Tag Archives: Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival

‘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.

Be the Cure for Cancer Patients – Mixed Match – Filmmaker Interview

Mixed Match is an important human story told from the perspective of mixed race blood cancer patients who are forced to reflect on their multiracial identities and complex genetics as they struggle with a nearly impossible search to find bone marrow donors, all while exploring what role race plays in medicine.

Alan Ng speaks with director Jeff Chiba Stearns and producer/subject Athena Asklipiadis about the film and this important cause. The interview took place at the 2017 Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival.


Cardinal X – Geek Lab Interview with Writer/Director Angie Wang

Cardinal X is the story of a damaged Asian American girl from the wrong side of the tracks is accepted into a prestigious university, only to succumb to her personal demons. She begins synthesizing MDMA and becomes one of the largest distributors of Ecstasy during the mid-1980’s. Inspired by true events from writer/director Angie Wang.

Alan Ng from the Geek Lab spoke with Angie Wang during the Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival. We spoke about her film and the filmmaking process.

Cardinal X stars Annie Q as Annie and Francesca Eastwood as Jeanine.


Doris Yeung Interview – Writer/Director of ‘Taxi Stories’

Taxi Stories is an entrant in the Narrative category of the 2017 Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival.

In an increasingly economically polarized and virtually connected 24 hour Asia, a closeted Beijing taxi driver, a pregnant Hong Kong trophy wife, and a Jakarta underage bajaj driver struggle to connect despite the constraints of their social class.

From the 2017 Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival, Alan Ng speaks with writer/director Doris Yeung about her film, Taxi Stories and the independent filmmaking process.

Joyce Wong Interview – Writer/Director of ‘Wexford Plaza’

Wexford Plaza screens in the Narrative category of the 2017 Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival.

Synopsis – Nineteen-year-old Betty (Reid Asselstine) toils as a nighttime security guard at a suburban strip mall. Trying to stave off loneliness with failed bids at cyber-flirtation and drunken escapades with co-workers, Betty meets and falls for Danny (Darrel Gamotin), a well-meaning Filipino-American bartender. Danny, a bit lost himself, welcomes her attention, and his mixed signals sets off a series of events that would leave them both worse for wear.

Alan Ng interviews Joyce Wong (Writer/Director) of Wexford Plaza. Her film is showing at the 2017 Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival.

‘ABACUS: Small Enough to Jail’ Acquired by PBS

PBS Distribution announced today that they have acquired the North American distribution rights to “Abacus: Small Enough To Jail,” directed by Steve James. PBS Distribution plans a theatrical release this Spring starting in New York City at IFC Center on May 19, 2017 and expanding throughout the summer.

Abacus: Small Enough To Jail will be screening at the upcoming Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival on April 30, 2017 at the Downtown Independent Theatre and theatrically on June 9 at the Landmark Nuart Theatre. Filmmaker Steve James will answer questions at the Nuart.

From acclaimed director Steve James (Hoop Dreams, The Interrupters, Life Itself), ABACUS: Small Enough to Jail tells the incredible saga of the Chinese immigrant Sung family, owners of Abacus Federal Savings of Chinatown, New York. Accused of mortgage fraud by Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance, Jr., Abacus becomes the only U.S. bank to face criminal charges in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis. The indictment and subsequent trial forces the Sung family to defend themselves – and their bank’s legacy in the Chinatown community – over the course of a five-year legal battle.

The film debuted at the Toronto International Film Festival and also played the prestigious New York Film Festival and Chicago International Film Festival. PBS Distribution plans a robust spring festival campaign leading into the theatrical release, including the Full Frame Documentary Film Festival where ABACUS: Small Enough To Jail is the Opening Night film. 

“It’s a true honor to work with Steve James and the teams at Kartemquin Films, Motto Pictures, and Mitten Media to bring ABACUS to a larger audience,” said Erin Owens, Head of Theatrical Distribution for PBS Distribution. “The Sungs’ story is one of resilience and perseverance. Their determination to stand up for an entire immigrant community is both admirable and inspiring.”

“We are thrilled to be partnering with PBS Distribution on the theatrical release of ABACUS.  We have a long history with public television and can think of no better home for this vitally important but, until now, untold story of the 2008 mortgage crisis,” said Steve James.

Comfort Movie Comes to Home Video This Valentine’s Day

William Lu’s Comfort was one of the shining stars of the 2016 Los Angeles Pacific Film Festival and now your chance to see it is coming this Valentine’s Day. Go to ComfortMovie.com for purchasing details.

The Geek Lab and KTST fm not only had the chance to seek this fun romantic comedy at the Film Festival, but had the privilege to speak with the stars Chris Dihn and Julie Zahn and the Director William Lu.

This is a link to our review: Geek Lab Review

Comfort – Movie Review – Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival

Comfort is a sweet romantic comedy about a courier who gets mixed up with the daughter of his company’s most important client. Comfort is one of the funniest entries at the Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival.

2016 Los Angeles Asian American Film Festival
Writer/Director: William Lu
Cast: Chris Dinh, Julie Zhan, Kelvin Han Yee, Billy ‘Sly’ Williams

Comfort has a unique premise to cross into the rom-com genre in a while. Cameron (Chris Dinh) is a courier in Los Angeles with dreams of becoming a chef. Cameron suffers from Xeroderma Pigmentosum, a disease that causes extreme sensitivity to the sun’s ultraviolet rays. Like a vampire, Cameron can only exist during the night.

Cameron’s boss, Eddie (Billy ‘Sly’ Williams) needs him to make an important delivery for his best client, Martin (Kelvin Han Yee), the King of Hot Sauce. Martin asks Cameron for a favor. He needs Cameron to pick up his daughter Jasmine (Julie Zhan) at LAX, because he has to stay late to finish an important hot sauce ad campaign. Cameron, in turn, gives Jasmine a late night tour of Los Angeles. Soon a friendship and romance develop.

Comfort walks that fine line between romance and schmaltz. Comfort saves itself with a well-disciplined story from William Lu and good acting.  Writer/Director William Lu manages to capture discussions of love, life and romance that feels real. There’s a lot of sweet comedy set in the landscape of late night Los Angeles.

As an Asian-American myself, I’m also excited to see good acting and the cast of Comfort is fantastic, funny and real. As the film’s lead, Chris Dinh and Julie Zhan are so likable that you cannot help but root for them to find romance. Chris’ performance is subdued and low key with a subtext of a dreamer. Julie is sweet, attractive and plays as Cameron’s inspiration to reach his dreams.

The Tiger Hunter – Movie Review – Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival

The Tiger Hunter is the directorial debut of filmmaker Lena Kahn. Its world premiere was at the 2016 Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival. The story follows Sami Malik (Danny Pudi), who moves to the United States to become successful in hopes of winning the heart of his love, Ruby (Karen David).

2016 Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival
Writer: Sameer Gardezi, Lena Khan
Director: Lena Khan
Cast: Danny Pudi, Jon Heder, Karen David

The Tiger Hunter takes place in 1979 in a small village in India. Young Sami Malik is the son of the village’s hero, the legendary Tiger Hunter. But titles don’t make you rich and his childhood sweetheart, Ruby, is going to America with her father, General Iqbal (Iqbal Theba) to find a suitable husband. Seeing this as his only chance to prove he is worthy to be husband to his love, the village pulls its resources together to send Sami to America, where he has an engineering job waiting for him.

Unfortunately, Sami’s arrival to the United States is fraught with problems. Sami is mugged the moment he leaves the airport. The job he was promised is no longer available, so Sami takes a temporary job in the mail room. With no place to live, Sami bunks up with a friendly stranger, Babu (Rizwan Manji), who lets him stay at his apartment where he literally shares a bed with 8 other roommates.

Sami now has only a few weeks to become a successful engineer, live in a mansion and earn a salary worthy of the respect of his love’s father. On his way, Sami befriends his co-worker Alex (Jon Heder) who helps him navigate New York.

The Tiger Hunter is a visually stunning tale of romance. Although the Aladdin-like story for Sami and Ruby is familiar, writer/director Lena Khan tells the tale through the eyes of the Indian culture. The backdrop of the 70’s paints a tale of foreign immigrants, who were doctors, engineers and upper-middle class in their homeland, who are now busboys and mailroom clerks in the new America.

Dani Pudi is sweet and funny as Sami. Sami is hard-working and determined to succeed with the odds against him. The cast of the Tiger Hunter is filled with many South Asian actors who have made a name for themselves in film and television including Rizwan Manji, Iqbal Theba and Parvesh Cheena. They bring their comedic sensibilities to the film making The Tiger Hunter a well-packaged love story.

The Tiger Hunter is definitely one of the highlights of the Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival, garnering the coveted Opening Night feature. The mainstream comedy of love will appeal to broad audiences and will stand as a proud representation of the Indian culture in America.