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2018 Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival

Docs on singer M.I.A. and SXSW prize winner ‘People’s Republic of Desire’ highlight LA Asian Pacific Film Festival program

Posted April 4th, 2018 by Visual Communications in Press

By Matthew Carey on Non Fiction Film

34th edition of LAAPFF features international array of docs including Sundance winner Science Fair

Documentary programming will be on an equal footing with narrative features once again at the Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival, which runs from May 3-12.

The festival program was announced Tuesday, featuring more than a dozen docs in competition including Science Fair, winner in January of the first ever Sundance Festival Favorite award voted on by festival attendees.

Among films playing out of competition is the closing night documentary — Stephen Loveridge’s Matangi/Maya/M.I.A about the British-Sri Lankan recording artist M.I.A. The film won a special grand jury award at Sundance in January.

MATANGI / MAYA / M.I.A. is drawn from a cache of personal tapes shot by Maya Arulpragasm and her closest friends over the last 22 years, capturing her remarkable journey from immigrant teenager in London, to the international pop star M.I.A.

–From the description of Matanga/Maya/M.I.A. provided by Cinereach
“This is so exciting that we are sharing this incredible film with Los Angeles,” said festival programming manager Sheryl Santacruz regarding Matangi/Maya/M.I.A. “It transcends your standard music doc, and in such a multi-cultural and intersectional city like ours, there is so much in Maya’s story that we can all relate to… It’s not only fun and celebratory, but also intimate and unflinching.”

People’s Republic of Desire, the documentary by Hao Wu that won the top documentary prize at SXSW last month, joins six other films in the Competition Documentaries — International section. The film reveals the immense popularity of “online showrooms” in China where internet stars try to win fans among ordinary people and financial support from the country’s super-rich.
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“People’s Republic of Desire” director Hao Wu displays his award after winning the top documentary prize at SXSW. March 13, 2018. Photo by Matt Carey
The Competition Documentaries — North America section includes the aforementioned Science Fair, along with Call Her Ganda, a film by P.J. Raval that is set to premiere at the Tribeca Film Festival later this month. The documentary centers on the notorious case of a transgender Filipina woman in the Philippines who was allegedly killed by a U.S. Marine stationed in the Philippines.

Also competing in that category is Bing Liu’s Minding the Gap, winner of a special jury prize for breakthrough filmmaking at the Sundance Film Festival. “Three young men bond together to escape volatile families in their Rust Belt hometown,” Kartemquin Films says of Minding the Gap. “As they face adult responsibilities, unexpected revelations threaten their decade-long friendship.”
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A still image from “Minding the Gap” directed by Bing Liu. Photo courtesy Kartemquin Films
Related: Science Fair directors say their film stands as rebuke to Trump immigration policy
Below is a list of some of the documentaries programmed in the LA Asian Pacific Film Festival. Find more information on tickets, venues, et al by clicking here.

COMPETITION DOCUMENTARIES – INTERNATIONAL
ANGKAR – Dir. Neary Adeline Hay
BECOMING WHO I WAS – Dir. Moon Chang-Yong, Jin Jeon
CHINA’S FORGOTTEN DAUGHTERS – Dir. Vincent Du, Meng Han
THE CLEANERS – Dir. Hans Block, Moritz Riesewieck
LATE LIFE : THE CHIEN-MING WANG STORY – Dir. Frank W. Chen
PEOPLE’S REPUBLIC OF DESIRE – Dir. Hao Wu
SINGING WITH ANGRY BIRD – Dir. Hyewon Lee​

COMPETITION DOCUMENTARIES – NORTH AMERICA
ANOTE’S ARK – Dir. Matthieu Rytz
CALL HER GANDA – Dir. PJ Raval
CORRIDOR FOUR – Dir. Stephen Tringali
ISLAND SOLDIER – Dir. Nathan Fitch
MINDING THE GAP – Dir. Bing Liu
SCIENCE FAIR – Dir.: Cristina Costantini, Darren Foster
ULAM: MAIN DISH – Dir. Alexandra Cuerdo

SPECIAL PRESENTATIONS
PROOF OF LOYALTY: Kazuo Yamane and the Nisei Soldiers of Hawaii – Dir. Lucy Ostrander, Don Sellers. The story of Kazuo Yamane, a Japanese American who played a crucial strategic role in World War II. He and his fellow Nisei from Hawaii combatted prejudice and discrimination to loyally serve their country, forming the most awarded and celebrated U.S. army battalion. Their extraordinary service, mostly untold, ultimately changed the course of U.S. history.
THE CHINESE EXCLUSION ACT – Dir. Rick Burns, Li-Shin Yu. A complicated yet under told story about a significant piece of U.S. history — the only legislation barring an entire group of immigrants based on ethnicity and race. As highlighted through first-person interviews and archival materials, this film serves as resistance against racism and the resilience of people that shaped the fabric of the United States.
PRISON FOOD (World Premiere) – Dir. Johneric Concordia. Two special sneak episodes from the new series produced by Discovery Asia, features Johneric Concordia (Owner of The Park’s Finest restaurant) teaching inmates how to cook. Following the screening will be a discussion with the director/chef on the art of cuisine as it builds community.