Kudos to Barbara Lee, Grace Chin, Kathy Leung, and the Vancouver Asian Film Festival (VAFF) gang on putting on such a wonderful show on opening night. It’s risky business to follow up with a hugely successful Surrogate Valentine, which brought audiences to their feet last November 2011 in applause and cheer, with a sequel which might or might not live up to expectations. Rest assured, VAFF wisely selected a winner for an opener. It was eerie, as Daylight Savings brought the same smiles to the faces of audiences. What a great way to open a festival.
Goh Nakamura and Yea-ming Chen gives a remarkably funny and touching performance in Daylight Savings as two hurt lovers in search of themselves. Just as Goh gives up all hope for love after breaking up his girlfriend,The Professor, he is instantly captivated by Yea-Ming at a house party. Chasing after destiny, Goh begins his journey on a wing and a prayer to find her Las Vegas with the help of his screwball cousin Mike and junkie Will. They meet, they fall in love, they make love – Yea-Ming is everything Goh believes he wants in life. Yet he is never quite able to leave his baggage behind as he still holds onto his girlfriend’s plant. Leaving us to wonder at the age old adage of love is all about timing.
The second feature film, Bleached, was a surprisingly witty but heart-wrenching film about a love-struck Filipino-American teenager, Lenny who gives in to becoming a guinea pig model to skin-lightening cream given to her by her vain, image-obsessed mother. Only to discover a shocking twist.
VAFF’s founder and President Barbara Lee was on hand at the opening to welcome friends and supporters of VAFF. The after-party at the Kentizen was rocking with celebrities, friends, and community supporters.
We caught up with our good friends over the years, including Grace Chin, who has become this year’s Festival Director, Kathy Leung (author of Red Letters, Mark Oh (VAFF 2012’s Volunteer Director), Iven Tse (VAFF board member), Peter Leung, Winnie Tam, Patricia Lim (Ricepaper Magazine) Callan Tay, Gavin Hee (MAMM Sponsor), Mark Lee.
The party began with a celebration of the sweet-16 celebration cake cutting at the Kentizen Fusion Lounge, followed by a beautiful night of musical performances by Goh Nakamura and Yea-Ming Chen.
Barbara Lee has been a bastion of strength and perseverance in the sixteen years of VAFF’s history.
Starting off with a dream to start a small film festival, VAFF has grown to become a cultural mainstay, featuring the who’s who in the Vancouver community, and has spawned offshoot festivals across the city. Congratulations to you, well done!
Reporting for Gung Haggis, this is Allan Cho