Asian American Showcase 2013
- 18th Annual Asian American Showcase
The Gene Siskel Film Center and the Foundation for Asian American Independent Media (FAAIM) present the 18th edition of Asian American Showcase, May 17 though 30. The best in Asian American talent on both sides of the camera is highlighted in this year’s selection. Our opening film WHITE FROG by Quentin Lee (SHOPPING FOR FANGS) boasts an all-star cast, and is just a taste of the thoroughly entertaining dramas, comedies, and documentaries to come, with filmmaker appearances at selected
screenings. Check back often for updates on guest appearances.
The art exhibit Next Generation, exploring the future of Asian American art in a digital age of flexible and hybrid cultural identity, will be on view in our Gallery/Café from May 10 through July 29. The public is invited to the opening reception on Friday, May 17 from 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm. Curated by Yuna Baek, the exhibition features current and former SAIC students Kalani Largusa, Heelim Hwang, Sua Yoo, Eunie Kim, Hiba Ali, Arjuna Capulong, Catherine Yeon Soo Kim, Snow Yunxue Fu, Greyson Hong, Kiam Marcelo Junio, and Wang Frank Yefeng.
For their essential role in making Asian American Showcase possible, the Gene Siskel Film Center thanks FAAIM founding members Sooyoung Park, Ben Kim, and William Shin; festival director Tim Hugh; the Alphawood Foundation; the Illinois Arts Council, a state agency; and the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation.
- Opening Night Film
- WHITE FROG
- 2012, Quentin Lee, USA, 93 min.
- With Booboo Stewart, Kelly Hu, Tyler Posey
A favored son’s secrets are slowly unraveled by second son Nick (Stewart), a young man with Asperger’s Syndrome, in this new coming-of-age drama by the acclaimed director of SHOPPING FOR FANGS. When big brother Chaz dies in a tragic accident, the life of an already dysfunctional family goes into a tailspin. Nick succeeds in crashing the tight circle of his brother’s best friends to discover that Chaz, model student and his parents’ golden boy, was someone very different away from home. The stellar cast also includes Joan Chen, BD Wong, Harry Shum, Jr., Amy Hill, Justin Martin, and playwright David Henry Hwang. HDCAM video. (BS)
- SEEKING ASIAN FEMALE
- 2012, Debbie Lum, USA, 84 min.
“Brings stereotypes of ‘yellow fever’ and ‘gold-digging immigrant’ into compelling interplay.”
—Maggie Lee, Variety
“Layered, real-life character study.”
—Ernest Hardy, L.A. Weekly
Chinese American filmmaker Lum sets out to explore her foremost aversion: “yellow fever,” the Caucasian fetish for Asian lovers, and becomes drawn into a real-life drama worthy of a soap opera. After scores of online flirtations, Steven, a giddily obsessed 60-year-old, leaps into matrimony with Sandy, a cute 30-year-old from Anhui province, who appears sincerely drawn to him despite his age and lack of means. The bilingual filmmaker is soon thrust into the role of reluctant marriage counselor when lines of communication break down. In English and Mandarin with English subtitles. HDCAM video. (BS)
Jason DaSilva in person!
- WHEN I WALK
- 2013, Jason DaSilva, USA/Canada, 80 min.
“One of the most honest and sincere films ever to grace the Sundance silver screen.”
—Esther Meroño, Slug Magazine
In 2006, a family home movie caught filmmaker DaSilva taking an accidental tumble on a sandy beach. In retrospect, the fall was seen as the defining moment in his young life when he was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis at age 25. Charting the course of his degenerative disease, DaSilva takes his audience on an six-year journey through changes, triumphs, and relationships that is no death march, but a personal tale that wowed them at Sundance this year with the filmmaker’s humor, courage, and insight. HDCAM video. (BS)
Director Jason DaSilva is tentatively scheduled to be present for audience discussion on Sunday.
- MR. CAO GOES TO WASHINGTON
- 2012, S. Leo Chiang, USA, 72 min.
“Lively and engaging…should stir timely debate.”
—Dennis Harvey, Variety
Backlash from a political scandal propels Vietnamese émigré Anh “Joe” Cao, a political “new broom,” to Congress as a moderate Republican, an unprecedented occurrence in the largely African American and overwhelmingly Democratic New Orleans district he represents. As charted in this lively behind-the-scenes chronicle, his term proves to be short and bittersweet when Cao, a fearless and effective advocate for his Lower 9th Ward constituents in the wake of Katrina, naively falls victim to the brutal undercurrents of racial and party politics. HDCAM video. (BS)
Director Akira Boch in person!
- THE CRUMBLES
- 2012, Akira Boch, USA, 75 min.
- With Teresa Michelle Lee, Katie Hipol
“The ultimate love letter to youthful rock n’ roll exuberance.”
—Jackson Truax, Living in Cinema
The old let’s-put-on-a-show impulse is seen in a new guise in this winningly good-hearted movie about a couple of girl rockers and their dream of starting a band. Irresistibly perky but utterly irresponsible Elisa (Lee) crashes on the couch of best friend Darla (Hipol), the stable one. As roommates they’re the odd couple, but as a band, with Darla’s secret crush Dante joining up as drummer, they prove to be a match made in heaven. Trouble looms; could choosing the name The Crumbles be a self-fulfilling prophecy? HDCAM video. (BS)
Director Akira Boch will be present for audience discussion following Friday's show.
Nadine Truong and Brian Yang
- SOMEONE I USED TO KNOW
- 2013, Nadine Truong, USA, 81 min.
- With West Liang, Brian Yang
Fresh from a reconsidered suicide attempt, thirty-something Charlie packs up his cat Hemingway and heads for Los Angeles for a reunion with his best friends Luke (Yang of “Hawaii Five-0”), now a heartthrob TV star, and Danny, a rich but nerdy wannabe ladies’ man. A boozy boys’ night out devolves into something more complex when two young and flirtatious groupies with eyes for Luke join the party. Back at Luke’s mansion in the hills, a series of revelations and confessions soon unmask pretensions and lifestyles. HDCAM video. (BS)
Director Nadine Truong and actor Brian Yang will be present for audience discussion on Saturday.
Filmmakers in person!
- XMAS WITHOUT CHINA
- 2012, Alicia Dwyer, USA, 63 min.
Producer Tom Xia challenges the neighboring Jones family in his California suburb to purge every item made in China from their home for the month of December. The scale of the undertaking makes for easy laughs until it dawns on the family of four just how stripped of necessities and amenities their lives will be. Meanwhile, Xia’s parents outfit their new American dream home with the ultimate in Chinese products, and clashing ideologies are headed for a showdown. In English and Mandarin with English subtitles. HDCAM video.
2013, Tatsu Aoki, USA, 30 min.
Chicago-based jazz musician and filmmaker Aoki documents a dance performance in a San Francisco Chinese landmark, featuring Lenora Lee Dance, Kei Lun Martial Arts, and more. Mini-DV video. (BS)
Producer Tom Xia of XMAS WITHOUT CHINA is tentatively scheduled to be present for audience discussion on Sunday. Director Tatsu Aoki of THE ESCAPE will be present for both screenings.
- SUNSET STORIES
- 2012, Ernsto Foronda and
- Silas Howard, USA, 90 min.
- With Monique Gabriela Curnen, Sung Kang
“A fairy tale twist...a gem of a movie.”
—Christina Hulen, Examiner.com
Inspired by such classics as CHUNGKING EXPRESS, AFTER HOURS, and CLEO FROM 5 TO 7, this darkly funny quirky quest set in a succession of colorful Los Angeles neighborhoods plays with the concept of lost and found. May, a Boston nurse charged with delivering a cooler of bone marrow to an L.A. hospital for a transplant, manages to misplace her precious cargo in the flustered moment that she runs into an old boyfriend, handsome rocker JP. The cast also includes Jim Parsons and Zosia Mamet. HDCAM video. (BS)