San Diego Asian Film Festival Opens Thursday Night At theNAT
November 9, 2017 1:15 p.m.
Brian Hu, San Diego Asian Film Festival artistic director
Beth Accomando, KPBS arts reporter
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This is KPBS Midday Edition. I'm Maureen Cavanaugh. The San Diego Asian film festival begins tonight at the San Diego Natural History Museum and continues through November 18 at multiple venues. Beth spoke with the artistic director to get a preview of the ten-day festival.We are looking at a new San Diego Asian film festival this year and I think that they do to help people navigate through is set up these sidebars. I thought we would go through the five sidebars that you have and talk about some of the highlights. One is called special presentation. What qualifies for special presentation?The our films and sometimes they are big premieres or have stars or they are the ones that you can -- a little jazz year.What is a highlight for the presentation? In addition to those which are great crowdpleasers, I would like to squeeze in some winter things especially old films. A special thing is we can bring back older films so were very excited to be world premiering the new digital restoration which is a classic Asian American film that combines werewolves with domestic drama.Into early films produced by Justin. To see this new digital restoration done by the UCLA archive and seeing Asian Americans looking like this since I like this and we forgot because we've been watching that DVD copies.You have another sidebar called Asian American panorama. What is highlighted in this?We have a lot of documentaries. They make them about personal stories and history and this year there is a great personal documentary.Migration is the hardest thing in the world.The filmmaker and his family come from Pakistan and when they moved to Canada, the family becomes devout while he goes to college and becomes an activist.'s about the splintering between him and his family. They have some very -- is a very powerful film to speak about what he went through in his relationship with his family.Another sidebar is called Asian pop. What are you highlighting this year? I think it's important to note that we as -- we know about the films that play at the landmark theaters. These are the ones that go on to be nominated for Oscars. This is the section where you find that and I love that were playing the film like a taxi driver, which is about the most important events in Korean history. It's about a taxi driver who was political but he picks up a ride that takes them into the middle of what's going to be a showdown between them and the government. It is hilarious. It's a cross-cultural comedy but it's also a drama about a relationship with the nation and it's what they do best.For the next section, we have a contrast to that on a certain level is the master section. These are films from people that audiences should be familiar with. Who are you highlighting this year?We have new films in their household names. These are the folks that follow what's going on at the film festival. But there are limited opportunities in San Diego to see these films. We have two films this year. There's one that I want to mention the most it's called youth. In China and Asia he's considered a great director. It's about a dance shoot and it's about being young and in love and having idealism. How that can shattered after the evolution and its beautiful. It's an epic movie. This to me as a once in a generation kind of thing.The last of the sidebars you have set up this called discoveries. Explain what qualifies for a discovery for you.These are films that go out of their way in telling a story that we've never seen or heard before. Some of these films are discoveries in terms of form. Both are very exciting to me and both are essential functions to introduce us to new subjects but also new ways of telling stories through film. So we have a film called dragonfly eyes from China which blew me away. The description does not capture the experience of watching this. So this is a drama that's told completely through surveillance video in China. A lot of video you can find on the cloud. Footage of hallways and factories or of cafeterias and people hanging out. This filmmaker poured through thousands of hours of this footage and piece together a story about people in and out of love and every scene there played by different actors because they're just different people that we found in their surveillance videos and really test our ability to identify the characters but also it shows how much we want to increase narrative even when it does it make sense.'s also about how we detect the world in a place like China where there's so many people and it's constantly changing and were looking at this video footage from two years ago that is completely different than now. It's something that feels more authentic because these are real people but it feels completely false because every moment we see the scenes of how they piece together. It is so fascinating and this captures the spirit behind discovery.This is like a genuine film.Exactly. This is actual footage.Do you have any advice for people planning to attend are people who have never attended?The different sections clue you win. Are you win it for entertainment? If you want to see something more on the artsy side or experimental side, then the master section. By section is a great way. With your badge you get front of the line access. No one judges you here at the film festival. We are all here to have fun and celebrate and soak in as much of the energy as we can.Thank you very much for speaking with me.Thank you for having me.