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Women Dominate 8th Annual San Diego Asian Film Festival Spring Showcase

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April 18, 2018 1:35 p.m.

Women Dominate 8th Annual San Diego Asian Film Festival Spring Showcase


Brian Hu, Pac-Arts artistic director

Beth Accomando, KPBS arts reporter

Related Story: Women Dominate Eighth Annual San Diego Asian Film Festival Spring Showcase


This is a rush transcript created by a contractor for KPBS to improve accessibility for the deaf and hard-of-hearing. Please refer to the media file as the formal record of this interview. Opinions expressed by guests during interviews reflect the guest’s individual views and do not necessarily represent those of KPBS staff, members or its sponsors.

>> This is KPBS Midday Edition. I am Maureen. The San Diego Asian film Festival has an embarrassment of riches every year in terms of films they want to show, so in addition to its main festival in the fall, it also hosts a spring showcase. Beth speaks with the festival's artistic arrestor -- director about some of the highlights.
>> With a Lotta focus on diversity in film, you're opening with a film by a woman a filmmaker. What made you want to open with this particular film, which is meditation parked?
>> When we picked the film, we didn't think about it in terms of it being a woman director. It had all of the ingredients for a fun opening night. It is a comedy, it is about injuring aging. We recognized that if we closed our film festival with a woman director as well, and we have with a film called [ Inaudible ] what if we make our main we can spotlight a woman filmmaker, so we chose [ Inaudible ] from Malaysia. We realized by the end of the day, most of our films in our showcases here were directed out woman.
>> Your centerpiece one is a woman filmmaker who is also Muslim. What kind of sensibility does she bring to the screen that people are maybe not seeing elsewhere?
>> If anyone hasn't seen a Malaysian film before, you may not realize that Malaysia is a multicultural place. As a result, they have different religions. Most people kind of stay in their own lanes. If you're Chinese, you're born into a Chinese society. Same if you are from India, same if you are ethnically. I don't know where this comes from from her, maybe she studied in the UK. She sees things from more of a cosmetology and -- cosmopolitan perspective. They are really cute movies. They are romances, there are films about family.
>> You also have a film that focuses on a woman artist.
>> Are closing night film is [ Inaudible ] it is about the artist who is now arguably the biggest artist in the world. Anyone who has been to the proud [ Inaudible ] every direction you look into, it looks like it goes on forever, like the stars go on forever. It is quite an experiential spectacle. That she is known around the world for. Very few people know about her story about being a Japanese person in the United States in the 1960s. First of all people do not accept her, because she was Japanese and a woman. It is about her decades of struggling with recognition and has a happy ending because we know that she becomes the biggest artist in the world.
>> Another adventure is going to combine food and film which always seems to be a good pairing. This event is already close to sold out, if not sold out. I am going to have you talk about this, because maybe next time you bring it around, people will be a little bit more on the ball and get their tickets early. This is a little bit new for you guys doing this.
>> The masses have spoken, this is what they want. Last year during the summer, there was a trailer that went viral, especially in the Asian American community featuring a documentary. This was a documentary about Filipino American food. Not necessarily foot from the Philippines, but food made by Filipino Americans, combining what they grew up with that home with their Filipino parents and grandparents, but combining that with their sensibilities as Americans.
>> I think the impact of Filipino food becoming popular is just almost justifying our culture. In order for us to be accepted and not be considered Third World minority. Our food has to speak volumes.
>> This documentary obviously makes you very hungry. We figured not only is it a chance to show the audience some of the things that are in the movie, but more importantly to me, is showcasing the fact that here in San Diego, there are Filipino American chefs that were not featured in the film that may have stories to share with their stories. By the end we had 12 chefs. We are showing the documentary, and afterwards, everyone in the film is going to be party to a combined feast, where you can eat with your hands. You can partake in something that is truly historic in San Diego.
>> Another one of your events is the mystery kung fu theater. Even though you don't tell us what the film is, I understand there is some inkling that this one may be on 16mm.
>> If history is going to repeat itself, it may be indeed on 16 millimeter. 16mm for those who don't know, this is by today, it is a format. It is how films used to be shown. Our theater doesn't have a projector for 16mm anymore. If we are going to do 60 millimeter, it would have to be in the spring showcase when we have a little bit more time and space to be naughty in the production booth. This is our opportunity to really prove why festivals are important as a communal event. Is about people getting together and experiencing something together that they couldn't have in their own homes.
>> We have to trust you to pick a film that will be great. You always have. Give people a little idea of what kind of thing they can expect, just so that they can kind of brace themselves for what might be coming out mystery kung fu theater.
>> I think we are all very familiar with the classic figures of martial arts films. The Bruce lease, the Jackie Chan's, that is really just the tip of the iceberg of the talent involved, the kinds of stories that can be told, their production values, where they originate from. What I love doing with the mystery kung fu theater, is sometimes I find some classics that Americans don't know about. Sometimes I'm scraping the bottom of the barrel. Sometimes the bottom of the barrel, you find things that have not aged well, or have aged in ways that maybe they weren't intended to. Bring them out of the vaults reminds us that there are so many ways to enjoy films. Whether it is intended or not, and sometimes it goes against what we think of the genre. I wanted to find a way to live around that, but also give a way to see martial arts films a new.
>> Is there anything else you want to highlight?
>> Since we mentioned women filmmakers, there is one that is really special. It is from New Zealand. It is directed by eight women directors. It is eight short films, and each of the short films takes place at ten a.m. on the same day. Earlier we talked about how women have a diversity of different perspectives here within one film, you get a different perspectives about the experience. I've never seen anything quite like it before. It is quite amazing.
>> Thank you very much, looking forward to another year.
>> Thanks.
>> That was Beth, speaking with Brian about the San Diego Asian film Festival's Springs showcase the showcase runs April 19 through the 26th of the ultra Star Mission Valley act hazard center. Be sure to watch the evening edition of five, and that 630 tonight on K PBS television. Join us again tomorrow for K PBS mid-day addition at noon, if you ever miss a show, you can check out the Midday Edition podcast online. I am more in, thank you for listening. -- I am Maureen, thank you for listening.