2018 is the first year the Filipino American Chamber of Commerce of Hollywood became a proud Community Partner with Visual Communications’ annual Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival from May 3-12. Personally, it is my twentieth year attending this festival.
With its continuing effort in presenting, showcasing and elevating our stories while banishing crab mentality and antiquated stereotypes, its 34th year was no exception. Especially during a time of representation, change and accountability in mainstream media today. While both mainstream television and New Media continue to push and highlight Filipino American talent both in front of, and behind the camera, mainstream cinema is falling behind. Despite a couple of exceptions such as Dave Bautista, Jacob Batalon and Ethan Dizon in the Marvel Comics Universe's film franchises as well as the upcoming "Crazy Rich Asians" starring Nico Santos, film festivals come into play showcasing the next generations of Filipino, and Filipino American talent.
First off, I attended the invitation-only, private screening of H.P. Mendoza’s new film, BITTER MELON starring Patrick Epino ("Awesome Asian Bad Guys," National Film Society) at the AMC Dine-In Theater in Hollywood (above).
Then, I joined up with FACCHO President Craig Obligacion-Wilson for Marie Jamora’s Cinema Sala X LAAPFF: Writers Night to hear new original scripts held at Matsumura in Little Tokyo, Downtown Los Angeles (above). Readers include Dante Basco (WeOwnThe8th, Steven Spielberg’s "Hook," Gene Cajoyan's "The Debut").
Prior to the Los Angeles Premiere Screening of the documentary film, THE CLEANERS on May 8th, FACCHO Co-Vice Presidents Paul Mirador and I co-presented the Filipino American Chamber of Commerce of Hollywood and our FilAm Chamber of Commerce Hollywood Film Challenge to the audience of the Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival (above).
The filmmakers of "The Cleaners" were unable to attend, but the people featured in this fascinating doc, United Nations Special Rapporteur/University of California, Irvine Law Professor David A. Kaye and Artist Illma Gore were present for audience Q&A after the screening held at the Regal L.A. Live Cinemas in Downtown Los Angeles (above).
Two nights later, FACCHO returned to the Regal L.A. Live Cinemas to co-present back-to-back screenings, the West Coast Premiere of THE FEVER AND THE FRET and the North American Premiere of NEOMANILA.
Joining co-presenting duties with FACCHO President Craig Obligacion Wilson and I were This Filipino American Life (TFAL) and FilAm Creative (FAC) for Mikhail Red’s "Neomanila" (above).
For Edwin, he attended the Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival since 1998 (twenty years ago this week). And thereafter, the work-in-progress film, "Mercado Family Debut" was screened. It was later released as "The Debut" making it the first Filipino American film released theatrically nationwide. And, many a time as a frequent attendee, and at one point, a yearly VC Member — last year as an actor having three short films — "Lolo Pepe", "What You Don’t Say" and "Uncle Eddy" as well as other films premiered at LAAPFF to a sold out show.
Thank you to Janna Wang, Lailanie Gadia and Melanie Ramos for guiding us along the way. And, much thanks to the Executive Director of Visual Communications Francis Cullado for another successful film festival!
Until next year.
Edwin Santos began blogging in 1995 when he was hired as Editor for the award-winning fansite, The Towne Cryer News on Renée Zellweger. He wrote about the entertainment business and film reviews of Zellweger's films until 2000.