Asians in the Movies 唐人做電影My City 我的城市

Vancouver Asian Film Festival 2011

Each year in Vancouver I casually consider volunteering for VAFF, Vancouver Asian Film Festival but quickly dismiss the notion. Do I really want to work for my free movie? Rub shoulders? Maybe next year….

Although I won’t be in Vancouver this November (3-6), nonetheless I am curious about the line-up for their 15th anniversary. Which films did they get (or not get) ? Which ones would I watch or want to watch but not end up watching?

Interesting-looking shorts:

  • Tammy Tsang’s Dear Mom and Dad narrates the letter a girl writes to her parents and how she sees Vancouver with new eyes. (Life in Transit programme, November 5)
  • Alejandro Yoshizawa and Elena Kusaka’s Wonton Soup for the Soul looks into the volunteerism of wonton wrappers at the Montreal Chinese Hospital. The name is so cute, something I would have liked to snag for a novel. (Canadian Asian Stories programme, November 5)
  • Alejandro Yoshizawa’s Lillian Dyck: Not Just Chinese is a 13-minute short of Canadian senator Lillian Dyck who talks about being of mixed Chinese and Native descent. (Canadian Asian Stories programme, November 5)
  • Adam Chan and Peter Planta’s Go Canucks Go is a 3-minute music video of the city’s love for their hockey team throughout the 2011 play-off run. Does it end how I think it will? VAFF introduced a “Love Letters to Vancouver” competition which makes me cringe with the self-love and hyperlocality.
Feature-length films:
  • Kenny Meehan and Bill Bowles’ Big in Bollywood is a documentary about American-born actor Omi Vaidya when he took his first Bollywood role and the ensuing story of returning to a “homeland” he does not know, relearning language and heritage, and rise to fame. This will be the Vancouver premiere of the film. (Friday Night Feature programme, November 4)
  • Bertha Bay-Sa Pan’s Almost Perfect looks like a chick flick starring Kelly Hu and Edison Chen (yes, that Edison Chen) with an essemble story centered around Vanessa (Kelly Hu) who takes on a lot from  her colourful family and finally meets a guy. Director and “cast” will be in attendance although it only listed that Edison Chen would be there. (Opening Night Presentation, November 3)
  • Dave Boyle’s Surrogate Valentine is a sweet romantic comedy that has made the rounds at SXSW and SFIAFF earlier this year and looks the most promising. Musician Goh Nakamura plays himself teaching an actor how to play guitar for an upcoming film. The romance is with one of my favourite Asian American actresses, Lynn Chen, whose chatter about the film has me all the more keen to watch it. A sequel is already in the works. This is the Western Canada Premiere so I’m guessing it will show at Reel Asian Film Festival  in Toronto/Richmond Hill. (Closing Night Presentation, November 6)
The one film I do not understand that will appear at both VAFF and Reel is Fullmetal Alchemist: The Sacred Star of Milos. Anime?! Oh well, to each his own.
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