The Official DC Asian Pacific American Film Blog

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

The Best of the Fest (Docs)

We don't announce the official winners for Best Short, Best Short Documentary, Best Narrative, and Best Documentary until this Friday at the Kickoff Party. But we'll let you know now which ones were some of our favorites. Who will be the winners? You'll just have to come to the party and find out!

Part Two: Best Documentaries
  • The Siamese Connection screens on Sat, 9/27 at 2:00 at the Freer/Sackler Gallery. First, this is a FREE screening. Second, this gem of a film, clocking in at just 75 minutes, is far from your typical talking-heads documentary. The history of Cheng and Eng Bunker, famous for making the term "Siamese Twins" part of popular vernacular, is a real 19th century soap opera, laced with subplots of world travel, family feuds, slavery, and the economic development of the American South. Most interesting are gatherings that reunite descendants of the twins at family reunions in rural North Carolina still today. A fascinating commentary on the myth and miracle of the American Dream.
  • Flying on One Engine screens on Sun, 9/28 at 9:00 at the AFI Silver. This doc premiered at the SXSW Film Festival this year. The subject, a 78 year old Indian American doctor named Sharadkumar Dicksheet (yes, that's really his name), travels to India every year to perform free reconstructive surgeries on thousands of children in need, all while holding onto his own life by a string. The guy is practically a saint, and is treated like one by everyone around him, but he can be a real curmudgeon and has a sharp tongue. Just wait until you hear him insulting Mother Teresa and Al Gore almost in the same breath without batting an eye.
  • Against the Grain: An Artists Survival Guide to Peru screens on Wed, 10/1 at 6:45 at NMWA. Artists have always been scapegoats for inciting social ills, cultivating political unrest, contributing to the decline of morals. This documentary shows how four artists are challenging the ruling political and social class in Peru, by documenting the violence in their community and the stifling of creative expression in a society at the crossroads of democracy and economic growth. Recommended for anyone interested in the art of politics and the politics of art.
  • 62 Years and 6500 Miles Between screens on Fri, 10/3 at 7:00 at Navy Memorial. Part memoir, part homage to the activists in the democratic and women's rights movements in Taiwan. Most personal documentaries are either too self-absorbed or too self-deprecating. This one does it exactly right-- by drawing the viewer in through universal themes that are relevant to one individual's story. In this case, themes of personal and collective histories, generation and cultural gaps, and holding on to the memories of those closest to us.
  • The House of Sharing screens on Sat, 10/4 at 4:30 at Navy Memorial. A moving, intense record of atrocities committed just decades ago, still unknown to many, where Korean women were kidnapped and trafficked into sexual slavery for the Japanese army. This film interviews several survivors of this mass-scale human rights violation, as they live together in a residential care and educational facility in Korea, struggling to survive as they recount their painful memories in an effort to educate the next generation with the hopes that it shall never happen again.

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