Monthly Archives: November 2010

Friday Night at VAFF

I checked out Day 2 | Program 3 “Places And Spaces”

Fri. Nov. 5th, 9:30 PM

Five award-winning short films featuring environmental settings were scheduled: I Don't Sleep I Dream, Ajumma! Are You Krazy???, Empire Corner, Takeo and Works of Art. However, Works of Art, had some technical difficulties, so Sikate, by local filmaker Angelina Cantada was substituted, and Works of Art ran afterwards. Bonus! … because I had missed the 7:00 showing of “Promised Lands” that had featured Philipine-North American film makers.

Just prior to entering the 9:30pm show, I bumped into Mabel Elmore MLA, who promptly introduced me to her partner Angelina Cantada, and another friend Jason Karman whose film “I'm in the Mood for Love” played Saturday at 1:30 pm.

see Jason's trailer:

I Don’t Sleep I Dream (2009 15min USA) – directed, written,/and produced by J.P. Chan

– A surreal nightmare where a woman is dreaming about a car accident and its results – or is she? This film had lovely tension, and kept the audience on the edge of its sleep… wondering what was going to happen next. Some lovely ironic twists and lots of self-reflection.

Ajumma! Are You Krazy??

2009 | 26 min | USA

Director/Writer: Brent Anbe | Producers: Laurie Foi, Ashley Smith

– a quirky comedy about middled aged ladies with a crush on a Korean actor. Set in Hawaii, the local scenery and cultural accents are used to great advantage. You have to laugh at these Ajumma (older women) but in the end you really do care about them, as their misadventures are exactly what you wish you could do yourself! I really enjoyed the cross-cultural twists, as Hawaiian culture is a real polyglot incorporating many Asian connections within the dominant American mainstream.

Empire Corner

2010 | 12 min | USADirector/Writer/Producer: J.P. Chan

This movie was moody, and contrasts immigrant Asian culture in New York City with the established Black American culture. They live side by side, in the same geographical city, but can be worlds apart. But sometimes it just takes a little chance for individuals to cross those boundaries. Slow but insightful.


2009 | 19 min | USA

Director/Writer: Omar Samad | Producer: Manmeet Kuckreja

– Lots of anger in this movie, set on a lonely road in rural USA. Violence collides because of cultural misunderstandings. Family secrets are revealed slowly and explosively… shivers!


2010 | 10 min | Canada | English & Tagalog with English subtitles

Director/Writer: Angelina Cantada | Producers: Ita Kane-Wilson, Olesia Shewchuk

This movie is seductive. I loved the moods and the character development, as live-in caregiver Sikat looks after the two white children, of a Canadian family. She expresses the joy she has because her own son and husband are coming to Canada, a child she hasn't seen for 5 years. But there are reverberations both in the Canadian family and her own. This story was so nicely set up, I didn't want this film to end…

Works Of Art

2009 | 18 min | USA

Director: Andrew Pang | Writer: Paul Juhn | Producers: Philippe Cu Leong, Helen Yum

Some films present stereotypes of Asian characters, this film presents the stereotypes as confronted by Art Hahn, a struggling actor in New York City. Then in typical overbearing Asian parent fashion, with a twist, his friend asks him to take his place in meeting the prospective bride for a possible arranged marriage, which he doesn't have time for. Art meets the girl, courtesies are exchanged. But all is not what meets the eye. This is a delightful short film. I really enjoyed the slow unvealing of character, especially of the female date who questions Art and his manerisms and challenges his perspectives. A lovely surprise ending, that had me wanting to see more!

Vancouver Asian Film Festival opens Thursday Nov 4, closes Sunday

There are some very interesting films scheduled for the 14th Annual Vancouver Asian Film Festival.

Catching my eye are the films that cross cultural boundaries or deal with Chinese Canadian history.

Check out the programs for



1. Opening Night


2. Promise Lands

3. Places and Spaces Fri. Nov. 5th, 9:30 PM

– These films explore place and identity. Dark and urban New York City is explored by lonely souls in WORKS OF ART and EMPIRE CORNER. In I DON’T SLEEP I DREAM, the protagonist must navigate a surreal, deserted road and in TAKEO the idyllic rolling landscape of midwestern United States is contrasted by a struggle for survival and revenge. But Hawaii's Oahu island is the setting for Ajumma! Are You Krazy?? – a study about the 'older ladies' who are addicted to Korean tv dramas and will stop at nothing to meet their latest heartthrob, hunky Korean superstar Michael Park.


4. An Activist's Life: AOKI Sat. Nov. 6th, 11:00 AM

Did you know that a Japanese American man is one of the founders of the Black Panthers, in the USA? Find out how Richard Aoki, a Japanese-American internment descendent, grows up in African-American dominated Oakland, and becomes a leading figure in the Asian-American Movement.

5. Lt. Watada

6. Lost and Foundations

7P. Mighty Asian Shorts Sat. Nov. 6th, 4:30 PM

– This is always lots of fun. Vancouver area aspiring film makers create quirky shorts. This year one of my my library colleagues was part of a team that won first prize. Catch the Ko-Ni-Chi-Wa, which explores what happens when an Asian-Canadian woman witnesses White Asianphiles hitting on Asian ESL students… she dresses up as an ESL student and guess what happens?

8. Loss and Reunion

9P. Love Wins Out

10. Centrepiece: Sing China!

11P. Au Revoir Taipei

12. It's a “Mad, Sad & Bad” World


13. Made in Vancouver

14. Canada Apologizes

Redress Remix: Canada’s Apology For The Chinese Head Tax – I attended the special preview for this film which interviews our family friend WW2 veteran Frank Wong. I was part of the Vancouver committee for Head Tax Redress descendants. Trevor Chan (No Luck Club), created a very interesting mash of hip hop beats and people's quotes. Also interviewed from Toronto are Dr. Joseph Wong the founding president of the Chinese Canadian National Council; and Simon Li, former CBC radio host who now teaches Chinese Canadian history to students in Hong Kong.

15. Closing Night Sun. Nov. 7th, 7:00 PM

– I got to know film animator Jeff Chiba Stearns when he created “What Are You Anyways” which comically explored the relevations of mistaken assumed ethnic heritage, when you grow up Hapa, or Half-Asian/Half-Caucasian. I quickly invited Jeff to share “What Are You Anyway” with the audience at the annual Gung Haggis Fat Choy Robbie Burns Chinese New Year Dinner – especially when the main character was drawn with a Chinese coolie hat, and holding bagpipes. ONE BIG HAPA FAMILY explores the journey when Jeff attends a family reunion, and explores why everybody in the family is in a inter-racial relationship, thus creating generations of Hapa children.