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Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival Opens Today, Comes Downtown Next Week

By Ed Fuentes
Published: Thursday, April 29, 2010, at 12:36PM
LThe Actresses

SYoun Yuh-Jung, Lee Mi-Sook, Choi Ji-Woo, Ko Hyun-Jung, Kim Min-Hee, Kim Ok-Vin of "The Actresses." The South Korean film closes the 2010 Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival on Saturday, May 8.

The 2010 Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival opens this evening in Hollywood, the start of a weekend highlighted by programming that celebrates Bruce Lee's 70th birthday.

On Monday, the festival action moves Downtown, with an extensive slate of screenings split between the Downtown Independent, the Japanese American National Museum and the Aratani/Japan America Theatre.

Little Tokyo is deep in the festival's roots. It began there in 1983 as the Visual Communications Film Festival, and it wasn't until 2008 that the event was rebranded the Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival and taken to industry venues.

Now it's billed as the largest annual festival featuring Indie Pacific and international Asian themed films. Managed by a staff almost sequestered in the basement of the Union Center For the Arts, where Visual Communications is based, the non-profit will screen 170 films in 10 days this year, and the schedule includes panels and seminars hosted by the WGA and the Editors Guild.

LAAPFF opens at the Director's Guild of America with "Au Revoir Taipei," a film by fesitival alum and USC Grad Arvin Chen that had a successful premiere at the Berlin Film Festival.

Downtown will join the festival with a return of Cinema Musica, a night of music videos curated by Grace Su.

Just announced is the May 7 screening of "Mao's Last Dancer" (2009), also at the Downtown Independent. Helmed by "Driving Miss Daisy" director Bruce Beresford, the screenplay is adapted from the autobiography of Li Cunxin, the rural Chinese 11-year-old peasant who was selected to attend Madame Mao's dance school in Beijing where he excels and through a cultural exchange program lands at the Houston Ballet Company. After the culture shock, the young dancer decides to defect.

The festival closes May 8 with a preview of "The Actresses," a 2009 South Korean film referred to as a Robert Altman influenced story –– shot documentary-style –– of six actresses brought together for a magazine cover shoot. It appears competitive divas, from ingénue to ice queens, knows no borders.

Of course, there are film festival after-parties to be had. The Downtown Independent Rooftop, The Far Bar at Chop Suey Cafe, and JACC Plaza will those hold those events for anyone with the right connections–– be it being a festival volunteer, badgeholder, or select event ticket holder.

2010 Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival / April 29 to May 8 / Downtown Venues: Aratani-Japan American Theater at JACCC Plaza (244 S. San Pedro), Downtown Independent (251 S. Main), Tateuchi Democracy Forum / Japanese American National Museum (111 N. Central Ave)

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