Category Archives: News

San Diego International Film Festival is Underway and We’re Here with Pen and Mic

The San Diego International Film Festival is underway in Downtown San Diego. Films are screening now until Sunday. Why not spend a beautiful weekend in San Diego and see some amazing independent films.

THE SAN DIEGO INTL FILM FESTIVAL is So Cal’s premier film event and one of the leading stops on the independent festival circuit. SDiFF offers a totally unique film experience; including world premieres, never before seen studio releases, the best in independent filmmaking and a full schedule of glamorous parties and intimate events with filmmakers. Join us Downtown at the Balboa Theater for opening night, Regal Cinema and the ArcLight La Jolla for screenings and featuring the beautiful Pendry San Diego as our Festival Headquarters.

Justin Chon’s GOOK Documents the Korean American During the L.A. Riots

Eli and Daniel, two Korean American brothers who own a struggling women’s shoe store, have an unlikely friendship with 11-year-old Kamilla. On the first day of the 1992 L.A. riots, the trio must defend the store while contemplating the meaning of family and thinking about personal dreams and the future.

Alan Ng talks with Gook writer/director/actor Justin Chon about his experience creating Gook and the art of Black and White. Alan also speaks with Justin’s co-stars David So and Simone Baker.

Imitation Girl – 2017 Dances with Films – Natasha Kermani – Writer/Director Interview

Imitation Girl is the story of a young woman and her alien doppelganger. It screened as part of the narrative competition at Dances With Films and we spoke with its writer/director Natasha Kermani.

A mysterious young woman materializes in the middle of the Southwestern desert, where each step teaches her about her new world and her new body. As she assumes her new life, she discovers she has a twin with whom she shares more than just an outward appearance.

Alan Ng spoke with Natasha about her film and the filmmaking process at Dances with Film 2017.

http://www.illiumpictures.com/imitation-girl-feature-film/

John Wick Chronicles – VR Experience at the 2017 E3 Expo

The Geek Lab was privileged to dive head first into the world of the Continental with the John Wick Virtual Reality Game. We played John Wick Chronicles now on Steam and HTC Vive.

Available for $19.99, John Wick Chronicles gives players the opportunity to explore the iconic Continental Hotel and tasks them with assassinating seemingly unbeatable targets that only John Wick himself could handle.

While you’re at it. Pick up on the game and the movie on 4K, Blu-ray and DVD.

Steam Order: store.steampowered.com/app/382360
Website: JohnWickVR.com
Geek Lab Movie Review: John Wick – Chapter 2

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‘Imitation Girl’ – Sci-fi Tale Screens Tonight at Dances with Films

A mysterious being appears in the Southwestern desert and assumes the identity of the first person she sees – a woman on a magazine cover. Taken in by Iranian immigrants, she forms an understanding of her new surroundings and comes to appreciate the beauty and the sadness of her new world. At the same time, Julianna, Imitation’s world-weary earthly double, knows both glitz and grit working as an entertainer in New York City, where her fraying life and relationships threaten her dreams for an audition that might finally set her on a happier path. On learning of Juliana’s existence, Imitation heads to New York, where only by sacrificing themselves to each other can the cosmic twins complete a full portrait of a woman.

This is the first feature film of Iranian-American filmmaker Natasha Kermani. It stars indie horror actress Lauren Ashley Carter. “Imitation Girl” makes its Los Angeles premiere at Dances With Film at 7:15 pm – TCL Chinese Theaters. Director Natasha Kermani, producer Tim Wu, and talent Neimah Djourabchi and Sanam Erfani will all be in attendance and will be present for a Q&A after the screening.

‘Save My Seoul’ Documents The Hidden World of Prostitution and Human Trafficking in South Korea

Save My Seoul screened as a participant in the documentary category of the Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival. I spoke with its director Jason Lee.

Save My Seoul follows two Korean-American brothers as they discover rampant prostitution and sex trafficking in Seoul, South Korea. With the use of hidden cameras and access to pimps, johns, and sex-workers, Eddie and Jason explore and unravel the complexity of the sex trade in Seoul. They learn that this problem is rooted in issues far deeper than lost girls and lustful men. Instead, it’s a consequence of the broken Korean culture that turns a blind eye to and condones one of the biggest human injustices of our generation.

Check out the Geek Lab’s other filmmaker interviews.

Western ‘Cassidy Red’ Premieres Tonight At Dances With Films

The World Premiere of the feature film “Cassidy Red,” a Western ballad of love and hate, written and directed by Matt Knudsen, a UCLA MFA student—starring Abby Eiland (“Criminal Minds,” “Life on Mars”), David Thomas Jenkins (“Girl Meets World,” “CSI: Miami”), Jason Grasl (“Hot in Cleveland,” “White Collar”), Gregory Zaragoza (“The Sopranos,” “The Last of the Mohicans”)Jessy Knudsen, Rick Cramer (“True Blood,” “Live Free or Die Hard”), and Lola Kelly (“The Grinder,” “The Fosters”). The film screens as an Official Selection in Competition Features at Dances With Films on Friday, June 2, 2017, at 7:15 p.m., at the TCL Chinese Theatres (6801 Hollywood Boulevard, Hollywood, California).

Set against the backdrop of the 19th century American Southwest, the story follows “Josephine Cassidy,” the headstrong daughter of a prostitute and gunslinger, who returns to her hometown seeking vengeance against the corrupt lawman she believes murdered her lover.

Director Matt Knudsen says, “I wanted to acknowledge all of the iconic ingredients that made us fall in love with Westerns in the first place. But I conceived of the character Josephine Cassidy to represent the kind of progressive heroine that could help push the genre into a more interesting, contemporary place.”

The 92-minute film was shot at Old Tucson Studios (a historic location home to dozens of John Wayne classics) in Southern Arizona. Knudsen’s inspiration was the Spaghetti Westerns of his personal hero, the famed Sergio Leone, and the result owes much to the Italian classics he grew up watching. With the recent successes of Quentin Tarantino’s “The Hateful Eight,” Antoine Fuqua’s remake of “The Magnificent Seven”, and HBO’s “Westworld,” Knudsen has tapped into a nostalgic desire for the genre at a key moment.

Knudsen adds, “Like Leone often did for his films, I examined the genre and saw that there were stories, characters, and themes not being represented. The superstructure of ‘Cassidy Red’ is forged from familiar elements we associate with the Western: the untamed frontier, the constant threat of violence, outlaws, betrayal, corruption, saloons, jail cells, livestock, prostitution, bloodshed… But, at its core, the film examines elements underrepresented in classic Westerns: strong, complex, proactive female characters, familial ties, heartbreak, sacrifice, choice, and star-crossed love.”

This love letter by Knudsen to the Western takes the audience on a journey through the American Southwest where two brothers fall for the same woman, resulting in a deadly love triangle.

The film is produced by Brooks Yang. It was shot by Director of Photography Julia Swain. The original soundtrack by Andrew Carroll (lead singer of Los Angeles indie folk quintet The Lonely Wild) is available on Amazon and iTunes and features 70 minutes of original music.

Website: http://www.cassidyred.com/
Facebook: www.facebook.com/cassidyredmovie
Twitter: @cassidyredmovie / https://twitter.com/cassidyredmovie
Instagram: @cassidyredmovie / www.instagram.com/cassidyredmovie

Dances With Films Opens Today in Hollywood

Dances With Films is a little gem of an independent film festival and it is celebrating its 20th festival today in Hollywood. The films opening today’s festival are American Folk and Missing in Europe.

Dances With Films take place at TCL Chinese Theaters. American Folk starts at 7 pm and Missing in Europe at 9 pm.

American Folk

When their plane from Los Angeles to New York is grounded on the morning of September 11, 2001, strangers Elliott (Joe Purdy) and Joni (Amber Rubarth) are unexpectedly thrust together amidst the chaos of that historic day. With little in common but both needing to get to NYC urgently, they accept help from Joni’s family friend Scottie (Krisha Fairchild) who lends the duo a rusty old 1972 Chevy Van. The shock and stress of 9/11 quickly threatens to derail their cross-country journey until the pair discover what they do have in common: a love for old folk songs. Armed with a pile of guitars left in the van from Scottie’s touring days, Elliott and Joni raise their voices together (and with those they meet on the road), re-discovering the healing nature of music and bearing witness to a nation of people who, even while mourning, manage to lift each other up in the wake of tragedy. With a refreshing gentleness and beauty, AMERICAN FOLK lovingly chronicles the spaces between the suffering and fear, where music has the power to connect. Musicians Joe Purdy and Amber Rubarth give nuanced and thoughtful performances, with voices that are uplifting and achingly gorgeous. Filmed over 3,500 miles in 14 states, AMERICAN FOLK serves as a love letter to the natural beauty of America, to the style of music that has shepherded us through historically tough times and to the kindness of all of the “folk” that make America what it is.

Missing in Europe

Cyber security expert Sara Woods has just touched down in Belgrade, Serbia. Under the guise of attending a conference for work, she is really there to check in on her daughter, Karissa, who has been studying abroad. Their happy reunion is cut short when Karissa and her classmate Lara go clubbing and seemingly disappear into thin air. Sara is certain that her daughter has been abducted. Utilizing a host of hacking skills and following the clues Karissa is leaving behind, she starts to uncover a major sex trafficking ring. Even worse, it seems the local police force is in on it. With nobody to trust but herself, Sara uses every tool at her disposal to locate her daughter before she’s sold to the highest bidder and disappears forever. Starring Miranda Raison (Match Point, My Week with Marilyn, MI-5) and Emmett J Scanlan (Hollyoaks, Charlie Casanova, Guardians of the Galaxy) and newcomer Sophie Robertson, the film was shot entirely on location in Belgrade, Serbia in twelve days. Other than the producers, director, and writer, the crew was Serbian as were the rest of the cast, drawing talent from Serbian television and theater. Produced by MarVista Entertainment, the film is a female Taken as a mother tries to save her daughter from human traffickers. Dances with Films is the World Premiere.

Dances With Films

In 1998 DWF began as a film festival dedicated to finding tomorrow’s talent today and continues to carry on this mission today. With many World and West Coast Premieres, DWF provides a coveted first stop on the festival circuit. With a vast number of submissions, the selection process is based solely on merit and discoverability. DWF continues its dedication to and is a devoted champion of fresh and creative voices, mandating that all competitive films have no known actors, writers, directors, or producers. For the past 20 years, DWF has proudly provided access and opportunity to thousands of films and filmmakers from across the globe that diligently work year after year to see their dreams realized. With more than 12,000+ festival attendees and 2.5 million impressions per month on www.danceswithfilms.com, DWF is loyal and dedicated to the indie filmmaker and is considered their champion in Hollywood.

Bad Rap Documentary Follows The Asian-American Struggle Into Mainstream Popularity

Available now on VOD is Bad Rap, a documentary by Salima Koroma. Find it on iTunes, Google Play, VUDU and Amazon. Our review is here – Geek Lab review of Bad Rap.

Hip-hop culture has transcended many racial and cultural boundaries after its founding in the ’70s by African-American and Latino youth in the South Bronx. Since then, rappers have emerged as legitimate pop culture stars around the world and hip-hop’s global movement has become increasingly more diverse. Yet the face of rap in America remains primarily black, brown, and white.

BAD RAP follows the lives and careers of four Asian-American rappers trying to break into a world that often treats them as outsiders.Featuring dynamic live performance footage and revealing interviews, BAD RAP will turn the most skeptical critics into believers.

From the battle rhymes of crowd-favorite Dumbfoundead to the tongue-in-cheek songs of Awkwafina; the unapologetic visuals of Rekstizzy to the conflicted values of Lyricks—BAD RAP paints a memorable portrait of artistic passion in the face of an unsung struggle.