Taiwan Shines at LAAPFF with Spotlight on Taiwan
by Anderson Le
The 34th Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival (LAAPFF) shines a light on the country of Taiwan, highlighting the best in Taiwanese cinema and the country’s rich culture and history that have shaped the island nation into one of the most dynamic countries in the Asia-Pacific Rim.
This year, LAAPFF is honored to present two feature films — Jay Chern’s first feature film, OMOTENASHI, and Frank W. Chen’s documentary LATE LIFE: THE CHIEN-MING WANG STORY.
OMOTENASHI, from LAAPFF Award winner Jay Chern (THIEF, LAAPFF 2014), stars Edison Wang as Jacky, the young heir to a construction company in Taiwan. His father sends him to Kyoto to oversee the renovation of the beautiful yet obsolete Bright Moon Ryokan. Jacky is going in hopes to get back his ex-girlfriend Naoko and to sell the hotel. There, he meets the innkeeper Mistuko and her daughter Rika. Unaware of his hidden agenda, the innkeeper is excited about the idea of turning the hotel into a wedding venue, and suggests that Jacky learns “omotenashi”, the virtue of traditional Japanese hospitality, together with her daughter and her otaku helper. OMOTENASHI will screen at Regal L.A. LIVE on Tuesday, May 8th at 6:45 pm.
LATE LIFE: THE CHIEN-MING WANG STORY could be best described as a baseball version of LINSANITY. Directed by Frank W. Chen and produced by Brian Yang (coincidentally, who also produced the eponymous Jeremy Lin documentary), chronicles Taiwanese baseball player Chien-Ming Wang’s last ditch effort to be recruited back on a professional baseball team after a series of injuries disrupted his trailblazing career in the major leagues. Much like LINSANITY, the documentary is an up close and personal film that delves into Wang’s personal drive as a star athlete with a steely determination and resiliency that impresses everyone in his wake. LATE LIFE will screen at Regal L.A. LIVE on Wednesday, May 9th at 6:30 pm.
In addition to these two features, this year’s spotlight also highlights the works of emerging Taiwanese filmmakers with three short films — 100th BIRTHDAY WISH by Lien Chien Hung, MISS WORLD by Georgia Fu, and FUNDAMENTAL by Shih-Chieh Chiu. These short films present universal stories that are also unique in capturing everyday Taiwanese life. As LAAPFF is an Academy Award®-qualifying festival for Short Film Awards, perhaps these new directors will one day be the next Ang Lee.