Tag Archives: LOS ANGELES

Suzanne Joe Kai’s Award-Winning Documentary, LIKE A ROLLING STONE: THE LIFE AND TIMES OF BEN FONG-TORRES in a Limited One-Week Los Angeles Run at Laemmle Monica Film Center in Santa Monica through Dec. 2

Suzanne Joe Kai’s Award-winning documentary, LIKE A ROLLING STONE: THE LIFE AND TIMES OF BEN FONG-TORRES, is currently having a limited one-week Los Angeles run at  Laemmle Monica Film Center in Santa Monica (1332 2nd Street, Santa Monica, CA 90401) through Dec. 2. Click here for tickets.

On Sunday, November 28 at 4:20 pm., you can get free ticket for the Sunday show, including a Q&A with the producer-director, Suzanne Joe Kai, and exec. Producer Doug Blush (20 Feet from Stardom) by emailing David Magdael, co-producer, at dmagdael@tcdm-associates.com, and saying how many passes you want. First come first served until the freebies run out.

For director Suzanne, this is her third act in her life as a feature director, as she is now over 65 years+, and the film took over 10 years in the making.  The result is an incredible portrait of an Asian American journalist who was instrumental in the careers of many iconic music legends.  It was no secret that every rock/pop/soul music act of the 70’s yearned to be on the cover of the revolutionary Rolling Stone magazine and be interviewed by Ben Fong-Torres. 

Executive produced by Oscar® winning Freida Lee Mock, Oscar® nominated Bryn Mooser,  award winning Doug Blush and the late Tony Hsieh, LIKE A ROLLING STONE: THE LIFE AND TIMES OF BEN FONG-TORRES shows us how the legendary Rolling Stone magazine writer and music editor, defined the cultural zeitgeist of the ’60s and ’70s. Featuring incredible archival footage and intimate interviews with Ben Fong-Torres, Cameron Crowe, Annie Leibovitz, Carlos Santana, Elton John, Steve Martin, Bob Weir, Quincy Jones, Marvin Gaye and more, this film brings us the personal story of this legendary journalist.

The current award tally includes the 2021 Newport Beach Film Festival Award for Best Music Documentary, the 2021 San Diego Asian Film Festival Audience Award for Best Feature Film and the 2021 Critics Choice Documentary Honor for Most Compelling Living Subject in a Documentary for Ben Fong-Torres.

About the Film LIKE A ROLLING STONE: THE LIFE AND TIMES OF BEN FONG-TORRES
The lights, the crowds, the music! Ben Fong-Torres covered it all at Rolling Stone as its legendary writer and first music editor. Ben’s life is an epic sweep through the world of rock and roll. The American-born son of Chinese immigrants, Ben grew up in Chinatown with only a radio to the outside world. Driven by a passion for music and writing, his groundbreaking work helped define American culture. He became a voice of a generation which changed America forever.

 ““Like A Rolling Stone: The Life and Times of Ben Fong-Torres” is a must-see for every journalist,
for any music fan, and for anyone who’s ever doubted their chances of success”
-The Playlist

“If you don’t already know Ben Fong-Torres for his groundbreaking work in 1960s music journalism, buckle up.”
-Town & Country

“What a masterpiece.  Grade A+!”
Jackie DeShannon – KLOS FM

“Not to be missed!”
Vogue Magazine

 World Premiere – 2021 Tribeca Film Festival – Documentary Competition
Official Selection – 37th Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival
Official Selection – 44th Mill Valley Film Festival
Official Selection – 30th Heartland International Film Festival
Official Selection – 22nd Newport Beach Film Festival
Official Selection – 22nd San Diego Asian Film Festival

 Website: Likearollingstonemovie.com

Ben Fong-Torres at The Tribeca Film Festival at The Battery in New York on June 13, 2021. Photo by Lia Chang
Ben Fong-Torres attends the afterparty for the World Premiere screening of Suzanne Joe Kai’s documentary, LIKE A ROLLING STONE: THE LIFE AND TIMES OF BEN FONG-TORRES at The Tribeca Film Festival at The View at Battery Park in New York on June 13, 2021. Photo by Lia Chang
Suzanne Joe Kai. Photo by Steven Khan

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

Ben Fong-Torres attends the afterparty for the World Premiere screening of Suzanne Joe Kai’s documentary, LIKE A ROLLING STONE: THE LIFE AND TIMES OF BEN FONG-TORRES at The Tribeca Film Festival at The View at Battery Park in New York on June 13, 2021. Photo by Lia Chang

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

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

Ben Fong-Torres attends the afterparty for the World Premiere screening of Suzanne Joe Kai’s documentary, LIKE A ROLLING STONE: THE LIFE AND TIMES OF BEN FONG-TORRES at The Tribeca Film Festival at The View at Battery Park in New York on June 13, 2021. Photo by Lia Chang

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

Dianne Fong-Torres and her husband, Ben Fong-Torres in a clip from the World Premiere screening of Suzanne Joe Kai’s documentary, LIKE A ROLLING STONE: THE LIFE AND TIMES OF BEN FONG-TORRES at The Tribeca Film Festival at The Battery in New York on June 13, 2021. Photo by Lia Chang

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

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

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

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

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

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

In 1999, Ben published Not Fade Away: A Backstage Pass to 20 Years of Rock & Roll, which was followed by a second collection, Becoming Almost Famous, in 2006. He wrote The Doors by the Doors (2007) and the Grateful Dead Scrapbook (2009). A book about the Eagles has been published in two editions. His 2013 book, Willin’: The Story of Little Feat, was released in an Audible version early in 2021, along with The Rice Room. Ben narrated both books.

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

He is a real-life character in Almost Famous, the 2000 film by Cameron Crowe.  www.benfongtorres.com

womenandhollywood.com: Tribeca 2021 Women Directors: Meet Suzanne Joe Kai – “Like a Rolling Stone: The Life & Times of Ben Fong-Torres”

Inside the Tribeca Film Festival’s World Premiere of Suzanne Joe Kai’s LIKE A ROLLING STONE: THE LIFE & TIMES OF BEN FONG-TORRES

The Knockturnal: On The Scene: Ben Fong-Torres Attends “Like a Rolling Stone” TFF After Party the playlist.net: “Like A Rolling Stone: The Life & Times Of Ben Fong-Torres”: Is A Must-See For Music Lovers [Tribeca Review]

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

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

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

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

Lia Chang is an actor, a multi-media content producer and co-founder of Bev’s Girl Films, making films that foster inclusion and diversity on both sides of the camera. Bev’s Girl Films’ debut short film, Hide and Seek was a top ten film in the Asian American Film Lab’s 2015 72 Hour Shootout Filmmaking Competition, and she received a Best Actress nomination. BGF collaborates with and produces multi-media content for artists, actors, designers, theatrical productions, composers, musicians and corporations. Lia has appeared in the films Wolf, New Jack City, A Kiss Before Dying, King of New York, Big Trouble in Little China, The Last Dragon, Taxman. She stars in and served as Executive Producer for the short independent films Hide and Seek, Balancing Act, Rom-Com Gone Wrong, Belongingness and When the World was Young (2021 DisOrient Film Audience Choice Award for Best Short Narrative). She is also the Executive Producer for The Cactus, The Language Lesson, The Writer and Cream and 2 Shugahs.

All text, graphics, articles & photographs: © 2000-2021 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 liachangpr@gmail.com

Free Documentary Film Series Examines War & Citizenship at Go For Broke Launch on May 28

Free Documentary Film Series Examines War & Citizenship at Go For Broke Launch on Memorial Day Weekend May 28, 2016

Filmmakers David Ono, Sharon Yamato, Sandra Robbie & Joan Mandell Screen Documentaries followed by Q&A with Mitch Maki

Go For Broke National Education Center (GFBNEC) will launch its new Defining Courage exhibition on Saturday, May 28, 2016, with a Free Homecoming Festival and Film Screening in the Little Tokyo district of Los Angeles.   Honoring Memorial Day, the film series examines the war and civil rights in the past and present.  Focusing on stories from World War II, the struggle for civil rights in California and the current political climate, these films create a dialogue that links our past with the future.   Each film is followed by a Q&A with the director and Mitch Maki, dean of the College of Health and Human Services at California State University, Dominguez Hills.  To learn more, please visit www.GoForBroke.org.  All films are free to the public.

An expert on the issue of redress for the survivors of the incarceration camps, Maki says he is led by the desire to “make a difference in people’s lives for the better and wanting to empower individuals and communities to address issues of social justice.”

Film Schedule:
1:00 PM Unknown Warriors of World War II Screening followed by Q&A with Director and Producer David Ono 
In December 1941, Japan bombed Pearl Harbor. The U.S. was at war. Americans of Japanese descent suddenly found themselves labeled “Enemy Alien.” Over 110,000 Japanese Americans were sent to incarceration camps. From behind the barbed wire, young men volunteered for military service by the thousands. The U.S. Army put them in their own segregated units­–the 100th Infantry Battalion and the 442nd Regimental Combat Team. These became the most decorated unit in U.S. military history.  In the Pacific, other Japanese American (JA) soldiers fought heroically in the Military Intelligence Service. “Unknown Warriors of World War II” shines light on the brave, patriotic legacy of the JA soldiers of World War II.

2:00 PM a Flicker in Eternity Screening Followed by Q&A with Director, Producer and Writer Sharon Yamato 
In November of 1942, Stanley Hayami began keeping a diary that captured the harsh reality of living in an incarceration camp at Heart Mountain, Wyoming, and his personal struggles as a student, son, brother, friend, and citizen of the world, who despite all obstacles, held onto his dreams of the future.  Stanley’s diary serves as witness to a dark time in our history and is told through the eyes of a teenager who will soon be expected to take up the responsibility of a man. As you read his diary, you will discover Stanley’s creative talents, as well as his idealism, his optimism, and his aspirations as he shares his quirky sense of humor, his more serious side, and his dream of a “United Nations of Earth.”

3:00 PM Mendez vs. Westminster: For All The Children /Para Todos Los Niňos Screening Followed by Q&A with Writer and Producer Sandra Robbie
During WWII and the Japanese American incarceration, a Mexican American father and his Puerto Rican wife led a lawsuit including five Latino families against four Orange County, CA school districts that would help to make California the first state in the nation to end school segregation.  In 1947, the case of Mendez vs. Westminster helped pave the way to the Supreme Court decision of Brown v. Board of Education seven years later.  Among many surprises, then-California Governor, Earl Warren, and NAACP attorney, Thurgood Marshall, were involved in both cases.

4:00 PM Voices in Exile: Immigrants and the First Amendment Screening Followed by Q&A with Director Joan Mandell
“Voices in Exile” succinctly documents the beginnings of the longest running deportation case in U.S. history: the 20 year trial of the “LA8”. This riveting video examines plans for rounding up Arab Americans, reminiscent of the WWII incarceration of Japanese Americans, and foreshadowing Guantanamo.  The ACLU and Center for Constitutional Rights take on the FBI, INS and Justice Department in a courtroom battle over First Amendment rights for all non-citizen residents.

Go for Broke National Education Center’s Defining Courage Exhibition:
Pearl Harbor changed the lives of all Americans, but one group of citizens was affected beyond compare. Japanese Americans were literally stripped of their rights as citizens, and sent to incarceration camps. Defining Courage provides an opportunity for visitors to experience the results of fear mongering and discrimination and reminds us that as Americans, we are all citizens.  Through the stories of the Japanese American soldiers of World War II, visitors learn how to act with similar courage in their own lives.

GFBNEC will debut its new interpretive exhibition and facilities to the public on Saturday, May 28, 2016. GFBNEC is located at 355 E. 1st St., Suite 200 in Los Angeles, CA 90012.  For additional information, visit http://www.goforbroke.org.

About Go For Broke National Education Center (GFBNEC)
Since its formation in 1989, Go For Broke National Education Center has been committed to educating the public about the responsibilities, challenges, and rights of American citizenship by using the life stories of the Japanese American soldiers of World War II. In order to share these stories, they began video recording the oral histories of Japanese American veterans, and today they have the largest collection of its kind in the country. The interviews have been incorporated into a complete curriculum with lesson plans and web-based project learning to share their story with youth across the country.

In 1999, GFBNEC dedicated the Go For Broke Monument in the Little Tokyo District of Los Angeles. On the monument are the insignias of the 100th Infantry Battalion, 442nd Regimental Combat Team, Military Intelligence Service (MIS), 522nd Field Artillery Battalion, 232nd Combat Engineer Company, and the 1399 Engineer Construction Battalion. For more information, visit http://www.goforbroke.org.

2016 Sacramento Asian Pacific Film Festival Lineup, May 27-28; HIDE AND SEEK starring Lia Chang and Garth Kravits screens on May 28

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

Lia Chang is an actor, a multi-media content producer and co-founder of Bev’s Girl Films, making films that foster inclusion and diversity on both sides of the camera. Bev’s Girl Films’ debut short film, Hide and Seek was a top ten film in the Asian American Film Lab’s 2015 72 Hour Shootout Filmmaking Competition, and she received a Best Actress nomination. BGF collaborates with and produces multi-media content for artists, actors, designers, theatrical productions, composers,  musicians and corporations. Lia is also an internationally published and exhibited photographer, a multi-platform journalist, and a publicist. 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 profiled in Examiner.comJade Magazine and Playbill.com.

2016 LAAPFF: Ryun Yu’s Directorial Feature Debut “The Last Tour” Screens on April 24 & 25

Ryun Yu's "The Last Tour"
Ryun Yu’s “The Last Tour”

the last tourRyun Yu makes his directorial feature debut with The Last Tour, which has its world premiere screening during the 2016 Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival on Sunday, April 24 at 6:00 PM at Downtown Independent, 251 S Main St, Los Angeles, CA 90012 Buy Tickets, and Tuesday, April 26 at 4:30 PM CGV Cinemas 2, Theater 2, 621 S. Western Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90005 Buy Tickets.

Yu stars as Jun, a burned-out Gulf War veteran, who is kidnapped from his L.A. neighborhood, flown to North Korea, and pressed into service for one last, secret mission: to watch over a hostage and insure that no harm comes to him while Jun’s employers extract an unspecified confession out of the prisoner. A crisis of conscience, a daring escape, and suddenly, this international prisoner drama literally shifts scenes from a North Korean gulag into… well, somewhere else?!? And what exactly WAS that “confession” that was being extracted, anyway?

The cast also features Ron Balicki, Francois Chau, Mimi Cozzens, Anthony De Longis, Franz Elizondo Schmelkes, Elizabeth Ho, James Huang, Diana Lee Inosanto, Charles Kim, Chil Kong, Jeff Liu and Kim Miyori.

Ryun Yu
Ryun Yu

Yu, who is also the co-screenwriter, shares, “The Last Tour was inspired by a friend who is a combat controller with the Air Force (they’re like the Special Forces). I was struck by his sincere desire to be the person standing between danger and those he loved, and was concerned that he would end up like other friends of mine who had returned from their tours of duty embittered. I felt then, as I do now, that a single act of courage can literally change the tone of your life. It can change what was a dark drama into a comedy, or even into an adventure. I felt there was something about that generosity of spirit that was not only transformative, but lasting. That no matter how it might seem to disappear, it would survive under the surface, waiting to be resurrected. That was a character I wanted to write and play. Also, I wanted to see him share an adventure with a Mexican cook who had gone to MIT. That part was developed with great affection for my dear friend Franz, whom I’ve known since we were eighteen, attending MIT. I don’t think he ever worked as a cook though.”

Ryun Yu co-executive produced, produced, directed, wrote the screenplay, shares writing credit with Jeff Liu, edited and stars in The Last Tour. Other crew credits include Franz Elizondo Schmelkes (executive producer and producer) and Jeff Liu (producer).

Ryun Yu is the first Korean-American to train at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London. He also has the first theatre degree ever awarded by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He just finished playing Mark in the film adaptation of David Henry Hwang’s Bondage. This is Yu’s second film collaboration with Hwang—he played a fictional version of the writer in Yellow Face, which was the first adaptation of a major play for YouTube. His other film credits include the upcoming Only the Brave, The Brothers Solomon and The Mikado Project. His television appearances include “The Whole Truth,” “Bones,” “Good Luck Charlie” and “The Unit.” He played George in the Los Angeles premiere of Julia Cho’s The Language Archive and David in the world premiere of Lloyd Suh’s American Hwangap at the Magic Theatre in San Francisco. In Los Angeles theatre, he has played Ivan in Art at East West Players, Gene in Sea Change at the Gay and Lesbian Center (Maddy Award, Ovation Award nomination), and all of the characters in Hold These Truths (formerly Dawn’s Light: The Journey of Gordon Hirabayashi) at East West Players and ACT in Seattle. He also performed in the West Coast premiere of Richard Greenberg’s Tony Award-winning Take Me Out at the Geffen Playhouse and in Kimber Lee’s tokyo fish story at South Coast Rep. Yu is on twitter @realryunyu.

Click here for more information.

Ryun Yu stars as Gordon Hirabayashi in Jeanne Sakata’s HOLD THESE TRUTHS at ACT
Production Photos: Kimber Lee’s tokyo fish story starring Sab Shimono, Ryun Yu, Lawrence Kao, Jully Lee and Eddie Mui at South Coast Repertory through March 29

Other articles by Lia Chang:
2016 Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival Opening Night Film- World Premiere of Lena Khan’s “THE TIGER HUNTER” Starring Danny Pudi; Centerpiece Film – “TYRUS”; Closing Night Film – “PALI ROAD”; Festival Runs Apr. 21- 28
Internationally Acclaimed Playwright Velina Hasu Houston named Distinguished Professor at the USC School of Dramatic Arts
Lia Chang and Garth Kravits’ HIDE AND SEEK Screens in 11th Annual DisOrient Asian American Film Festival of Oregon on May 1; Complete Lineup 
Qui Nguyen’s “Vietgone” wins $25,000 Steinberg/ATCA Award for 2015; Additional $7,500 citations for Steven Dietz’s “Bloomsday” and Jen Silverman’s “The Dangerous House of Pretty Mbane”
Sandra Oh, Sola Bamis, Corey Brill and Raymond Lee Star in South Coast Repertory’s World Premiere of Julia Cho’s OFFICE HOUR, April 10-30
Lily Mariye Talks Directing “Nashville,” the Disney-ABC Creative Talent Development Program and What’s Next 
East West Players to Honor Broadway’s ALLEGIANCE, Hit TV Show “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend,” and Pan Asian Repertory Theatre Founding Artistic Director Tisa Chang at 50th Anniversary Visionary Awards Dinner & Silent Auction on April 25
Photos: Denise Burse, Chinaza Uche and More in Kimber Lee’s “brownsville song (b-side for tray)” at Seattle Rep through April 24
Thom Sesma, Greg Watanabe and Jeanne Sakata Set for A SINGLE SHARD at People’s Light, April 27 – May 29
Pulitzer Prize-Winning Playwright Stephen Adly Guirgis, Ellen Burstyn, Bobby Cannavale and Paola Lázaro-Muñoz at The Drama Book Shop for BETWEEN RIVERSIDE AND CRAZY Reading and Signing
Broadway Vet Gedde Watanabe and MISS SAIGON’s Jon Jon Briones Lead the Cast of East West Players’ Production of LA CAGE AUX FOLLES, May 12 – June 26
Tony Award-winning playwright and screenwriter David Henry Hwang and singer-songwriter, producer, and actor Leehom Wang to Receive Honorary Degrees from Williams College
Closing Night Party of Encores! 1776 with André De Shields, Santino Fontana, John Larroquette, Nikki Renée Daniels, Bryce Pinkham, Ann Harada at New York City Center
“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
Q & A with Emmanuel Brown, Actor, Award-Winning Fight Choreographer and Champion Martial Artist 

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

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

Lia Chang is an actor, a multi-media content producer and co-founder of Bev’s Girl Films, making films that foster inclusion and diversity on both sides of the camera. Bev’s Girl Films’ debut short film, Hide and Seek was a top ten film in the Asian American Film Lab’s 2015 72 Hour Shootout Filmmaking Competition, and she received a Best Actress nomination. BGF collaborates with and produces multi-media content for artists, actors, designers, theatrical productions, composers,  musicians and corporations. Lia is also an internationally published and exhibited photographer, a multi-platform journalist, and a publicist. 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 profiled in Examiner.comJade Magazine and Playbill.com.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Screening Venues:

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

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

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

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

Jennifer Phang’s ADVANTAGEOUS nominated for John Cassavetes Award; Full List of 2016 Film Independent Spirit Award Nominees

Director Jennifer Phang at a screening of Advantageous at Cinema Village in New York on June 26, 2015. Photo by Lia ChangDirector Jennifer Phang at a screening of Advantageous at Cinema Village in New York on June 26, 2015. Photo by Lia Chang

The 31st Film Independent Spirit Award nominations have been announced and Jennifer Phang’s critically lauded sci-fi film Advantageous, winner of a Sundance Film Festival Jury Award for Collaborative Vision, has been been nominated for the John Cassavetes Award, given to the best feature made for under $500,000.

Samantha Kim and Jacqueline Kim in Advantagous
Samantha Kim and Jacqueline Kim in Advantagous

The cast features Jacqueline Kim, Samantha Kim, Ken Jeong, James Urbaniak, Jennifer Ehle, Freya Adams, Jennifer Ikeda, Olivia Horton, Sameerah Luqmann-Harris, Rex Lee, Troi Zee, Theresa Navarro, Mercedes Griffeth, Jeanne Sakata and Matthew Kim.

Independent Spirit award nominated actress Jacqueline Kim co-wrote the script of Advantageous with Phang, and stars as Gwen, the company spokesperson for a radical technology allowing people to overcome their natural disadvantages and begin life anew in a dystopian society that favors appearances over experience. When Gwen finds herself out of a job due to the inevitable march of time and the future of her only child Jules (Samantha Kim) in crisis, Gwen ponders undergoing the procedure herself.  Her compromised partnership with her former boss Fisher (James Urbaniak) threatens any means of her returning to work; while a past indiscretion with her sister’s husband (an almost unrecognizable, dramatic turn for comic actor Ken Jeong) foregrounds her estrangement from her own family. In this world, Advantageous riffs on the destructive contrast between soaring opulence vs. economic hardship, and the compromises that people like Gwen are willing to go through for that better situation.

Jacqueline Kim and James Urbaniak in Advantageous.
Jacqueline Kim and James Urbaniak in Advantageous.

ADVANTAGEOUS stars Jennifer Ikeda, Matthew Kim and Ken Jeong at the Sundance Film Festival premiere on January 26, 2015 in Park City, Utah. Photo courtesy Michael Kim
ADVANTAGEOUS stars Jennifer Ikeda, Matthew Kim and Ken Jeong at the Sundance Film Festival premiere on January 26, 2015 in Park City, Utah. Photo courtesy Michael Kim

Phang has developed a dual affinity for science fiction and wry commentary as her storytelling stock-in-trade. Her latest effort, Advantageous (an expansive revisit of her 2003 Festival Golden Reel Award-winning short subject) largely eschews the commentary for a incisively-observed story of a career woman, played by veteran actress Jacqueline Kim, who goes to great lengths to insure a future for her only child. Originally commissioned in 2012 as part of the groundbreaking Independent Television Service series, “Future States,” Advantageous sparingly lays on the sci-fi while amping up the interpersonal tension and drama. The result is more French New Wave (Chris Marker’s classic La Jetee comes to mind) than anything else, and demonstrates Phang’s increasing mastery of the sci-fi storytelling form — even more impressively than in her well-lauded Half-Life (2008).

Source: Abraham Ferrer

Lia Chang with cast members Jeanne Sakata, Freya Adams and Director Jennifer Phang at the opening night screening of Advantageous at Cinema Village in New York on June 26, 2015.
Lia Chang with cast members Jeanne Sakata, Freya Adams and Director Jennifer Phang at the opening night screening of Advantageous at Cinema Village in New York on June 26, 2015.

What the critics are saying about Advantageous:

The past looks a lot like the present in Advantageous, a science-fiction fantasy in a deliberately subtle key. Manohla Dargis New York Times

As in a lot of good sci-fi, the movie is set in a particular world, but driven by the characters that inhabit it. Jesse Hassenger· A.V. Club

Advantageous presents an offbeat, intimate dystopian vision that is strongly intriguing for a while. Dennis Harvey·Variety

‘Advantageous’ is set in an almost unrecognizable New York, where unemployment and violence have amplified. Jordan Hoffman·New York Daily News

grist.com: In “Advantageous,” society has failed women in a big way
polygon.com: ADVANTAGEOUS REVIEW: DO IT FOR HER
io9.com: Advantageous Is An Insanely Good Movie That Everyone Should Watch
wired.com: ADVANTAGEOUS: A DYSTOPIAN FILM THAT’S PACKED WITH HOPE
businessinsider.com: The best sci-fi movie of the year is here — and it’s not Mad Max
avclub.com: Advantageous finds eerie plausibility in science fiction
mercurynews.com: On screen: Oakland’s Jennifer Phang scores with award-winning ‘Advantageous’
salon.com: Gather around, screwed millennials: You must see this
america.aljazeera.com: The dark future of ‘Advantageous’

Director Jennifer Phang at a screening of Advantageous at Cinema Village in New York on June 26, 2015. Photo by Lia Chang
Director Jennifer Phang at a screening of Advantageous at Cinema Village in New York on June 26, 2015. Photo by Lia Chang

LAAPFF alumni Jennifer Phang received the Best Director for her film Advantageous, and the film scored prizes in 3 other categories including Best Music Score (Timo Chen), Best Editing (Sean Gillane and Jennifer Phang), and the special inaugural Linda Mabalot Renaissance Award for actress/writer Jacqueline Kim for her work as the lead actress and co-writer of Advantageous. This award recognizes a multi talented artist who exemplifies the spirit and fierceness of the late executive director of the LAAPFF and Visual Communications, Linda Mabalot.  Mabalot died in 2003 just after the festival ended.

THE TEAM FROM ADVANTAGEOUS, WINNER OF MULTIPLE AWARDS AT THE 2015 LAAPFF, CELEBRATES ON CLOSING NIGHT AT THE DGA. FROM LEFT TO RIGHT: ACTRESS JACQUELINE KIM; DIRECTOR JENNIFER PHANG; COMPOSER TIMO CHEN. (PHOTO: STEVEN LAM)
THE TEAM FROM ADVANTAGEOUS, WINNER OF MULTIPLE AWARDS AT THE 2015 LAAPFF, CELEBRATES ON CLOSING NIGHT AT THE DGA. FROM LEFT TO RIGHT: ACTRESS JACQUELINE KIM; DIRECTOR JENNIFER PHANG; COMPOSER TIMO CHEN. (PHOTO: STEVEN LAM)

The cast and creative team of Jennifer Phang's ADVANTAGEOUS at the Los Angeles premiere at the Aratani Theatre on August 24, 2015. Photo courtesy of Ed Moy/Facebook
The cast and creative team of Jennifer Phang’s ADVANTAGEOUS at the Los Angeles premiere at the Aratani Theatre on August 24, 2015. Photo courtesy of Ed Moy/Facebook

The cast and creative team of ADVANTAGEOUS at the Sundance Film Festival premiere on January 26, 2015 in Park City, Utah. Photo courtesy of Jeanne Sakata
The cast and creative team of ADVANTAGEOUS at the Sundance Film Festival premiere on January 26, 2015 in Park City, Utah. Photo courtesy of Jeanne Sakata

Director Jennifer Phang at a screening of Advantageous at Cinema Village in New York on June 26, 2015. Photo by Lia Chang
Director Jennifer Phang at a screening of Advantageous at Cinema Village in New York on June 26, 2015. Photo by Lia Chang

Filmmaker’s Bio
Jennifer Phang’s sophomore feature Advantageous won the US Dramatic Competition Special Jury Prize in Collaborative Vision at Sundance 2015.  Her award-winning debut feature Half-Life premiered in 2008 at the Tokyo International and Sundance film festivals. It screened at SXSW and was distributed by Sundance Channel. She was invited to Sundance Institute Screenwriters Lab and was awarded a SFFS FilmHouse Residency and Sundance Institute Feature Film Grants in support of Advantageous. Phang was originally commissioned to create Advantageous as a short film for the ITVS Futurestates Program. Phang is one of three inaugural recipients of the San Francisco Film Society’s (SFFS) Women Filmmaker Fellowships. A Berkeley-born daughter of a Chinese-Malaysian father and Vietnamese mother, Phang graduated from the MFA directing program at the American Film Institute.

Advantageous is produced by Robert Chang, Theresa Navarro, Moon Molson, Ken Jeong and Jacqueline Kim. With cinematography by Richard Wong, editing by Sean Gillane and Gena Bleir, production design by Dara Wishingrad and Aiyana Trotter, VFX animation by Catherine Tate, Ricardo Marmolej and Jean Elston, original score composed by Timo Chen.

Film Independent Members (and members of IFP) vote to determine the winners of the annual Film Independent Spirit Awards. Become a Film Independent Member, by visiting filmindependent.org/membership. All Members must be paid and current as of December 4, 2015 to be eligible to vote. Click here to cast your vote.

The 2016 Film Independent Spirit Awards will be broadcast exclusively on IFC on February 27, 2016, LIVE at 2:00 pm PT / 5:00 pm ET. Congrats to all of nominees. 

Below is the full list of nominations.

Best Feature
Award given to the Producer; Executive Producers are not awarded.
Anomalisa
Beasts of No Nation
Carol
Spotlight
Tangerine

Best Director
Cary Joji Fukunaga, Beasts of No Nation
Charlie Kaufman & Duke Johnson, Anomalisa
David Robert Mitchell, It Follows
Sean Baker, Tangerine
Todd Haynes, Carol
Tom McCarthy, Spotlight

Best Screenplay
Charlie Kaufman, Anomalisa
Donald Margulies, The End of the Tour
Phyllis Nagy, Carol
S. Craig Zahler, Bone Tomahawk
Tom McCarthy & Josh Singer, Spotlight

Best First Screenplay
Emma Donoghue, Room
Jesse Andrews, Me and Earl and the Dying Girl
John Magary, Russell Harbaugh, Myna Joseph, The Mend
Jonas Carpignano, Mediterranea
Marielle Heller, The Diary of a Teenage Girl

Best First Feature
Award given to the director and producer.
James White
Manos Sucias
Mediterranea
Songs My Brothers Taught Me
The Diary of a Teenage Girl

Best Female Lead
Bel Powley, The Diary of a Teenage Girl
Brie Larson, Room
Cate Blanchett, Carol
Kitana Kiki Rodriguez, Tangerine
Rooney Mara, Carol

Best Male Lead
Abraham Attah, Beasts of No Nation
Ben Mendelsohn, Mississippi Grind
Christopher Abbott, James White
Jason Segal, The End of the Tour
Koudous Seihon, Mediterranea

Best Supporting Female
Cynthia Nixon, James White
Jennifer Jason Leigh, Anomalisa
Marin Ireland, Glass Chin
Mya Taylor, Tangerine
Robin Bartlett, H.

Best Supporting Male
Idris Elba, Beasts of No Nation
Kevin Corrigan, Results
Michael Shannon, 99 Homes
Paul Dano, Love & Mercy
Richard Jenkins, Bone Tomahawk

Best Documentary
(T)error
Best of Enemies
Heat of a Dog
Meru
The Look of Silence
The Russian Woodpecker

Best Cinematography
Cary Joji Fukunaga, Beasts of No Nation
Ed Lachman, Carol
Joshua James Richards, Songs My Brothers Taught Me
Michael Gioulakis, It Follows
Reed Morano, Meadowland

Best Editing
Julo C. Perez IV, It Follows
Kristan Sprague, Manos Sucias
Nathan Nugent, Room
Ronald Bronstein and Benny Safdie, Heaven Knows What
Tom McArdle, Spotlight

Best International Film
A Pigeon Sat on a Branch Reflecting on Existence
Embrace of the Serpent
Girlhood
Mustang
Son of Saul

John Cassavetes Award
Given to the best feature made for under $500,000. Award given to the writer, director and producer; Executive Producers are not awarded.
Advantageous
Christmas, Again
Heaven Knows What
Krisha
Out of My Hand

Robert Altman Award
Spotlight

Kiehl’s Someone to Watch Award
The 22nd annual Someone to Watch Award, sponsored by Kiehl’s Since 1851, recognizes a talented filmmaker of singular vision who has not yet received appropriate recognition. The award includes a $25,000 unrestricted grant funded by Kiehl’s Since 1851.
Chloe Zhao, Songs My Brothers Taught Me
Felix Thompson, King Jack
Robert Machoian and Rodrigo Ojeda-Beck, God Bless the Child

Piaget Producers Award
The 19th annual Producers Award, sponsored by Piaget, honors emerging producers who, despite highly limited resources, demonstrate the creativity, tenacity and vision required to produce quality, independent films. The award includes a $25,000 unrestricted grant funded by Piaget.
Darren Dean
Mel Eslyn
Rebecca Green & Laura D. Smith

Truer Than Fiction
The 21st annual Truer Than Fiction Award, sponsored by LensCrafters is presented to an emerging director of non-fiction features who has not yet received significant recognition. The award includes a $25,000 unrestricted grant funded by LensCrafters.
Alex Sichel and Elizabeth Giamatti, A Woman Like Me
Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi, Incorruptible
Hemal Trivedi and Mohammed Ali Naqvi, Among the Believers

 

 

 

ABOUT THE FILM INDEPENDENT SPIRIT AWARDS
Now in its 31st year, the Film Independent Spirit Awards is an annual celebration honoring artist-driven films made with an economy of means by filmmakers whose films embody independence and originality. The Spirit Awards recognizes the achievements of American independent filmmakers and promotes the finest independent films of the year to a wider audience.

The winners of the Spirit Awards are voted upon by Film Independent and IFP Members. Awards are given in the following categories: Best Feature, Best First Feature, Best First Screenplay, Best Director, Best Screenplay, John Cassavetes Award (given to the best feature made for a budget under $500,000), Best Male Lead, Best Female Lead, Best Supporting Male, Best Supporting Female, Best Cinematography, Best Editing, Best International Film and Best Documentary. The Filmmaker Grants include the Piaget Producers Award, the Kiehl’s Someone to Watch Award and the Truer Than Fiction Award. The Film Independent Spirit Awards are sponsored by Premier Sponsors Piaget, Bank of America, Heineken, American Airlines, Jaguar and IFC. FIJI Water is the Official Water of the 2016 Spirit Awards. WireImage is the Official Photographer of Film Independent.

ABOUT FILM INDEPENDENT
Film Independent is a nonprofit arts organization that champions independent film and supports a community of artists who embody diversity, innovation and uniqueness of vision. Film Independent helps filmmakers make their movies, builds an audience for their projects, and works to diversify the film industry. Film Independent’s Board of Directors, filmmakers, staff and constituents is comprised of an inclusive community of individuals across ability, age, ethnicity, gender, race and sexual orientation. Anyone passionate about film can become a Member, whether you are a filmmaker, industry professional or a film lover.

In addition to producing the Spirit Awards, Film Independent produces the Los Angeles Film Festival and Film Independent at LACMA Film Series, a year-round, weekly program that offers unique cinematic experiences for the Los Angeles creative community and the general public.

With over 250 annual screenings and events, Film Independent provides access to a network of like-minded artists who are driving creativity in the film industry. Film Independent’s Artist Development program offers free Labs for selected writers, directors, producers and documentary filmmakers and presents year-round networking opportunities. Project Involve is Film Independent’s signature program dedicated to fostering the careers of talented filmmakers from communities traditionally underrepresented in the film industry.

For more information or to become a Member, visit filmindependent.org/membership.

ABOUT IFC
IFC is the home of offbeat, unexpected comedies. Series like Portlandia, Documentary Now!, Maron and Comedy Bang! Bang! air alongside fan-favorite movies and comedic cult TV shows. IFC is owned and operated by AMC Networks Inc., and available across multiple platforms. IFC is Always On Slightly Off.

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

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. She is profiled in Examiner.comJade 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@liachang.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.