May is Asian Pacific American Heritage Month, and the Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival (LAAPFF) is once again leading the celebrations with another year of great films. Presented by Visual Communications, the LAAPFF is celebrating its 30th year anniversary with a variety of special events including panels, seminars, and of course, Asian Pacific American and Asian international films.
On Thursday, May 1st, the festival started off strong with its opening night’s film To Be Takei, a documentary that “follows noted actor and activist George Takei and his husband Brad as they prepare for Takei’s dream project, Allegiance, a musical based on his harrowing childhood experiences inside a Japanese American internment camp during World War II.”
Directed by Jennifer M. Kroot, the film offers a unique glimpse into Takei’s rise to stardom, advocacy for marriage equality, and also features interviews with Star Trek‘s William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy, Nichelle Nichols, Walter Koenig, and more. Opening night was definitely a star-studded one with George and Brad Takei present along with their family and friends. There were also many special guest appearances on the red carpet including John Cho, Justin Chon, and Jodi Long.
Other special feature-length presentations include How to Fight in Six Inch Heels, a rom com directed by Ham Tram that follows the story of a junior New York fashion designer who flies to Vietnam to uncover the truth about her fiance’s suspected affair with a supermodel. The film will be featured as this year’s Festival Saturday Evening Showcase on May 3rd.
The Festival Centerpiece Presentation, Farah Goes Bang, a coming-of-age road trip film directed by Meera Menon, will be presented on Sunday, May 4th. The film follows a young woman in her twenties who attempts to lose her virginity while on the road campaigning for presidential candidate John Kerry in 2004.
Closing out the festival on Thursday, May 8th will be Final Recipe, a Pan-Asian culinary melodrama directed by Gina Kim, which will be shown at CGV Cinemas. Final Recipe tells the tale of Mark (Henry Lau of Super Junior-M), a prodigy chef who secretly enters a prestigious culinary competition in Shanghai to save his grandfather’s restaurant. After Mark wins round after round, Julia (Michelle Yeoh), the contest producer, slowly realizes that the young chef resembles her husband.
There are many, many other special features I recommend you checking out, as the films mentioned are only a small fraction of what the festival has to offer. Whether it’s documentaries, features, shorts, panels, or parties you seek, LAAPFF has a bit of everything.
To learn more about the festival and/or buy tickets, please visit the LAAPFF website. Hope to see you there!