Justin Chon's 'Ms. Purple' Set as L.A. Asian Pacific Film Festival Centerpiece Film (Exclusive)
Emily Ting's 'Go Back to China' will also get a centerpiece presentation at the fest, which is set to run May 2-10.
The 35th annual Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival has set its centerpiece films, The Hollywood Reporter has exclusively learned.
Both movies hail from rising young Asian-American filmmakers: Justin Chon's Ms. Purple, which debuted in January at Sundance and has been acquired by Oscilloscope, and Emily Ting's Go Back to China, which premiered at SXSW earlier this month.
Chon's follow-up to his Sundance Next- and Indie Spirit-winning 2017 L.A. riots period drama Gook takes place in L.A.'s Koreatown, where a pair of estranged siblings (Tiffany Chu and Teddy Lee) are forced to reconnect to take care of their ailing father.
"During my short but long career, LAAPFF has always been an anchor and home to me," Chon said Thursday in a statement. "Every time I go to any events involving LAAPFF, I always feel like I'm coming to my auntie's living room. I'm ecstatic that my new film, Ms. Purple, is having its L.A. premiere here at this festival. I hope my auntie is proud of me!"
Go Back to China is Ting's sophomore feature. Like her debut romantic comedy Already Tomorrow in Hong Kong, which premiered at the Los Angeles Film Festival in 2015, Ting's new movie is also inspired by her time working for her family's toy business in Asia. Anna Akana stars as a spoiled L.A. rich girl forced to learn financial discipline by putting in hours at the family toy factory in Shenzhen.
"LAAPFF is one of my favorite Los Angeles events, and I always look forward to attending every year," Ting said in a statement. "I was so bummed to miss the festival last year because I was shooting in China. It feels like a full circle to be able to bring Go Back to China to the festival a year later, and to have it get selected as the centerpiece film is a real unexpected honor. I can't wait to finally attend my first LAAPFF as a filmmaker and to present this very personal story to the L.A. Asian-American community."
Both centerpiece films will screen May 4 at the Aratani Theatre downtown in Little Tokyo. The festival is set to run May 2-10 and also will feature a handful of special presentations, including:
A Tribute to Elizabeth Sung — a collection of short films directed by or starring the veteran Asian-American actress (The Young and the Restless, The Joy Luck Club, Memoirs of a Geisha), who died last May at 63.
Armed with a Camera Vol. 2019 — a screening of films from this year's recipients of the AWC Fellowship for Emerging Media Artists: Leatrice Ching, Eleanor Cho, Sarah Cho, Varun Chounal, Xin Li, David Liu, Gary Mei, Chris Nguyen and Isue Shin. The presentation will take place May 9 at 7 p.m. at Regal L.A. Live.
Cinema Musica Presents Counterflow: Currents in New Filipina/o Music — a video companion to the playlist Counterflow: Currents in New Filipina/o Music, screening May 4 at 9 p.m. at the Downtown Independent.
Digital Histories — a screening of this year's documentaries and narrative works from the Digital Histories video production and digital storytelling program, which since 2003 has enabled older adults to create their own films. The program will take place May 5 at 2 p.m. at the Aratani Theater.
Leitis in Waiting — a documentary about Joey Mataele and the Tonga leitis, a group of native transgender women fighting intolerance in their South Pacific kingdom. The film will screen in partnership with Pacific Islanders in Communications on May 8 at 6 p.m. at Regal L.A. Live.
Omeng Satanasia — an ABS-CBN restoration of the 1977 Filipino cinema cult classic starring "king of comedy" Dolphy.
These screenings join the previously announced Lea Salonga starrer Yellow Rose, which will serve as the opening night film on May 2. LAAPFF is presented by Visual Communications and will reveal its full lineup Monday.