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2017 Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival

LAAPFF & UCLA Commemorate LA Uprising with GOOK & Panels

Posted April 25th, 2017 by Visual Communications in Press


By Cindy Maram of Dig In Magazine

The Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival (April 27-May 4, 2017) to present Flash Point 2017: Twenty-Five Years After the 1992 Los Angeles Uprising, a special program commemorating 25 years since the 1992 LA Uprising and it’s impact on our LA Community and country today, including a Gala Presentation of Justin Chon’s Sundance award-winning feature, GOOK. The violent racial incident that had a disastrous legal outcome, which negatively effected people of color in the Los Angeles community occurred April 29, 1992 when a jury acquitted four LAPD officers of all charges deriving from the filmed beating of Rodney King. Following this shocking occurrence, a surge of racial tensions and rebellion abounded in Los Angeles resulting in the destruction and looting of a large number of local retail businesses, many owned by Korean Americans. Through Chon’s animated, funny and charming characters, which were shown in deep contrast to the racially horrifying occurrences of the time, GOOK opens discussion regarding this brutal period in history that disastrously impacted communities surrounding people of color.

To address the topic, LAAPFF will hold a 2-day commemoration featuring a screening of GOOK and the documentary WET SAND: VOICES OF LA by Dai-Sil Kim Gibson and collaborator/cinematographer Charles Burnett, followed by a discussion: The Lessons of WET SAND and the Challenges of Re-Imagining Community along with additional panels and an art exhibition paired with an Artist Talk featuring the work of Grace Misoe Lee, Grace Lee, and Patrick Martinez who will discuss discuss their process and how the 1992 Los Angeles Uprising influenced their work.

On April 29, 2017 at 8:00 PM, join LAAPFF and the UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs for this special screening of Justin Chon’s Sundance Audience Award favorite GOOK, a movie which takes place on April 29, 1992, the day the Rodney King verdict was revealed. Through narrative filmmaking, Chon takes us inside the challenging lives of two Korean American brothers Eli (Justin Chon) and Daniel (David So). As the two siblings, who live in Paramount, a Southeast Los Angeles suburb, struggle to keep their father’s shoe store above water, they are constant victims of racism and the common street violence of Los Angeles. Through multi-racial and multi-generational characters, the film reveals the difficulties people of color faced, as well as the impact of the LA Uprising on this group. Director, writer Chon, both entertainingly and effectively, presents us with a creative visual collage of humorous, joy-filled scenes shown beside disturbing moments of aggression, suffering, confusion, humiliation and violence. Through this stinging story, the audience is presented with a glance into Korean American culture and history viewed through the mindset of retail store owners whose business establishments have been passed down through the generations.

Eli is a sharp tongued, angry, young, no-nonsense boss who earns side-cash through the sales of illegal sneakers—an initially lucrative hustle that ends destructively. GOOK examines how Korean Americans were discriminated against, not only as victims of name-calling, but also physical violence. The two brothers, who often project tough exteriors and frequently express verbal aggression, actually live in constant fear of being “jumped” by local gangs. We see how Korean Americans were negatively effected on both a professional level, losing their long-held businesses and on a more personal level, being robbed of their self-respect. Justin Chon’s GOOK (2017) will be presented by the UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs, at 8:00 PM on April 29, 2017 at the Aratani Theatre @ JACCC. Get tickets for GOOK.

An afterparty in partnership with Little Tokyo Vibes will follow the screening at Seoul Sausage Company (236 S. Los Angeles Street, Los Angeles, CA 90012) from 10pm – 2am.

Director’s Bio

Justin Chon was born in Orange County, California, and has worked as an actor for over 15 years. As a writer/director, his first feature film, Man Up, was distributed by Lakeshore Entertainment. He loves long walks on the beach and reading novels by candlelight.