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2ND Annual PHILADELPHIA ASIAN AMERICAN FILM FESTIVAL Opening

Saturday, October 10, 2009

 

PHILADELPHIA ASIAN AMERICAN FILM FESTIVAL 2009


I was bumped. Like the insignificant neophyte comedian that's booked on "The Tonight Show" but never performs cause they run short on time. An exaggeration of course, but I was told by PCA that I would be giving a plug for La Cinematheque prior to the screening of PAAFF's opening night film Children of Invention. So I of course dressed to impress, practiced incessantly and basically gave it way more of my day than I should have, only to be told when I arrived that there wouldn't be time.

Of course, I would have had to follow Sharon Pinkenson, Exe. Dir of the Greater Philadelphia Film Office whose trademark curls and fabulous apparel, make other women in the room look drab, so perhaps it's just as well.


This was the second year for the Philadelphia Asian American Film Festival. There was about 140-160 attendees for opening night. I wouldn't say it was a completely mixed crowd of film attendees, but it was by far not all Asian.
About 50 of the attendees made it over to Marathon for the opening "party", $6 beers do not a party make, but the noshing was adequate and I met a cute and lively performance artist who was fun to chat with and later flirted with an old crush, so all in all not a bad night.

I spoke with Joe Kim, the Festival's Director and asked him if it was a big improvement of attendance from last year? He responded, far larger, so I assume it was pretty much a handful of attendees last year. I also asked him what fell into place better this year that hadn't for the inaugural festival
- in hindsight, a stupid question, as his answer was EVERYTHING! He'd be too much of a gentlemen to put it this way, but basically last year evidently he and his staff didn't know their heads from their asses.

So glad to see they've gotten a second year and I wish them luck in many more to come.


Review of Children of Invention by Tze Chun, to come. I've got to run back to the festival now to catch, actor, Aaron Yoo (Disturbia, The Wackness, Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist) being presented with PAAFF's Rising Star Award and them I'm going to see the screening of Second Moon.


It's definitely time to purchase a Netbook so I can do more timely posts in between events. The reviews I've read say the Samsung NC10 or the Asus Eee PC 1002HA is the way to go. Any opinions out there?



HBO Presents A Conversation with Aaron Yoo 


Actor Aaron Yoo was presented with the PAAFF Rising Star Award and sat down to be interviewed by Nydia Han. Yoo's ease of conversation and relaxed posture belies his young persona. His love for the craft of acting is evident along with a healthy confidence in his talent and sense of belonging in the industry.

He's working and writing a lot now, but the lean early years trying to go from uncompensated thesbian to working movie actor was anything but easy. He tells a funny story of trying desperately to get fired from a desk job, so he could live off of unemployment and pursue acting full-time, but his boss was just too nice to fire him, so he eventually had to quit. Fortunately his parents (Minister Father, hence Biblical name of Aaron) although never encouraging of his acting ambitions never allowed him to starve.

When asked about possible leading man roles in the future, he responded that he felt he and a few other Asian American actors are opening the doors, but that these things have a timeline and that if he or one his peers do not become the next, I'm paraphrasing, Asian American Brad Pitt, then he feels strongly that we'll see it among the next generation of actors coming up. He also mentions matinee idol Sessue Hayakawa who won an Oscar for The Bridge on the River Kwai in comment that an Asian actor was already there, but it's been such a long time in between.

One of Yoo's favorite movies because of the horrid, racist depiction is that of Mickey Rooney in Breakfast At Tiffany's. He's thought that they should do, not a remake, but like Star Wars, a redigitalization of Breakfast at Tiffany's with an Asian actor in the Rooney part. Actually, Yoo is far from taking on stereotypical Asian roles, the characters he's played in The Wackness, Disturbia and 21 have all been written for Caucasian males.

He was asked if he got nervous about being on set with big named actors like Kevin Spacey, and for the most part he said, he tends to relate to them from his character to their character and not as celebrities, so that's not normally a problem. He's actually more impressed by the fact that when Method Man sees him, he's greeted with "My Dog". And that his confession to Kyra Sedgwick over dinner about how much he wants to win an Oscar, was met with her assent of still really wanting to win one too!

Aaron took to instruction on counting cards for his role in 21 and came up with the idea for his character to always be chewing gum. One of the mistakes new card counters make is mouthing the numbers while their counting, which dealers are trained to look for, so the gum chewing masks the lip movement. When asked if he had any stories to tell about shooting in Las Vegas, he replied, I have a lot of crazy Vegas stories, but my parents are in the audience.

So I suppose that means what happens in Vegas really does stay in Vegas.

Closing Night Film: THE STORY OF WINE


The Philadelphia Asian American Film Festival chose a food related film for closing night, much to Tinsel & Tine's delight! Followed by a party in the lobby of IHouse where the film was screened, featuring wines from World Shippers and Importers and catered by Steven Starr's Elvez.

Story of Wine is delightful entertainment, it's Korean with English subtitles, which I'm not sure technically makes it Asian American. In fact, I was even going to link the interview of the actors on youtube, but that would require a translator.

The film opens up to a celebration, a Wine Bar named Story of Wine is celebrating it's 1 year anniversary. After the guests leave, The bar owner, Min-sung,(KiWoo Lee) a Korean Clark Kent type, opens up a bottle to share with "the gang", which consists of two regular patrons, his patrician faced,wine steward, the crazy steam pork restaurant owner from next door and his mentor.

The mentor mentions that the wines were not listed in the correct order on the menu. Min-sung explains the wines are listed in order of their stories. We are then told three tales where a particular vintage plays a significant role.
The stories not only give us a history of how far the Wine bar has come in a year, but we are treated to a very sweet romance involving two patrons.Story of Wine is an inviting film, and with it's cozy, contemporary interior, would make for an inviting place to actually while away a couple of hours sniffing and sipping a few glasses of vino.

[Director Cheol-ha Lee]

Rating: 4 Tines

Click HERE for Photos from the Weekend.

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About This Blog

is about discovering what I find pleasing in screening & eating - in case you missed it, the name is a play on Tinseltown using the Tines of a Fork.

Feel free to send me info on a film or new restaurant you'd like me to highlight.
-tinseltine@gmail.com


Will there ever be a cap on movie prices?

Will we one day pay $20 a pop?

Why don't we pay on a scale?

A crap movie like everything Adam Sandler has ever done should cost about $4.50.
Big action movies like"Lord of the Rings", "Iron Man," "Transformers" are worth $10.
Woody Allen movie or something like "Silver Linings Playbook" $6-$7.
A chick flick or light comedy $5.75 and most Indie Films $5.25.

You could even do it by seasons - all summer block busters from May to August - $10
Sept - November 15th $3.50 - $4
Back to $10 for Thanksgiving and Christmas etc...

Or you can do it by A Actors ($9 - $10), B Actors ($6 - $7) TV actors on the big screen ($3.50 - $4)

Surely I'm not the first person to realize this makes sense. Has it been voted on in the Motion Picture Industry and then vetoed? If so, why?

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