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2017 Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival

I Can, I Will, I Did

Directed by Nadine Truong

Narrative Competition / USA / 2016 / 113 mins / English / Color / 2.35:1, D-Cinema / World Premiere

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Aratani Theatre
April 28, 2017 8:00 pm


FLASH SALE: Use code ICAN17 for $4 off General Admission tickets!

Nadine Truong and Producer Brian Yang in attendance!

Seventeen-year old Ben (Mike Faist) is on the cusp of adulthood, but that isn’t a milestone he is looking forward to. An orphan who is about to term out of the system, he seemingly has no ambitions in life; is mercilessly bullied by a teenage gang of thugs headed by Dorian (Jack DiFalco), the prince of the neighborhood; and outside of a group home of other teens and tweeners whom he barely gets along with, literally has no friends in life, save for Maria (Selena Leyva) the supervisor of the group home. Bottom line: Ben is destined for nowhere. And when yet another in an endless stream of beat-downs at the hands of Dorian and his gang lands Ben in the hospital, partially paralyzed and at his lowest point, the possibility of full recovery, much less redemption seems daunting. That is, however, until plucky wheelchair-bound Adrienne (Ellie Lee) and her taciturn grandfather Kang insinuate themselves into Ben’s life. Ellie’s unrelenting positivity, annoying at first, soon piques Ben’s interest; but it is what Ellie’s grandfather does for a living that motivates Ben to embark on a long, slow, and uncertain road to recovery.

   I CAN I WILL I DID, the third feature-length narrative outing for Nadine Truong (SOMEONE I USED TO KNOW, Festival 2013), in some ways mimics a career template from which this former Visual Communications’ Armed With a Camera Fellow felt compelled to hit the career “re-set” button. After an extended period during which she largely directed stories written by men, Truong assumes full control of her storytelling here, as both screenwriter as well as director. Inspired in part by her encounters with Tae Kwon Do Grandmaster Ik Jo Kang and his message of respect and personal character, Truong, a practicing yogini when not making films, collaborated closely with Kang to develop a coming-of-age story that mirrors his philosophies. The result is something that, in its visual naturalism, recalls 1960s and ‘70s-style social issue fantasies ranging from HAIR to FINIAN’S RAINBOW. Throw in a sly nod to John Avildsen’s 1984 THE KARATE KID, and what you have is a work that comes off as a “throwback,” but engages the audience through its dual messages of hope and self-determination. In this day and age, that’s the kind of movie we so desperately need in our lives.

— Abraham Ferrer


Community Partners: Film FatalesMedia Action Network for Asian Americans (MANAA), Women in Film

Director's Bio

A German-born Vietnamese filmmaker, Nadine Truong earned her MFA degree in Directing in 2009 from AFI. In 2006 she was a proud fellow of the Los Angeles Asian American Pacific Film Festival’s ‘Armed With A Camera Fellowship’. Additionally, she received the San Diego International Asian Film Festival’s prestigious George C. Lin Emerging Filmmaker Award in 2010. Her feature credits include SOMEONE I USED TO KNOW and SENIOR PROJECT.


Executive Producers: Ik Jo Kang, Jay Shaw
Producers: Brian Yang, Artisha Mann-Cooper
Director: Nadine Truong
Screenplay: Nadine Truong
Cinematographer: Eugene Koh
Music: Aaron Symonds
Editor: Ben Kim
Cast: Ik Jo Kang, Mike Faist, Selenis Leyva, Ellie Lee, Rj Hatanaka, Jack Difalco

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Dates & Times


Aratani Theatre
April 28, 2017 8:00 pm