This is it! This is our last interview from the 2016 Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival (LAAPFF) organized by Visual Communications. In this segment, we chat with the crew behind Breathin’: The Eddy Zheng Story about the life of Eddy Zheng, a former convict turned activist and community leader. We talk to director Ben Wang, composer Scott “Chops” Jung, and the man himself about the making of this brutally honest documentary.
Thanks for listening to our interviews with the filmmakers of the 2016 LA Asian Pacific Film Festival. Keep checking back on kollaboration.org for new video, audio, and written content about the Asian American community.
ABOUT THE FILM:
BREATHIN’: THE EDDY ZHENG STORY is a documentary feature about a Chinese immigrant who became the youngest prisoner at San Quentin State Prison and later one of the nation’s most recognized leaders on prison reform and youth violence prevention. Eddy entered the criminal justice system at 16 years old with limited understanding of the English language or the U.S. judicial system. After spending time in the California Youth Authority, he was transferred to San Quentin State Prison as soon as he turned 18. While in prison, Eddy learned English, earned his college degree, published his poetry, and transformed into a nationally recognized leader—inspiring youth, activists, and politicians on issues of prison reform and youth violence prevention. As an advocate for Ethnic Studies in the prison college curriculum, Eddy was sent to solitary confinement for 11 months, where he garnered support from community activists and leaders. Even as Eddy fought systemic injustices, he continued to fight an internal battle. Spending nearly two decades in prison left a physical and mental toll on him, an all-too-common phenomenon for the incarcerated. What is more, Eddy had to reconcile with his family, for whom the shame and stigma of prison caused a lifetime of secrets and lies. Despite being released from immigration custody in 2007, Eddy has been ordered deported to China and awaits the final court decision. With the looming possibility of deportation, Eddy must negotiate what it means to “live freely”—attempting to rebuild a family, reconcile with his victims, and make a lasting change in society at large.
This is the second to last of our interviews at the 2016 Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival (LAAPFF) organized by Visual Communications. This time we talk with the Matthew Abaya, the director of the supernatural action thriller, Vampariah, his star Kelly Lou Dennis, and his editor Lawrence Iriarte. We talk about the multi-cultural inspirations behind the vampiric creatures of the film, Matthew’s journey from directing shorts to features, and advice for up and coming filmmakers.
ABOUT THE FILM:
MAHAL (KELLY LOU DENNIS), AN ELITE MONSTER HUNTER, patrols the sinister streets of San Francisco as members of the undead lurk in every dark corner of The City, preying on unsuspecting humans with their bloodlust. Bampinay (Aureen Almario), an aswang (a supernatural, vampire-like creature from Filipino folklore), embarks on a serial killing rampage on men who sexually objectify and use women.
We chat with director William Lu and the stars of his debut feature Chris Dinh and Julie Zhan at the 2016 Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival (LAAPFF) organized by Visual Communications. Chris describes the “love triangle” that he had to navigate to get Will to do this film with him, Will’s background with VC’s “Armed With a Camera Program”, and the trials and tribulations of night shoots during pilot season.
ABOUT THE FILM:
Lonely, mild-mannered Cameron (Christopher Dinh) is content racing around the dark streets of Los Angeles as a late-night courier for his slick boss, Eddie (Billy Sly Williams). Then one fateful night, an important client, Martin (Kelvin Han Yee), asks Cameron to pick up something very special at the airport – his daughter Jasmine (Julie Zhan), who is flying in from overseas. Cameron accepts the job, but isn’t prepared for the sparks that fly between him and the fiery beauty. While Martin’s thriving hot sauce business keeps him occupied at the office, Cameron and Jasmine find comfort in each other’s company as they wander about the city enjoying some of Cameron’s favorite dining spots. He shares his love of cooking with her and his dream of someday leaving Eddie to start his own food truck. However, he soon discovers that Jasmine is harboring a secret that may destroy her father’s trust. Unfortunately, Cameron also holds a secret of his own that threatens to derail his budding romance with her before it ever fully blossoms.
Our next interview from the 2016 Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival (LAAPFF) organized by Visual Communications is a fun discussion with director Lena Khan, and actors Danny Pudi, Karen David, and Jon Heder of the Grand Jury Award Winning narrative film, The Tiger Hunter. The crew talks about what it took to get the film made, what drew each of them to the story, and give their advice for up and coming actors and directors. In addition to best narrative feature, the film also took home honors for “best ensemble cast” and “best director.”
ABOUT THE FILM:
THE TIGER HUNTER is the story of Sami Malik, a young South Asian who travels to 1970s 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.
THE TIGER HUNTER is an offbeat comedy-drama about Sami and his band of polar opposite roommates. 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.
We interview the cast and crew of the new supernatural thriller feature film The Unbidden which premiered at the 2016 Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival (LAAPFF) organized by Visual Communications. We chat with director Quentin Lee and cast members Amy Hill, Akemi Look, and Hayden Szeto about making the film, advice for rising filmmakers, and what’s next for The Unbidden.
ABOUT THE FILM:
LAUREN (TAMLYN TOMITA), A MYSTERY NOVELIST, LIVES ALONE IN A CREEPY OLD HOUSE on a quiet, unassuming suburban street. Lately, she experiences restless sleep due to a progression of unexplained nightmares involving a bloodied and tortured man (Jason Yee). Their severity pushes her into a near catatonic state. As a reprieve and possible cure, she enlists her lifelong besties Kat (Julia Nickson), Anna (Elizabeth Sung), and Rachel (Amy Hill) for a Halloween séance. As horror film buffs know full well, women in the genre often don’t fare well. They are either killer bait or the big bad behind the supernatural shenanigans. In indie cinema filmmaker and Festival veteran Quentin Lee’s THE UNBIDDEN, the machinations of women drive forward a narrative in which an either/or back story rarely defines any woman’s character.
We’re back with another interview from Kollaboration’s coverage of the 2016 Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival (LAAPFF) organized by Visual Communications. For this segment we chat with documentary filmmaker Leo Chiang, who’s film Out Run is currently in the midst of it’s festival circuit run. We talk about his experience covering this unique and important story as well as his advice to young documentarians.
ABOUT THE FILM: As leader of the world’s only LGBT political party, Bemz Benedito dreams of being the first transgender woman in the Philippine Congress. But in a predominantly Catholic nation, rallying for LGBT representation in the halls of Congress is not an easy feat. Bemz and her eclectic team of queer political warriors must rethink traditional campaign strategies to amass support from unlikely places. Taking their equality campaign to small-town hair salons and regional beauty pageants, the activists mobilize working-class trans hairdressers and beauty queens to join the fight against their main political opponent, a homophobic evangelical preacher, and prove to the Filipino electorate that it’s time to take the rights of LGBT people seriously. But as outsiders trying to get inside the system, will they have to compromise their political ideals in order to win? Culminating on election day, OUT RUN provides a unique look into the challenges LGBT people face as they transition into the mainstream and fight for dignity, legitimacy, and acceptance across the globe.
Kollaboration’s coverage of the 2016 Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival (LAAPFF) organized by Visual Communications continues with an interview with the feature film, The Last Tour. We chat with producer/actor Franz Elizondo Schmelkes, producer/actor Diana Lee Inosanto, director/actor Ryun Yu, and actor Elizabeth Ho about independent filmmaking, using impromptu engineering to solve production problems, and how the director helped create the theater program at MIT.
ABOUT THE FILM: JUN, A BURNED-OUT GULF WAR VETERAN, 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?
Welcome to Kollaboration’s coverage of the 2016 Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival (LAAPFF) currently being held across Los Angeles and organized by Visual Communications. For this segment, we interview the filmmakers of Pali Road, a feature-length thriller that’s also the festival’s closing night film. We chat about the making of the film, diversity in entertainment, and their favorite foods in Hawaii. The film is set for a limited theatrical release in several major cities across the nation this week on Thursday April 28, 2016.
ABOUT THE FILM: PALI ROAD is a mysterious and thrilling journey in search for true love between two different worlds. Lily, a young doctor, wakes up from a car accident and discovers she is living a completely different life. Now married to her boyfriend’s rival, Dr. Mitch Kayne, and a mother to a 5-year- old son, she has an established life she remembers nothing about.
Everyone around her denies that her boyfriend Neil ever existed. As Lily begins to doubt her own sanity, memories of Neil resurface, causing her to encounter unexplainable incidents. While desperately searching for the truth of her past life, she questions her entire existence; but in the end, she discovers the meaning of true love.
PALI ROAD will keep you on the edge of your seat and have you constantly second-guessing what is real.
Shot in Hawaii and starring a world-renowned cast: Jackson Rathbone (TWILIGHT), Sung Kang (FAST & FURIOUS), Henry Ian Cusick (THE 100, LOST) and Chinese superstar Michelle Chen (YOU ARE THE APPLE OF MY EYE).