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Preview: SDAFF Spring Showcase

San Diego Asian FIlm Foundation’s New Mini Fest

Jackie Chan stars in

Credit: Well Go

Above: Jackie Chan stars in "Little Big Soldier."


SDAFF launches new SPring SHowcase.


The San Diego Asian Film Foundation kicks off it's inaugural Spring Showcase (April 15-22 at the UltraStar Mission Valley Theaters at Hazard Center) tonight tonight with Jackie Chan's "Little Big Soldier."

Non-profit film festivals face a lot of challenges, not all of which are financial. The San Diego Asian Film Festival holds its annual event in October but it strives to maintain a presence all year long with workshops, quarterly screenings and now with it's new Spring Showcase. Managing director Phil Lorenzo says it allows them to bring back films that won audience awards.

PHIL LORENZO: We felt like why not showcase the best films from last year's film festival and other films that may not be timely enough in October. And I think that having more events like that throughout the year will put our presence and our name out there and I think that's the most important thing because we need to stay relevant and I think this showcase will help us do that.

Photo caption:

Photo credit: Cineclick

A Korean take on "Hansel and Gretel" is well worth checking out on April 19 at the Spring Showcase.

SDAFF is the latest non-profit to move into the San Diego Foundation Building at Liberty Station. The Building features a screening room, digital editing suite, and a state-of-the-art conference room that will be used for free monthly screenings. Theses changes excite the Foundation's managing director Phil Lorenzo.

PHIL LORENZO: The direct benefits to us is having the capacity to do the programs that we've always wanted to do, like expanding our Film Forum, like being able to expand services of the Reel Voices program of giving kids opportunities to edit films. It has also positioned us to welcome more staff and to really effectively use our resources better.

The addition of the Spring Showcase provides a mini-festival to complement the Foundation's annual San Diego Asian Film Festival that takes place in October. The Spring Showcase means that favorites from the fall festival can have encore screenings along side premieres of new films. Lorenzo is particularly happy with the timing of this year's inaugural event.

PHIL LORENZO: We're having a fundraiser Sunday night for the Japan Relief efforts and we're showing "A Tale of Mari and Three Puppies." It really is a beautiful film. It's about a girl who is displaced from a dog and her 3 pups during the 1984 earthquake in Japan and so I think it's very timely.

Photo caption:

Photo credit: Cineclick

Lee Chang Dong's "Poetry" is the best of what I previewed at the Spring Showcase and it receives a theatrical run at Landmark later this month.

The two films I would recommend catching are both from South Korea: "Hansel and Gretel" (2007), a perverse fairy tale with a bold visual style; and "Poetry" (2010) from Lee Chang Dong, one of South Korea's most daring and underappreciated directors. If you miss "Poetry" you will get a second chance to see it at Landmark later this month. But "Hansel and Gretel" is unlikely to play anywhere else on the big screen and it is such a visual treat that you should see it on the big screen.

The San Diego Asian Film Foundation's Spring Showcase runs through April 22 at the Ultrastar Mission Valley Theaters at Hazard Center.

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