Saturday, May 12, 2012

Korean American Film Festival New York June 5-10

Mr C has let me know that the Korean American Film Festival New York is happening at the Anthology film Archives June 5-10.

This is great since the last couple of years I've found out about either during it when I couldn't change my plans and go, or afterward when it was all over and done. The films they have shown have always been things I've wanted to see, and this year it's no exception.

This years slate is described in the press release as follows:

Now in its sixth year, the annual Korean American Film Festival New York (KAFFNY) is the first and only film festival in New York City showcasing the diversity of Korean American and Korean diasporic perspectives in film. Since its first annual festival in 2007, KAFFNY has continued to broaden its focus on emerging filmmakers to include international films by Korean and as well as non-Korean filmmakers.

This year, the program reflects the strong offerings in new Korean American filmmaking as well as cross-cultural Asian independent cinema. “We’re very proud to have so many premiere screenings of homegrown New York and American talent, and feel our filmmakers are now truly coming-of-age along with our festival,” says founder Dave Kim.

Hosted at Anthology Film Archives this year, KAFFNY presents New York audiences with a challenging and innovative mix of narrative features and documentaries with a strong focus on auteur-driven stories, and complex character studies, exploring such themes as loss and dislocation through journeys of discovery. KAFFNY also marks the 20th anniversary of the Los Angeles riots with a special free program of films, to also screen online for the duration of the festival.

Venue: Anthology Film Archives: 32 Second Avenue New York, NY 10003

KAFFNY’s opening night presentation is the International Premiere of SHOULD’VE KISSED, the debut feature of NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts alumnus Jinoh Park who sets a new standard for independent auteurist Korean American filmmaking. Park directs and stars in this offbeat story of a lonely soul adrift in Manhattan’s dive-bar scene with another forlorn actor, having hallucinatory conversations with Robert De Niro on a movie poster of “Taxi Driver” by another NYU alumnus, Martin Scorsese.

Highlights include the world premiere of NYU alumns Jae-Ho Chang and Tara Autovino’s ULTIMATE CHRISTIAN WRESTLING in which skeptical New York filmmakers venture to rural Georgia to document the culture of a pro-wrestling Christian ministry, and return having learned some surprising and moving ways Americans use faith to guide them through dire personal and family circumstance.

The Japan Society co-presents MAGIC AND LOSS, an impressive international Asian co-production (Japan/Korea/Malaysia/Hong Kong/France/USA/China) starring breakthrough Zainichi Korean indie actress/rising producer Kiki Sugino (Hospitalité), Korean indie writer/director/actor Yang-Ik June (Breathless), award-winning Korean actress Kim Kkobbi (Breathless) and directed by Malaysian-Chinese filmmaker Lim Kah-Wai

The program includes a special interactive presentation of Jacob Krupnick’s GIRL WALK // ALL DAY, produced by Youngna Park, a cutting-edge, feature-length dance music video set to the iconic modern party album All Day by innovative mashup DJ Girl Talk, exploring the border between documentary and reality, pitting remix culture and creative spirit versus the modern digital copyright scheme and unflappable New Yorkers.

In remembrance of the 1992 Los Angeles Riots, and building on last year’s “LA Riots: 19 Years Later” panel with veteran directors Dai Sil Kim-Gibson and Charles Burnett, KAFFNY presents a special program marking the 20th anniversary, to also screen online for free during the festival week. The riots or “429” (“Sa-I-gu”) a Korean nomenclature denominated for the date of the riots, is the single most devastating event for the Korean American community, and is widely considered a re-awakening of Korean American identity and leadership. KAFFNY will present films by new voices from the Korean American community, the second generation, including those whose parents' businesses were burned in the riots. The program includes Alex Ko’s POKDONG, and Kathy Choi, Dae Hoon Kim and Hosik Kim’s LAR20.


International Premiere/Opening Night: SHOULD’VE KISSED (2010): Auteur debut film from NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts alumnus Jinoh Park with great performances and deft long takes. Two aspiring actors and lonely souls navigate New York City, one, played by Park himself, a dive-bar singer who converses with Robert De Niro on a movie poster of “Taxi Driver” by another NYU alumn, Martin Scorsese. Directed by Jinoh Park. (Tuesday, June 5 at 7:30pm & Saturday, June 9 at 10:00pm, Anthology Film Archives)

World Premiere: ULTIMATE CHRISTIAN WRESTLING (2011): Two filmmakers fly to rural Georgia to capture a traveling pro-wrestling Christian ministry with the intention of coming back to New York with a documentary about the ridiculousness of American religious expression. What they find instead are three men within the ministry using their faith as a way to guide them through the most dire of circumstances, a faith that clashes not only with the conservative religious views of the Bible Belt, but also with the people who have chosen to reject Christianity as a direct result of its overbearing presence in the South. Directed by Jae Ho Chang and Tara Autovino. (Saturday, June 9 at 5:00pm & Sunday, June 10 at 7:30pm, Anthology Film Archives)

US Premiere: MAGIC AND LOSS (2010): Co-presented by Japan Society. A Korean/Japanese/Malaysian/Chinese collaboration with Korean Japanese indie actress/producer Kiki Sugino (L'Hospitalite), Yang-Ik June and Kim KKhobi from Korean indie juggernaut Breathless. Malaysian director Lim Kah Wai’s distinctively captures the unfolding relationships between the 3 actors’ in this fresh new Asian mystery. Two young women, Kiki and Kkobbi, whose purpose and background are unknown, and nationalities are unclear, win a lottery ticket for a free vacation at an island resort called Mui Wo in Hong Kong. In a completely isolated and unknown place, they start to experience an extraordinary adventure. Directed by Lim Kah Wai. (Thursday, June 7 at 7:30pm & Saturday, June 9 at 2:30pm, Anthology Film Archives)

New York Festival Interactive Premiere: GIRL WALK // ALL DAY (2012): A cutting-edge, feature-length dance music video set to Girl Talk’s standard-setting All Day mashup album exploring the border between documentary and reality, re-pushing the envelope of remix culture and challenging Wim Wender’s Pina with true indie and youthful spirit. An urban exploration that follows three dancers across New York City, turning the sidewalks, parks and architecture into an evolving stage as they spread their joy of movement. Directed by Jacob Krupnick. (Wednesday, June 6 at 7:30pm, Venue To Be Announced).

PERHAPS, SOMEWHERE (2009): Auteur debut film from Arts Institute of Chicago alumn demonstrates impressive mise-en-scene sensibility. Two lonely souls navigate through their isolated past and present in uncharacteristic landscapes of the Midwest, searching for a sense of home. In meeting, they forge a brief and close bond, learning to understand themselves and one another, wondering where they will go next. Directed by Brian Oh. (Saturday, June 9 at 7:30pm, Anthology Film Archives)


POKDONG (2006): For over a decade, Korean filmmaker, ALEX KO has lived in a family silenced by the devastating loss of their store during the 1992 L.A. Riots. In POK DONG, the Ko family shares their dramatic story for the first time, confronting painful memories as a means of finally moving on. Directed by Alex Ko. (Screening date, time and venue to be announced)

LAR20 (2012): An examination of the racial state of mind of America, now 20 years after the LA riots of 1992, focusing primarily on young culture makers who were voiceless 20 years ago. Directed by Kathy Choi, Dae Hoon Kim and Hosik Kim.(Screening date, time and venue to be announced)

More films to be announced.
(Thursday, June 7 at 10:00pm & Sunday, June 10 at 2:30pm, Anthology Film Archives)
* = New York-based filmmakers

REUNION by Choi Jai Young
*HOME by Seimi Kim
GHOST by Dachi Ma
CITY by Kim Ye-Young
*I AM JOHN WAYNE by Christina Choe
BLUE by Stephen Kang

(Friday, June 8 at 10:00pm & Sunday, June 10 at 5:00pm, Anthology Film Archives)
* = New York-based filmmakers

* TOAST by Henry Jean
* SAEING IL (BIRTHDAY) by Jennifer Suhr
* TREE by Pyeung Hun Baik
* THE KOOK by Greg Mitnick
* FRACTURED by Terry Sasaki
* NOW YOU SEE ME by Zooey Park
* PLAY THINGS by Mike Cook

For details and updates check the KAFFNY website

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