Q & A with Emmanuel “Manny” Brown, Actor, Award-Winning Fight Choreographer and Champion Martial Artist

Emmanuel "Manny" Brown. Photo by Lia Chang
Emmanuel “Manny” Brown. Photo by Lia Chang

Last November,  Emmanuel “Manny” Brown nabbed two awards at The Urban Action Showcase International Action Film Festival for his fight choreography on the short film Junkyard a.k.a. Stuntmen – a   2015 UAS IAFF Award for Best Action Sequence and 2015 UAS IAFF Award for Best Action in the 2 Min Warning Action Scene Contest.

junkyard

The UASE also celebrated the 30th anniversary of my first film, The Last Dragon last year, and will continues it’s Diversity in Action initiative of honing the past, present and future multicultural achievements in the genre of Heroes, by celebrating my second film, the 30th Anniversary of the Martial Arts Cult Classics Big Trouble in Little China,  in which I played a Wing Kong Guard.

Lia Chang and Donna Noguchi in John Carpenter’s Big Trouble in Little China (1986).
Lia Chang and Donna Noguchi in John Carpenter’s Big Trouble in Little China (1986).

The Urban Action Showcase International Action Film Festival (UAS IAFF) will screen both competition films as well as showcase main stream action cinema over two days, November 11-12, 2016, in New York. Click here for more information.

2015 Big Trouble in Little China Cast Reunion

Emmanuel "Manny " Brown
Emmanuel “Manny ” Brown

In addition to being an award-winning fight choreographer, Brown is also an actor, a champion martial artist,  an acrobat/tricker, a singer, and a dancer. He played Spider-man and Electro in the original Broadway cast of Spider-man:Turn Off the Dark, and has worked on the TV shows  “Elementary”(CBS), “Taxi Brooklyn” (NBC),  and “Forever” (ABC).

Cole Horibe, Emmanuel "Manny" Brown, Clifton Duncan and Jon Rua in David Henry Hwang's "Kung Fu." Photo by Lia Chang
Cole Horibe, Emmanuel “Manny” Brown, Clifton Duncan and Jon Rua in David Henry Hwang’s “Kung Fu.” Photo by Lia Chang

I first met Brown in 2014 at The Pershing Square Signature Center, where he was acting in and serving as fight director for Signature Theatre Company’s Off-Broadway world premiere of David Henry Hwang’s Kung Fu, and subsequently garnered a 2014 Village Voice Obie Award for his fight direction.

Emmanuel "Manny" Brown takes a bow at the curtain call of David Henry Hwang's "Kung Fu" at The Pershing Square Signature Center in New York on February 24, 2014. Photo by Lia Chang
Emmanuel “Manny” Brown takes a bow at the curtain call of David Henry Hwang’s “Kung Fu” at The Pershing Square Signature Center in New York on February 24, 2014. Photo by Lia Chang

Photos: Backstage and Opening Night of Signature’s World Premiere of David Henry Hwang’s ‘Kung Fu’ 

Branden Jacob-Jenkins’ Appropriate, Lisa Kron’s Fun Home, Sonya Tayeh, Emmanuel Brown, Mia Katigbak, K. Todd Freeman, John Earl Jelks Among 2014 Obie Award Winners

His other Off-Broadway credits include Charles Mee’s Big Love (Signature Theatre Company); Sweet Science Suite (BAM); and the Classical Theatre of Harlem productions of The Tempest as Stefano and Romeo N Juliet as Tybalt. In addition to Kung Fuhe has served as fight director for Sweet Science SuiteDeadly She-Wolf Assassin at Armageddon! (La Mama), Coin TossWorld’s FinestUnder the GunHis regional theater credits include Sucker Punch  (Studio Theatre of DC) and Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots (La Jolla Playhouse). Brown holds a B.F.A from the University of Florida.

Bobby Steggert, Emmanuel Brown and Ryan-James Hatanaka. Photo by T Charles Erickson.
Bobby Steggert, Emmanuel Brown and Ryan-James Hatanaka. Photo by T Charles Erickson.

Below is my interview with Manny about his favorite martial arts films, his latest accolades and what he’s been up to lately.

Emmanuel "Manny" Brown. Photo courtesy of Emmanuel "Manny" Brown/Facebook
Emmanuel “Manny” Brown. Photo courtesy of Emmanuel “Manny” Brown/Facebook

Lia: How old were you when you developed your love of acting and martial arts?
Manny: I developed a love for martial arts after my first class as a 10-year-old. I had an appreciation for acting all my life and did some acting classes in middle school and high school, but I decided to get serious about it when I was 19.

Lia: The 2016 Urban Action Showcase will celebrate the 30th Anniversary of Big Trouble in Little China in November this year.  Does this mean anything to you?
Manny: Absolutely. Big Trouble in Little China was one of the first movies featuring the martial arts that I had ever seen because I have an older sister who was obsessed with it. It is a part of my youth.

Lia: What other films have inspired you? 
Manny: Rumble in the BronxThe Last DragonLady DragonLegend of Drunken Master, Enter the DragonFist of Legend36th Chamber of ShaolinFearless Hyena, Jackie Chan’s First Strike.

Lia: What did it mean for you to receive these awards?
Manny: These awards mean that I am one step closer to doing fight choreography on film and TV and that all of my studying of film fighting is paying off.

Emmanuel "Manny" Brown. Photo by Ryu Ronnie Wright
Emmanuel “Manny” Brown. Photo by Ryu Ronnie Wright

Click below to watch Junkyard.

Lia: How did you get hired for Spider-Man? What was your experience of working on the production and being on Broadway?
Manny: 
I got cast in Spider-man by attending an open dance call. I had a great experience working on the show despite all of the controversy/problems. Being on Broadway is an experience like no other. Such great, receptive and enthusiastic audiences.

Cast members of the Broadway production of "Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark." Dale May for Time Out New York
Cast members of the Broadway production of “Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark.” Dale May for Time Out New York

Lia: What kind of adjustments do you make working on your fight direction on film, on television and on stage? 
Manny: I usually find myself having to make more adjustments when working on stage, as I can’t rely on editing and complete control of audience sightlines. I always try to adjust to my performers abilities to make them look as good as possible. On stage I have to work harder to make each technique “sell” to the audience.

Ari Loeb and Cole Horibe in David Henry Hwang's "Kung Fu". Photo by Joan Marcus
Ari Loeb and Cole Horibe in David Henry Hwang’s “Kung Fu”. Photo by Joan Marcus

Lia: Do you have a preferred medium?
Manny: I don’t have a preferred medium as each poses its own set of challenges.

The cast and creative team of David Henry Hwang's celebrate at their opening night party at Signature Theatre Company's Pershing Square Signature Center in New York on February 24, 2014. Photo by Lia Chang
The cast and creative team of David Henry Hwang’s celebrate at their opening night party at Signature Theatre Company’s Pershing Square Signature Center in New York on February 24, 2014. Photo by Lia Chang

Lia: Tell me more about the Urban Action Showcase.
Manny: The Showcase has been terrific both times I attended. It has introduced me to other action artists and icons I wouldn’t have had access to otherwise. Demetrius (Demetrius Angelo is the Founder and Executive Producer of the Urban Action Showcase and Expo) has done a lot to provide a platform for us, indie filmmakers and I am grateful for that.

Lia: Who have you been inspired by in the martial arts world? 
Manny: Jackie Chan, Don Wilson, Cynthia Rothrock, Richard Norton, Billy Blanks, Ted Jan Roberts, Bruce Lee, Jim Kelly.

Lia: Have you had mentors? If so, who have they been and in what capacity have you worked with them?
Manny: My martial arts teachers – Allen Abdul, Dean Butler, Dale Herring). My acting teachers – Harry O’Reilly, Mikell Pinkney, David Shelton). Also John Chung, who coached the karate team I competed for, and the late Fred Ho.

Sheldon Best, Ruben Santiago-Hudson, Emmanuel "Manny" Brown and Clifton Duncan at the opening night party for David Henry Hwang's "Kung Fu" at Pershing Square Signature Center in New York on February 24, 2014. Photo by Lia Chang
Sheldon Best, Ruben Santiago-Hudson, Emmanuel “Manny” Brown and Clifton Duncan at the opening night party for David Henry Hwang’s “Kung Fu” at Pershing Square Signature Center in New York on February 24, 2014. Photo by Lia Chang

Lia: Who have been your acting role models?
Manny: Jeffrey Wright, Robert De Niro, Sean Penn, Martin Lawrence, Javier Bardem, Sidney Poitier.

Emmanuel "Manny" Brown in flight as a Knicks Acroback Tumblers at Madison Square Garden. Photo: Facebook
Emmanuel “Manny” Brown in flight as a Knicks Acroback Tumblers at Madison Square Garden. Photo: Facebook

Lia: What did you do during your time with the New York Knicks and the New York Liberty at Madison Square Garden?
Manny: I was an acrobat for the Knicks Acroback Tumblers and a dancer/acrobat/cheerleader for the Liberty. It was a cool job working at the Garden.

Sheldon Best and Emmanuel Brown in Studio Theatre’s production of Roy Williams SUCKERPUNCH (2012). Photo: Scott Suchman.
Sheldon Best and Emmanuel Brown in Studio Theatre’s production of Roy Williams SUCKERPUNCH (2012). Photo: Scott Suchman.

Lia: What have been your three favorite projects?
Manny: A play I did in Washington DC called Sucker Punch, the episode of “Blindspot” that I was in, and the play Kung Fu I worked on in NY.

Lia: What are you working on now?
Manny: I am planning on working on a production this Summer with Classical Theatre of Harlem.

Lia: A fun fact that nobody know about you.
Manny:
I am a cinephile and and learn how to say certain things in other languages from watching foreign films.

The 2016 Urban Action Showcase International Action Film Festival Featuring the Cinemax Action Short Film Competition Call for Entries is Now Open! Submit Now through Oct. 1 2016. Over $100,000 in Cash, Distribution and Prize Opportunities! Click here for details.

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

Lia Chang is an award-winning filmmaker, a Best Actress nominee, a photographer, and an award-winning multi-platform journalist. Lia has appeared in the films Wolf, New Jack City, A Kiss Before Dying, King of New York, Big Trouble in Little China, The Last Dragon, Taxman and Hide and Seek, which will screen at the Disorient Film Festival in Eugene Oregon in April. She is profiled in Examiner.comJade Magazine and Playbill.com.

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

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

Sneak Peek at the Featured Films and Lineup for the 11th Annual DisOrient Asian American Film Festival of Oregon, April 29 – May 1

My Bev’s Girl Films partner Garth Kravits and I are delighted to have our short film, Hide and Seek as an official selection of the 11th Annual DisOrient Asian American Film Festival in Eugene, OR.

Hide and Seek Postcard

Examiner.com: Q&A with ‘Hide and Seek’ director Garth Kravits and Actress Lia Chang

disorientDisOrient,  a social justice film festival committed to the honest portrayals of the diversity of Asian and Pacific Islander American experiences, will screen a curated collection of 14 feature films, 17 short films, and 2 music videos at Bijou Art Cinemas and Bijou Metro, Eugene, OR, from April 29-May 1, 2016. Over 25 filmmakers and actors will be in attendance for post-screening Q&A’s.

Tyrus Wong
Tyrus Wong

The festival starts on Friday, April 29th at 6:00 pm with the Opening Night Film, Pamela Tom’s TYRUS, which presents the life and career of 105+ year old Chinese American artist, Tyrus Wong, from his immigration to the U.S. as a child to his artistic contributions to animation and classic American cinema, preceded by Ed Moy’s award-winning animated short, Up in the Clouds.

up in the cloudsTom and Moy will be in attendance for the Q & A.

© 2015 "SUGIHARA CHIUNE" SEISAKU IINKAI
© 2015 “SUGIHARA CHIUNE” SEISAKU IINKAI

DisOrient’s Centerpiece Film, the epic and spectacular feature narrative Persona Non Grata – The Chiune Sugihara Story, produced by Cine Bazar will screen on Saturday, April 30th.  Director Cellin Gluck is planning to attend for a highly anticipated Q&A after the film, which is based on the true historical accounts about a Japanese diplomat who, during World War II, faced a moral dilemma that affected the lives of thousands of European Jews in Lithuania.

Harvey leads his team in the haka, a traditional warrior dance..
Harvey leads his team in the haka, a traditional warrior dance.

A must see is the documentary In Football We Trust, which made its world premiere at Sundance and permits a rare and intimate access to the families of 4 Pacific Islander football players who have hopes of making it into the NFL.

12640395_751576961653247_5373255653134646795_oDisOrient closes with Comfort, accompanied by Director William Lu and lead actor, Julie Zahn. Lu’s feature film debut brings Cameron (Chris Dinh) and Jasmine (Julie Zahn) together as they explore the after-hours food scene in LA while Cameron hides his dreams away in the darkness of the night.

Below is the complete lineup of films:

  • Up In The Clouds
  • TYRUS
  • Sakura Sakura
  • An American Hero:Shiro Kashino
  • Drone
  • Resilient
  • Moment
  • Meet Me At A Funeral
  • Goodbye
  • Right Footed
  • Someone Else
  • In Football We Trust
  • Persona Non Grata –The Chiune Sugihara Story
  • Cantonese Rice
  • To Climb A Gold Mountain
  • Painted Nails
  • Pali Road
  • Live From UB
  • Distance Between
  • Christmas In America
  • Frank and Kass
  • Too Fast
  • Fishbone
  • The Waltz
  • I Hate the Color Red
  • Carnal Orient
  • Hide and Seek
  • Spaceship
  • It Runs In the Family
  • Pamanhikan
  • 9-Man
  • Breathin’: The Eddy Zheng Story
  • Comfort

Check www.disorientfilm.org for updates and schedule TBA. Purchase All Access VIP Passes for $75 in advance on www.brownpapertickets.com, or $80 at the door. The Opening Night Reception is at the Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art with a live musical performance by Portland band- The Slants, that is included with tickets to “TYRUS” or VIP Passes. Front man Simon Tam will also speak on “How Being Asian Got Me Into Trouble.” General tickets ($15) to the Opening Night show will be sold at the door at 8:45 pm. Admission to the Sunday Night Awards Gala at LZ Chinese Dish will be included with VIP Passes or ticket stub for “Comfort. Individual film tickets will be sold on-line starting in April or at the door until sold out. There is a Free Sunday Shorts program.

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

Lia Chang is an award-winning filmmaker, a Best Actress nominee, a photographer, and an award-winning multi-platform journalist. Lia has appeared in the films Wolf, New Jack City, A Kiss Before Dying, King of New York, Big Trouble in Little China, The Last Dragon, Taxman and Hide and Seek, which will screen at the Disorient Film Festival in Eugene Oregon in April. She is profiled in Examiner.comJade Magazine and Playbill.com.

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

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

“Sunny Side Up” on Sprout, starring Emily Borromeo, Carly Ciarrocchi, Kaitlin Becker and Tim Kubart, Receives Daytime Emmy Nod for Best Pre-School Children’s Series

Emily Borromeo
Emily Borromeo

Congratulations to Emily Borromeo on her first Daytime Emmy nod as part of the “Sunny Side Up” team, which has been nominated for Best Pre-School Children’s Series, and will be competing against “Dino Dan: Trek’s Adventures,” “Mutt & Stuff,” “Sesame Street,” and “Yo Gabba Gabba!”

Kaitlin Becker, Tim Kubart, Chica, Carly Ciarrocchi, Emily Borromeo of "Sunny Side Up". Photo: Sprout
Kaitlin Becker, Tim Kubart, Chica, Carly Ciarrocchi, Emily Borromeo of “Sunny Side Up”. Photo: Sprout

Borromeo, an actor, singer and dancer, is a host of “Sunny Side Up Show” on Sprout (NBCUniversal), the first 24-hour preschool destination available on TV, on demand and online. Along with her co-host, Chica, Borromeo interacts live with preschoolers and their families across the country as she shares daily birthday greetings, viewer-submitted crafts, fun facts and weekly themes ranging from colors, numbers and letters to manners, gardening and pets. Borromeo debuted as a host on “Sunny Side Up” in June 2014.

“Sunny Side Up” airs Monday – Friday 9 a.m.-noon ET. Along with Borromeo and Chica, “Sunny Side Up,” stars Carly Ciarrocchi, Kaitlin Becker and Tim Kubart. The show is co-executive produced by Andrew Beecham, Meredith Halpern-Ranzer and Jeremy Wintroub; with supervising producers Ed Pokropski, Kristen McGregor, and features music by Tim Burns. The series is produced by Sprout and is part of Children’s Network LLC, a division of NBCUniversal.

Originally from Los Altos, California, Borromeo has been singing since the age of three when her favorite movies included The Wizard of Oz and Singing in the Rain. Since then, Borromeo has gone on to become a lead soloist on NBC’s a cappella competition, “The Sing Off,” and perform in many off Broadway shows and new musicals. Borromeo is also a member of America’s Sweethearts, a vintage music entertainment group.

From May 6 – May 28, you can catch Borromeo as Marcy Park in The Astoria Performing Arts Center (APAC) production of the award-winning musical THE 25TH ANNUAL PUTNAM COUNTY SPELLING BEE, directed by APAC Artistic Director Dev Bondarin.  Click here for more information.

Borromeo recently came out to support her pals lyricist Benjamin Halstead and composer Garth Kravits at the TUNE IN TIME Musical Theater Game Show at the York Theatre, when Halstead and Kravits were paired together to create an original song in 20 minutes for a new musical, and ultimately won.

Benjamin Halstead, Emily Borromeo and Garth Kravits and TUNE IN TIME at the York Theatre in New York on March 14, 2016. Photo by Lia Chang
Benjamin Halstead, Emily Borromeo and Garth Kravits and TUNE IN TIME at the York Theatre in New York on March 14, 2016. Photo by Lia Chang

Borromeo performed a duet with Garth Kravits of his new original song “That Man” from M: The Musical. 

Emily Borromeo performs a duet with Garth Kravits of his new original song “That Man” from M: THE MUSICAL at TUNE IN TIME at York Theatre in New York on March 14, 2016. Photo by Lia Chang
Emily Borromeo performs a duet with Garth Kravits of his new original song “That Man” from M: THE MUSICAL at TUNE IN TIME at York Theatre in New York on March 14, 2016. Photo by Lia Chang

Garth Kravits and Benjamin Halstead win TUNE IN TIME Musical Theater Song Writing Competition at The York Theatre

In addition to being a host on “Sunny Side Up,” Borromeo’s love of working with kids and her passion for the arts have led her to volunteer as an actor and teaching assistant for “Story Pirates,” a non-profit arts organization that promotes creative writing skills, confident self-expression, and literacy to kids of all ages.

Emily Borromeo and Enrico Rodriguez. Photo by Lia Chang
Emily Borromeo and Enrico Rodriguez. Photo by Lia Chang

Borromeo graduated from Brown University, where she earned a B.A. in Entrepreneurship and Organizational Studies.

www.emilyborromeo.com

The Daytime Emmy Awards ceremony is set for May 1 at the Westin Bonaventure hotel in downtown Los Angeles. The Creative Arts kudos will be handed out April 29 at the Bonaventure. The 43rd Annual Daytime Emmy Award Nominations were announced on the Emmy-winning show, “The Talk,” on CBS.

The Daytime Emmy Awards recognize outstanding achievement in all fields of daytime television production and are presented to individuals and programs broadcast from 2:00 a.m.-6:00 p.m. during the 2015 calendar year.

The Daytime Creative Arts Emmy Awards gala, honors the more than 65 craft categories behind the many shows that grace the Daytime genre.

The 43rd Annual Daytime Emmy Awards is a presentation of the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences.

A full list of all nominees in all categories can be downloaded at  www.emmyonline.tv.

About The National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences
The National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences (NATAS) is a professional service organization dedicated to the advancement of the arts and sciences of television and the promotion of creative leadership for artistic, educational and technical achievements within the television industry. It recognizes excellence in television with the coveted Emmy® Award for News & Documentary, Sports, Daytime Entertainment, Daytime Creative Arts & Entertainment, Public & Community Service, and Technology & Engineering. NATAS membership consists of more than 15,000 broadcast and media professionals represented in 19 regional chapters across the country. Beyond awards, NATAS has extensive educational programs including Regional Student Television and its Student Award for Excellence for outstanding journalistic work by high school students, as well as scholarships, publications, and major activities for both industry professionals and the viewing public.

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

Lia Chang is an award-winning filmmaker, a Best Actress nominee, a photographer, and an award-winning multi-platform journalist. Lia has appeared in the films Wolf, New Jack City, A Kiss Before Dying, King of New York, Big Trouble in Little China, The Last Dragon, Taxman and Hide and Seek, which will screen at the Disorient Film Festival in Eugene Oregon in April. She is profiled in Examiner.comJade Magazine and Playbill.com.

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

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

Multimedia: Garth Kravits Featured on Latest Episode of Joel B. New’s SOMETHING NEW Podcast

In Episode 406 of “Something New” — a musical theatre podcast that interviews artists and premieres original songs — award-winning songwriter Joel B. New sat down with Garth Kravits, co-creator and co-host of “Playball Podcast.”

Joel B New, Garth Kravits. Photo by Lia Chang
Joel B New, Garth Kravits. Photo by Lia Chang
Garth Kravits. Photo by Lia Chang
Garth Kravits. Photo by Lia Chang

Garth Kravits is an actor, singer, musician and composer and award-winning filmmaker. He made his Broadway debut in the musical The Drowsy Chaperone. Kravits has appeared in the Off-Broadway productions of Old Jews Telling Jokes and Toxic Audio Loudmouth; regionally in Gettin’ The Band Back Together, Meet Me in St. Louis: A Live Radio Play, and It’s A Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play, (Bucks County Playhouse); The Producers (Gateway Playhouse) and Happy Days: A New Musical (Goodspeed Opera House); and as Benny Southstreet in the regional tour of Guys and Dolls. On television, Kravits has guest starred on “30 Rock,”” The Blacklist,” “Nurse Jackie,” “Hostages,” “Tin Man” and “The Carrie Diaries”. He and Sean Dougherty host the “Playball Podcast,” where Broadway professionals get passionate about sports. For more info, visit www.garthkravits.com and www.playballpodcast.com.

Joel B New, Garth Kravits, Josh Kight. Photo by Lia Chang
Joel B New, Garth Kravits, Josh Kight. Photo by Lia Chang

For the live song portion of the episode, Mr. Kravits performed “The Night Cafe.” Music and lyrics by Joel B. New. Inspired by the artwork of Vincent Van Gogh. Accompanied by Josh Kight on piano. This performance can be heard on SoundCloud and seen on YouTube.

New is currently in pre-production for his solo EP Cabot Cove, a collection of songs inspired by book titles referenced to in the TV series “Murder, She Wrote,” starring Tony Award winner Angela Lansbury. The Kickstarter campaign to fund said album runs thru April 6th.

“Something New” is available on iTunes, Stitcher, and TuneIn.

Joel B. New, Garth Kravits, Josh Kight. Photo by Lia Chang
Joel B. New, Garth Kravits, Josh Kight. Photo by Lia Chang

Joel B. New is the recipient of an American Theatre Wing Jonathan Larson Grant for his music and lyrics. His stage projects include TO HELL AND BACK, MACKENZIE & THE MISSING BOY, AWAKENING (book: Jenny Stafford, music: J. Oconer Navarro), STANDALONE, AGATHA IN THE ATTIC, and RSVP. Joel’s work has been seen and developed at Ars Nova, Lincoln Center, 54 Below, New York Theatre Barn, Prospect Theater Company, Musical Theatre Factory, and the 2015 New York Musical Theatre Festival. For more info, visit joelbnew.com.

Broadwayworld.com: Garth Kravits Featured on Latest Episode of SOMETHING NEW Podcast
Broadwayworld.com: TUNE IN TIME Returns to York Theatre Company Next Week
Broadwayworld.com: TAGE TUBE: Cut&Dry Films Releases OSCAR VOTE 2016
Broadwayworld.com: STAGE TUBE: Check Out Stage Vets Garth Kravits and Lora Lee Gayer’s #YEEHOCKEY Country Sports Musical Spoof
Garth Kravits and Benjamin Halstead win TUNE IN TIME Musical Theater Song Writing Competition at The York Theatre 
An Afternoon with Garth Kravits of Bucks County Playhouse’s ‘It’s A Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play’
Photos: Garth Kravits, Michael Keyloun, Klea Blackhurst, Eloise Kropp, Maxine Linehan, and Aaron Ramey in GROUNDED FOR LIFE at The York

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

Lia Chang is an award-winning filmmaker, a Best Actress nominee, a photographer, and an award-winning multi-platform journalist. Lia has appeared in the films Wolf, New Jack City, A Kiss Before Dying, King of New York, Big Trouble in Little China, The Last Dragon, Taxman and Hide and Seek, which will screen at the Disorient Film Festival in Eugene Oregon in April. She is profiled in Examiner.comJade Magazine and Playbill.com.

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

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

Joshua Henry, Gayle Turner, Robert McKay and Tracey Conyer Lee Visit Colman Domingo’s DOT at the Vineyard Theatre; Extended Run Ends on March 24

Marjorie Johnson, Lia Chang and Sharon Washington. Photo by Garth Kravits
Marjorie Johnson, Lia Chang and Sharon Washington. Photo by Garth Kravits

For most of the Sunday matinee of Colman Domingo’s new heartbreakingly funny play DOT at the Vineyard Theatre, starring  Marjorie Johnson, Sharon Washington, Colin Hanlon, Stephen Conrad Moore, Libya V. Pugh, Michael Rosen and Finnerty Steeves, I was on the verge of laughter and tears.

dotHelmed by Susan Stroman, DOT opened Tuesday, February 23rd and its extended run ends on Thursday, March 24th. The limited engagement was originally scheduled to run through Sunday, March 20th. The remaining performances are Monday, March 21th @ 7pm, Tuesday, March 22nd @ 7pm, Wednesday, March 23rd @ 7pm and Thursday, March 24 @ 2pm and 8pm.For tickets and information, visit www.vineyardtheatre.org or call 212-353-0303.

Finnerty Steeves, Libya V. Pugh, Robert McKay, Marjorie Johnson, Joshua Henry and Sharon Washington. Photo by Lia Chang
Finnerty Steeves, Libya V. Pugh, Robert McKay, Marjorie Johnson, Joshua Henry and Sharon Washington. Photo by Lia Chang

Washington’s former Scottsboro Boys’ cast mate Joshua Henry, who is currently starring on Broadway in Shuffle AlongRobert McKay (“Daredevil,” “Gotham”),  Gayle Turner (original Broadway cast of The Wiz) and Tracey Conyer Lee (Bedbugs!!!, Sistas: The Musical) visited with the cast backstage.

Tracey Conyer Lee, Gayle Turner and Marjorie Johnson. Photo by Garth Kravits
Tracey Conyer Lee, Gayle Turner and Marjorie Johnson. Photo by Garth Kravits

In DOT, the holidays are always a wild family affair at the Shealy house. But this year, Dotty (Marjorie Johnson) and her three grown children, Shelly (Sharon Washington), Donnie (Stephen Conrad Moore), Averie (Libya V. Pugh)  gather for the holidays with more than exchanging presents on their minds. As Dotty struggles to hold on to her memory, her children fight to balance care for their mother and care for themselves.

Sharon Washington, Marjorie Johnson, Finnerty Steeves. Photo by Carol Rosegg
Sharon Washington, Marjorie Johnson, Finnerty Steeves. Photo by Carol Rosegg

Kudos to the terrific cast and creative team for telling this very relevant, relatable and timely story.

My grandmother, Nancy Lee Chang celebrated her 90th birthday on July 16, 2011.
My grandmother, Nancy Lee Chang celebrated her 90th birthday on July 16, 2011.

I have first hand experience with Dementia and Alzheimer in my family, having witnessed the decline of my beloved feisty grandmother, Nancy Lee Chang. At 80 years of age, she was independent, self-sufficient, vital, strong as an ox and still going to the gym everyday, but after the unexpected death of my mother in 1999 and injuries related to being hit by a car, she began to change. Over the course of the play, I was in tears numerous times because of the all too familiar drama unfolding onstage.

Coming to America through The Angel Island Immigration Station

On Tuesday, March 22nd, DOT director Susan Stroman will be joined by Tony Award-winning actor and advocate David Hyde Pierce (Vineyard’s THE LANDING, director of Broadway’s IT SHOULDA BEEN YOU) for a discussion of themes raised by the play following the 7pm performance of DOT. Pierce has worked with The Alzheimer’s Association for nearly twenty years as a board member and national spokesperson. He has testified before Congress and served on the federal Advisory Council on Alzheimer’s Research, Care, and Services, providing guidance to the Secretary of Health and Human Services. In 2010, he was awarded the Tony Awards’ Isabelle Stevenson Award for his work in the fight against Alzheimer’s disease.

Sharon Washington, Libya V. Pugh, Colin Hanlon, Stephen Conrad Moore. Photo by Carol Rosegg
Sharon Washington, Libya V. Pugh, Colin Hanlon, Stephen Conrad Moore. Photo by Carol Rosegg

WHAT THE CRITICS ARE SAYING ABOUT DOT:

“CRITICS’ PICK!

UPROARIOUSLY FUNNY! DEEPLY MOVING!

A thoroughly entertaining comedy-drama, an impressive advance for Colman Domingo. Dotty is played with glowing warmth and sensitivity by Marjorie Johnson. THE CAST IS TERRIFIC.” – Charles Isherwood, The New York Times

“‘DOT’ IS DISARMINGLY FUNNY AND MOST REWARDING!

Kudos to the Vineyard Theatre’s highly engaging production, helmed by the celebrated Broadway veteran Susan Stroman. She strikes a most responsive chord. The ensemble of seven is ideal. Marjorie Johnson delivers beautifully!” – Roma Torre, NY1

“‘DOT’ IS ROLLICKING AND AFFECTING!

VERY FUNNY, VERY MOVING AND PROPELLED BY A WONDERFUL TEAM OF ACTORS.

Susan Stroman does a perceptive job with this comedy-drama. All seven actors gloriously shine. Sharon Washington is a thorough joy. Colin Hanlon and Michael Rosen give humorous and sensitive performances. Finnerty Steeves is uproariously funny. Colman Domingo provides the audience with NONSTOP LAUGHTER AND TENDER SENSITIVITY.” – Steven Suskin, The Huffington Post

“A MAGNIFICENT NEW PLAY! FULL OF LAUGHTER AND HEARTBREAK.

The actors knock it out of the park. Marjorie Johnson astounds us with her performance. Stephen Conrad Moore and Colin Hanlon are masters. Libya V. Pugh is just plain fun as Averie. Colman Domingo tackles the subject with intelligence, heart and humor. A CAPTIVATING PRODUCTION!” – Zachary Stewart,TheaterMania

Michael Rosen, Marjorie Johnson. Photo by Carol Rosegg
Michael Rosen, Marjorie Johnson. Photo by Carol Rosegg

“A GUT-WRENCHING DRAMA!

Colman Domingo is in his finest form yet as a playwright.” – Matthew Murray, Talkin’ Broadway

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

Lia Chang is an award-winning filmmaker, a Best Actress nominee, a photographer, and an award-winning multi-platform journalist. Lia has appeared in the films Wolf, New Jack City, A Kiss Before Dying, King of New York, Big Trouble in Little China, The Last Dragon, Taxman and Hide and Seek, which will screen at the Disorient Film Festival in Eugene Oregon in April. She is profiled in Examiner.comJade Magazine and Playbill.com.

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

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

PRI.org: Ang Lee and George Takei signed the letter, but here’s who wrote it

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

PRI.org: Ang Lee and George Takei signed the letter, but here’s who wrote it

“The heavily circulated letter was signed by 25 members of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, including director Ang Lee, actors Sandra Oh and George Takei. It was a protest of the tone-deaf Asian jokes at this year’s Oscars ceremony — but it wasn’t meant to be an open letter.

“It was a private message to our friends and our colleagues in the organization,” says Freida Lee Mock, the chair of the Academy’s Documentary Executive Committee, who penned the first draft.

But none of the signatories seem too bothered that it was leaked to the press, first reported by Variety and then rebounding around the Internet earlier this week. It wasn’t until the letter became public that CEO Dawn Hudson issued a swift apology. And it wasn’t until George Takei called the apology “patronizing” and “a bland, corporate response” that Hudson scheduled a future meeting with these 25 members to show them that the Academy leaders were serious about these issues.

This was the first time in recent history that a grassroots collaboration like this amongst Asian Americans has happened within the Academy. The organization is divided into branches based on craft — for actors, directors, executives, etc. — and for the most part, members work within their lanes. Long-time Academy members Mock and documentarian Arthur Dong have been involved in numerous campaigns for documentary films. They successfully lobbied for the documentary branch of the Academy and Mock was voted the first governor. Dong joined her in a leadership position soon after. In the ’90s, when there was an attempt to get rid of the Academy Award for Documentary Short, they helped rally people like Steven Spielberg to get the decision unanimously overturned.

But they’ve never had to band together by ethnicity, because before this year’s Oscars ceremony, there was no need.

Moments after Academy President Cheryl Boone Isaacs took the stage to speak about the importance of diversity at this year’s ceremony, Oscars host Chris Rock brought out three Asian American children to make a child labor joke. Later in the night, presenter Sasha Baron Cohen delighted in cracking an Asian penis joke.”

“It hit me in gut,” says Dong, now a film professor at Loyola Marymount University. He was watching the Oscars with his 11-year-old son. “I just thought, ‘This is our organization. We understand the process and how decisions are made, so how could this have happened?'”

Click here to read the full article.

Asian American Arts Alliance: Inaugural 2016 Van Lier Fellowships for Asian American Actors and Directors; Apply through April 10

Asian American Arts Alliance

Inaugural 2016 Van Lier Fellowships for Acting and Directing

PROGRAM GUIDELINES AND APPLICATION

The Asian American Arts Alliance is pleased to administer, with support from the New York Community Trust, the 2016 Van Lier Fellowships in different disciplines over the next three years. This year, the Alliance will be recognizing theater artists in the categories of Acting and Directing.

The Alliance will grant two eight-month fellowships to one early-career Asian American actor and one early-career Asian American director, age 30 or younger, whose work shows outstanding promise, who may benefit from further professional artistic development, and who is of limited financial means.

The fellowship recipients will each receive an unrestricted cash stipend of $12,000 and an eight-month fellowship tailored to respond to the unique needs of each Fellow, which includes artistic mentorship with an established mid-career theater professional, leadership coaching, and a range of technical support.

The Alliance’s mission is to strengthen Asian American arts and cultural groups through resource sharing, promotion, and community building. In line with these efforts, it is the aim of the Alliance’s Van Lier Fellowships to develop early-career, individual Asian American artists living in New York City.

Created by the will of Sally Van Lier, the Trust carries out Edward and Sally Van Liers’ legacy of arts appreciation by supporting arts groups and training programs to provide education, training, or other support.

The Alliance will be administering an open application process for this year’s fellowships.

View Guidelines and Apply Online HERE

Submissions are due by 11:59 PM EST Sunday, April 10th, 2016.

Asian American Arts Alliance Van Lier Fellowships will include:

* Unrestricted cash grant of $12,000 per Fellow during the fellowship cycle

* Eight-month fellowship (July 2016–February 2017) with the Alliance, which will include a leadership coaching series, artistic mentorship with a mid-career theater professional, and professional technical resources

* Fellows will have their individual profiles featured on the Alliance Web site

TIMETABLE FOR FELLOWSHIP PROCESS

April 10                                               Submissions close by 11:59pm EST

April–May                                           Artistic review period

June                                                   Fellows announced

WHO IS ELIGIBLE

The applicant MUST:

  • Be of Asian descent. Ethnic origins include Central Asian, East Asian, Pacific Islander, South Asian, Southeast Asian, West Asian, Middle Eastern and Multi-regional
  • Be 30 years of age or younger (born June 15, 1985 or later)
  • Not be currently enrolled as a full-time or part-time student in any degree program or matriculating in any degree program by June 30th, 2016
  • Be a resident of New York City (Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, Bronx, or Staten Island)
  • Be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident
  • Be available to participate in the fellowship orientation and leadership coaching sessions in July 2016 (exact dates TBD)

WHO IS INELIGIBLE

*Previous or current recipients of any Van Lier fellowships

*Undergraduate or graduate students who are currently enrolled in any degree program or who plan to matriculate in any degree program from the year 2016 through 2017

*Alliance board members and staff

CRITERIA BY WHICH APPLICATIONS WILL BE REVIEWED

  • Artistic Merit: Clarity, imaginativeness, and uniqueness based upon body of work and work samples submitted.
  • Community Impact: Articulation of interest or hopes to make a significant impact on the Asian American arts community based on narrative responses in the application.
  • Potential for Growth: Extent to which the fellowship will advance the applicant’s goals and career.
  • Financial Need: Demonstrated need for financial support based upon applicant’s explanation of annual income and expenses. Finalists may be asked to provide further financial documentation.

VAN LIER FELLOWSHIP INFO SESSION

Applicants are encouraged to attend the Alliance ACCESS: Master Class for 2016 Van Lier Fellowship Applicants on Monday, March 28 from 6:30-8:00pm.

Facilitated by Asian American Arts Alliance Van Lier Fellowship Manager Mr. Soriya Chum and Director of Public Programs Ms. Cate Yu, this year’s Master Class will be geared towards Asian American actors and directors interested in applying for the 2016 Van Lier Fellowships in the categories of Acting and Directing.

The Alliance hopes that this workshop will not only serve applicants the nuts and bolts of a strong Van Lier Fellowship application, but also provide enriching suggestions for other fellowship opportunities. Part info session and part workshop, this 1.5-hour session will include the background and logistics of the awards process and pointers on preparing a strong application.

Space is limited, so we encourage early RSVPs. You can RSVP HERE.

Please contact Fellowships Manager Mr. Soriya Chum at schum@aaartsalliance.org if you have any questions relating to the Van Lier Fellowships. 

The Van Lier Fellowships are made possible through a grant from the Edward and Sally Van Lier Fund of the New York CommunityTrust.

6th Annual Queens World Film Festival (QWFF) screens 32 films on 3/19 including a Closing Night Salute to Susan Seidelman’s SMITHEREENS; QWFF 2016 Winners to Be Announced

qwffThe 6th Annual Queens World Film Festival (QWFF)  opened  to SRO audiences on Tuesday with screenings continuing at the Museum of the Moving Image (MOMI) in Astoria, Queens, NY, and three other venues, the Secret Theatre, PS 69 and All Saints’ Episcopal Church thru ‎March 20th. Full Festival passes and Individual Tickets are on sale on line. Check out www.queensworldfilmfestival.com for the full schedule and to view trailers.

SATURDAY MARCH 19: Awards & Closing Night Party-  

QWFF awards prizes in all categories for those films in competition. The films nominated in the Feature Film and Feature Documentary categories and the other nominations for shorts, new work, animation, etc. are posted on the QWFF websiteThe winners will be announced at the closing ceremony/party to be held this Saturday, March 19th, at Mundo in the Paper Factory Hotel, 337-06 36th Street, Long Island City, NY 11101. Entrance is free with drink special. 9pm
Phone: 718-706-8636 / 718-392-7200

A distinguished jury consisting of Josh Green, Michael Lieber, Gy Mirano, Sebastian Rea, Opal Hope Bennet, Michael Tuckman, E.J. McLeavey- Fisher, Paul Hanes,  Jammil Lahham, Jennifer Griffith and Elizabeth Pasieczny selected the 2016 nominees. Katha Cato, Director of QWFF states that ”we are very pleased with the films selected, they are inclusive and diverse, truly representative of the world of film.”

The feature films selected for competition include 6 Narrative Features from 3 Female Directors and 3 Male Directors with 1 from Ireland/US, 1 from Nepal, 1 from Iran and 3 from the US.

The 7 Documentary Features selected are from 3 Female Directors and 4 Male Directors with1 film from Finland/Afghanistan, 1 from China/Germany and 1 from Haiti with 4 from the US.
143 films from 23 countries are binge screened in total over the 6 days of the festival.  With  29 world premieres, 22 US premieres, 38 feature length and 85 short films (Narratives, Documentaries, LGBTQ, Animation and Family friendly) with 29 filmmakers from Queens, 42 female directors and 30 female producers.

To highlight the ‎IndieCollect film preservation campaign, Susan Seidelman’s 1982 movie, Smithereens, will be showcased at MoMI on Closing Night, Saturday, March 19, at 7pm. ‎ The Smithereens negative was found by the IndieCollect team in the vaults of DuArt Film & Video after DuArt closed its photo-chemical division, and was placed at the Academy Film Archive for safekeeping. IndieCollect, headed by QWFF board member Sandra Schulberg, is dedicated to saving independent films before they are lost due to neglect, lack of funding and/or faulty preservation strategies. For more info, see: indiecollect.org

 Smithereens was the first American independent feature to be shown in the Official Competition at the Cannes Film Festival. The international rights to Smithereens were recently acquired by SHOUT! Factory (shoutfactory.com), and later this year the film will be released into the physical DVD and digital market by The Criterion Collection.  Ms. Seidelman subsequently directed the hugely successful movie, Desperately Seeking Susan, featuring Madonna in her screen debut.

The Queens World Film Festival engages audiences with targeted outreach to the diverse communities that comprise the borough of Queens.‎ QWFF Artistic Director Don Cato ‎underlines this: “This year’s films come from many of the countries whose diasporas are represented in Queens, and they promise to move and entertain our audiences. There are tender films, heartbreaking films, and several works that are extremely provocative, even disturbing. Taken as a whole, I feel this year’s selection ties us into discussions people are having around the world.”

Cato programs the films in thematic blocks with evocative titles, and each program is followed by a post-screening dialogue.Alumni are not automatically accepted, and names are no guarantee either. The real stars are the films themselves. “It’s about surrendering to the cinema experience, without looking for familiar names, titles, scores. It’s about creating the right context for personal, intimate discoveries you will not find anywhere else on the planet,” states Cato.

The list of films in competition listed below are the Narrative and Doc Features:

Narrative Feature

Oblivion Season

Dir: Abbas Rafei, Iran, 94 min

An ex-prostitute marries for love, but leaving the shadow of her dark past is not as easy as it seems.

Pop Meets the Void

Dir: William Cusick, United States, 89 min
A musician navigates a hyperreal combination of live action and animation daydreams in a series of interlocking Moebius strips, of parallel identities and existential humor, set to an original soundtrack.

Dying Candle

Dir: Naresh Kumar, Nepal. 89 min

A sister fights all odds to take care of her young brother, until things fall apart, and she is left with no option, but sell her dignity to save him.

She Sings To The Stars

Dir: Jennifer Corcoran, Ireland/United States, 103min
Lyle is traveling with a white rabbit, the promise of a gig and a life-long dream to be able to magically disappear when he discovers Mabel a Native American grandmother.

H.O.M.E.

Dir: Daniel Maldonado, United States, 75min
Two stories, beautifully interwoven reveal the alienation and  meaning to be found when the disconnected connect in a (dis)connected city.

The Inquisition of Camilo Sanz

Dir: John Marco Lopez, United States, 89 min

After living nearly his entire life in New York City with false documents, burgeoning Finance professional Camilo Sanz receives a notice of deportation. Desperate for a solution at any cost, he obtains funding from a nefarious neighborhood loan shark, and dives head first into a fraudulent marriage.

Doc Feature

Marzia, My Friend

Dir: Kirsi Mattila,  Finland/Afganistan  80min

Marzia dreams of peace, independence and a good job. But because she lives in Afghanistan, her dreams are revolutionary.  Marzia’s story becomes a symbol of the wider struggle of Afghan women: It is about the right to make decisions about your own life. The film follows Marzia’s life from spring 2011 to the end of 2014, when international troops were supposed to leave Afghanistan.

God Knows Where I Am

Dir: Tod Wilder & Jedd Wider, United States, 2015, 97min

A New Hampshire mother  became a prisoner of her own mind, a fate which she documents in one of the most evocative and chilling accounts of mental illness and of our systemic failure to protect those suffering from it.

The Gospel According to Charlie  

Dir: David Bussan, United States, 56min

Outsider artist Charlie Van Ness journies from creating whimsical heart, lip, star, and penis-shaped sculptures out of fiberglass and resin to creating installation art, carving mythical stories into hundreds of stone tablets

Saving Jamaica Bay

Dir: David Sigal, United States, 2016, 76min

Susan Sarandon narrates the untold stories of this unique natural resource and the unlikely urban environmentalists struggling to save the bay and their way of life in this era of rapidly growing cities and rising seas.

You See Me

Dir: Linda J. Brown, United States, 71min

When a devastating stroke leaves her father vulnerable and dependent, the filmmakers decides to confront the silence surrounding his troubled and violent past with home movies, family photos and interviews, revealing secrets, uncovering lies, and discovering a redeeming treasure in a lost family video.

Coming & Going

Dir: Tianlin Xu  China/Germany 89 min

Two orphaned teenage brothers leave their remote mountain village behind to seek their fortune in two separate major cities. Meanwhile, their young neighbors anxiously await the return of their father, a migrant worker who left the village a year ago. This is the story of four boys from the Chinese countryside, their hopes and dreams, and the challenges they face.

I Am Haiti

Dir: Raul de la Fuente,  Haiti, 66 min

In Haiti, ancestors say if something is foretold, it will happen no matter how, and nobody can change that. Artist Celeur is inspired by his Voodoo culture to create his sculptures, a reflection of the complex reality of the Caribbean country.

Queens World Film Festival sponsors include;  Investors Bank Foundation, Queens Council on the Arts, Kaufman Astoria Studios, Council Member Daniel Dromm and Council Member Jimmy Van Bramer, and The Queens Post.

In addition to producing the annual Queens World Film Festival, the organization programs films year-round at a variety of borough venues through its “Encore” and “Old Spice” screening series, and through its “Young Filmmakers” training program.‎

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@queensworldfilm

www.queensworldfilmfestival.com

http://www.lonelyplanet.com/north-america/travel-tips-and-articles/best-in-the-us-2015

 

The Queens World Film Festival is a program of the Queens World Film Initiative, Inc., a non-profit 501(c) 3 organization.

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

Lia Chang is an award-winning filmmaker, a Best Actress nominee, a photographer, and an award-winning multi-platform journalist. Lia has appeared in the films Wolf, New Jack City, A Kiss Before Dying, King of New York, Big Trouble in Little China, The Last Dragon, Taxman and Hide and Seek, which will screen at the Disorient Film Festival in Eugene Oregon in April.  She is profiled in Examiner.comJade Magazine and Playbill.com.

Variety: Ang Lee, Other Asian Oscar Winners Protest ‘Racist Stereotypes’ to Academy 

Enter YOMYOMF’s INTERPRETATIONS Initiative, a Short Film contest to find the next generation of talented Asian Pacific American filmmakers, March 31- June 17

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

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

6th Annual Queens World Film Festival Screens 30 films and Honors Filmmaker Melvin Van Peebles ‎with the “Spirit of Queens” Award tonight

Melvin Van Peebles. Photo by Lia Chang
Melvin Van Peebles. Photo by Lia Chang

Congratulations to prolific indie filmmaker and renaissance man Melvin Van Peebles, who will be honored with the “Spirit of Queens” Award at the 6th Annual Queens World Film Festival (QWFF) at the Museum of the Moving Image (MOMI) in Astoria, Queens, tonight.

Each year, the Queens World Film Festival (QWFF) pays tribute to an outstanding filmmaker for his or her body of work. Van Peebles is an American actor, director, screenwriter, playwright, novelist, painter and composer. Successful in every medium, Van Peebles is most famous for his movie Sweet Sweetback’s Baadasssss Song‎, which heralded a new era of African-American cinema. It will be screened this evening Wednesday, March 16- 7pm at the Museum of the Moving Image (MOMI) in Astoria, Queens, followed by a Q&A with the legendary Mr. Peebles, moderated by MoMI trustee Warrington Hudlin, founder of the Black Filmmaker Foundation.  

Lia Chang with her IDENTITY CRISIS director, Melvin Van Peebles at LaMaMa in New York in 2010.
Lia Chang with her IDENTITY CRISIS director, Melvin Van Peebles at LaMaMa in New York in 2010.

I had the distinct pleasure of being directed by Melvin in Identity Crisis, appearing as one half of the mud wrestling Ninja Twins.

Twenty-nine other films will be screened this evening as well at the 3 other venues. Full Festival passes and Individual Tickets are on sale on line. For the full schedule and to view trailers please visit: ‎www.queensworldfilmfestival.com

The 6th Annual Queens World Film Festival (QWFF) opened last evening at the Museum of the Moving Image. Films will also be screened at the Secret Theatre, PS 69 and All Saints’ Episcopal Church thru ‎March 20. 143 films from 23 countries will be screened over the 5 days including films from Iran, Haiti, Nepal, Germany, England  and Finland. Featuring 29 world premieres, 22 US premieres, 38 feature length and 85 short films (Narratives, Documentaries, LGBTQ, Animation and Family friendly) with 29 filmmakers from Queens, 42 female directors and 30 female producers.

To highlight the ‎IndieCollect film preservation campaign, Susan Seidelman’s 1982 movie, Smithereens, will be showcased at MoMI on Closing Night, Saturday, March 19. ‎ The Smithereens negative was found by the IndieCollect team in the vaults of DuArt Film & Video after DuArt closed its photo-chemical division, and was placed at the Academy Film Archive for safekeeping. IndieCollect, headed by QWFF board member Sandra Schulberg, is dedicated to saving independent films before they are lost due to neglect, lack of funding and/or faulty preservation strategies. For more info, see: indiecollect.org

Smithereens was the first American independent feature to be shown in the Official Competition at the Cannes Film Festival. The international rights to Smithereens were recently acquired by SHOUT! Factory (shoutfactory.com), and later this year the film will be released into the physical DVD and digital market by The Criterion Collection.  Ms. Seidelman subsequently directed the hugely successful movie, Desperately Seeking Susan, featuring Madonna in her screen debut.

The Queens World Film Festival engages audiences with targeted outreach to the diverse communities that comprise the borough of Queens.‎ QWFF Artistic Director Don Cato ‎underlines this: “This year’s films come from many of the countries whose diasporas are represented in Queens, and they promise to move and entertain our audiences. There are tender films, heartbreaking films, and several works that are extremely provocative, even disturbing. Taken as a whole, I feel this year’s selection ties us into discussions people are having around the world.”

Cato programs the films in thematic blocks with evocative titles, and each program is followed by a post-screening dialogue. Alumni are not automatically accepted, and names are no guarantee either. The real stars are the films themselves. “It’s about surrendering to the cinema experience, without looking for familiar names, titles, scores. It’s about creating the right context for personal, intimate discoveries you will not find anywhere else on the planet,” states Cato.

The Festival’s Executive Director, Katha Cato, defines the ethos that makes QWFF so compelling. “From the beginning of time we have gathered in darkened caves around flickering lights to share our stories. We’ve upgraded the caves, the flickering lights are now zeroes and ones, but the impulse to gather, to tell our stories, remains. When we look at a QWFF film, we see that artists and audiences all over the globe are finding exciting ways to tell stories, both old and new. We are proud to be part of that conversation.”

In addition to producing the annual Queens World Film Festival, the organization programs films year-round at a variety of borough venues through its “Encore” and “Old Spice” screening series, and through its “Young Filmmakers” training program.‎

Facebook
@queensworldfilm
The Queens World Film Festival is a program of the Queens World Film Initiative, Inc., a non-profit 501(c) 3 organization

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

Lia Chang is an award-winning filmmaker, a Best Actress nominee, a photographer, and an award-winning multi-platform journalist. Lia has appeared in the films Wolf, New Jack City, A Kiss Before Dying, King of New York, Big Trouble in Little China, The Last Dragon, Taxman and Hide and Seek, which will screen at the Disorient Film Festival in Eugene Oregon in April.  She is profiled in Examiner.comJade Magazine and Playbill.com.

Variety: Ang Lee, Other Asian Oscar Winners Protest ‘Racist Stereotypes’ to Academy 

Enter YOMYOMF’s INTERPRETATIONS Initiative, a Short Film contest to find the next generation of talented Asian Pacific American filmmakers, March 31- June 17

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

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

Celebrating Women’s History Month with a Screening of HIDE AND SEEK at The Women’s Film Festival 2016

Lia Chang and Garth Kravits.
Lia Chang and Garth Kravits.

On Sunday, Garth and I made our second film-related road trip to Philadelphia to attend the Official Selection screening of Hide and Seek at The Women’s Film Festival 2016 (TWFF’16), now in its second year.

First on the schedule was the TWFF’16’s filmmaker’s brunch, held at the adorable Russet Restaurant, located in an old brownstone at 1521 Spruce St. in Philadelphia.

Garth Kravits, Tess McChesney Kunik, Hannah Renée Dobratz and Layne Marie Williams, TWFF'16 Co-Founder/Co-Excutive Director at Russet Restaurant in Philadelphia on March 13, 2016. Photo by Lia Chang
Garth Kravits, Tess McChesney Kunik, Hannah Renée Dobratz and Layne Marie Williams, TWFF’16 Co-Founder/Co-Excutive Director at Russet Restaurant in Philadelphia on March 13, 2016. Photo by Lia Chang

While the temps outside were on the cooler side, the atmosphere inside was warm, nurturing and delicious as  we noshed on Potato Herb Frittata, Baked French Toast and Pork and Sweet Potato Hash in the private sun drenched party room.

Potato Herb Frittata, Baked French Toast and Pork and Sweet Potato Hash. Photo by Lia Chang
Potato Herb Frittata, Baked French Toast and Pork and Sweet Potato Hash. Photo by Lia Chang
The TWFF'16 filmmaker's brunch at Russet Restaurant in Philadelphia on March 13, 2016. Photo by Lia Chang
The TWFF’16 filmmaker’s brunch at Russet Restaurant in Philadelphia on March 13, 2016. Photo by Lia Chang
The TWFF'16 filmmaker's brunch at Russet Restaurant in Philadelphia on March 13, 2016. Photo by Lia Chang
The TWFF’16 filmmaker’s brunch at Russet Restaurant in Philadelphia on March 13, 2016. Photo by Lia Chang
The TWFF'16 filmmaker's brunch at Russet Restaurant in Philadelphia on March 13, 2016. Photo by Lia Chang
The TWFF’16 filmmaker’s brunch at Russet Restaurant in Philadelphia on March 13, 2016. Photo by Lia Chang
The TWFF'16 filmmaker's brunch at Russet Restaurant in Philadelphia on March 13, 2016. Photo by Lia Chang
The TWFF’16 filmmaker’s brunch at Russet Restaurant in Philadelphia on March 13, 2016. Photo by Lia Chang
Melissa Kim, Phuong Nguyen, Christina May and Victoria Place at the TWFF'16 filmmaker's brunch at Russet Restaurant in Philadelphia on March 13, 2016. Photo by Lia Chang
Melissa Kim, Phuong Nguyen, Christina May and Victoria Place at the TWFF’16 filmmaker’s brunch at Russet Restaurant in Philadelphia on March 13, 2016. Photo by Lia Chang
Tess McChesney Kunik, Nia Benjamin, Hannah Renée Dobratz, Pheng H. Teng, Layne Marie Williams, TWFF'16 Co-Founder/Co-Excutive Director, Victoria Place and Melissa Kim. Photo by Lia Chang
Tess McChesney Kunik, Nia Benjamin, Hannah Renée Dobratz, Pheng H. Teng, Layne Marie Williams, TWFF’16 Co-Founder/Co-Excutive Director, Victoria Place and Melissa Kim. Photo by Lia Chang
The TWFF'16 filmmaker's brunch at Russet Restaurant in Philadelphia on March 13, 2016. Photo by Lia Chang
The TWFF’16 filmmaker’s brunch at Russet Restaurant in Philadelphia on March 13, 2016. Photo by Lia Chang

After the brunch, we headed to the Caplan Recital Hall on the 17th floor of the University of the Arts, where TWFF 2016 has been in full swing since March 11th.

Checking in for TWFF'16 with Melissa Kim, Christina May and Phuong Nguyen. Photo by Lia Chang
Checking in for TWFF’16 with Melissa Kim, Christina May and Phuong Nguyen. Photo by Lia Chang

The other films in the Artistic Shorts Program lineup included Sandra Formatger Garcia’s Breath of Clay, Marc Menish’s Bryn and Stephanie Ramones’ Santo. 

Christina May hosted the screenings. Photo by Lia Chang
Christina May hosted the screenings. Photo by Lia Chang

After the screenings, we had international Skype Q & A sessions with Sandra Formatger Garcia in Paris and Marc Menish in Tokyo. 

A Skype session with BREATH OF CLAY director Sandra Formatger Garcia from Paris, at TWFF'16 at the University of the Arts’ Caplan Recital Hall in Philadelphia on March 13, 2016. Photo by Lia Chang.
A Skype session with BREATH OF CLAY director Sandra Formatger Garcia from Paris, at TWFF’16 at the University of the Arts’ Caplan Recital Hall in Philadelphia on March 13, 2016. Photo by Lia Chang.
A Skype session with BRYN director Marc Menish from Tokyo, at TWFF'16 at the University of the Arts’ Caplan Recital Hall in Philadelphia on March 13, 2016. Photo by Lia Chang
A Skype session with BRYN director Marc Menish from Tokyo, at TWFF’16 at the University of the Arts’ Caplan Recital Hall in Philadelphia on March 13, 2016. Photo by Lia Chang
A Skype session with I BELIEVE IN UNICORN director Leah Myerhoff from Austin, at TWFF'16 at the University of the Arts’ Caplan Recital Hall in Philadelphia on March 13, 2016. Photo by Lia Chang.
A Skype session with I BELIEVE IN UNICORN director Leah Myerhoff from Austin, at TWFF’16 at the University of the Arts’ Caplan Recital Hall in Philadelphia on March 13, 2016. Photo by Lia Chang.

Screening Hide and Seek in celebration of Women’s History Month was especially meaningful, and I found the comments during the Q & A to be quite illuminating.

Victoria Place, Kayla O'Donnell, Melissa Kim and Phuong Nguyen at TWFF2016 at the University of the Arts’ Caplan Recital Hall in Philadelphia on March 13, 2016. Photo by Lia Chang
Victoria Place, Kayla O’Donnell, Melissa Kim and Phuong Nguyen at TWFF’16 at the University of the Arts’ Caplan Recital Hall in Philadelphia on March 13, 2016. Photo by Lia Chang
A Q & A with the cast and Stephanie Ramones, the director of SANTO, at TWFF2016 at the University of the Arts’ Caplan Recital Hall in Philadelphia on March 13, 2016. Photo by Lia Chang.
A Q & A with the cast and Stephanie Ramones, the director of SANTO, at TWFF’16 at the University of the Arts’ Caplan Recital Hall in Philadelphia on March 13, 2016. Photo by Lia Chang.
SANTO filmmaker Stephanie Ramones is flanked by the dancers who appeared in her film at TWFF2016 at the University of the Arts’ Caplan Recital Hall in Philadelphia on March 13, 2016. Photo by Lia Chang.
SANTO filmmaker Stephanie Ramones is flanked by the dancers who appeared in her film at TWFF’16 at the University of the Arts’ Caplan Recital Hall in Philadelphia on March 13, 2016. Photo by Lia Chang.
Garth Kravits at TWFF2016 at the University of the Arts’ Caplan Recital Hall in Philadelphia on March 13, 2016. Photo by Lia Chang.
Garth Kravits at TWFF’16 at the University of the Arts’ Caplan Recital Hall in Philadelphia on March 13, 2016. Photo by Lia Chang.
Genevieve McPherson, Lia Chang and Kayla O'Donnell at TWFF2016 at the University of the Arts’ Caplan Recital Hall in Philadelphia on March 13, 2016. Photo by Garth Kravits
Genevieve McPherson, Lia Chang and Kayla O’Donnell at TWFF’16 at the University of the Arts’ Caplan Recital Hall in Philadelphia on March 13, 2016. Photo by Garth Kravits
Lia Chang and Garth Kravits at TWFF2016 at the University of the Arts’ Caplan Recital Hall in Philadelphia on March 13, 2016. Photo by Melissa Kim
Lia Chang and Garth Kravits at TWFF’16 at the University of the Arts’ Caplan Recital Hall in Philadelphia on March 13, 2016. Photo by Melissa Kim
Lia Chang at TWFF'16 at the University of the Arts’ Caplan Recital Hall in Philadelphia on March 13, 2016. Photo by Garth Kravits
Lia Chang at TWFF’16 at the University of the Arts’ Caplan Recital Hall in Philadelphia on March 13, 2016. Photo by Garth Kravits

A special thanks to Phuong Nguyen, TWFF2016 Co-Founder/Co-Excutive Director, who has been so supportive of Hide and Seek, since our meeting at the Asian American International Film Festival in New York last summer.

Lia Chang and Phuong Nguyen, TWFF'16 Co-Founder/Co-Excutive Director. Photo by Lia Chang
Lia Chang and Phuong Nguyen, TWFF’16 Co-Founder/Co-Excutive Director. Photo by Lia Chang

ABOUT THE FESTIVAL
The Women’s Film Festival (TWFF) is an emerging event, bringing in audience members from all over the area and filmmakers, actors, and leaders from around the world. The festival aims to showcase projects that engage, inspire, and connect our community and as well to shed light on women’s issues.

For more information about TWFF’16 visit thewomensfilmfestival.org and follow on twitter @thewomensfilmfestival.

‘Hide and Seek’ Starring Lia Chang and Garth Kravits to Screen at The Women’s Film Festival in Philadelphia on Mar. 13 

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

Lia Chang is an award-winning filmmaker, a Best Actress nominee, a photographerand a freelance Arts and Entertainment reporter. 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  Examiner.comJade Magazine and Playbill.com.