LA Asian Pacific Film Festival 2012 Preview

Ryland Aldrich, Festivals Editor

The Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Fest 2012 (still commonly referred to as VC Fest) kicks off Thursday night with a gala premiere of Shanghai Calling. For 11 days from May 10 to May 20, LA will have the pleasure of hosting the very best in Asian-Pacific-American cinema. Allow us to take you on a brief tour of some of the festival's feature highlights now and be sure to check out the LAAPFF site for info on all the films (including the extensive selection of shorts) and full ticketing details.


DRAGON (WU XIA)
VC scored quite a coup by landing the LA premiere of the Weinstein Co.'s big costume epic buy from last summer's Cannes fest. Peter Ho-sun Chan's ode to classic kung fu stars Donnie Yen, Tang Wei and Takeshi Kaneshiro.


TORMENTED
The latest from Ju-On (The Grudge) creator Takashi Shimizu is this wacked out 3D horror extravaganza starring Hikari Mitsushima from Love Exposure and featureing cinematography by Christopeher Doyle. Can I get a "woo-hoo!" please?


BLOOD LETTER
Victor Vu's latest is this Vietnamese swordplay epic with fight choreography by Johnny Tri Nguyen (The Rebel).


SHANGHAI CALLING
Experienced TV writer and VC vet Daniel Hsia's feature debut is a story of love and globalization in the fast paced setting of modern day Shanghai. Eliza Coupe, Geng Le, Daniel Henney, Bill Paxton, Alan Ruck, and Zhu Zhu star.


CHINA HEAVYWEIGHT
Yung Chang follows Up the Yangtze with another exploration of a changing nation in this Sundance docu about the rise of boxing academies in rural China.


SEEKING ASIAN FEMALE
After finding rave reviews from its SXSW premiere, Debbie Lum's docu about one man's hunt for love makes its LA debut at VC.


HEADSHOT
Continuing its lengthy festival run at VC, Pen-ek Ratanaruang's trippy tale of a cop who takes a bullet to the noggin has met with somewhat mixed reviews.


VALLEY OF SAINTS
This Kashmiri set drama directed by Musa Sayeed took home the Audience Award for World Dramatic Cinema at this year's Sundance.


ABOUT THE PINK SKY
Keiichi Kobayashi's B&W Sundance drama (review) tells a small and moody story of a girl who finds a wallet full of cash.


10+10
Call it "Taiwan, Je T'aime," this collection of love letters to their country of origin features 20 shorts by the likes of some of the island's biggest names including Yen-ping Chu and Hsiao-Hsien Hou.


WHERE HEAVEN MEETS HELL
Sasha Friedlander's beautiful looking documentary is about the cycle of poverty among poor sulfur miners in East Java's active volcanoes.


THERE ONCE WAS AN ISLAND
Director Briar March's docu looks at the real world costs of climate change as a small but thriving Papua New Guinea island sprints towards being uninhabitable due to rising seas.


PLANET OF SNAIL
A deaf and blind man finds love with a spinally disabled woman in Seung-Jun Yi's Tribeca hit doc.


SURROGATE VALENTINE & DAYLIGHT SAVINGS
VC is back-to-backing the first two films in Dave Boyle's Goh Nakamura, the lovable loser series of features. These music heavy dramas are shot in striking black and white and have found fans everywhere they've played.


KNOTS
Best known for his indie charmer The Motel, Michael Kang's latest is this inter-racial romantic comedy set in Hawaii. The film stars Illeana Douglas, Kimberly-Rose Wolter, and Sung Kang.


PARADISE BROKEN
This raw drug-addled crime drama set in Waikiki marks the feature directorial debut of James Sereno.


SUNSET STORIES
Executive Produced by Justin Lin, this Silverlake adventure by Ernesto Foronda and Silas Howard plays the centerpiece spot at VC, hot off its premiere at SXSW. The film stars Sung Kang, Monique Gabriela Curnen, Mousa Kraish, Michelle Krusiec, and Joshua Leonard.

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