So Yong Kim talks about her strategies for directing young children and the memories of her grandparents' farm in rural Korea that inspired her intimate second feature, Treeless Mountain.
Out in Los Angeles to promote Camera Obtrusa, a companion book to his 1987 film The Emperor's Naked Army Marches On, director Hara Kazuo looks back at the film that made him a legend in documentary circles.
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Miyazaki tours California, Padma gets her own sitcom, and the 18 Mighty Mountain Warriors are back. All this and more in the latest edition of News Bites.
Hayao Miyazaki Warmly Welcomed
Japanese animation director Hayao Miyazaki has recently been honored at several events this month in promotion for the U.S. release of his latest film Ponyo on the Cliff by the Sea. On July 24, Miyazaki spoke at the 40th Comic-Con International in San Diego, California. The following day, July 25, Miyazaki was honored by the University of California Berkeley's Center for Japanese Studies. He received the 2009 Berkeley Japan Prize, which is in recognition of Miyazaki's contributions in influencing the world's understanding of Japan through is films. "Supported by many coworkers, I have received today's honor. I really appreciate it," Miyazaki said. Miyazaki then traveled to Los Angeles for the July 27 U.S. premiere of Ponyo in Hollywood and for the July 28 tribute by good friend John Lassester at the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences in Beverly Hills. The event, a combination of film clips and discussion between Lassester and Miyazaki, celebrated Miyazaki's influence to film animation. Walt Disney Pictures is set to release Ponyo in theaters on August 14. Ponyo was released in Japan last July and grossed $165 million. --Michael Lom
White on Rice coming to theaters
Previously featured in Letters from Iwo Jima, Hiroshi Watanbe tackles the indie cinema market by starring in the David Boyle comedy White on Rice. The film is about 40 year old Jimmy who still shares a bunk bed with his sister’s son. Freshly divorced and running in the gutter, Jimmy learns to brave his social ineptitudes as he attempts to win the heart of the beautiful Ramona (Lynn Chen). James Kyson Lee (Heroes) plays the role of Jimmy’s best friend Tim, also Ramona’s boyfriend. Hilarity and awkward comedic beats ensue. The film has received its run of film festival accolades, featured at the Asian Pacific Film Festival, Cleveland International Film Festival, and the Newport International Film Festival. White on Rice will be in select cities for theatrical release beginning August 14th. --Timothy Natividad
18 Mighty Mountain Warriors Performing through August
They’ve won the hearts of YouTube swarmers. They’ve received regional Emmy Awards for the documentary Mighty Warriors of Comedy. And they've won numerous sketch comedy awards. Started in 1994, the Asian American comedy troupe (Michael Chih Ming Hornbuckle, Greg Watanabe, Peter J. Wong, and more) have now graduated into “quite possibly the world’s most psychotic Asian American Theatrical Comedy group” -- according to their own "About Us" on their official site. And they’re opening a new world premiere show called “Bow Down To Your Asian Masters!” The latest sketch comedy show by 18MM will run from July 31 – August 23 at The Complex Theater in Hollywood. Click here to buy tickets. --Timothy Natividad
Sitcom for Padma Lakshmi
Padma Lakshmi, who has created a name for herself in the world of cable television through her hosting of Top Chef, now plans to star in a sitcom on NBC. The show will be a half-hour comedy with Charlie Corwin (The Squid and the While, A Guide to Recognizing Your Saints) as executive producer. Lakshmi will play the role of a single woman working in the culinary industry. Specific details have yet to be discussed, however, the title Single Serving has become a possibility for the sitcom. Although Lakshmi’s hosting career on Top Chef has earned her a nomination for an Emmy this year, Lakshmi’s acting history as Sylk in Glitter is a bit unsettling. Given that her appearance in Glitter was eight years ago, there’s glimmer of hope that her show will meet the standards she expects from the dishes served on Top Chef: originality, creativity and quality. --Megan Chun
Bruce Lee to be remembered through film and relics
These days there is never enough love for Bruce Lee. Which is partly why a multi-pronged celebration of Bruce Lee hysteria is hitting the news feeds as of late, including biopics, a museum, and a new website totally devoted to the kung fu icon. Bruce Lee’s older sister and younger brother, Phoebe and Robert Lee, have agreed to authorize a series of biographical films. The films, to be produced by a Chinese company, will be a three part installment aiming to portray a historically accurate representation of Bruce Lee’s life. Producer Manfred Wong has specifically commented that there are certain traits of Lee’s personality that have never before been captured on screen, nominally, his sense of humor and his respect for family.
In the meantime, Bruce Lee’s former home, which currently functions as a love motel, is in the works for a makeover. Owner Yu Pang-lin and officials have launched a design competition for the lay out of a Bruce Lee museum in the Hong Kong hotel. At last, die hard fans will be able to feast their eyes on a hero who has stood as a symbol for China’s working class ever since Bruce Lee’s Return of the Dragon. The winner for the design competition will be announced in November and awarded $13,000 in prize money. --Timothy Natividad
APAture Runway Show in San Francisco
Kearny Street Workshop and APICC will be co-presenting the third annual fashion show fundraiser, APAture Runway III on August 8 in San Francisco. The show will feature ten Asian American designers with Battalion designer, Linda Wong, as the headliner. Designers such as Heather Guevarra of Gingerbread Clothing, Brian Yee of Bok Choy Apparel and Shani Solomon of MXW will present their clothing lines. Following the show, a live auction will take place featuring the clothing off the runway. All the proceeds will go towards Kearny Street Workshop’s 11th Annual APAture, an arts festival of emerging Asian Pacific American artists. --Megan Chun
Winners at NY's Asian International Film Festival
New York's Asian International Film Festival ran this year from July 23-26, opening with Ivy Ho’s Claustrophobia. Awards were handed out by executive producer Liliana Chen on the last day of the festival. Short film director Iemi Hernandez-Kim (Ayi's Story) received the One to Watch award, while Kim Snyder won the award for Excellence in Short Filmmaking for her short film, Crossing Midnight, Ngawang Choephel (Tibet in Song) won the award for Best Emerging Director in Documentary Feature, Nian Liu (Li Tong) won the award for Best Emerging Director in Narrative Feature and Christopher Wong (Whatever It Takes) won the Audience Choice Award. In an attempt to bring the films closer to audiences, the festival will hold additional community screenings this weekend in Harlem, Manhattan Chinatown and Flushing, Queens. --Megan Chun
afterschoolspecial nominated at San Diego Music Awards
Alternative Hip Hop Band, afterschoolspecial has just been nominated for Best Hip Hop Album and Best Hip Hop Act for the San Diego Music Awards. The 18th Annual San Diego Music Awards is scheduled for Wednesday, September 17th at 7P.M. The event will take place in the Viejas' Concerts in the Park. This year’s music awards will feature live performances from As I Lay Dying, Louis XIV, Jayo Felony, Steve Poltz & the Cynics, Joel Rafael, Anya Marina and a special performance from the Lifetime Award Winner Mundell Lowe. To learn more about the nominees or to get tickets to the awards show visit here. --Kristie Hang
Date Posted: 7/31/2009