Eva Knott 7:03 p.m., May 17
Sunday at SDAFF: Video interview with H.P. Mendoza, Brian Hu, Dave Boyle, and Goh Nakamura
If you think the San Diego Asian Film Festival is only about showing good movies, guess again. SDAFF is also a terrific gathering place for filmmakers to meet, exchange ideas, and feed off of each others energy.
SDAFF's artistic director, Brian Hu, is responsible in large part for bringing these filmmakers, and many more, together under one roof. I owe Brian, H.P. Mendoza, Dave Boyle, and Goh Nakamura a great debt of thanks for one of the most enjoyable moviegoing weekends I've had in months.
Richard Wong's hilarious sex comedy, Yes, We're Open, was written by Mendoza and features solid supporting appearances by Boyle and Nakamura. It also features Lynn Chen, one of the co-stars of Boyle and Nakamura's Daylight Savings, the sequel to delightful Surrogate Valentine which played last year's fest. (Fittingly enough, DS debuted the same weekend we set out clocks back.)
Mendoza also premiered his second directorial effort, I Am a Ghost, a thoughtful, intelligent twist on the old haunted house genre that should please even the most jaded Paranormal activist, if only they had a chance to see it.
When most people think of Asian cinema, it's usually images of Godzilla, thundering samurai, or one of Ozu's families sitting on tatami mats and mapping out what to do when mom and dad die. None of the three films mentioned is even remotely inaccessible; if anything, they're enormously entertaining genre pictures that are light years ahead of many of their big-budget Hollywood contemporaries.
To my risk-taking friends at Reading Cinemas, I ask that you take a moment to consider booking these films into the Gaslamp and maybe even Town Square. (Wong and Mendoza's Colma: the Musical played town, but with the exception of SDAFF, we haven't heard anything from them in years.)
The filmmakers already have a built-in San Diego fan base and with a little grass roots work by SDAFF, and members of our town's critical community, to help promote the screenings, people will come.