Smitha Radhakrishnan reports on two of the documentary selections from this year's San Francisco International Asian American Film Festival.
Directors Senain Kheshgi and Geeta V. Patel probe the Kashmiri conflict by turning their cameras on themselves in Project Kashmir.
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Asian America creates its own ComiCon, the Best Dance Crew is back in competition, and can Manny Pacquiao dominate another entertainment arena? All this and more in the latest edition of News Bites.
Manny Pacquiao's next starring role
It has just been announced that Filipino boxing superstar Manny Pacquiao and Pussycat Dolls' lead singer Nicole Scherzinger will be staring in an action-filled comedy titled Wapakman. Pacquiao will play a father who possesses superpowers, Scherzinger will be his leading lady, and WWE wrestler Dave Batista will star as teh main villain. The "Kung Fu Hustle-esque" movie is set to begin shooting in July. In the meantime, fans can look forward to his next fight versus Miguel Cotto, which has tentatively been scheduled for November 14th in Las Vegas. --Kristie Hang
Mike Kim gaining attention for his book about North Korea
Highlighted on Anderson Cooper 360 and various news media, Mike Kim, a former businessman turned author, now known for his non-profit work, is busy promoting his cause as well as his book, Escaping North Korea: Defiance and Hope in the World's Most Repressive Country. Although the book was released last September, Kim continues to speak on his experience during the four years he spent navigating the China/North Korea border providing aid and relief to North Koreans refugees -- most recently, being featured on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart on June 30th. Kim is the founder of Crossing Borders, an NGO devoted to the plight in North Korea. --Timothy Natividad
The First-Ever Asian American ComiCon
The first annual Asian American ComiCon (AACC) will be held at the Museum of Chinese in America (MOCA) in New York on July 11. The event celebrates Asian and Asian Americans' legacy and role in contemporary comics by bringing together artists, writers, creators and fans for a day-long exchange, exploring the cultural and historical connections between graphic fiction and Asian and Asian Americans. There will also be three workshop tracks: Making Comics, Reading Comics and Spotlight Sessions. Each workshop will touch upon on different aspects related to the comic world: its function as a profession and business; its representation of and influence on Asian and Asian Americans in the real world; and one-on-one discussions with artists sharing inspirations, influences and future plans. The Asian American Comicon is being called a "conference" or even a "conversation" by promoters, as it is an opportunity to meet, learn from and interact with leading comic creators in the Asian and Asian American communities. --Michael Lom
Fourth Season of America's Best Dance Crew Underway
After finishing up a brief tour of auditions in June, the fourth season of Randy Jackson's America's Best Dance Crew is set to premiere on MTV August 9, 2009. The show has previously received high ratings and helped launch dance crews into mainstream entertainment, including Kaba Modern, Super Crew, Quest Crew, and the popular JabbaWockeeZ. Trailers for the anticipated fourth season have been floating about the internet, and favorites such as Kyle Hanagami's The Lost Kids and Knucklehead Zoo are expected to be leading the pack. --Timothy Natividad
BoA performs at SF Pride Parade
International pop star BoA performed at San Francisco Pride this past Monday singing ``I Did It for Love," "Eat You Up,'' and ``Energetic.'' One of the most famous and best-attended pride parades in the world, the San Francisco Pride Parade is held in June each year to celebrate the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community. In March, BoA released her first English-language album, hoping to add some mainstream American listeners to her already solid Asian fanbase. She has recently signed with American casting agency CAA, who is expected to announce BoA's official tour later this year. --Kristie Hang
Far East Movement headlines the Roxy at the tail end of their national tour
Far East Movement, a hip-hop, pop group from Los Angeles, headlined at the Los Angeles historic Roxy Theatre on July 1. After giving Far East Movement recent mainstream exposure by playing their hit single "Girls on the Dance Floor," 97.1 AMP Radio sponsored their recent concert. Beardo and Chris Young were present to open the show for the group. Hoping to sell out the theater, Far East Movement had a promotional contest for a chance to win a dinner and a movie with the group. The group continues touring in Southern California up until the end of July. For more information on their upcoming concerts, check out their calendar here. --Megan Chun
MOCA's Chinatown Film Project premiere
The inaugural film exhibition Chinatown Film Project will be premiering at the Museum of Chinese in America (MOCA) in New York on July 1. Divided into two parts, the Project begins locally, featuring ten video shorts from notable New York filmmakers such as Wayne Wang and Colma: The Musical director Richard Wong. Next, video shorts of Chinatown will be imported via MOCA's YouTube channel worldwide. The Project asks directors and filmmakers to provide a portrayal of what the iconic Chinatown community represents and means to them. Director Wayne Wang says his contribution is a "musical tribute to the working stiffs of Chinatown." --Michael Lom
Randall Park in IKEA Heights
Actor Randall Park recently starred in a Channel 101.com web series, IKEA Heights. Filmed at an IKEA furniture store in Burbank, CA, Park plays the character of James in what Channel 101 describes as a "melodrama shot in an IKEA furniture store". The episodes are shot entirely using a digital camera on a video setting. Shooting during regular store hours, Randall and the rest of the cast are shot alongside unaware and bewildered IKEA shoppers. The internet released episodes come out once a month and can be seen here. --Megan Chun
Jamie Chung Returns to the Small Screen
Reality television star turned actress Jamie Chung stars as the lead antagonist in Disney Channel's latest movie Princess Protection Program alongside Demi Lovato and Selena Gomez. The movie debuted on June 26th and is currently been on rerun on the Disney Channel. Princess Protection Program premiered to 8.5 million viewers, making it the third highest premiere for a Disney Channel Original Movie. --Kristie Hang
Date Posted: 7/3/2009