2018 Los Angeles Asian Pacific Festival Opening Night: SEARCHING
Fangirl Nation was invited once again to the Opening Night of the Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival held at the Directors Guild of America.
The Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival is one of THE festivals to attend for Asian and Asian American cinema. Every year the festival curates movies from overseas to right from the LA streets. The styles and genres are boundless, but the passion is still the same. As cultural identity is one of the hottest topic in the industry, there was a definite strength of voices being heard. Whether it was from showcasing a first movie or sharing a snapshot in the life of a person, there was a large selection of movies and shorts to experience.
Presented by Visual Communications, the 34th Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival ran from May 3 – May 12, 2018. LAAPFF is also a proud Academy Award®-qualifying film festival for the Short Film Awards.
For this year, the centerpiece feature film for opening night was Searching. This was a thriller, hyper-modern movie of a father (played by John Cho) who uses everything within his technological grasp to look for his missing daughters. Told from the perspective of the computer, the father uncovers details about his daughter from her social media and files that he never knew. Together with the help of the detective on the case (played by Debra Messing), they piece together the cyber bits to find her.
The red carpet before the screening featured cast from Searching along with other creators featured in the festival. There were so many people on the carpet flowing by that it was nearly impossible to speak to them all. Amidst all of the clamor and noises, it struck me how overwhelmingly proud I was to be at this festival. To see so many talents from diverse cultures and backgrounds proudly walk and share their projects was incredible. All of this pride, inspiration, and creative energy is what fuels and motivates people to showcase and premiere at the festival.
Searching is told from the standpoint of the computer and cells phones. We see the family’s history through saved files and photos. When the father notices his daughter missing, he has to access every thing in her social media and files to connect that there has been a side of his daughter that he has never known.
It was all just so freaking clever! It was absolutely fascinating watching this story of humor, heart, sadness, and sometimes downright heart-stopping moments just from the computer. It’s absolutely astounding, and it’s so hard to keep myself from blurting out things that would be giving away key points of the story. The most I can say is I definitely laughed, I definitely teared up, and I definitely held my breath at the end. A very good thriller story indeed.
Aneesh Chagantry (Writer/Director of Searching) style can be seen from his google video Seed (see link below). With that video, we get a close perspective view of one man traveling back to his country to share something amazing with his mother. Even with that short video, I found tears welling in my eyes. Chagantry is talented in focusing that technology in a way that tells a story in an intimate and sincere way.
John Cho was astounding in this movie. He had to carry the movie pretty much on his own as he was the face, the voice, and the power behind the story. From a narrow perspective of the GoPros, cell phone, and computer, we followed every joyful smile to tightlipped determination. His role as the passionate father who never gave up on his belief of his daughter grips the heartstrings tightly. This was the power of a Parent.
The movie also touches upon the social media’s distorted mirror of society’s reaction to tragedy. When faced in the spotlight, opinions change, viewpoints change, and all of sudden there Is a personal connection to the victim. From the dark side of the Internet begins the barrages of hateful comments and false accusations. All of which highlight that you don’t truly know anyone.
Searching was astounding and left a deep impression upon me after the movie. I was beyond impressed the storytelling and the use of all of the devices. As the winner of the LAAPFF Audience Award for Outstanding North American Narrative Feature Film, it definitely deserved the prize.
For those who missed the chance to see at the festival, Searching will be opening in theaters on Aug 3, 2018.