This year’s animated short films highlights a community of filmmakers expanding the format including stories about the horrors of war, gentrification through the eyes of a child, a call to action about the barbaric practices of child marriage, and tales of the undocumented struggle. LAAPFF 2023 also brings the first independently made animated feature film from the Philippines, a labor love by its creators, taking its dramatic conventions into absurdist, but poignant humor. Though animated, these films are reflections of everyone.
In our effort to engage against racism and anti-Asian hate, Visual Communications and the Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival presents these films that display our communities' agency and resiliency to heal trauma and harm. We are grateful for these filmmakers in creating stories and dialogues towards impact and change. Learn more: https://vcmedia.org/latest-news/2023/5/1/stopantiasianhate.
Cinema Musica: This year's Cinema Musica program continues to broaden the experience of Cinema and Music; not simply via a pop cultural Music Video form, but dissolves the boundaries to welcome in experimental narrative film and verite documentary filmmaking. From a rhythmic dream of drawn line and motion, to a traditional Ryūkyūan song and dance, to a time capsule of a healing anthem's moment in time, this year's Cinema Musia program is bathed in melody and sounds the inspirational messages of healing and connection.
Storytelling of lived experience is a powerful way to grow empathy and build solidarity. From a son’s desire to connect with his Bengali father; to the wayfinding brilliance of Pasifika voyagers; to the tender days of an aging Japanese mother with Dementia and her caregiving daughter; to the complexity of a woman’s kidnapping in Kyrgyzstan; this year’s Documentary program welcomes in a learning experience to better understand each other so that we can navigate life together.
We reflect upon impact and inspiration to imagine the tales that affirm our histories and build towards our future. With 16 Narrative Features in the festival, each film brings in a perspective from all over the globe; united in varying degrees of connection and joy. Travel to Japan to meet an old picture book writer named Yamazaki, and understand what romance and love means to him as an elderly gay man. In Pasadena, CA, we’ll meet Laela and Colin; two long lost high school sweethearts who unexpectedly reunite 23 years after being separated during the 1998 riots in Jakarta, Visit Iran to meet Esmail, a newly named Patriarch, and his family that is constantly arguing and under pressure from various debts in the face of sanctions against Iran, And enter an ethereal, mythical tale of a colonial-era boarding school in the Himalayan mountains, to meet the mischievous sixteen-year-old Jaivardhana and his crush Tarini. We are excited to celebrate these World, International and LA Premiere presentations. Filmmakers will be in attendance to connect with audiences after the screenings.
In our fortified commitment to amplify Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander communities, Pacific Cinewaves programming celebrates stories and storytellers emerging from Hawai’i, Aotearoa (New Zealand), Guåhan (Guam), Rapa Nui (Easter Island), Samoa, and throughout the Pacific region.
Searching for wellness and joy at the Festival continues with our growing practice of restoration, regeneration, and renewal. For this year’s Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival, we renew C3: Conference for Creative Content and shift it to R3:NEWAL, a series of restorative activities and gatherings to connect people as themselves, instead of our titles as artists, creators, and industry professionals.
Often led by personal vision, as opposed to achieving financial success, short films tend to be a distilled experience of emotional storytelling, savvy editing and heart. It is often the form where filmmakers dare to dream, and where audiences find new emerging talent. It is our honor to continue carving out space for these filmmaking dreams. Amongst our Narrative shorts, some themes featured are: a stubborn father who refuses to move unless a broken down van comes with him; a peek at the life of Afong Moy, the first documented Chinese woman to come to the United States; and a Samoan American who is torn between playing football and pursuing his hidden passion for acting. Amongst our Documentary shorts, some themes featured include: amplifying the protest movement in China; two indigenous brothers from the Solomon Islands navigating a small conservative town in rural Georgia; and an intimate profile on Mia Yamamoto, her connection to LA's neighborhoods and her work to bring visibility to the LGBTQ community.
As one of the first film festivals on the continent to center Asian and NHPI storytelling, the Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival has become a champion for Asian and NHPI storytellers, serving as a beacon for Industry professionals who are looking for emerging talent. As such, we have become nimble with our programming to work with artists and filmmakers to carve out programming that serves campaign needs to enrich outreach to the Asian American and NHPI communities This year, our Special Presentations include: NO NO GIRL, which explores the current impact of WWII and the incarceration of Japanese Americans, one young daughter digs into the past to uncover a mystery that has been buried in her family's history; and PAST LIVES, a modern romance in the diaspora of two childhood friends who reunite two decades later in New York. These films programs appear in the festival lineup as Special Presentations, and are not part of Jury consideration for an award.
VC’s legacy is built upon what sets us part and what we do best: and that is our VC Archives and our Filmmaker development programs dedicated to emerging voices (AWC) and our beloved elders (Digital Histories). This section is anchored by a 4k restoration of Duane Kubo and Robert Nakamura's HITO HATA: RAISE THE BANNER