What does it mean to be an independent Asian filmmaker in North America? Should issues of cultural identity be the focus of a North American Asian filmmaker? Must one be restricted to using only Asian actors? The answer is: absolutely, yes, no, maybe, and not at all! For its Opening Night, Reel Asian has put together a funny and wildly entertaining programme of shorts from young talent emerging from Canada and the U.S.
These filmmakers are first or second-generation North American Asian, and their stories are as eclectic as they are. Some riff on stereotypical images of Asian culture to produce hilarious personal diaries or short dramas. Others are interested in telling beautiful stories, pure and simple. Cultural identity aside, North American Asian filmmakers make some great films. Only one thing ties the seven shorts in this programme together: they are an absolute blast!
Siu Ta* | Canada | 2004 | Video | 4:00| B&W | World Premiere
Young David likes to practice his karate moves. In fact, it’s his best defense against domestic trouble. But sometimes, not even the best of moves can block life’s prob- lems …
Siu Ta graduated from the University of Toronto with an honours BA in Drama and History and spent two years at George Brown Theatre School in the acting department. Siu currently stars in the new critically acclaimed drama series “This is Wonderland.”
Darlene Lim* | Canada | 2004 | Video | 18:00 | Color
Four friends, four stories, one dilemma. Forget about the finish line; Trevor, Elaine, Mark and Melissa just want to get to the starting mark. Hitting Zero is a comical look at the small tragedies of life encountered on the way to achieving the goals we strive for.
Awards and selected screenings: Winner, NSI ZeD Drama Prize 2002; 2003 Vancouver International Film Festival
Darlene Lim is an Honours graduate of Ryerson University’s Film Studies program. She has worked as an Associate Producer on the popular CBC television series “Street Cents.” She makes her professional directorial debut with “Hitting Zero.”
Dragon of Love
Doan La | USA | 2003 | Video | 11:00 | Color | Canadian Premiere
Joel is a ladies’ man – or so he likes to think. He fantasizes about meeting a beautiful Black woman until one evening it happens: Sally is the woman of his dreams. Their eyes connect and love, or rather lust, ensues. But Sally has some interesting plans for her new boy toy …
Awards: Best Short Film, 2003 Hawaii International Film Festival
Doan La has written, directed, and produced over 21 short films, which have screened at numerous film festivals and garnered awards. He currently studies Film Directing at the UCLA Graduate School of Film, Theatre, and Television, and works in Los Angeles as a film editor.
Mishann Lau* | Canada | 2004 | Video | 5:00 | B&W | World Premiere
Like any other siblings, Mei Lein and Mei San often fight and bicker. Unlike any other siblings, these two Asian sistahs kick and punch out their differences in a dramatic kung-fu showdown.
Mishann Lau is an award-winning sound editor who likes to take pictures and make movies in between sound jobs. Weaned on action-porno double-bills, Mishann loves horror movies, kung-fu flicks and cheesy soft-porn. Her passions include twiddling knobs, talking shop and martial arts. She is currently working on a sci-fi short, a ghost-story feature and a documentary.
Bicycles and Radios
O. Nathapon | USA | 2004 | Video | 35:00 | Color | Canadian Premiere
Set in a small village in Thailand, Bicycles and Radios is the beautiful story of two people brought together by fate and the tragedy of losing a parent. Dao and Nop have never met, yet support and understand each other like no one else can – all through a popular radio talk show. One day, they decide to share their feelings about each other over the airwaves … Sumptuously shot and beautifly crafted, Bicycles and Radios marks the debut of a promising new talent.
O. Nathapon was born in Thailand and moved to England at age 14, returning to Thailand to study acting. In 2000, he moved to Pasadena to attend the Art Centre College of Design, from which he has recently graduated. He is currently working on a feature-length screenplay. “Bicycles and Radios” is his first film.
Lilo & Me
Kip Fulbeck* | USA | 2003 | Video | 10:00 | Color | Toronto Premiere
What celebrity do you most resemble? Hapa artist Kip Fulbeck documents his uncanny resemblance to Pocahontas, Mulan, Aladdin, and other “ethnically ambiguous” animated characters. Both hilarious and touching, this video examines the muting of race in mainstream media and its effects on multiracial Americans.
As the world’s foremost artist exploring Hapa identity, Kip Fulbeck has performed and also exhibited his award-winning videos in over 20 countries and throughout the U.S. Currently a Professor and Chair of Art at the University of California, Kip authored the critically acclaimed novel “Paper Bullets: A Fictional Autobiography.” His new book entitled “HAPA” features portraits of multiracials of Asian/Pacific Islander descent.
Just Smile And Nod
Katie Yu* | Canada | 2003 | Video | 9:00 | Color | Toronto Premiere
10-year-old Matt dislikes visiting his Chinese grandpa because of the language barrier. To him, Grandpa is an old-fashioned traditionalist who “doesn’t even own a computer.” One day, Matt is stuck with dropping in on Grandpa for his birthday. But when the turntables are turned up, groovy Grandpa reveals his true self and it’s Matt who can’t keep up!
Katie is a graduate of the University of British Columbia’s Film & Television Studies Program. “Just Smile and Nod”, a CBC Mix Flicks winner in 2003, marks Katie’s directorial debut. She is currently developing a feature-length script.
*Directors in attendance