Asian Film Festival extends to 4 La Jolla venues
by KAI OLIVER-KURTIN
Published - 11/13/14 - 10:51 AM | 6616 views | 0 0 comments | 131 131 recommendations | email to a friend | print
'Kano,' centering on an underdog baseball team's tenacity, is part of a three-day schedule of Taiwanese fare at the San Diego Asian Film Festival, running from Nov. 6 to 15. COURTESY PHOTO
'Kano,' centering on an underdog baseball team's tenacity, is part of a three-day schedule of Taiwanese fare at the San Diego Asian Film Festival, running from Nov. 6 to 15. COURTESY PHOTO
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About 20,000 people are expected to attend the 15th annual San Diego Asian Film Festival (SDAFF), which begins Thursday, Nov. 6 and runs to Saturday, Nov. 15, with four participating venues in La Jolla this year. As San Diego's largest film festival and the largest exhibition of Asian cinema on the West Coast, SDAFF will premiere more than 140 films from 21 countries.

“We’re actively trying to make UCSD our second home base in North County beyond our traditional home base at UltraStar in Mission Valley,” said Brian Hu of Pacific Arts Movement, the media organization behind SDAFF programming.

“Not only do people not really want to leave North County, but La Jolla is a really exciting place because of the campus and how global the village has become,” Hu said.

As Pacific Arts Movement artistic director, Hu screens and selects films for the SDAFF.

“We pick the best films in each genre,” Hu said, “everything from ‘Venus Talk,’ a romantic comedy in Korea, to ‘Yasmine,’ the first narrative feature film produced in Brunei. The cornerstone of our mission is to create a community through film.”

The festival opens with “Revenge of the Green Dragons,” by producer Martin Scorsese, on Nov. 6 at Reading Cinemas Gaslamp 15. The crime drama centers on gangs in New York’s Chinatown during the 1980s.

“This festival is not just for Asians,” Hu said. “Asians have become fascinating to people, whether it’s martial arts, animation or Gangnam style. So our mission is to provide cultural context and social meaning to things to help make people become more global citizens.”

For those who have never attended the festival, Hu recommends the closing night film, “Meet the Patels” on Friday, Nov. 14, at the Museum of Contemporary Art’s Sherwood Auditorium, 700 Prospect St. in La Jolla. This crowd-pleaser is a true-life romantic comedy starring Ravi Patel, who will be attending the screening, and is directed by the Indian-American actor’s sister, Geeta. The eccentric documentary follows Ravi as he searches for a wife with the help of his parents.

The museum is also hosting a shorts program, “Moonlight Represents My Heart,” on Nov. 14. Images from modern China will be brought to life in four shorts, shown consecutively, ranging in length from 8 to 28 minutes each.

“With 140 films,” Hu said, “that’s 140 opportunities to surprise people. There’s something for everyone, but not everything is for everyone—people should look through the website and see what films might speak to them.”

UCSD’s Visual Arts Presentation Lab will be holding a retrospective titled “Remembering Queer Korea,” showing a history of queer images in Korean film from the 1970s to today. Five films will be played over three nights – Thursday, Nov. 13, through Saturday, Nov. 15 – and will be the first series of its kind shown outside South Korea.

Also on campus, UCSD’s Calit2 Atkinson Hall Auditorium is showing “9-Man,” the namesake of an intense sport popular among Chinese-American men that’s similar to volleyball, on Wednesday, Nov. 12. Friday, Nov. 7, through Sunday, No. 9, the auditorium is holding a Taiwan film showcase that includes “Kano,” a three-hour baseball movie portraying the tenacity of an underdog team. “Kano” director Umin Boya is scheduled to attend the screening and subsequent reception.

On Wednesday, Nov. 12, ArcLight Cinemas La Jolla will be showing “My Life in China,” a documentary that deals with the challenges of migration, and “Fuku-chan of FukuFuku Flats,” a Japanese romance.

Festival tickets can be purchased online or at the respective venues one hour before show time. For film descriptions and show times, visit festival.sdaff.org.

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