20th Annual Asian American Showcase
It’s been twenty years, and Asian American Showcase is still going strong as a platform for new work by established and emerging Asian American filmmakers. The Gene Siskel Film Center and the Foundation for Asian American Independent Media (FAAIM) welcome you to this anniversary edition, April 3 – 16, celebrating Asian American women.
--Barbara Scharres, Gene Siskel Film Center
OPENING NIGHT: Friday, April 3, 8:00 pm
2014, David Boyle, USA, 111 min.
With Ayako Fujitani, Pepe Serna, and Kazuki Kitamura
“A stylishly made genre film that revels in its old-fashioned sense of mystery and suspense.”--Mark Adams, Screen Daily
“A little bit Patricia Highsmith, a little bit Nancy Drew…the film’s polish belies its low budget.”—Sheri Linden, Hollywood Reporter
Drenched in San Francisco atmosphere, this neo-noir tantalizes with the iconic imagery of fog-shrouded streets, coastal hills, and the sumptuous vintage interiors of the Hotel Majestic. Burned out Japanese detective-novel writer Aki goes incognito in the city by the bay, but a seductive stranger blows her cover. In a nearby town, a dead body creates a dilemma for the local sheriff. Aki is soon plunged for real into the mysteries she has only imagined. In English and Japanese with English subtitles. DCP digital. (BS)
Saturday, April 4, 8:00 pm
2015, Ravi Kapoor, USA, 95 min.
With Tiya Sircar, Hannah Simone
The stereotype of the Asian American over-achiever comes in for some good-natured ribbing in this humorous tale of Harvard-bound Lili (Sircar), future brain surgeon, future super-wife, and all-around take-no-prisoners contender, who faces some hard life lessons via the beauty pageant she enters with ulterior motives. Director Kapoor (co-star of TV’s Gideon’s Crossing and Crossing Jordan) has a ball with the premise, while colorfully satirizing cherished community conventions and offering a look inside the upwardly mobile Indian American family. HDCAM video. (BS)
Director Ravi Kapoor and writer Meera Simhan will Skype in for a Q&A!
Sunday, April 5, 5:15 pm
2013, Esy Casey, Philippines/USA, 61 min.
2014, Marrisa Aroy, USA, 28 min.
The iconic “jeepney” of the Philippines, a uniquely homemade mass transit vehicle fashioned from the shell of a military jeep, is ready for its closeup, as director Casey creates an affectionate profile of the hybrid mini-bus in all its folk art extravagance. The creation of these intricately decorated vehicles is the setup for Casey’s inquiry into the disappearing craft, and the social and economic pressures felt by the drivers in an increasingly globalized environment. In English. HDCAM video.
Preceded by Marrisa Aroy’s DELANO MANONGS, a documentary detailing the key role played by Filipino American labor organizer in California’s 1965 Delano Grape Strike. DCP digital. (BS)
Monday, April 6, 8:15 pm
2014, Dean Hamer and Joe Wilson, USA/Fiji, 77 min.
An all-embracing regard for fluid gender roles is only one aspect of this profile of native Hawaiian teacher and cultural activist Kumu Hina, a transgender woman embarking on marriage with a younger man. The Emmy Award-winning directors create a full and lively picture of Hina’s charismatic leadership as role model and communicator of Hawaiian language and heritage as she embodies the ancient tribal tradition of the mahu, a revered two-spirit person who combines male and female energies. In English and Hawaiian with English subtitles. DCP digital. (BS)
Saturday, April 11, 5:45 pm
2015, Grace Lee, USA, 60 min.
Leave it to filmmaker Grace Lee (AMERICAN REVOLUTIONARY, THE GRACE LEE PROJECT) to approach the subject of Asian food in America from a new angle and with her trademark sense of humor. Lee gamely samples the warm hospitality of a Wisconsin Sikh temple’s feast, checks out the empire of a self-made Texan “sushi king,” the innovations of a young Manhattan fusion chef, and more, affirming that the way to the heart of any Asian American community is definitely through its stomach. DCP digital. (BS)
A panel discussion featuring local Asian American chefs and restaurant owners follows the screening.
Sunday, April 12, 5:15 pm
2014, Josh Bishop, Japan/USA, 90 min.
The trajectory of one woman’s dream is followed in this story of Tomi Fujiyama, Japan’s first female Country Western singer. Falling in love with CW in the early post-WWII years, young Tomi, known for a huge voice that belies her petite stature and her killer rendition of “The Tennessee Waltz,” finds fame on the USO circuit, records seven albums for Columbia, and shares the Grand Ole Opry stage in 1964 with her idol Johnny Cash. MADE IN JAPAN details her nostalgic return to Nashville. In English and Japanese with English subtitles. DCP digital. (BS)
CLOSING NIGHT: Thursday, April 16, 8:15 pm
2014, Ursula Liang, USA/China/Canada, 89 min.
This illuminating look at a little known sport has the universal appeal of action, humor, and cultural depth. Director Liang chronicles the past and present of the aggressive, fast-moving ballgame of 9-Man, a demanding team sport that originated in the streets of North America’s Chinatowns in the 1930s. Liang delves into the historical circumstances that birthed 9-Man, and doesn’t shy away from questioning the exclusionary aspects that attend its present-day organized form. In English and Chinese with English subtitles. DCP digital. (BS)
Director Ursula Liang will be present for audience discussion.
Art Exhibition: FLASH
Come for the movie, stay for the art!
Curated by Haley Jung, "Flash" deals with visual evidence, or knowing how or what to see, raising an argument against the typical understanding that a body of work speaks for itself regardless of political, social, or stereotypical accounts. The exhibition handles this phenomenon through alluding to the issue of sexploitation of Asian American women in mass media. Their ubiquitously underrepresented images are extricated and deconstructed through artworks, questioning one's position in the realm of visual evidence. "Flash" further serves as a support for FAAIM’s vision of tackling “the lack of Asian American visibility and the superficial depictions and outdated stereotypes in mainstream media." Selected artists include current SAIC faculty, students as well as alumni: Al-Qawi Nanavati, Audra Jacot, Dao Nguyen, Ei Jane Janet Lin, Kiam Marcelo Junio, Livia Xie, Maya Mackrandilal, Minji Sohn, and Tessa Edgren.