WASHINGTON, D.C. — Asian Pacific American Film (APA Film) is proud to announce that 9500 LIBERTY will be the Opening Night Film for the DC Asian Pacific American Film Festival beginning October 1st. The highly anticipated documentary, which examines the political and socio-economic impact of Prince William County’s notorious battle over immigration, kicks off an exciting program of films and events that celebrate the festival’s 10th anniversary by highlighting the role of Asian Pacific Americans in mainstream media, culture, and the political process.
“Asian Pacific Americans (APAs) have made incredible strides in the past 10 years,” said festival director Anna Petrillo. “We are more visible in entertainment, more influential at the polls, and more present in elected and appointed offices. All of these things are related, and as the APA film festival of the nation’s capital, it’s our mission to both recognize and facilitate this.”
9500 LIBERTY is based on the world’s first “interactive documentary,” which debuted on YouTube in October of 2007, inviting viewers to provide feedback and become part of the unfolding story, both online and in person. The popularity and impact of the channel (over 600,000 views to date) landed the filmmakers on local, national, and international press, leading to an invitation to testify before the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights. The film is in part about their transformative journey documenting this bitter fight.
The film is directed by Asian American filmmakers, Annabel Park of Silver Spring, MD and Eric Byler of Gainesville, VA. Byler, whose critically acclaimed debut CHARLOTTE SOMETIMES was hailed by Roger Ebert as a “breakthrough for Asian American filmmakers,” returned to Northern Virginia from Los Angeles in 2006, just as ethnic tensions were mounting in Prince William County. The film, Mr. Byler’s first documentary, is his sixth film to be selected for the festival. In addition, this is the first time a documentary film about a local issue has opened the DC APA Film Festival.
“One profound lesson that we learned in Prince William County is recognizing the fragility of democracy,” Byler said. “We hope that our film will persuade people of all backgrounds, especially Asian Americans, of the importance of actively participating at all levels of government.”
Park, who immigrated from South Korea at the age of 9, believes that Asian Americans should step up to the plate and take on leadership roles in America’s ongoing debate about immigration. “Politically speaking, immigration has been cast as a Latino issue. This is unfortunate because the subject of immigration is an issue that affects all Americans. Asian Americans must not remain on the sidelines of a debate that will have such enormous significance on America’s future and identity.”
The festival runs from October 1 – October 10, 2009 in Washington, D.C., at the Smithsonian Institution‘s Freer/Sackler Galleries, the Burke Theatre of the U.S. Navy Memorial, and Landmark’s E Street Cinema. It will showcase 18 feature length films, over 40 short films, and special events including industry receptions and panels, educational workshops, and a retrospective sample of films from the past ten years of Asian Pacific American independent cinema.
For press screeners and media inquiries, contact Ron Sanchez at Ron@apafilm.org, or (202) 330-5496.
The 10th Annual Washington, D.C. Asian Pacific American Film Festival is presented by Asian Pacific American Film, Inc., a Washington, D.C.-based registered nonprofit, tax-exempt charity under 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code that is devoted to film and media arts made by and/or about Americans of Asian Pacific Islander descent and other Asian Diasporic groups from around the world.