Sundance hit film CHILDREN OF INVENTION from director Tze Chun will open the festival on Thursday, April 30, 2009 at the DGA at 7PM with director/screenwriter Chun, actors Michael Chen, Crystal Chiu and Cindy Cheung scheduled to attend the Los Angeles premiere.
CHILDREN OF INVENTION, which premiered at the 2009 Sundance Film Festival to sold out audiences and critics notices, is the story of two young children: Raymond Cheng (Michael Chen) and Tina Cheng (Crystal Chiu), living illegally in a model apartment outside Boston, are left to fend for themselves when their hardworking mother, Elaine (Cindy Cheung), disappears. This latest predicament seems all too familiar to precocious Raymond who dreams of taking care of his mother and sister with the fortunes garnered from his inventions. Little Tina, however, remains oblivious to their troubles. Meanwhile, lured by promises of easy cash, Elaine finds herself drawn into another pyramid scheme, one that will jeopardize the welfare of the two things that matter the most – her children.
Toronto International Film Festival favorite TREELESS MOUNTAIN, from Los Angeles raised filmmaker So Yong Kim, is slated as the LAAPFF Centerpiece film on Saturday, May 2, 2009 at the DGA at 7PM with director/screenwriter Kim in attendance.
TREELESS MOUNTAIN is So Yong Kim’s second feature film and has been an audience and critics favorite on the festival circuit for her touching story about seven-year old Jin and her younger sister Bin who are left with relatives, while their mother goes looking for their father promising that she will be back when their little piggy bank is full of coins. The sisters are forced to acclimate themselves to new surroundings with new guardians as they wait with heartfelt anticipation for their mother. Variety reviewer Robert Koehler praised TREELESS MOUNTAIN and filmmaker Kim: “…drawing out beautifully natural performances from her child actors, Kim once again has a distinct way of letting her camera observe her characters with kind thoughtfulness, allowing for a quiet mood to wash over the scenes.”
Closing out the 8-day fest will be the 2008 Academy Award® winning Best Foreign Language Film DEPARTURES from director Yojiro Takita presented on Thursday, May 7 at 7PM at the Aratani Japan America Theatre in Little Tokyo in Downtown Los Angeles.
DEPARTURES, written by Kundo Koyama and directed by Yojiro Takita, follows Daigo Kobayashi (Masahiro Motoki), a devoted cellist in an orchestra that has just been dissolved and who is suddenly left without a job. Daigo decides to move back to his old hometown with his wife to look for work and start over. He answers a classified ad entitled “Departures” thinking it is an advertisement for a travel agency only to discover that the job is actually for a “Nokanshi” or “encoffineer,” a funeral professional who prepares deceased bodies for burial and entry into the next life. While his wife and others despise the job, Daigo takes a certain pride in his work and begins to perfect the art of “Nokanshi” acting as a gentle gatekeeper between life and death, between the departed and the family of the departed.. A story of love, of discovery, of revelation and of the transcending human spirit, DEPARTURES is a delightful journey into the heartland of Japan and is an astonishingly beautiful look at a sacred part of Japan’s cultural heritage.
Celebrating the 25th Anniversary, the Festival will present the 1988 Oscar® nominated documentary WHO KILLED VINCENT CHIN? from directors Christine Choy and Renee Tajima Pena in a special screening slot on Saturday, May 2 at 4PM in DGA 2. Filmmaker Pena will be on hand for Q&A; following the special screening. The film kicks off a special retrospective series of Asian American films that VC will be presenting over the next 12 months.
The lineup for the 25TH ANNIVERSARY LAAPFF includes:
ASIAN AMERICAN FEATURE FILMS
• CHILDREN OF INVENTION – Tse Chun
• DIM SUM FUNERAL – Anna Chi
• ALL ABOUT DAD – Mark Tran
• I AM THAT GIRL – B. Hayward Randall (written by Grace Rowe)
• KARMA CALLING – Sarba Das
• SHIRO’S HEAD – Don Mun; Kel Muna
• TREELESS MOUNTAIN – So Yong Kim
• WHITE ON RICE – David Boyle
• CLOSEST MEXICO TO JAPAN – Shinpei Takeda
• MANILATOWN IS IN THE HEART – Curtis Choy
• PATSY MINK: AHEAD OF THE MAJORITY – Kimberlee Bassford
• THE REAL SHAOLIN – Alexander Lee
• SOMEPLACE ELSE – Kai Duc Luong; Avisheh Mohsenin
• TIGER SPIRIT – Min Sook Lee
• VIETNAM OVERTURES – Stephane Gauger
• WHATEVER IT TAKES – Christopher Wong
• WHO KILLED VINCENT CHIN – Christine Choy; Renee Tajima Pena
INTERNATIONAL FEATURE FILMS
• 100 – Chris Martinez (Philippines)
• ALL AROUND US – Hashiguchi Ryosuke (Japan)
• BURMA VJ – Anders Ostergaard (Denmark)
• THE CONVERT – Yasmin Ahmad (Malaysia)
• DAYTIME DRINKING – Noh Young-seok (South Korea)
• DEPARTURES – Yojiro Takita (Japan)
• THE EMPEROR’S NAKED ARMY MARCHES ON – Hara Kazuo (Japan)
• FUJIAN BLUE – Robin Weng (People’s Republic of China)
• GRANDMOTHER’S FLOWER – Mun Jeong-hyun (South Korea)
• JAY – Francis Xavier Passion – (Philippines)
• KOLORETTE – Ruelo Lozendo (Philippines)
• KANCHIVARAM – Priyadarshan (India)
• LALA’S GUN – Ning Jingwu (People’s Republic of China)
• LEFT HANDED – Laurence Thrush (Japan)
• LOVE EXPOSURE – Sion Sono (Japan)
• THE RAINBOW TROOPS – Riri Riza (Indonesia)
• WINDS OF SEPTEMBER – Tom Shu-Yu Lin (Taiwan)
• YAMAGATA SCREAM – Naoto Takenaka (Japan)
NATIONAL SPOTLIGHT – JAPAN
Japanese Cinema is once again becoming one of global cinema’s important story makers. This year, the LAAPFF is proud to present the following six features hailing from Japan including the first non-honorary Oscar® win for a Japanese feature film – DEPARTURES, winner of the 2008 Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film and the brand new four hour epic LOVE EXPOSURE.
• ALL AROUND US – Hashiguchi Ryosuke
• DEPARTURES – Yojiro Takita
• THE EMPEROR’S NAKED ARMY MARCHES ON – Hara Kazuo
• LEFT HANDED – Laurence Thrush
• LOVE EXPOSURE – Sion Sono
• YAMAGATA SCREAM – Naoto Takenaka
For ticket and program information, a complete listing of sponsors and partners, and to purchase tickets, log on to www.vconline.org or contact Visual Communications at (213) 680-4462 x68.