8:00 pm - Wow, APAture has hit the big time! I'm sitting in the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts screening room. Very nice space. Great place to do APAture's film and video night. The first year we did it at Artists Television Access, which is a space I love, although seating is very limited. There was Pilipino karaoke that year: Iraya Robles and Sta-Prest did a video and the Mail Order Brides had two karaoke vids we tortured audience members with. Two volunteers even got up and sang into a mic. Awesome.
Matt Abaya curated the first year's film/vid by himself (subsequently done by committee, although Matt continued to take point for a few years.) Just saw him outside and inside. He's the one wearing Yasmine Gomez's badge and rockin' a fauxhawk. He was one of the younger APAture OGs, though that still puts him in his thirties now. Damn, that makes me feel old.
8:06 - Wilson Wong just introduced himself. He's performing solo music closing night and has taken the lesson from this blog that he's not allowed to look "indie." My work is done here. He says "Hi Mom!"
The film/video night has always been one of the most popular events, and we had to move the whole works to SomArts the second year anyway. So from that point on, attendance was always over 150. We'll see how many of these seats fill tonight. There are about 100 seats in here. Starting to fill up now.
So I'm realizing that each different type of event will require a different method of blogging. Tonight I think I'm going to take notes on the commentary and then watch each short through before blogging about it. Or maybe I'll have things to say as I watch, but I doubt it. I'll try that. (ETA: obviously, I didn't do that ;))
8:16 - Chris Bucoy Brown, board member, does the welcome. What APAture is. Tenth year. Retrospective with De Young, starting next month.
Tonight's work of a great crop of emerging artists. Writer Chris, Artist and designer Amy Lam, and filmmaker Yasmine Gomez were screening committee this year. They're all board members as well. Shout outs to all participating filmmakers in the audience. Big hand for Matt Abaya.
(There's a guy here who is APAture 5 coordinator Scott Louie's mini-me. Ringer. Just thought I'd mention that.)
8:20 - First Film "Pigeon Wings" by Stephanie Yang
A poem, a journey, a film. Black and white images of China? Taiwan? Where do I belong. community, love. Wow that was rilly short.
8:22 "Over Pho" by Rui Bing Zheng
In the Vietnamese restaurant, the one in Chinatown on Portsmouth Square. Girl flirting in the restaurant to the sound of a piano playing "The Entertainer". The girl is writing a note to the cute boy she sees. She's getting the waiter to bring the note to the guy. "Hi my name is Lena what's yours?" "Jay. Why?" He's eating pho. So's she. We're seeing their convo both on the note and in the black silent-movie-style break out sections. The waiter is over it. The waiter is smoking outside. So the guy gets up and goes over to her. Nice shot of her hand with a hair squidgy around it. Freeze frame on them facing each other. Very cute.
8:28 - "Snapshot: Six Months of the Korean American Male" by Valerie Soe.
Voice over about why John Cho is so sexy. Images of John Cho on red carpet and in Harold and Kumar. Cuts of news stories about the James Kim family. Vids of Kim from television. Devoted father and husband images and quotes. Yul Kwon, puppetmaster, in control. images and quotes. News story about Koreans and blacks in LA, shots of Korean grocers with shotguns on rooftop. Images from movies of grocers. Text scrolling of language about Korean grocers exploiting black communities. There's a date before each of these segments. Name of Virgina Tech shooter confirmed. Scrolling text about him. Very thrilling and fascinating. Not preachy.
8:33 - "The Pain With Being Thirsty" by David Yun.
Aerial shot of landscape. Vintage shots of various things, color film stock from mid century (?). Voiceover: captivity. The first minute of captivity is the hardest. Being in prison. Voiceover describing life in prison. Images of people building barracks. Color stock but looks like 1940's. Pan of barracks. Looks like internment camp. Yes, slowly it's revealed that this is a JA internment camp. Shots of JA storefronts. A shot of a JA child playing in the dirt. The voice over is apparently from a narrative of the internment experience. Why is all this footage in color? This footage is mesmerizing. No sound except the voice over. Brush burning with JAs working superimposed over it. This is really lovely. A quote on green background.
Later text states that: images were of Poston internment camp; voiceover text written by Babar Ahmad in 2006. Didn't catch who he was, but I think we can guess. I love that he only tells us at the end, and leaves us to discover all this slowly.
8:40 - "Home Sweet Home" by May Balingit.
Shots of a Asian-looking family home. Voice over of girl talking about her parents' fighting. Teenaged girl's voice she has tagged up her wall over her bed over and over. Another girl talking; shots of her walking. Her fights with her mom. At BART station. another girl talking about her parents' divorce. Now we finally see one of them talking. Her dad was cheating. Her mom did something bad to herself and ended up in hospital. She wasn't sad about it. More sad about not getting to stay at the party she was at. Never going to be a family again.
8:43 - "Parallel Adele" by Adele Pham & Adele Ray.
Two girls named Adele, both Hapa Vietnamese going to Vietnam at the same time to make films about their families. Through the film they met a lot of other people with similar stories. They define the word "hapa". Uh oh, we're getting into veeery familiar territory here. Hapa talking head. Hey! That looks like Carmen Van Kerchove.
One of the Adeles looks like she could pass and the other one doesn't. Are they going to make something of this? No. This piece is basically a compilation of experiences, with food smells and stuff, with a number of hapas. Carmen is talking against a backdrop of Kip's photos of hapas. Hah! Footage of a buncha hapas sitting around a table eating together and talking about what they are. That's not familiar at all! The film's structure is a little muddy. Has all the usual stuff. But it's very engaging, and it is pretty thorough. They're doing all the issues.
8:59 - "Flying" by Kirthi Nath.
October 5, 2003. Indian couples walking in a park. Voiceover talking about ... stuff. Food. A story about a divorced couple. Filmed in Bangalore. What is this about?
9:02 - "Save Me" by Maya Lorton.
Kids talking about going to Church. Korean kids in Sunday school.
Argh! I did the cleanup on the part below, but I didn't save it and now it's gone! So I'm posting the notes I have and maybe I'll do the cleanup later. Argh!
9:07 - fear is a number tetraphobe by matt
abaya abandoned.. i don'tknow which one of these is the title. van
pulls up and ses a car in its usual parking spot. looks in the car and
sees the keys on the seat. door is unlocked., civic. four fous on the
license plate. decides not to do it. goes into the house. now watching
tv. and eating. hears sound. car is still there. later at night in
bed. hears knocking. oming from car.. it's four fourty four. sees a
shawo in ihs room. hides under his covers. car is still there. in the
morning when he drives aaway. he goes to work with his toolbox. plus
into number four plug. radio on hears a transmission. all the numbers
are four. we see no other people anywhere. back to his house and the
civic is still there. goes bafk to th car. the keychain hs a four on
it. he's trying to report it but they own't pick it up for another day.
nighttime now. the keys are on his bedside tabel? we see the trunk
opening and a figure getting out. flashing lights. it's dead. goes to
the house and knocks. next day he's in his van. girlfriend packing to
go somethwer for two months. he givers her the keychain. this is a
flash back. so the keychain was something he gave to her. the civic now
has a parking violation notice on it. nighttime again. the flashing
lights show us the dead body. he goes outside t the car ith a
flashlight. opens the door and retrieves the keys but they aren't
there. opens the trunk with the lever and looks in. sees nthe body and
it opns its eyes. hes own eyes stat to glow. the body gets out. okay
i'm going to sto p here. spoilers.
9;22 - tried to show
parallel adele again. Over the table by andrew ong.. pinoy guy talkiing
about taking jeepneys while a kid comes out of bart. kid walks down
mission street. pinoy tlaking about being poor and borrowing money from
enighbors and taking credit at grocery store. obviously we're
paralleling life back in the philippines with life in the mission.
okay, but he lives in the avenues, looks like. the voiceover dude was
tlaking to the kid who was wandering around.
9:27 - self
absorbed. filmmaker? young woman making herself up and talking to the
mirror turns a guy with a petition way from the door. she get's a
necklce, puts it on and turns into a mop. the note says that the amulet
will give her her power. awesome mop costume. . uh, this is silly. i'm
not going to detail it. oh this is yasmine's piece. made with a group
9:33 - Chris Brown: shorts over. We're going to do Q
& A with filmmakers later because we're running behind. Bring up
Richard Wong and HP Mendoza.
HP: going to show clips. Roll clip.
singing in front of a curtain. it's a musical. this is really hard to
describe. oh, it'ws an ad for the film fest. very cute. 2007
"Colma" premiered at film fest 06. Became friends iwth guys and Chi-hui
asked them to do teh trailer. Thought "People have to watch this ten
times" so came up with something that ppl can watch over and over.
Taro Goto wants the song to be a literal history of asian americans. It
sucked. chi-hui said be as oblique as you want. so they wrote a song
next clip: third musical scene in colma called
'crash the party" nope. having technical problems and can't find the
right scene. HP spent high school years in colma and decided to write a
concept album. talk of making it into a stage play. a gift for his best
friend. blah blah blah. rich wanted to do something creative and HP
showed him the album. can't figure it out so next clip
Rich's second film 'Option 3" i have no diea what this clip is about.
9:50 - got
a grant from CAAM and split it in half and each made his own movie.
This one wasn't made to be sold or get distribution. Made from personal
HP's film was called "fruit fly": the clip is of a
song called "fag hag." god, I hope this is on youtube! Got sick of
reference to fag hags, Margaret Chos. In gay culture Asian women are
fetishized even more by gay men. most fag hag-centric stories are into
gay men, not celebration of women at all. just finished production on
9:59 - Chris: won't be able to screen the colma clip tonight. any quesitons for the guys?
Sam asks something about music. HP doesn't think of self as musician. has scored hitchcock films? Nerd rock.
was your budget? Colma's budget was $50k. romantic summer project. had
always wanted to do a movie together. option 3 and fruit fly, not so
much romantic summer movie. they were funded.
Didn't hear the
question. option 3 was what he made when he was depressed. Rich
co-directed princess of nebraska and his diary for that was the same as
the diary for option 3 (was the question)
if you collaborate
again what will it be? definitely stuff they're trying to do together,
but it depends on the money. also solo work.
Chris: we're fans
of collaboration. Thanks to guys for coming out and honoring us with
their stuff. Thanks to YBCA. Won't be able to do a Q &A with other
filmmakers. 7 more days of apature. get a program. membership pitch.Okay, so I was touch-typing in the dark last night and this required a LOT of cleanup. So I'm posting the part that I've done now and will post the rest tonight when it's finished.