Yakutia, Sakha Republic) and special jury mentions to Doğan Izci from Sivas (Turkey), The Wanted 18 (Palestine) and Thief of the Mind (Mongolia) as the Audience Award runner-up, on November 2nd at the ArcLight Cinemas in Culver City. Featuring select foreign language films from the 50 countries in the Asian World region including those that have been officially submitted as their country’s Oscar® and Golden Globe considerations, the Festival ran from October 26-November 2.

The Republic of Georgia’s official Oscar® submission, Moira, received the Festival’s Best Picture prize, a screening as part of TheWrap’s Foreign Film Award Screening.

“Through Moira we can rediscover what film can accomplish, not pushing a message but slowly, and surely pulling us into a story with such cinematic artistry, scale, strength and beauty. A tale of brotherly, family love set in the harshness of a Georgian sea port with universal themes that remind us of Arthur Miller,” said jury member Yoko Narahashi.

The special Jury Award, which included a full page ad in TheWrap’s foreign and Oscar®  issues, was awarded to Memories on Stone (Iraq). On the jury’s decision, Academy Award-winning director Bobby Moresco said:

“A tremendous film on every level; a heart wrenching and loving examination of not only the pain of the human heart in conflict with itself but of the craft of filmmaking, why we do it, why we need to do it, why we will continue to do it.  The makers of ‘Memories on Stone’ make me proud to be a part of the family of moviemakers everywhere.”

Accepting on behalf of the Audience Choice award winner, Void, was producer Sam Lahoud. As the Lebanese official Oscar® submission, they received a full page ad in the OscarWrap issue.

The Best Actor and Best Actress winners will split a full page ad in the OscarWrap issue. On winner He Bing’s performance in China’s 12 Citizens, jury member Yoko Narahashi said:

He Bing brought fortitude, reality, and truth to his character driving home the force of this amazing story, originally written by Reginald Rose, skillfully adapted to China and beautifully directed for film.”

“Malalai Zikria’s understated performance of sorrow and torment can be seen brilliantly through her eyes…” said jury member Phillip Rhee regarding the Festival’s Best Actress winner of Afghanistan’s Utopia.

Staying true to the Festival’s vision of championing underrepresented filmmakers and countries, Unsolved Love (Yakutia, Sakha Republic) received the Best Original Score award, presented by Chicago Music Library, for the artistic implementation of the spirit of national character in the soundtrack.

The Jury also awarded special prizes to Doğan Izci from Turkey’s Sivas, Palestine’s The Wanted 18 and Thief of the Mind (Mongolia) as the Audience award runner-up.

“The 11-year-old Aslan, played by Doğan Izci, is remarkable. The film [Sivas] maintains a watchful documentarians attitude towards a violent tradition, which is a bold directorial choice,” said Ruby Yang, with Moresco adding: “Not quite a documentary exactly, not quite a live action, The Wanted 18 is that rare piece that creates its own genre.  In examining the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, this film speaks to, most importantly, the essence of who we are as human beings and our need for independence and freedom.  It is also, at its heart, a commitment to the promise of hope in the face of hopelessness.  There is a line in this movie: ‘All occupation is evil.’  Not less than the entire world should hear that line and see this movie.”

Opening with South Korea’s The Shameless and closing with Taiwan’s official Oscar® submission, The Assassin, the Festival featured seven days of films at ArcLight Cinemas in downtown Culver City and the luxury iPic Theaters in Westwood. Throughout the week there were also expert panels on subjects such as Film Financing and Distribution, PR, Marketing and Awards Campaigns, and Cross-Cultural Collaborations in the Filmmaker Lounge located at the Culver Hotel. The Opening Night Red Carpet Awards Gala honored James Hong, Oscar®-nominated actress Shohreh Aghdashloo and Sumire Matsubara and featured presentations from Anna Khaja, Krista Marie Yu and Ming-Na Wen.

The films in competition included: [in alphabetical order by country]: Utopia (Afghanistan), Jalal’s Story (Bangladesh), The Last Reel (Cambodia), 12 Citizens (China), Moira (Georgia), Court (India), Memories on Stone (Iraq), 100 Yen Love (Japan), Heavenly Nomadic (Kyrgyzstan), Void (Lebanon), Talakjung vs Tulke (Nepal), The Wanted 18 (Palestine), How to Win at Checkers (Thailand), Sivas (Turkey), Jackpot (Vietnam) and Unsolved Love (Yakutia, Sakha Republic). The films not in competition and with Special Screenings included [in alphabetical order by country]: Let Pan (Burma), Road to the Sky (China), My Voice, My Life (Hong Kong), Piku (India), Theeb (Jordan), Under Heaven (Kyrgyzstan), The Thief of the Mind (Mongolia),  Kid Kulafu (Philippines), Steppe Games (Republic of Buryatia, Russia), 4 O’Clock at Paradise (Syria), and From A to B (United Arab Emirates).

About the Asian World Film Festival:
We Champion, Recognize and Unite Through Cinema. The Asian World Film Festival (AWFF) brings the best of a broad selection of Asian World cinema to Los Angeles in order to draw greater recognition to the region’s wealth of filmmakers, strengthening ties between the Asian and Hollywood film industries. Uniting through cross-cultural collaboration, our festival champions films from 50 countries across Asia spanning from Turkey to Japan and Russia to India. All films that participate in the Festival will have a unique chance to be guided through the challenging awards season, showcasing their foreign films to the Oscar® Academy, the Hollywood Foreign Press Association and all Guilds for enhanced exposure, media attention and awards consideration. AWFF is a non-profit organization under Aitysh USA. www.asianworldfilmfest.org

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

Lia Chang
Lia Chang

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 Philadelphia Asian American Film Festival on November 21st. She is profiled in FebOne1960.com BlogJade Magazine and Playbill.com.
All text, graphics, articles & photographs: © 2000-2015 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.

Ed Moy’s Animated Short UP IN THE CLOUDS has East Coast premiere screening at PAAFF15 on Nov. 20

Up in the Clouds Poster
Up in the Clouds, a delightful animated short written and directed by Ed Moy, and featuring the voices of Katherine Park (Red Dress) and Raymond Ma (The Muppets, Horrible Bosses 2, and Lethal Weapon 4), will have its East Coast premiere screening as an Official Selection of The 2015 Philadelphia Asian American Film Festival (PAAFF15) on Friday, November 20th at 5:00pm,  in the Animation Shorts Program at Asian Arts Initiative, 1219 Vine Street, Philadelphia, PA 19107. Click here to RSVP.

Katherine Sui Fun Cheung in pilot's gear kickstarting propeller c1930's. Photo courtesy of Dottie
Katherine Sui Fun Cheung in pilot’s gear kickstarting propeller c1930’s. Photo courtesy of Dottie Leschenko.

Produced by Ed Moy and Timothy Tau, the inspiration for Up in the Clouds is Chinese aviatrix Katherine Sui Fun Cheung, who became one of the first Chinese women pilots to earn a license to fly in the United States.

Cheung is honored with a plaque at LAX’s Flight Path as the first licensed Asian Aviatrix in the United States, recognized with a plaque at the San Diego Air & Space Museum, Disney’s Soarin’ over California and in the Smithsonian.

Up in the Clouds. Illustrated by Ruby Chen
Up in the Clouds. Illustrated by Ruby Chen

Up in the Clouds was originally conceived as black and white animatic style sketches illustrating Katherine’s story of falling in love with flying while learning to drive a car with her dad next to a dusty airfield in Los Angeles.

Up in the Clouds. Illustrated by Ruby Chen
Up in the Clouds. Illustrated by Ruby Chen

Ruby Chen’s hand drawn illustrations features 1920’s period cars and planes in a cartoon style meets modern anime caricature, which visual effects editor Chris Trinh animated with motion and movement.

Up in the Clouds. Illustrated by Ruby Chen
Up in the Clouds. Illustrated by Ruby Chen

Additional production credits include David Cu (sound and music editor), Nicole Echegoyen (graphic artist) and Birdie Sawyer (trailer video editor). Additional funding was provided by executive producer Tau for the color illustrations, and by Moy for the colorized cartoon.

Up in the Clouds. Illustrated by Ruby Chen
Up in the Clouds. Illustrated by Ruby Chen

Edmund Moy (director, producer, writer)
Ed Moy is an award-winning journalist. His series of feature news articles about the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s Team in Training fundraising programs helped raise awareness for their mission while touching the lives of thousands of readers and earned him their National Print Media Award for Excellence in Journalism.

Moy is currently working on an Aviatrix documentary film and web series project about Chinese women aviators of the 1930s. He was also co-writer on director Timothy Tau’s award-winning short film Keye Luke about the life of pioneering Asian American actor Keye Luke. It won an Audience Award at the 2014 Hollyshorts Film Festival and was nominated for Best Short Film at the 2013 Dragon*Con Short Film Fest. http://www.aviatrixmovie.org

Katherine Park (daughter)
Born in Framingham Massachusetts, Katherine Park is an actor, alternative singer-songwriter, photographer, cosplay cover model, and teacher.  Like Katherine Sui Fun Chung, she grew up studying music at the conservatory level. She was lead vocalist for indie rock darlings The Jumblies before impressing San Francisco casting director Nina Henninger, and director Evan Cecil, who casted her as comic book heroine Giselle Grey in Image Comic’s comic book series Carbon Grey.  She has also appeared on HBO, Investigation Discovery, The Biography Channel, Hulu, My TV New England, and Amazon. Park performs at music festivals in San Francisco, including ULUV 2013, and the Annual Asian Heritage Street Celebration. She will portray the young Katherine Sui Fun Chung in the upcoming documentary film and web series: Aviatrix. www.katherinepark.com  @katherinepark

Raymond Ma (father)
Raymond Ma On House, M.D. Raymond Ma portrayed Nicole’s biological father Wu Zheng in the Season 5 episode “Birthmarks.”
Ma has had featured roles in Dharma & Greg, Old School, Starsky & Hutch, Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip, Boston Legal, Crash and The Muppets.  He will portray Katherine Sui Fun Cheung’s father Harry Cheung in the upcoming Aviatrix documentary film and web series.

David Cu (editor, sound editor)
David Cu is a  composer, sound designer, and editor for film, television, games, and more. He studied at the Academy of Art University in San Francisco for Music Production & Sound Design for Visual Media.

Katherine Park and Ed Moy on the red carpet at the 2015 San Jose International Short Film Festival on October 23, 2015. Photo courtesy of Ed Moy
Katherine Park and Ed Moy on the red carpet at the 2015 San Jose International Short Film Festival on October 23, 2015. Photo courtesy of Ed Moy

Up in the Clouds has screened at the 2015 Catalina Film Festival,  2015 San Jose International Short Film Festival, 2015 Miami Independent Film Festival, 2015 Hollyshorts – 
Monthly Screening Series and 2015 Asians On Film – Best Animation Summer Quarter.

Up in the Clouds on Facebook

This FREE shorts program at #PAAFF15 offers a diverse selection of animated shorts that stretch the limits of the imagination. Animaton styles include CGI, watercolor, ink, and claymation.

Full Slate:
Eggs | Tomofumi Inoue
Zodiac Run | Gabriel Silva
Think Ink | Wally Chung
Up in the Clouds | Ed Moy
Waiting | Will Kim
Junk Girl | Mohammed Zare
Click here for more information.
Click here for a map to the Asian Arts Initiative.

ABOUT THE FESTIVAL
The Philadelphia Asian American Film Festival (PAAFF) is the first and only event of its kind in Philadelphia, bringing in audience members from all over the region and Asian American filmmakers, actors, and leaders, from around the world. The festival also hosts numerous screenings year-round independently and in partnership with regional arts and community organizations.

PAAFF’s parent organization, Philadelphia Asian American Film & Filmmakers, is a nonprofit organization founded in 2008 to showcase films by and about Asian Americans and Pacific Islander Americans for the city of Philadelphia and Greater Philadelphia region. Their mission is to present captivating programs that engage, inspire, and connect our community both to one another and the non-Asian mainstream.

Lia Chang
Lia Chang

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 Philadelphia Asian American Film Festival on November 21st. She is profiled in Examiner.com, FebOne1960.com BlogJade Magazine and Playbill.com.

Other Articles:
Hide and Seek starring Lia Chang and Garth Kravits screens at the 2015 Philadelphia Asian American Film Festival (PAAFF15) in Women’s Shorts Program at Asian Arts Initiative on Nov. 21
World Premiere of PALI ROAD at 2015 Hawaii International Film Festival (HIFF) on Nov. 16 & 21st
AsAmNews.com: Actor Tzi Ma Rides ‘Hell On Wheels’ to New Heights
Q and A with Jason Tobin, star of Dax Phelan’s JASMINE
Q & A with Oscar-winning documentary filmmaker Ruby Yang; New Film MY VOICE, MY LIFE screens at #PAAFF15 on Nov. 22 at Asian Arts Initiative
Philadelphia Asian American Film Festival Announces 8th Annual Festival Lineup
Gotta Dance Star André De Shields receives 2015 Award for Excellence in the Arts from The Theatre School at DePaul University
AsAmNews.com: Partying with George Takei, Lea Salonga, Telly Leung, Michael K. Lee and the cast of ‘Allegiance’ on opening night
George Takei, Lea Salonga, Telly Leung, Michael K. Lee and more at the first preview of Broadway’s Allegiance; opens Nov. 8
GOTTA DANCE stars André De Shields, Stefanie Powers, Lori Tan Chinn, Lillias White step out for ON YOUR FEET!
Tiger Morse by Mark Shaw: Jet Set Style Quest, 1962, on view at The Liz O’Brien Gallery through Dec. 18
Joel de la Fuente, Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa, Alexa Davalos, Luke Kleintank, Rufus Sewell, DJ Qualls and More at ‘The Man in The High Castle’ New York Series Premiere
Darren Criss, Jenna Ushkowitz, Ann Harada, Kristin Chenoweth, Karen Ziemba, Jon Cryer and More celebrate Great Writers at Dramatists Guild Fund’s 2015 Gala
Greg Watanabe makes Broadway Debut as Mike Masaoka in ‘Allegiance’ 
AsAmNews.com: Q & A with Arthur Dong, Award-winning Filmmaker and Author, Gay Icon, Distinguished Professor of Film
Film Lab Screening of ‪#‎72HrSO‬ Films at Time Warner Theater & Panel Discussion of Mass Media Constructions of Beauty 
AsAmNews.com: Creating an Asian American presence on Wikipedia, one WikiAPA Edit-a-thon at a time 
AsAmNews.com: The King and I’s Special Performance Benefits The Actors Fund 
Playbill.com: Hugs, Laughs and Photobombs By Tony Winners! Go Backstage at the Special Actors Fund Performance of The King and I
Broadwayworld.com: Photo Flash: Phylicia Rashad, Andre De Shields & More Original Cast Members from THE WIZ Reunite in Central Park! 
BIG TROUBLE IN LITTLE CHINA Cast Reunion featured in BLACK BELT MAGAZINE August/September 2015
Drumhead Magazine: Living Colour Drummer Will Calhoun, Photos by Lia Chang 
AsAmNews.com: AAPI Heritage Month: My Grandmother’s Detention on Angel Island 
Crafting a Career

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

All text, graphics, articles & photographs: © 2000-2015 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

All text, graphics, articles & photographs: © 2000-2015 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.

Tim Savage’s Under the Blood-Red Sun starring Kyler Sakamoto, Kalama Epstein, Dann Seki, Autumn Ogawa, Wil Kahele, Chris Tashima and Mina Kohara set for LA Premiere at The International Family Film Festival on Nov. 7

underthebloodnewTim Savage’s Under the Blood Red Sun starring Kyler Sakamoto, Kalama Epstein, Dann Seki, Autumn Ogawa, Wil Kahele, Chris Tashima and Mina Kohara, will have its LA Premiere at The International Family Film Festival on Saturday, November 7, 2015 from 8:00 PM to 10:00 PM (PST) at Raleigh Studios Hollywood, 5300 Melrose Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90038. Click here for tickets and here for more information.

Synopsis:  A 13 yr old Japanese boy faces monumental adversity in 1941 Hawaii, when the Japanese bomb Pearl Harbor.  Under the Blood-Red Sun is the film adaptation of Graham Salisbury’s award-winning novel of the same name, which is required reading in many middle and high schools across the United States. It is set in 1941 and is the story of a 13 yr old Japanese boy, Tomi Nakaji, his family and his best friend (a caucasian boy) at the time of the bombing of Pearl Harbor. Tomi’s idyllic world in paradise is forever changed when Japan launches a surprise attack against the US and all Japanese Americans are suddenly seen as enemies of the state. Tomi’s father, a fisherman, is immediately taken prisoner in an internment camp and his partner and friend is shot and killed. It’s a story of courage, honor, strength, friendship and loyalty against seemingly insurmountable odds.

Producers:  Dana Satler Hankins
Director(s):  Tim Savage
Screenplay:  Graham Salisbury
Cinematography:  Shawn Hiatt
Editor:  Robert A Bates
Music:  Chris Sanders
Running Time:  100 minutes

The International Family Film Festival (IFFF) is the first and longest running family film festival in the United States. The vision: IFFF builds a peaceful global family through the discovery and sharing of quality stories by emerging artists and production companies. This year the IFFF presents its 20th annual festival at the historic Raleigh Studios in the heart of Hollywood, California. Open to the general public, the IFFF is a film market attended by professionnal filmmakers and scriptwriters, distributors, producers, directors, actors, production heads and film financiers. During the day on Saturday, November 7th (9 am – 6 pm), the festival is dedicated to youth activities (YouthFest!), including film screenings, a film & scriptwriting competition, industry related workshops and other topics of interest related to youth working in the film, tv and entertainment industries.

Lia Chang
Lia Chang

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 Philadelphia Asian American Film Festival on November 21st. She is profiled in FebOne1960.com BlogJade Magazine and Playbill.com.

Click here for the Lia Chang Articles Archive and here for the Lia Chang Photography Website.
All text, graphics, articles & photographs: © 2000-2015 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.

Elite Magazine’s Ladies’ Night at the SK-II Pop-up Studio

Garth Kravits, Elite Magazine publisher Ellen Wang, Lia Chang and Steve Jan, SK-II National Brand Ambassador at the SK-II Pop-up Studio in New York on October 22, 2015. Photo: Elite Magazine
Garth Kravits, Elite Magazine publisher Ellen Wang, Lia Chang and Steve Jan, SK-II National Brand Ambassador at the SK-II Pop-up Studio in New York on October 22, 2015. Photo: Elite Magazine

Thanks to Elite Magazine publisher Ellen Wang, I was invited to share my #changedestiny story about becoming an award-winning filmmaker with my debut indie short Hide and Seek, at Elite Magazine’s Ladies Night of Beauty at the SK-II Pop-up Studio in Soho last week.

Lia Chang and Steve Jan SK-II National Brand Ambassador, take a selfie at the SK-II Pop-up Studio in New York on October 22, 2015.
Lia Chang and Steve Jan, SK-II National Brand Ambassador, take a selfie at the SK-II Pop-up Studio in New York on October 22, 2015.
 SK-II Pop-up Studio in New York. Photo by Lia Chang
SK-II Pop-up Studio in New York. Photo by Lia Chang

I stopped by the state-of-the-art studio, located at Broome and Greene, a few days prior to have my skin analyzed by Jen.

The luxurious evening featured tea, dim sum, green tea chocolates from Japan by Royce, a complimentary skin analysis, and testing stations to try out the different products. Everyone also got a goodie bag which included the latest edition of Elite Magazine, and samples of the SK-II  Facial Mask, the SK-II Power Cream and the uber popular SK-II Facial Essence.

Steve Jan, SK-II National Brand Ambassador flew in from LA to host the evening and share the story of  SK-II, the hottest skincare brand in Asia.

Steve Jan, SK-II National Brand Ambassador and Lia Chang at the SK-II Pop-up Studio in New York on October 22, 2015. Photo Elite Magazine
Steve Jan, SK-II National Brand Ambassador and Lia Chang at the SK-II Pop-up Studio in New York on October 22, 2015. Photo Elite Magazine

The SK-II Pop-up Studio is located at 468 Broome St. at the corner of Greene St., and is open through Halloween. Stop by the studio to experience SK-II yourself, have your skin analyzed and learn which products are best for you. Check out SK-II online.

Lia Chang and Steve Jan SK-II National Brand Ambassador, take a selfie at the SK-II Pop-up Studio in New York on October 22, 2015. Photo: Elite Magazine
Lia Chang and Steve Jan SK-II National Brand Ambassador, take a selfie at the SK-II Pop-up Studio in New York on October 22, 2015. Photo: Elite Magazine

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 Philadelphia Asian American Film Festival on November 21st. She is profiled in FebOne1960.com Blog, Jade Magazine and Playbill.com.

All text, graphics, articles & photographs: © 2000-2015 Lia Chang Multimedia unless otherwise indicated. 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 liachangpr@gmail.com

Philadelphia Asian American Film Festival Announces 8th Annual Festival Lineup; Kicks Off With Benson Lee’s Seoul Searching on Nov. 12

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Seoul Searching (dir. Benson Lee)
Seoul Searching (dir. Benson Lee)

PHILADELPHIA, PA – The 2015 Philadelphia Asian American Film Festival presented by Comcast NBC10 Telemundo62 Comcast Spectator today announced their full slate of films for the 2015 edition of this Philadelphia cultural treasure. For the 8th edition, the festival will open with the Philadelphia premiere of Benson Lee’s Seoul Searching, starring Justin Chon, Jessika Van, In-Pyo Cha, Teo Yoo, and Esteban Ahn, screening at the International House’s Ibrahim Theater. Director Lee will be in attendance for a post-screening Q&A. The screening will be followed by the PAAFF’15 Opening Night Reception featuring a 1980s dance music and costume contest (free to all ticket and badge holders).

This year’s festival is comprised of 23 features and over 30 shorts from 17 countries spread over 4 continents and of these, 5 are East Coast premieres and 14 Philadelphia premieres, with a special presentation of Center for Asian American Media’s Muslim Youth Voices project featuring world premieres of short films produced by local Muslim youth.

Lia Chang in Hide and Seek
Lia Chang in Hide and Seek

Bev’s Girl Films’ Hide and Seek starring Lia Chang and Garth Kravits, will have its Philadelphia premiere as an Official Selection at The 2015 Philadelphia Asian American Film Festival (PAAFF15) on Saturday, November 21, 2015 in the Women’s Shorts Program at Asian Arts Initiative, 1219 Vine Street, Philadelphia, PA 19107 at 2:15pm. Two of six PAAFF’15 shorts in the Women’s Shorts program are produced by local filmmakers; Romaine by Eiko Fan and How is How by Pheng Tang. Romaine (12 mins.) is a short doc about Romaine Samworth who, despite being blind for over 85 years, uses vibrant colors to tell personal stories through sculpture. How is How (7 mins.) examines the life of a single Chinese immigrant mother, who becomes out of sorts with her life while going through a career transition.

Split End | Eddie Shieh
Romaine | Eiko Fan
Hide and Seek | Garth Kravits
How is How | Pheng Tang
When Mom Visits | Chiung-wen Chang
America 1979 | Lila Yomtoob

Each of the films in this FREE program of shorts was either produced by women, star women in central roles, or deal with women’s issues. Garth and I will be in attendance for the Q & A. Click here to RSVP.

“The 2015 festival is our biggest festival yet and promises to be one of the most dynamic,” says Festival Director Rob Buscher. “With our new programs and expanded community engagement, we are looking forward to enjoying a richer experience for audiences and filmmakers alike.”

Special events include: community screening series with free films in neighborhood-based cultural centers; panel discussions “Asian Americans in Television” on November 13 and “Girls Make Better Ninjas (Or I Can’t Be Angry, I’m Asian): An Exploratory Workshop on AAPI Feminism” on November 21; centerpiece event “Strength in Numbers,” featuring music videos, live performances and a panel discussion guest curated by Scott CHOPS Jung on November 14; and the Closing Reception on November 22.

The main PAAFF’15 venues are International House in University City (3701 Chestnut Street) and Asian Arts Initiative in Chinatown North/Callowhill (1219 Vine Street). The complete feature lineup (in alphabetical order) is as follows.

View the online program with full details at http://tiny.cc/paaff15

Aroma From Heaven (dir. Budi Kurniawan, Indonesia) – Featuring interviews with farmers, scientists, philosophers, academics, anthropologists, and business owners – this film explores 300 years of coffee production in Indonesia.

Changing Season (dir. Jim Choi, USA) – Famed farmer, slow food advocate, and sansei David “Mas” Masumoto faces health challenges as his queer progressive daughter Nikiko, returns to the family farm with the intention of stepping into her father’s work boots. EAST COAST PREMIERE.

Crush the Skull (dir. Viet Nguyen, USA) – A pair of professional burglars find themselves having to pull one last job and find themselves in a sadistic torture den where they now have to fight for their lives. Adapted from Nguyen’s YouTube short of the same title. PHILADELPHIA PREMIERE.

Dukhtar (dir. Afia Nathaniel, Pakistan) – A mother kidnaps her ten-year-old daughter to save her from the fate of a child bride. Their daring escape triggers a relentless hunt and a cynical truck driver proves to be an unlikely ally. The trio embarks on an epic journey, where the quest for love and freedom comes with a price.

Don’t Think I’ve Forgotten (dir. John Pirozzi, Cambodia) – This compelling documentary uncovers the forgotten history of the Cambodian music scene during the Vietnam War era, which blended Western rock and roll with local traditions, and was suppressed by the Khmer Rouge.

For Here or to Go? (dir. Rucha Humnabadkar, USA) – Set against the backdrop of the 2008 recession, this dramatic comedy examines the many personal battles faced by immigrants living in America. Set in Silicon Valley, a software professional loses a plum position with a startup due to visa issues. PHILADELPHIA PREMIERE.

In Football We Trust (dirs. Tony Vainku & Erika Cohn, USA) – This film is an insightful documentary exploring the so-called ‘Polynesian Pipeline’ to the NFL in the tightly-knit Polynesian community in Salt Lake City, through four young men striving to overcome gang violence and near poverty through the promise of American football. PHILADELPHIA PREMIERE.

Jalal’s Story (dir. Abu Shahed Emon, Bangladesh) – This film follows an infant, rescued from a river and adopted, later abandoned, who becomes a gangster in adolescence. Recently chosen as the Official Selection to represent Bangladesh in the Foreign-Language Category of the 88th Academy Awards. EAST COAST PREMIERE.

Jasmine (dir. Dax Phelan, Hong Kong) – A gripping and chilling psychological thriller about a man struggling to come to terms with his wife’s unsolved murder, who eventually decides to take justice into his own hands and things take a startling turn toward the unexpected. PHILADELPHIA PREMIERE.

Journey from the Fall (dir. Ham Tran, Vietnam) – Inspired by the true stories of Vietnamese refugees who fled their land after the fall of Saigon, and those who were forced to stay behind, this film follows one family’s escape by boat as its patriarch is imprisoned in a Communist re-education camp.

Live From UB (dir. Lauren Knapp, Mongolia) – This film follows the story of one of Mongolia’s most promising independent bands, Mohanik, as they create a new sound for their country, combining traditional instrumentation with Western rock, and discover what it means to be Mongolian today. PHILADELPHIA PREMIERE.

Love Arcadia (dir. Lawrence Gan, USA) – This contemporary romance is set in a small town where a charming goofball becomes emotionally entangled with an ambitious executive and as tensions escalate between their families’ businesses, their relationship is threatened. PHILADELPHIA PREMIERE.

Miss India America (dir. Ravi Kapoor, USA) – When an overachieving Orange County high school senior discovers her boyfriend has fallen in love with the reigning Miss India National, she decides she must pursue the crown in order to win him and the life she planned for herself back. PHILADELPHIA PREMIERE.

My Voice, My Life (dir. Ruby Yang, Hong Kong) – This film follows an unlikely group of misfit students from four of Hong Kong’s underprivileged middle and high schools who are cast in an after-school musical theater program and where each of them confronts unique personal challenges in the process of developing character. PHILADELPHIA PREMIERE.

Off the Menu (dir. Grace Lee, USA) – Grappling with how family, tradition, faith, and geography shape our relationships to food, this film uses our obsession with food as a launching point to delve into a wealth of stories, traditions, and unexpected characters that help nourish this nation of immigrants. PHILADELPHIA PREMIERE.

Oh, Saigon (dir. Doan Hoàng, Vietnam) – Hoàng’s family was on the last civilian helicopter out of Vietnam at the end of the war. Twenty-five years later, her family returns and reunites with the family they left behind, confronting their political differences and attempting to reconnect.

Right Footed (dir. Nick Spark, USA) – This film follows Jessica Cox, a Filipina American born without arms, who became the first person licensed to pilot an airplane with her feet, as she transforms from a motivational speaker to a mentor, and eventually into a leading advocate for people with disabilities. PHILADELPHIA PREMIERE.

The Roots Remain (dirs. Jean-Sebastien Francoeur & Andrew Marchand-Boddy, Cambodia/Canada) – This film follows the story of Canadian-raised Cambodian French graffiti artist FONKi, as he reunites with his family, explores Cambodia’s Hip Hop community, and dedicates a mural to his relatives in Phnom Penh who disappeared during the war. EAST COAST PREMIERE.

Seoul Searching (dir. Benson Lee, South Korea) – Set against the backdrop of 1980s Seoul and inspired by a summer exchange program that Lee attended in the summer of 1986, this John Hughes-esque teen comedy tells a universal coming-of-age story chock full of pop culture tropes, teen hijinks, and first love. PHILADELPHIA PREMIERE.

Someone Else (dir. Nelson Kim, USA) – A surreal drama about the clash of wills between two Korean-American cousins in New York City. A shy young law student hungry for a more vivid, risk-taking existence, visits his wealthy playboy cousin and attempts to sheds his old identity, but spirals out of control. PHILADELPHIA PREMIERE.

The Vancouver Asahi (dir. Yuya Ishii, Canada/Japan) – This tale of sports miracles and glory is based on the true story of a legendary baseball team in 1930s Vancouver examining the harsh realities of poverty and discrimination among 2nd generation Japanese Canadians. PHILADELPHIA PREMIERE.

Waiting for John (dir. Jessica Sherry, Vanuatu) – This film explores the John Frum Movement, now considered the last surviving Cargo Cult, from the perspective of the last village of believers, as they struggle to preserve their culture in the modern world. EAST COAST PREMIERE.

Winning Girl (dir. Kimberlee Bassford, USA) – follows the four-year journey of a part-Polynesian female teenage judo and wrestling phenomenon from Hawai‘i, and in doing so tells the dynamic story of an elite athlete on her ascent, a girl facing the challenges of growing up and an entire family dedicated to a single dream. EAST COAST PREMIERE.

The 2015 Philadelphia Asian American Film Festival is presented by Comcast NBC10 Telemundo62 Comcast Spectator; and made possible through the generosity of Premier Sponsor Aetna; Founding Sponsor HBO; Partner Sponsors Wells Fargo, PHLDiversity, Pennsylvania Department of Drug & Alcohol Programs, and Samuel S. Fels Fund; and Prime Sponsors PECO, Jefferson Health, Pacific Islanders in Communications, Greater Philadelphia Asian Studies Consortium, and Hepatitis B Foundation.

ABOUT THE FESTIVAL
PAAFF is the first and only event of its kind in Philadelphia, bringing in audience members from all over the region and Asian American filmmakers, actors, and leaders, from around the world. The festival also hosts numerous screenings year-round independently and in partnership with regional arts and community organizations. PAAFF’s parent organization, Philadelphia Asian American Film & Filmmakers, is a nonprofit organization founded in 2008 to showcase films by and about Asian Americans and Pacific Islander Americans for the city of Philadelphia and Greater Philadelphia region. They aim to present captivating programs that engage, inspire, and connect our community both to one another and the non-Asian mainstream.

For more information about PAAFF’15 visit phillyasianfilmfest.org and follow on social media @paaff or #PAAFF15.

Lia Chang
Lia Chang

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 Philadelphia Asian American Film Festival on November 21st. She is profiled in FebOne1960.com Blog, Jade Magazine and Playbill.com.

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

All text, graphics, articles & photographs: © 2000-2015 Lia Chang Multimedia unless otherwise indicated. 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 liachangpr@gmail.com

Arthur Dong’s The Killing Fields of Dr. Haing S. Ngor Screens as the Centerpiece film of the Boston Asian American Film Festival on October 24

logo-muddy-photo-lrArthur Dong’s award-winning documentary The Killing Fields of Dr. Haing S. Ngor is the Centerpiece film of the Boston Asian American Film Festival on Saturday, October 24, 2015, and will screen at the Paramount Theater in the Bright Family Screening Room, 559 Washington Street in Boston, MA. at 6:15pm. Dong will be in attendance for a Q & A after the screening.

Regular tickets: $10; AARW/ArtsEmerson Members: $7.50, accessed via Promo Code, Student/Children: $5, must present ID at box office when picking up, Seniors: $7.50, and can be purchased by clicking here.

(T: Park Street, Downtown Crossing, or Boylston)

Set against the backdrop of Cambodia’s Khmer Rouge reign of terror, The Killing Fields of Dr. Haing S. Ngor chronicles a powerful journey of love, loss and reconciliation. The years encapsulating this horrific period are seen through the eyes of Dr. Haing S. Ngor, who escaped to America and recreated his experiences in The Killing Fields, winning an Oscar® for his first film. He became the de facto worldwide ambassador for truth and justice in his homeland, only to be gunned down in an alley in Chinatown Los Angeles – a case still surrounded by transnational conspiracy theories.

Click here for future screenings of The Killing Fields of Dr. Haing S. Ngor.

Check out my new interview with Arthur Dong.
 Q & A with Arthur Dong, Award-winning Filmmaker and Author, Gay Icon, Distinguished Professor of Film

Award-winning author and filmmaker Arthur Dong. Photo by Lia Chang
Award-winning author and filmmaker Arthur Dong. Photo by Lia Chang

The Killing Fields of Dr. Haing S. Ngor, winner of the BEST DOCUMENTARY AUDIENCE AWARD at the Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival, builds on ARTHUR DONG’S 30-year track record of creating compelling documentaries that focus on personal stories to examine moments of history, social prejudice, and public policy concerns. As a film student at San Francisco State University, Arthur Dong produced Sewing Woman, his Academy Award nominated short documentary in 1984. The film focused on his mother’s immigration to America from China. Instead of finding an outside distributor for the film, Dong then started his own company, DeepFocus Productions, and serves as its producer, director and writer. His trilogy of films that investigate anti-gay prejudice were released in the DVD collection, “Stories from the War on Homosexuality,” and features Family Fundamentals, Licensed to Kill and Coming Out Under Fire. His films about Chinese Americans were released in the follow-up collection, “Stories from Chinese America,” and include Sewing Woman, Forbidden City, U.S.A. and Hollywood Chinese.

Filmmaker Arthur Dong _in vest) with (L-R) Wayne Ngor, nephew of the late Dr. Ngor, casting director Pat Golden who cast Dr. Ngor in The Killing Fields, and Sophia Ngor, niece of the late Dr. Ngor, at a screening of The Killing Fields of Dr. Haing S. Ngor at the International House in New York on October 22, 2015. Photo by Lia Chang
Filmmaker Arthur Dong _in vest) with (L-R) Wayne Ngor, nephew of the late Dr. Ngor, casting director Pat Golden who cast Dr. Ngor in The Killing Fields, and Sophia Ngor, niece of the late Dr. Ngor, at a screening of The Killing Fields of Dr. Haing S. Ngor at the International House in New York on October 22, 2015. Photo by Lia Chang

His films have screened theatrically in the U.S., selected for festivals worldwide like Sundance, Toronto, and Berlin, and broadcast globally. Arthur’s film awards include an Oscar® nomination, three Sundance awards, the Peabody, five Emmy nominations, the Berlin Film Festival’s Teddy Award, Taiwan’s Golden Horse Award, and two GLAAD Media awards. He has been named a Guggenheim Fellow in Film and twice selected for the Rockefeller Media Arts Fellowship. He has served on the boards of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, Film Independent, Outfest, and the National Film Preservation Board at the Library of Congress.

Arthur Dong will receive the 2015 American Book Award for Forbidden City, USA: Chinese American Nightclubs, 1936-1970 on October 25, 2015 in San Francisco. Photo Lia Chang
Arthur Dong will receive the 2015 American Book Award for Forbidden City, USA: Chinese American Nightclubs, 1936-1970 on October 25, 2015 in San Francisco. Photo Lia Chang

Arthur Dong’s new book Forbidden City, USA: Chinese American Nightclubs, 1936-1970 is among this year’s winners of the Thirty-Sixth Annual American Book Awards, presented by the Before Columbus Foundation. The 2015 American Book Award winners will be formally recognized on Sunday, October 25th from 2:00-5:00 p.m. at the SF Jazz Center, Joe Henderson Lab, 201 Franklin Street (at Fell), San Francisco, CA. This event is open to the public.

The book was launched in coordination with his exhibit of the same name at the San Francisco Main Library. It has just been released in a glorious edition and can be purchased here.

AsAmNews.com: Arthur Dong’s Forbidden City, USA: Chinese American Nightclubs, 1936-1970 wins American Book Award

Lia Chang
Lia Chang

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 Philadelphia Asian American Film Festival on November 21st. She is profiled in FebOne1960.com Blog, Jade Magazine and Playbill.com.

Related Articles
Lia Chang Picks: Arthur Dong’s Forbidden City: Chinese-American Nightclubs, 1930-1970
April 26: The 31st Annual Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival (LAAPFF) Artist Spotlight- Arthur Dong’s FORBIDDEN CITY, U.S.A. and THE KILLING FIELDS OF DR. HAING S. NGOR 
CAAMFest 2015 Honors Filmmaker Arthur Dong with World Premiere Screenings of Forbidden City, USA (3/14), The Killing Fields of Dr. Haing S. Ngor (3/15) & In Conversation with B. Ruby Rich (3/20)
April 23-30: The Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival (LAAPFF) Lineup includes EVERYTHING BEFORE US, KTOWN COWBOYS, Shonali Bose’s MARGARITA, WITH A STRAW, Jennifer Phang’s ADVANTAGEOUS, Arthur Dong’s FORBIDDEN CITY, U.S.A. and THE KILLING FIELDS OF DR. HAING S. NGOR
Click here for other film articles.
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All text, graphics, articles & photographs: © 2000-2015 Lia Chang Multimedia unless otherwise indicated. 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 liachangpr@gmail.com

Oscar-winning documentary filmmaker Ruby Yang’s My Voice, My Life set for US Screening Tour in LA, SF and New York, Nov. 1 – 8

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Oscar-winning documentary filmmaker Ruby Yang’s newest film, My Voice, My Life, follows an unlikely group of misfit students from four Hong Kong middle and high schools cast in a musical theater performance. From low self-esteem to blindness, each student confronts unique personal challenges in the process of developing his or her character.

This moving and insightful film chronicles the trials and tribulations of this group of underprivileged students as they go through six months of vigorous training to produce a musical. A life-affirming journey of self-discovery and growth, the stories of these young people will challenge every parent, teacher and policymaker to reflect on our way of nurturing the young.

Brought together to sing, dance and act, the students question their own abilities and balk at the spotlight. Teachers and administrators question whether this ragtag band will be able to work together, much less put on a successful musical. But Nick Ho, director of the production, holds onto hope that his tough love approach will unite the students and bring out their inner performers.

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The L plus H Creations Foundation presents My Voice, My Life in association with the Lee Hysan Foundation. 

My Voice, My Life, heads back to US theaters for three weeks beginning October 31 exclusively at the Laemmle Pasadena Playhouse 7. Free admission. Go to http://www.myvoicemylifemovie.com for your tickets now.
This event is supported by Create Hong Kong

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My Voice, My Life, – US Tour starts Nov. 1.

Director Ruby Yang will be joined by one of the subjects of the film, Jason Chow for Q/A in the following special screenings:

LOS ANGELES
Nov. 1, 2015, 3:00 PM – Asian World Film Festival
Nov. 3, 2015, 7:30 PM – Museum of Tolerance

SAN FRANCISCO
Nov. 4, 2015, 7:30 PM – Landmark Embarcadero Cinema

NEW YORK
Nov. 8, 2015, 2:00 PM – Tribeca Screening Room

(Director Yang will not be present at the NY screening, but her Oscar® winning producing partner Thomas Lennon will be joined by Jason Chow for Q/A)

Email mvmlhk@gmail.com to RSVP.

The film is 91 minutes in Cantonese with English subtitles.

PHILADELPHIA- Philiadelphia Asian American Film Festival
Nov. 22, 2015, 4:30 PM – Asian Arts Initiative: 1219 Vine Street, Philadelphia 19107
General Admission: $8
Students (with student ID), Children and Seniors Admission: $6
Seats are limited.
BUY NOW

Filmmaker Ruby Yang.
Filmmaker Ruby Yang

Ruby took time out of her busy schedule to answers some questions via email from Hong Kong.

Lia: What inspired you to make My Voice, My Life?
Ruby: My first documentary, Citizen Hong Kong, was filmed during the return of Hong Kong (to China) in 1997. I always wanted to do another documentary about the young people in Hong Kong.

In 2013, L Plus H Creations Foundation (a social enterprise that improves the lives of underprivileged youth through art) asked me to make a documentary about their inaugural musical. I saw their first rehearsal and noticed a young man named Tsz Nok. He’s one of four visually impaired students being selected to take part. I was very moved by his singing and later found out that he lost his sight one year ago. I thought it would be a good story about inclusion as well as witnessing the transformative power of arts to build confidence for these marginalized youth.

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Lia: What motivates you as an artist and as a filmmaker?
Ruby: Good human stories.

I think all my films are about identity, marginalized groups and social changes affecting people’s lives. If you look at the children being affected by HIV/AIDS or the farmer who studies environmental law to save his village, you see a common thread emerging – the human spirit and it’s about humanity.

Lia: After living in the U.S. for such a long time, what has it been like to be back in Hong Kong?
Ruby: Hong Kong has become quite political in the last couple of years – high pressure and intense. There is a lot of tension between mainland Chinese and Hong Kong born Chinese.

People are media savvy. At the same time they are also bombarded with negative news. My husband and I moved to Beijing in 2004, lived in China for eight years before moving to Hong Kong. It took me a while to adjust to the freedoms in Hong Kong.

Lia: What has it been like working in China? Have there been restrictions or challenges?
Ruby: In Hong Kong, as long as one gets the permission from the person or place to shoot you just shoot – but in China that’s not the case. Even with the person’s permission, you might not be able to continue shooting because you might be touching on a sensitive topic, which can be stopped at any time.

Lia: Which of the subjects in My Voice, My Life do you relate to most?
Ruby: I related to all of them in different ways. They are rebellious, having short attention span, unable to communicate with their parents, lacking self-confidence, feeling excluded … I think we all share that kind of experience.

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Lia: What was it like for you as a young Chinese American female filmmaker early in your career?
Ruby: It was tough. There weren’t many opportunities for Asian Americans in film business. As a foreign born, it was even harder. It was crucial that during the early 80s, CAAM (formerly NAATA), New York Asian CineVision and Visual Communications in L.A. helped champion the voices of Asian Americans in the mainstream media. As Asian Americans, we have traveled a long journey; the struggle is still on going.

Lia: Did you have mentors when you were first honing your craft?
Ruby: Yes, I am blessed with many mentors in my career. That is so important. Now I am mentoring young documentary filmmakers in Hong Kong and China.

Lia: How did winning an Oscar in the Documentary Short category for The Blood of Yingzhou District in 2006 change your life, your career and your outlook on life?
Ruby: As a documentary filmmaker, you always want to be low-key and be professionally invisible. Winning an Oscar proves to be a problem in China. I am no longer invisible.

Lia: How was My Voice, My Life received in Hong Kong?
Ruby: It made about 6 million Hong Kong dollars (about $700,000 U.S.), which makes it one of the few top-grossing documentaries in Hong Kong. There were over 500 screenings booked by high schools and organizations since the release of the film in October 2014. Many local celebrities have endorsed the film, which brought the attention to the issues discussed in the film to the general audience.

Lia: What have been the top three projects that you have worked on and why?
Ruby: The Warriors of Qiugang documents a group of Chinese villagers that organized to put an end to the poisoning of their land and water. Public participation is beginning to take shape in China but Chinese citizens are facing huge battles ahead.

The Blood of Yingzhou District: HIV/AIDS issue was a taboo subject in China when we started our AIDS public awareness work there in 2004. A lot has changed for the better 10 years after.

Citizen Hong Kong, which explored identity issues of Hong Kong born Chinese. Now (Hong Kong’s) political future is very much on the minds of many Hong Kongers.

Lia: Is there a reason that you gravitate toward documentary filmmaking versus narrative filmmaking?
Ruby: I like documentaries because they bring me to different real-life situations. What’s better than just experiencing life and talking to people about their lives?

Lia: What advice would you give to aspiring filmmakers?
Ruby: Be curious, patient and draw inspiration from life.

Ruby Yang is a noted Chinese American filmmaker whose work in documentary and dramatic film has earned her an Academy Award, two Academy Award nominations and numerous other international awards, including an Emmy, the Alfred I. duPont-Columbia Journalism Award and the Global Health Council Media Award.

Lia Chang
Lia Chang

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 Philadelphia Asian American Film Festival on November 21st. She is profiled in FebOne1960.com Blog, Jade Magazine and Playbill.com.

PhotoPlus Expo 2015 with Tamron and Expoimaging’s Rogue Flashbenders

PDN’s 2015 PhotoPlus International Conference + Expo at the Javits Center in New York on October 23, 2015. Photo by Lia Chang
PDN’s 2015 PhotoPlus International Conference + Expo at the Javits Convention Center in New York on October 23, 2015. Photo by Lia Chang

I spent a couple of hours at PDN’s 2015 PhotoPlus International Conference + Expo this afternoon at the Javits Convention Center in New York City.

PDN’s 2015 PhotoPlus International Conference + Expo at the Javits Center in New York on October 23, 2015. Photo by Garth Kravits
PDN’s 2015 PhotoPlus International Conference + Expo at the Javits Center in New York on October 23, 2015. Photo by Garth Kravits

It’s like being a kid in a candy store, and of course I wanted to take everything home.

PDN’s 2015 PhotoPlus International Conference + Expo at the Javits Convention Center in New York on October 23, 2015. Photo by Lia Chang
PDN’s 2015 PhotoPlus International Conference + Expo at the Javits Convention Center in New York on October 23, 2015. Photo by Lia Chang

It is inevitable that you will run into friends and colleagues at the show, and I caught up with photographers David Handschuh and Ralph Gibson, who currently has an exhibition at the Mary Boone Gallery through October 31, 2015, entitled, “Political Abstraction“.

David Handschuh and Lia Chang at PDN’s 2015 PhotoPlus International Conference + Expo at the Javits Center in New York on October 23, 2015.
David Handschuh and Lia Chang at PDN’s 2015 PhotoPlus International Conference + Expo at the Javits Center in New York on October 23, 2015.

Last year, Tamron had technicians available to check out my lens, and luckily this service was available this year.

Tamron technicians Damion Fearron, Riccardo Rizzo and John Hermanson are waiting to clean and inspect your Tamron lens at booth #818 PDN’s 2015 PhotoPlus International Conference + Expo at the Javits Center in New York. Photo by Lia Chang
Tamron technicians Damion Fearron, Riccardo Rizzo and John Hermanson are waiting to clean and inspect your Tamron lens at booth #818 PDN’s 2015 PhotoPlus International Conference + Expo at the Javits Center in New York. Photo by Lia Chang

Thanks Riccardo for the annual complimentary cleaning and  inspection of my 17-50 lens at Tamron Booth #818.

Riccardo Rizzo inspects and cleans my lens at the Tamron booth at the PhotoPlus Expo at the Jacob Javits Convention Center in New York on October 23, 2015. Photo by Lia Chang
Riccardo Rizzo inspects and cleans my lens at the Tamron booth at the PhotoPlus Expo at the Jacob Javits Convention Center in New York on October 23, 2015. Photo by Lia Chang
Riccardo Rizzo inspects and cleans my lens at the Tamron booth at the PhotoPlus Expo at the Jacob Javits Convention Center in New York on October 23, 2015. Photo by Lia Chang
Riccardo Rizzo inspects and cleans my lens at the Tamron booth at the PhotoPlus Expo at the Jacob Javits Convention Center in New York on October 23, 2015. Photo by Lia Chang

They will be on hand to take a look at your Tamron lenses on Saturday, October 24, 2015 from 10:00AM- 4:00PM.

Tamron technicians Damion Fearron, Riccardo Rizzo and John Hermanson are waiting to clean and inspect your Tamron lens at booth #818 PDN’s 2015 PhotoPlus International Conference + Expo at the Javits Center in New York. Photo by Lia Chang
Tamron technicians Damion Fearron, Riccardo Rizzo and John Hermanson are waiting to clean and inspect your Tamron lens at booth #818 PDN’s 2015 PhotoPlus International Conference + Expo at the Javits Center in New York. Photo by Lia Chang

I stopped by the ExpoImaging Booth – #134  where guest photographer Jeff Rojas demonstrated his tips for location lighting using speedlights.  The Expo team was on hand to answer my questions about their Rogue brand light modifiers, one of my go-to tools when shooting special events.

Rogue Flashbender demo at PDN’s 2015 PhotoPlus International Conference + Expo at the Javits Center in New York on October 23, 2015. Photo by Lia Chang
Rogue Flashbender demo at PDN’s 2015 PhotoPlus International Conference + Expo at the Javits Center in New York on October 23, 2015. Photo by Lia Chang
Rogue Flashbender demo at PDN’s 2015 PhotoPlus International Conference + Expo at the Javits Center in New York on October 23, 2015. Photo by Lia Chang
Rogue Flashbender demo at PDN’s 2015 PhotoPlus International Conference + Expo at the Javits Center in New York on October 23, 2015. Photo by Lia Chang
Rogue Flashbenders for your every photographic need at PDN’s 2015 PhotoPlus International Conference + Expo at the Javits Center in New York on October 23, 2015. Photo by Lia Chang
Rogue Flashbenders for your every photographic need at PDN’s 2015 PhotoPlus International Conference + Expo at the Javits Center in New York on October 23, 2015. Photo by Lia Chang

The Expo features more than 220 industry manufacturers and service providers offering special show discounts on new products and technology, raffle prizes, software demos, and free educational presentations to over 21,000 attendees over three days.

PDN’s 2015 PhotoPlus International Conference + Expo at the Javits Convention Center in New York on October 23, 2015. Photo by Lia Chang
PDN’s 2015 PhotoPlus International Conference + Expo at the Javits Convention Center in New York on October 23, 2015. Photo by Lia Chang
PDN’s 2015 PhotoPlus International Conference + Expo at the Javits Convention Center in New York on October 23, 2015. Photo by Lia Chang
PDN’s 2015 PhotoPlus International Conference + Expo at the Javits Convention Center in New York on October 23, 2015. Photo by Lia Chang
PDN’s 2015 PhotoPlus International Conference + Expo at the Javits Convention Center in New York on October 23, 2015. Photo by Lia Chang
PDN’s 2015 PhotoPlus International Conference + Expo at the Javits Convention Center in New York on October 23, 2015. Photo by Lia Chang
PDN’s 2015 PhotoPlus International Conference + Expo at the Javits Convention Center in New York on October 23, 2015. Photo by Lia Chang
PDN’s 2015 PhotoPlus International Conference + Expo at the Javits Convention Center in New York on October 23, 2015. Photo by Lia Chang

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About PDN PhotoPlus International Conference + Expo
Designed for professionals in the photographic and imaging industries as well as enthusiasts, PhotoPlus Expo showcases the latest advances in photography, digital imaging and filmmaking. Held annually at the Javits Convention Center, attendees have the opportunity to explore an inspiring array of photography and imaging products and services — all from the industry’s leading manufacturers. The show also offers seminars and intimate Photo Walks and Master Classes taught by world-renowned experts that focus on cutting-edge innovations and techniques.

Lia Chang
Lia Chang

Lia Chang is an award-winning filmmaker, a Best Actress nominee, a photographerand the Arts and Entertainment reporter for AsAmNews.com. Chang recently received a Best Actress nomination at the 2015 Asian American Film Lab 72 Hour Shootout.  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. She is a Scripps Howard New Media Fellow at Columbia’s Graduate School of Journalism, a Visual Journalism Fellow at the Poynter Institute for New Media and a Western Knight Fellow at USC’s Annenberg College of Communications for Specialized Journalism on Entertainment Journalism in the Digital Age. She is the recipient of the AAJA 2001 National Award for New Media and the OCA 2000 Chinese American Journalist Award. Avenue Magazine named her one of the “One Hundred Most Influential Asian Americans”. She is featured in Joann Faung Jean Lee’s book Asian American actors: oral histories from stage, screen, and television. She is profiled in FebOne1960.com Blog, Jade Magazine and Playbill.com.