DC Film Festival Celebrates 10 Years of Giving Voice to Asian Americans
This year’s DCAPA Film Festival presents over 20 documentary and feature films, over 50 short films, and two workshops and panel discussions.
“We want to provide an outlet to help [Asian American film makers] make it to the next step, whether that means finding a distributor for their films or connecting with other film makers that they can work with,” said Anna Petrillo president of the APA Film, Inc. Board of Directors.
It is part of the DCAPA Film festival mission to bring attention to the creative outputs of Asian Pacific Americans (APA) and to raise awareness and act as catalyst for discussion of issues facing APA communities.
This year’s festival opened with a screening of the documentary film 9500 Liberty directed by Annebel Park and acclaimed director Eric Byler (Charlotte Sometimes, Americanese). 9500 Liberty presents a battle between citizens and elected officials over immigration-related policies in Prince William County, Virginia, outside of Washington, D.C.
Other films presented at the festival include Parallel Adele, a short film about two Adeles, two half- Vietnamese women, working on similar projects of self discovery, self perception, societal acceptance and life as American children of immigrants; Operation Baby Lift: Lost Children of Vietnam, a documentary film which introduces the now grown- up children of “Operation Baby lift” a U.S. led initiative that airlifted more than 2,500 orphans, many of the biracial children of American soldiers and Vietnamese women, out of Vietnam on the eve of the fall of Saigon in April 1975.
Another film at the festival is Project Kashmir, a documentary film which follows directors Senain Kheshgi and Geeta V. Patel into the Kashmir region, where they attempt to understand the causes of the conflict, war, and terrorism that engulfs the region surrounded by Pakistan, India, and China. All three films were well attended at the Freer and Sackler Gallery Meyer Auditorium.
The festival is dedicated to George C. Lin, founder of the DCAPA film festival, who passed away on Oct. 14, 2008 at age 37 of a rare lifelong disease. Since 2003, Lin was the Associate Festival Director for the San Diego Asian Film Foundation. Prior to his involvement in the Arts, Lin was in the science profession.
“We have grown every year and now have over 50 volunteers,” said Anna Petrillo.
This year’s festival was entirely staffed by volunteers that spent a year preparing for the festival. Film screenings are being held at noted locations including: the Landmark E Street Cinema, Freer & Sackler Gallery of Art Meyer Auditorium, The Navy Memorial Theatre, the Canadian Embassy, and the Goethe-Institut, the German Cultural center: a forum for films, discussion, reading art and language.
Ann Tran, volunteer programmer for the DCAPA, described one the best features of the DCAPA to be diversity of the films, telling stories from East Asian and South East Asian communities. “The festival is a good activism focal point for me,” said Tran, describing how the festival unites her interest in entertainment and Asian American culture. Ms. Tran is also a student at George Washington University.
This year’s festival also marks the first recipient of the George C. Lin Emerging Filmmaker Award which will be presented to Tze Chun, director of Children of Invention, a family drama about economic hardship and the pursuit of the American dream. Children of Invention will be screened on the closing night of the festival at the Goethe-Institut followed by a scheduled Q&A with the director and a reception.
The George C. Lin Emerging Film Maker Award was established to recognize young and talented filmmakers that have shown a commitment to filmmaking with in the Asian and Asian American genre.
The DC APA Film Festival continues up to Oct. 10. For more information and a complete film schedule, visit http://www.apafilm.org.