APA Film


The Washington, D.C. Asian Pacific American (APA) Film Festival 2000, presented by a local APA organization, APA Film*, in association with the Smithsonian Institution's Program for APA Studies was held October 21-26 at the Cineplex Odeon Foundry Theater in Georgetown. An opening night screening and reception on October 20 was held at the Smithsonian's Freer Gallery of Art.

The festival publicized the work of a growing community of APA media artists and filmmakers based in North America and showcase their unique visions of APA experiences and issues.

Festival Sponsors

Special Sponsor

Jade Sponsor

Gold Sponsor

  • Asian American Arts & Media (AAAM)
  • D.C. Commision for the Arts and Humanities
  • Differential Consulting, Inc.

Silver Sponsor

  • Tran Q. Luu, Merrill Lynch

Bronze Sponsor

  • The Press Center
  • Reischauer Center for East Asian Studies

Festival Patron

Supporting Organization

Linking Web Sites

*The Conference on Asian Pacific American Leadership (CAPAL), a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, serves as APA Film's fiscal agent.

Directed by Krutin Patel (105 min/35 mm/color/1999)
ABCD is the story of Raj and Nina, first generation Asian Indian immigrant children who have grown up in America, and their mother, Anju, who is desperately trying in her old age to reconcile her decision to come to America long ago. ABCD revolves around characters who are culturally lost, since they can no longer fully adhere to the customs of the country they have left behind, yet they know they cannot belong to mainstream American culture.

Avenue of the Asian Americas
Asian American Filmmakers Collaborative (36 min/BetaSP/color/1999)
Avenue of the Asian Americas is an anthology film made up of ten 3 minute digital shorts that take the viewer on a quirky trip down the side streets of the Asian American experience in New York City. The shorts in Avenue of the Asian Americas are as varied as the city itself, representing a broad range of genres, themes, and characters. Stories include: A ghost story set on the Staten Island Ferry. A comedy about a newspaper thief. A man obsessed with his roommate's orgasm. An unexpected meeting between a Vietnamese grandmother and Vietnam War veteran in Central Park. An informercial for "Asian Pride Porn."

Directed and written by Julie Cho (16 min/16mm/color/1999)
Just once, six-year-old Cyrus Wong wants to be on time. Each morning he waits in dread of another tortuous day at kindergarten. Why? His parents keep forgetting to pick him up from school. Beautiful waves of bubbles arrive to save him, but when the magic pops, Cyrus learns the key to survival is finding the right delusion.

Directed by Sujit Sarat (82 min/16mm/color/1999)
All's well among South Asian software engineers in Silicon Valley till one of them realizes it's not. With the help of a "life randomizing" consultant, Bapu and his friends break out of their existential rut.

Directed by Augustine Ma (13 min/16mm/color/1998)
It's a bad day at the liquor store for everyone, especially for the frustrated counter-clerk. So when a robbery results in the death of the store owner, everyone is of course shell-shocked and grief-stricken. But things aren't always what they seem.

The Children We Sacrifice
Directed by Grace Poore (61 min/video/color/2000)
In The Children We Sacrifice, filmmaker Grace Poore focuses on incestuous sexual abuse of the girl child in South Asia and the South Asian Diaspora -- looking at India, Sri Lanka, Canada and the United States.

Fighting Grandpa
Directed, written and produced by Greg Pak (21 min/16mm/color/1998)
A young filmmaker talks with three generations of his extended family as he searches for evidence of love between his immigrant Korean grandparents.

Directed, written and produced by Victor Vu (20 min/16mm/color/1997)
Set in Little Saigon, California, this drama as told through the eyes of a seven year-old boy, takes us on an emotional journey from the child's broken home, to the spectacle and pageantry of the Vietnamese Tet Festival, where the young boy makes a final attempt to escape harsh reality.

First Person Plural
Directed and produced by Deann Borshay Liem (56 min/16mm/color/2000)
In 1966, Deann Borshay Liem was adopted by an American family and was sent from Korea to her new home. Growing up in California, the memory of her birth family was nearly obliterated until recurring dreams lead Borshay Liem to discover the truth: her Korean mother was very much alive. Bravely uniting her biological and adoptive families, Borshay Liem's heartfelt journey makes First Person Plural a poignant essay on family, loss, and the reconciling of two identities.

Directed, written and produced by Tom Huang (121 min/16mm/color/1999)
"freshmen" follows the lives of four incoming freshmen from different backgrounds and on different journeys. San Ling is a Chinese American who is obsessed with pop-icon Billy Joel and loathes his Chinese side. Tonisha Watkins, an inner-city prodigy, struggles between being a pre-med student and paying the family bills. Rick Kennedy, a conservative East Coast transplant, wrestles with multi-cultural university life and dealing with a career choice he doesn't want anymore. And Judy Oz, a free-spirited party girl, takes on the college social scene until it spirals out of her control. The film follows the foursome as they meet and interact in a history discussion class, as well as watching their stories as they continue, with and without each other, outside the classroom. "freshmen" depicts the poignant moments in their first quarter of school that forces them to grow up bit by bit.

Life Tastes Good
Directed and screenplay by Philip Kan Gotanda (90 min/35mm/color/1999)
It is a quirky tale that brings together a murder, poison mushrooms and a mysterious woman to reveal the ephemeral beauty of life and the unforgiving nature of death. It is the story of a rogue mobster who finds love in the darkest days of his life.

Directed, written and produced by Greg Pak (11 min/16mm/color/1997)
A young man tries to avoid a conversation about pregnancy with his girlfriend by chasing a mouse around his apartment.

My American Vacation
Directed by VV Dachin Hsu (90 minutes/35 mm/color/1999)
A Chinese American family's motorhome trip. As they drive through the wilderness, Grandma teaches them how to use Eastern philosophy to live a harmonious Western life.

Not Black or White
Directed by Anna Kang (19 min/BetaSP/color/1999)
This documentary focuses on three Asian American artists who through their work are breaking the media stereotypes of Asian women. A young cartoonist, Lela Lee (creator of the Angry Little Asian Girl); a writer/actress/comedian, Amy Hill (All-American Girl); and a TV/film actress, Ming-Na Wen (Joy Luck Club, Mulan, ER) share their experiences growing up Asian American and how these experiences influence their work today.

The Penny Marshall Project
Directed by Greg Pak (12 min/BetaSP/color/2000)
Francis Ford Coppola, Akira Kurosawa, and Penny Marshall - all filmic geniuses in their own right - take to the woods behind Penny's place to make a horror masterwork. What they discover is a hilarious re-working of the old chefs-to-soup equation.

The Pink Palace (animated)
Directed by Jessica Hagedorn and John Woo (26 min/BetaSP/color/2000)
Ramona Francesca Carreon Baby Cruz is a 16-year-old Filipina transplant finding her bearings in America. Baby and her mother, Queenie, have recently moved to a housing project in Oakland, California where her aunt (Queenie's twin sister), uncle and cousin live. The Philip Vera Cruz Houses are painted hot pink, and are affectionately known as the "Pink Palace." Having left behind a comfortable, privileged lifestyle in Manila, Baby struggles to find herself and make sense of her new life in America. Through her unsparing, street-wise eye, we watch Baby deal with issues of race, class, language, coming of age, ambition, identity and sexuality, and witness her passionate, funny and tempestuous relationship with her mother and friends. "Pink Palace" is created with a combination of traditional animation techniques and digital inking, painting and compositing technologies.

Post Concussion
Directed and written by Daniel Yoon (82 min/16mm/color/1999 )
What does it take to change your life for the better? How about a severe blow to the head? In this semi-autobiographical story, Matthew Kang is a cutthroat consultant who is out of touch with his family and in a dead-end relationship. After he is hit by a car and suffers head trauma, he is forced to take stock of his life.

Shrivelly Lives
Directed by Kevin Sun (9.5 min/16mm/color/2000)
Shrivelly Lives is a black comedy about a lovestruck dreamer whose romantic fantasies get the better of him when an attractive woman walks into his life. Seeking to return a dropped handkerchief to its enchanting owner, he royally fumbles a perfect opportunity to strike a conversation with her, creating only disaster instead.

A Waiter Tomorrow
Directed by Michael Kang (12 min/BetaSP/color/1999)
Waiters at a sushi restaurant take revenge on rude patrons in this John-Woo-meets-Teriyaki-Boy chopsocky comedy.

When You're Smiling: The Deadly Legacy of the Internment
Directed by Janice Tanaka (60 min/BetaSP/color/1999)
This provocative documentary should shatter the "model minority" stereotype of Japanese Americans once and for all. Janice Tanaka, who grew up in a multiracial working-class neighborhood of LA, investigates the role of the WWII internment in the lives of her Sansei generation, trying to understand why so many ruined their lives in gangs, drugs and a rash of suicides. This is the disturbing and hushed side of assimilation into the American dream. The newly-released Nisei parents strove to make a life for their children where "camp" need never be discussed. Ironically, this silence drove a wedge between parents and children and ultimately fractured a once-vibrant multicultural community just as the 1960s came to flower.

Who Killed Vincent Chin?
Directed by Christine Choy and Renee Tajima
In 1982, Vincent Chin was at a bachelor party celebrating his upcoming wedding in a nude go-go bar. There he encountered two angry white autoworkers who, mistaking him for a Japanese, verbally accosted him, stalked him through the streets of Detroit, and beat him to death with a baseball bat. Vincent Chin's killers were each sentenced to three years of probation and $3780 in fines from a judge who reasoned that "these are not the kind of men you send to jail." Sadly, one injustice followed another: despite four more years of community appeal and legal effort, including two federal civil rights trials, Vincent Chin's killers were eventually acquitted of all charges.

The injustice meted out to Vincent Chin in 1982 shook thousands of Asian Americans from the comfortable illusion that they might escape the slings and arrows of racial hatred; today, thanks to Christine Choy and Renee Tajima's Academy Award-nominated documentary Who Killed Vincent Chin?, new waves of Asian Americans are awakening to this rather significant flaw in their American dream.

Directed and written by Chris Chan Lee (100 min/35mm/color/1998)
Eight friends in Los Angeles spend their last evening together as they face graduation from high school and the onset of their adult lives. One of them gets in unexpected trouble when he loses a large sum of his dad's money. The friends rally together to attempt to raise the money back in one evening in a wild and desperate scavenger hunt.

Director/Writer: Augustine Ma (20 min/16mm/color/1999)
A man breaks out of his quiet existence and embarks on an adventure on the "wild side". It is a comedy about personal dating, personal undergarments, personal obsession, and self-discovery.

Young Asianz Rising! Breaking Down Violence Against Women
Directed, written and produced by Asian Domestic Violence Prevention Collaborative (28 min/BetaSP/color/1999)
The Asian Domestic Violence Prevention Collaborative (ADVPC) began this project in June 1998. Nine Asian American teens from around the Bay Area came together to create, direct and edit this documentary about violence against women and its impact on Asian American youth. The kids, from a diverse representation of the Asian American community, dedicated a year to the project. The video purposely tackles the broad subject of violence against women in order to raise consciousness on all the topics and help in the prevention of these crimes. Through on-the-street polls, interviews with young people who have lived through violent crimes and dramatic reenactments, Young Asianz Rising! powerfully addresses issues of sexual harassment, sexual assault and domestic violence. Also highlighted are other unique efforts being done to create awareness about these issues. Young Asianz Rising! is an inspiring project which will surely spark dialogue amongst Asian American youth as well as in other communities. In giving voice to the young creators of this piece, ADVPC has taken a great step forward in educating the public about violence against women.