San Francisco Int’l Asian American Film Festival (part 2)

Pacific Film Archieve Theater

I was still waking up early on Sunday as my biological rhethem lives in NY.  In spite of setting the time an hour early, it was way too early.  So I decided to walk from my hotel in the financial district to Japantown where the festival activities are happening.  It was bumpy walk as some streets are hilly.  On the way, I saw a beautiful Grace Cathedral.

Grace Cathedral

At the filmmaker’s brunch, I met Stephen Gong who is an executive director of CAAM and Christine Kwon of festival managing director.  I also ran into Martha Thien who is a managing director of NYIAAFF and Heather Keung of Toronto Reel Asian FF.  I also saw Don Young of the CAAM with his 2 1/2 year old daughter.    After the brunch, I went to my screening at the Pacific Film Archieve at the UC Berkeley.  Henan of the CAAM drove me there.  Near the UC Berkeley, there was a bicycle race and the road was closed.  So I came out from the car and walked couple blocks to the PFA theater.

Audiences are waiting for the screening at the PFA

The PFA theater was twice bigger than yesterday’s Sundance Kabuki theater.   I was introduced by Steve Seid of the PFA, and did the Q&A  after the screening.  The audiences seemed more mature and fans of the silent films/films from 1930s, and actresses.  Some of the questions are:  How did I find/cast Doan for the role of Anna May, process of casting,  How was Anna’s relationship with Philip Ahn’s family, whether she helped the Korean American community’s war efforts during the WWII, whether I conceived the dramatization from the beginning of the project ect.    I talked about what I remembered from the interview with Susan Cuddy who is a younger sister of Philip.  I remembered  how grateful personally, to find out  Anna helped the KA community during the WWII.  After the Q&A, I reunited with Selina Davison who is a filmmaker from NY but moved to Berkeley several years ago.

Selina Davison, a filmmaker and friend from NY who came to the screening and me.

After my screening, I attended screening of “Charlie Chan at the Olympics” which was introduced by Prof. Yunte Huang, arthor of ” Charlie Chan”.  The film was made in 1936 and released in 1937.  I found the similar production value, storylines, and acting style in the film like some of Anna’s films in the same period.

After the screening, luckily, Stephen Gong drove me and other guests back to the Bay area.  It was a long day.


San Francisco Int’l Asian American Film Festival (part 1)

festival banner

SFIAAFF banner

I left my home in Brooklyn about 5 AM and was anxious about whether I could arrive in SFO on time.  Luckily, I arrived on time around 11 AM PST and pick up by Zoe at the SFO.  The weather in SF is much warmer than NYC.   On the way to the Sundance Kabuki Theater, I saw green trees and spring flowers blooming. 

At the Sundance Kabuki Theater, I met Prof. Elaine Kim who is also presenting her short film, “Slaying the Dragon Reloaded” before my film.  The screening started on time around 12:45 PM.  During the screening, when Jack Cardiff, film director who worked with Anna in 1920s, talked about his experience of working with her in her first talkie film, audience seemed emotionally responded.     The Q&A was hosted by Julie Hwang who happened to have the same last name in Chinese character with Anna.   I briefly talked about how I got interested in Anna and how it all started.  I received several questions from the audience;  Whether Anna considered herself playing lead role in broadway version of “Flower Drum Song”, Where I found source materials for the documentary, questions about her letters etc.

After the screening, I ran into Don Young at the CAAM who has been supportive of the documentary since I received a mentorship from the CAAM in 2004.  

Prof. Elaine Kim and me before the screening at the Sundance kabuki theater


audience is waiting outside Sundance Kabuki theater

US premiere at the SFIAAFF on March 12th

The documetnary will have a US premiere at the San Francisco Int’l Asian American Film Festival on March 12th, 13th, and 16th. :

 I will attend the weekend screenings and do Q&A:

3/12, 12:45 PM Sundance Kabuki Cinema, San Francisco

3/13, 3:30  PM Pacific Film Archive Theater, Berkeley

3/16, 7:15 PM Sundance Kabuki Cinema.  I will post more once I am at the Festival.  Thanks!