articles

In the Belly of the Eagle: Man@ng is Deity Reminds Filipino Americans of Their Important Past

“Everybody doesn’t have to be a hero; everybody doesn’t have to be famous. Each person who’s Filipino American, to me, is very, very important as a story… Our stories are really in our people. It’s not so much in what the achievements are…as much as what is the story itself.” – the late Fred Cordova, co-founder of the Filipino American National Historical Society (FANHS)

Everyone Filipino American has a story. Certainly, those who came before us had stories. Descendants of the Manong generation and students of Filipino American history may recall the history of the thousands of Filipinos who traversed the Pacific Ocean to make life in Depression-era America. During their heyday between the 1920s and 1960s, many Filipino Americans of this generation spent their lives picking fruits and vegetables in the Central Valley, canning salmon in Alaska, and bussing tables in Los Angeles and San Francisco. Mostly male, they came as laborers and faced the harsh reality of racism, anti-miscegenation, and poverty. Yet, they lived out more meaningful lives. Despite their bleak situation, these young pioneers shined in taxi dance halls, led labor strikes, built fraternal bonds, raised families, and developed long-lasting institutions. The Manong generation forged a community and identity lasting decades. Theirs is a story that too few know and remember.

Alleluia Panis pays tribute to the Manong generation and fights for their memory in her latest innovative work, In the Belly of the Eagle: Man@ng is Deity. The multimedia dance performance centers on Manong Valentino Pablo who, in his deathbed, experiences flashbacks of his earlier days in early 20th century San Francisco. Through dance performances, original music by Joshua Icban, and media art by Wilfred Galila, Man@ng is Deity communicates both the struggles and joys Pablo and so many of his contemporaries faced during their lifetimes. Through it all, Panis captures the resiliency of this increasingly forgotten generation of Filipino Americans, something in which all people – Filipino or not – can find inspiration.

Man@ng is Deity is truly a testament to Panis’ artistic creativity, passion for inclusion, and commitment to the Filipino American community. Like the Manong generation, Panis is a pioneer in her own right. For over three decades, Panis has contributed to the arts canon with more than 20 full-length collaborative dance theater works presented on stages throughout the United States, Europe, and Asia. Her work precedes and inspires this current age of #GoldOpen and #MyYellowFaceStory, when present-day audiences are voting with their money and demanding more diverse representation in the arts sector.

Panis joins many Filipino Americans – from Carlos Bulosan to Dorothy and Fred Cordova to Dawn Mabalon – in expanding the body of work of telling the Manong generation’s story. While so much of our Filipino American narrative points to our present day struggles of erasure and invisibility, we must not do the same to those who came before us. Filipino American history is vast; more than we realize. We must remember and honor it. Alleluia Panis’ Man@ng is Deity just does that.

 

In the Belly of the Eagle: Man@ng is Deity premieres March 22-24 at Bindlestiff Studios, 185 6th Street, San Francisco, CA 94103.

 

SHOWTIMES

March 22 & 23 at 7:30pm

March 24 at 2:30pm

TICKETS

$20 in advance

$25 at the door

For tickets go to http://manongisdeity.eventbrite.ca.

About Kularts:

Founded in 1985, Kulintang Arts, Inc., now known popularly as Kularts, is the premier presenter of contemporary and tribal Pilipino arts in the United States. Through three decades of service, Kularts has grown into a leading elder arts organization, uniting generations of artists and community activists in a common effort to build a collective space and sense of belonging within San Francisco, specifically the SOMA Pilipinas: Filipino Cultural Heritage District. Kularts creates work that makes visible the contributions of Pilipino Americans and creates room for cultural continuity and knowledge.

About Bindlestiff Studio:

Bindlestiff Studio cultivates artists who reflect and celebrate the diverse values, traditions, and histories of Pilipino and Filipino American cultures through bold artistic expression and community engagement. Originally opened in 1989, Bindlestiff became the only permanent, community-based performing arts venue in the nation dedicated to showcasing emerging Filipino American and Pilipino artists. The studio provides the often under-served Filipino American community access to diverse offerings in theatrical productions, music and film festivals, workshops in directing, production, acting, stand-up comedy, and writing, as well as a children and youth theater program.

About Alleluia Panis:

Alleluia Panis has received awards for her choreography from the Wallace Alexander Gerbode Foundation, Rockefeller Foundation, San Francisco Arts Commission, California Arts Council, New Langton Arts, and Creative Work Fund. She has created over twenty full-length dance theater works since 1985, which have been performed on main stages in the United States, Europe and Asia, including the Kennedy Center, Lincoln Center, Dance Theater Workshop, Singapore Arts Festival, and Verona Arts Fest – Italy. Her work was recently nominated for two Isadora Duncan Awards in ‘Outstanding Achievement in Performance’, and ‘Outstanding Achievement in Visual Design, for ‘Incarcerated 6×9’ (2018).

About Wilfred Galila:

Wilfred Galila makes use of a variety of media for storytelling and art making. His films have been screened at the 23rd and 26th annual Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival and the Asian Art Museum in San Francisco. As a media artist, he has collaborated with dance artist Alleluia Panis on the multimedia dance theater productions She, Who Can See (2015) and Incarcerated 6×9 (2018, nominated for ‘Outstanding Achievement in Visual Design – Isadora Duncan Dance Awards), as well as the dance film She, Who Can See (2017) that was screened at CAAMFest in 2018. Galila is mounting a multimedia art installation piece as a commissioned artist by Kularts for the Postcolonial Survival Toolkit exhibition and series of events at The Luggage Store Gallery in San Francisco in May 2019.

About Joshua Icban:

Joshua Icban is a composer based in Vallejo, California. As a creator, his work focuses on the intrinsic relationship between memory, history and identity. Josh is also a regularly performing guitarist who plays in a number of projects and groups in the Bay Area. Past credits include the San Francisco Symphony Orchestra, San Francisco State Gospel Choir, Afro-Cuban Ensemble He has served as composer/arranger & music director for Awesome Orchestra and Bindlestiff Studios and has had his work as sound designer featured in spaces such as Counterpulse and the Asian Art Museum. He recently graduated with an MA in ethnomusicology at CSU East Bay and teaches private lessons in the North Bay.

TFAL meets Kate Gavino

Author Photo - Kate Gavino

In August our #TFALPodcastBookClub book was Sanpaku by Kate Gavino. Sanpaku is a graphic novel that follows Marcine, a Filipina American growing up in Houston. This coming of age story highlights the insecurities of being a teen growing up in the 1990s, attempts to understand religion, family history, and even pop star Selena.

sanpaku book cover.jpg

What was it like being a Filipino American growing up in Houston, Texas?

There’s a huge Filipino population in Houston, so I grew up within a tight community of Filipino families, where most of the families were nurses in Houston’s huge medical center. A lot of our parents had immigrated there in the early 80s, so their kids were all roughly around the same age. There was usually a party every weekend, where we’d all cram into each other’s houses, eat like crazy, and then the adults would go off to karaoke and drink, while the kids terrorized each other in other rooms.

What were your experiences growing up in a religious household that is conveyed in Sanpaku?

My parents and Lola were very religious, so we observed all the holidays and went to church every Sunday. Since it was instilled within me at such an early age, Catholicism just always seemed like a chore to me. I developed little games and distractions to get through Mass, decades of the rosary, or religion class. I’d often get in trouble for not paying attention during church, and it always made me wonder, “Doesn’t God have better things to do besides watch me watch him turn into the body and blood of Christ?”

Are you still a practicing Catholic?

I go to church with my family when I’m in Houston, but that’s the extent of it.

sanpaku sample page 1 (1)

What kind of relationship did you have with your Lola?

I took her for granted when I was a kid, though I loved her deeply. I didn’t make the effort to see her as anything besides my Lola. After she died, I’d later learn all these amazing details about her life from my mother, but when she was alive, she was embodied to me in strange superstitions, amazing food, and a suffocating form of love and affection. I think this is common amongst ungrateful apo, but I truly wish I had asked her about her life more when she was alive.

What is your favorite thing about being Filipino American? Least favorite thing?

This is boring, but my favorite thing about being Filipino-American is family. I’m lucky to have a supportive, open-minded family, which I know not everyone has. We make each other feel loved, and that’s something I hope to never take for granted.

My least favorite thing about being Filipino-American is the amount of self-hate and lack of self-awareness in the community. It saddens me to see racist, homophobic, or misogynistic ideas passed on or dutifully ignored just because we grew up with it. I know every community has this problem in some form, but I like to think future generations of Fil-Ams are progressing and amenable to having open dialogues.

sanpaku sample page 2 (1).jpg

What drew you to graphic novels as a medium?

For me, they are the perfect blend of written narratives and comics. I’ve always loved drawing comics and illustrating, but in college, I studied creative writing, and that’s when I got to incorporate my lifelong love of books and storytelling. As a generally quiet person, I’ve always loved the way images can say something that words can’t. In graphic novels, that’s only amplified.

Are you connected with any other Filipino American writers/illustrators?

One of my favorite parts of doing a book tour for Sanpaku was meeting other Fil-Am artists and illustrators. In San Francisco, I met the amazing Trinidad Escobar, whose work thrills me. In Minneapolis, I met Dennis Madamba, an intimidatingly good illustrator. I’m also obsessed with the zines and comics of April Malig. There is so much mind-boggling work happening right now — I feel very lucky to witness all of it.

Who do you look up to?

I admire writers and artists like Jillian Tamaki, Zadie Smith, Marjane Satrapi, and Anita Brookner, as well as musicians like Jens Lekman. But the one person I will look up to the most is my Lola. She was headstrong, kind, and fiercely loving — three qualities to which I aspire.

What has been your favorite part about your book tour?

See above re: Fil-Am artists!

What is it like living in Paris?

Paris is postcard-level beautiful, and no one wants to hear anyone complain about living there. But learning to speak French has been difficult, and I miss New York City dearly. But now that I’m nine months in and my French has improved (incrementally) and I’ve made friends with other artists here, I’ve grown to love it here.

What is the Filipino community like in Paris?

About once a week I Google “Filipino restaurant Paris” and nothing comes up, save for one fusion-type place. I know there are Filipinos here because, duh, we are everywhere, but I do miss being in Filipino neighborhoods like Woodside in Queens. One beacon of light I have encountered here is a chef named Erica Paredes. She hosts private dinners at her apartment regularly, ranging from plated meals to boodle fights. When I went to my first dinner and smelled the ginataang, I shed a single tear.

What is your next project?

I’m constantly doing freelance illustration projects for various websites and companies. I’m also working on my next graphic novel, which is, unfortunately, still top secret!

Many thanks to Kate Gavino for this interview! Pick up Sanpaku on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, or your local bookstore!

The Debut Will Have Its Own “Debut” at the Cinematografo International Film Festival on November 10

Screen Shot 2018-10-11 at 9.49.55 AM

You heard right, folks. It’s been 18 years since the release of The Debut, the pioneering Filipino American film by Director Gene Cajayon. To celebrate The Debut’s maturation into adulthood, the Cinematografo International Film Festival will host a special screening of the film with some of the cast and crew in attendance as part of its weekend-long celebration of Filipino and Filipino American filmmaking.

For the uninitiated, the film centers on Ben Mercado (played by the one and only Dante Basco), a young high school senior unfamiliar and ashamed of his Filipino American heritage, and his exploration of his identity through relationships to his family and community at his sister’s debutante ball. As a coming of age film, The Debut explores issues that many deal with today: immigration/acculturation, interracial relations, cultural values, inter-generational conflict, family tsismis, hiya, and of course, love. It’s hard to imagine all of these matters addressed in a movie about one night, but don’t a lot of us put all of our eggs into one basket? (Think: PCN).

Screen Shot 2018-10-11 at 9.50.42 AM

In essence, The Debut was truly Cajayon’s ode to a 1990’s Filipino America, an era when young 2nd generation Filipino Americans – the children of post-1965 immigrants – came of age in an increasingly diverse society to create a distinct culture that continues to this day. The scenes featuring Sun-In’d hair, pagers, rice rockets, and dance battles harken back to simpler times for many of us. And in true pre-social media era fashion, making the film was a community effort fueled by a grassroots campaign, involving thousands of Filipino Americans from numerous cities throughout the nation – some of the TFAL crew included.

The Debut’s “Debut” will take place on Saturday November 10, 7pm at the AMC Kabuki 8 Theaters in San Francisco. Following the screening, come join the fun at the Cinematografo Centerpiece Party at Hotel Kabuki (1635 Post Street, San Francisco, CA, 94125) following the event!

Tickets are now available!

SPECIAL TICKET PRICING

  • FILM ONLY – MEMBER: $13, NON-MEMBER: $15
  • FILM + PARTY – MEMBER: $25, NON-MEMBER: $30
  • CENTERPIECE PARTY ONLY – $20 FOR ALL

In addition to the special screening, the Cinematografo Film Festival will feature many new films by talented Filipino and Filipino American filmmakers. HP Mendoza’s Bitter Melon and Mikhail Red’s Neomanila are some of the TFAL crew’s top narrative picks. Additionally, PJ Raval’s Call Her Ganda, Hans Block and Moritz Reisewick’s The Cleaners, and former TFAL guest Alexandra Cuerdo’s Ulam: Main Dish are must watch documentaries. Also, make sure to check out the short films blocks, particularly Filipinx: Queer Shorts, which will feature Drama Del Rosario’s In this Family and the By Way of America which will feature Filipino American stories like Jeremy Sistoso’s Fakeapino and Joy Regullano’s I Won’t Miss You.  Plus, the Festival will feature other films, conversations, panel discussions, and much more!

The 2nd annual Cinematografo International Film Festival, presented by ABS-CBN International, will be held on November 8-11 at the AMC Kabuki 8 Theaters in San Francisco. Check out all of the other films playing at the Festival on their website https://cinematografofilmfestival.com/.

 

About the Festival:

The Cinematografo International Film Festival is an annual film exhibition series presented by ABS-CBN International and aims to showcase emerging filmmaking talent from around the world, focusing on issues of representation and inclusivity. We also provide financial support for filmmakers to tell their stories and passion projects through our Cinematografo Originals initiative.

On its second year, the festival’s theme is “Breaking Down Walls,” which refers not only to divisions along global political lines but also aims to empower storytellers in breaking through barriers in film and story whether in terms of subject matter, representation and cultural limitations.

TFAL Podcast Merch

MERCHANDISING! MERCHANDISING! MERCHANDISING!

Support This Filipino American Life by picking up a t-shirt, women’s t-shirt, women’s v-neck shirt, thank top, long sleeve, and hoodie. We even have onesies for the babies in your life and toddler and youth sizes for the little ones!

Head to our store at This Filipino American Life at the good folks at What A Maneuver. Remember to tag us on social media with #TFALPodcast or @TFALpodcast.

Make sure to follow us as we release different t-shirt designs in the future!

TFAL Beisbol

TFAL Ballers

 

McRibbed for Our Pleasure: A Conversation with Xanthe Pajarillo and Jason Barlaan from ‘AIRMEN’

An Interview With AIRMEN’S Xanthe Pajarillo and Jason Barlaan

In this guest blog post on This Filipino American Life, Xanthe Pajarillo, the creator of the web series AIRMEN, and Jason Barlaan, AIRMEN’s starring actor, sit down and talk about their new show, life in the military and the film industry, and their experiences of growing up Filipino. Pajarillo is a United States Air Force (USAF) veteran, while Barlaan, who portrays 2nd Lieutenant Anders, is a United States Marine Corps (USMC) veteran.

AIRMEN is a new web series that follows a group of Air Force troops navigating life during peacetime operations. It is a response to the lack of diversity in veteran narratives. It takes on a subject matter that is often marginalized in the entertainment industry: how military members experience their time in service, rather than focus on war or PTSD. They are currently raising funds for the first season on Seed&Spark.  The deadline to contribute the web series project is August 15.

Screen Shot 2018-07-30 at 8.52.10 AM.png


XANTHE: The first thing that I noticed was when you introduced yourself. Jason Bar-lun? I thought it was pronounced Bar-lawn.

JASON: You know it’s Barla-an in Filipino but no one gets the two “A”s at the end. Bar-lun is the American one. That’s the way most people can understand it. That’s how it was all through the military too.

XANTHE: What did you do in the Marines?

JASON: I ended up in the Aviation Support field. When we were deployed, they would call our unit to dispatch aviation assets: drones, anything that had to do with the sky to help with the war out there in Iraq and Afghanistan.

XANTHE: When you joined the military did you feel you were going to be the only Asian?

JASON: I’m used to that, growing up in this part of Los Angeles being the only Asian. You’d see [Filipinos] more so in the Navy but not in the Marines.

XANTHE: When I was talking to one of my Filipino friends while I was in the Air Force, he said that he expected that he would be the only Asian in a sea of white dudes, but then he met a lot of Asians. It depends where you are, I guess.


Screen Shot 2018-07-30 at 8.52.54 AM.png

JASON: As a military person, are you proficient in weapons handling?

XANTHE: No. I was Health Services Management. The only time I held a weapon was in boot camp. I saw a lot of family members and airmen needing appointments.

JASON: I wanted to ask you something. The Talk of Santa Clarita podcast we did last week reminded me of your McRib thing. As a friend to you, I’m like “Was that an act?” My wife and I just finished watching it this morning, too. You don’t have to answer…  [Laughs]

XANTHE: [Laughs] No, I get it all the time it’s fine. In Germany where my dad was stationed, the McRib is there year round. When we moved to the US, we wondered why McRib was only here in the fall. We made the McRib a part of our fall routine. I moved here for CalArts and got ovarian cancer. I had surgery to take it out. My dad was in Iraq. After we got together again, we wanted to do our family thing, and McDonald’s said the McRib’s not coming back. I thought, “This is not okay,” and I went to the [Santa Clarita] City Council — not because I felt like those were the correct people, but I thought someone there would get something done.

Song written in support of Santa Clarita City Council plea


JASON: I saw that video before I knew you. I thought that was a total gag. [Laughs] Now that you put it into context, you never judge. That’s a beautiful story. I never knew that. Wow, that’s so resilient.

XANTHE: Thanks. It’s been weird because I’ve gotten extreme reactions. Someone was really offended when they found out I was a veteran. They said, “You’re a disgrace to the military.” A lot of mad people message me, but some appreciate it too. I’ve had friends say “I need to go viral” and it’s actually not fun.

JASON: You lose your anonymity. They threaten you.

XANTHE: But I’ve met a lot of cool people through it too so it has its pros and cons. How was your upbringing? You said you didn’t have a traditional Filipino upbringing.

JASON: I meant in the sense of nuclear. My mom died in a car accident when I was six. My dad wasn’t in the picture, so my maternal grandmother raised us. My mom’s brother came from the Philippines and he had a drug problem. I went through a long period of time of child abuse. I know for a lot of kids in Filipino culture, that’s standard punishment, but in America it’s abuse. So yeah, Filipino traditions came in family parties. So when I see your mom cooking on set, I see the other actors and crew say, “This is awesome!” and I say, “This is standard, dude.” [Laughs]

Screen Shot 2018-07-30 at 8.54.00 AM

Photo Credit: Courtney McAllister

 

XANTHE: This is a Filipino party!

JASON: Yeah, you just cook.

XANTHE: Well, thanks for sharing your story.

JASON: Yeah, it’s part of why I started teaching now. There’s a lot of kids that are like me. They’re down and out and want to turn to crime. I want my life to be like, “Hey, I was there, and it’s actually possible to make a good life.”

XANTHE: So you’re into teaching.

JASON: I had to put the acting thing on hold. You know, child care and going into these auditions in Hollywood… the high rejection rate is not paying off. Burning all the gas and time, paying for child care. I’d probably book every four months. Sometimes I wouldn’t even book.

XANTHE: Do you have a horror audition to share?

JASON: I wrote I knew capoeira on my acting resume. I know basic one-two movement of capoeira. It got me into an audition for a music video for… not One Direction, it was one of the groups at the time. The other kids were literally jumping off of walls, somersaults, aerials, and stuff like that. I don’t know how to do that. I had to slate my name and I had to go. She was a very well-known casting director. I did this number. I grabbed my foot and did a Homer Simpson. It was bad. The song gets radio play every now and then and when it plays, it’s like “This is the song!”

XANTHE: You hear it still?

 

Screen Shot 2018-07-30 at 8.54.36 AM.png

L: Jason in Not Man Apart’s Ajax in Iraq, R: Performing at CalArts

 

JASON: Yeah. I have a lot of good experiences with auditions, too. I was the stereotypical Asian featured guest spot in Ghost in the Shell with Scarlett Johansson. I was an “Asian bad guy militia man.” All I had to do was fire the gun twice. I was shooting on set for twenty minutes, but I was on the lot for about 10-12 hours. That’s typical Hollywood, life of an extra.

XANTHE: Is there anything repetitive in what you’re brought in for?

JASON: They brought me in for a Benghazi movie. I could hear the people behind the camera say, “He’s not tall enough. We need more Asian.” I’m full 100% Filipino. I went home and the movie came out. I wanted to see who got my role. I’m not doubting his talent, but I was very confident in that audition. I totally killed that thing. But he was tall, darker, had a head of hair. He delivered the lines the same way. It taught me about what casting directors look for. They needed someone at the same eye line [as the lead actor.]

XANTHE: What were some stereotypes you’ve experienced from people?

JASON: My half-sister’s Black and Filipino. I would always get the dirty eye from the black community. They would think we’re dating. One night I was dropping her off at her dad’s house. We’re at a red light, and there’s this older black man who’s like, “Roll down your window!” I’m like, “What’s your deal?” He said, “Take her home! How dare you!” I said “That’s my fucking sister, dude.” The guy says sorry, all apologetic.

XANTHE: He doesn’t want black and Asians to date.

JASON: It’s very sad, but it’s also very interesting. If Magat and Anders [the two characters from AIRMEN] actually got together you could deal with that. People who don’t have those experiences and don’t want to know the different cultures. Like people who don’t take off their shoes when they walk into our homes. [Laughs] We say it as a courtesy “You can keep them on,” but what we really mean is take your shoes off.


XANTHE: At our house we tell them to take them off.

JASON: Take it off, man. These rugs aren’t cheap.

 

Screen Shot 2018-07-30 at 8.55.09 AM.png

A still from the AIRMEN episode, “An Officer and an Airman.”

 

XANTHE: How do you feel about the current state of Asian representation in the media?

JASON: It’s horse shit. It’s nonexistent. It’s a pecking order: Caucasian, black, Latino, LGBTQ — which is great, but then below all of that is Asian. I can tell by the way I’m casted or auditioned, I’m never considered for those speaking roles. I’m a trained actor. I’m competent. I’m educated. I can totally do this, but I’m never given the opportunity. That’s why I commend you because you’re making it happen, which is what you’re supposed to as a minority. We need more people like you. The representation is sub-par, saying it nicely. It’s really bad.

 

Screen Shot 2018-07-30 at 8.55.50 AM.png

Xanthe directing actors Chloe Mondesir and Blu Lindsey on AIRMEN.  Photo Credit: Courtney McAllister

XANTHE: How do you feel about those shows like Fresh Off the Boat and Crazy Ex-Girlfriend? They’re trying to add some change to that.

JASON: My sister’s a huge fan of Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, and I think it’s great… but it’s very centered around our culture. It’s not centered around being a human being in America. I’m watching a show called Sharp Objects with Amy Adams. Great actress. Super talented. But they’re not celebrating her whiteness. They’re just telling a story about her being a journalist. I wish the marginalized groups like the Asians and Indians, Latinos, and LGBTQ would get those kinds of shows.

XANTHE: About who they are.

JASON: Yeah, about who they are. Just the humanness of them.

Screen Shot 2018-07-30 at 8.56.16 AM.png

L to R: Blu Lindsey, Jason, and Chloe Mondesir.  Photo Credit: Nick Jarry

XANTHE: How do you feel people will feel about seeing a Filipino in the military in AIRMEN?

JASON: You see them more so in the medical field as doctors and stuff. But as a military officer, it’s always good. It’s not out of the norm, nor is it for any kind of race, but it’s just sad how other shows create these other narratives about veterans. It’s important to show that Asian officers — they’re there, they’re real. Interracial relationships are there, they’re real. And other things you point out in your project. Very important.

Find AIRMEN on Seed&Spark, Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter. http://www.airmentv.com

 

Xanthe Pajarillo is a filmmaker, musician, photographer, and USAF veteran from Germany and Virginia. She is driven by a duty to tell stories that expand people’s empathy towards one another. She received a BFA in Photography and Media from CalArts, and will begin her MFA in Film and TV Production at USC this fall. Find Xanthe on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and on the web at http://www.xanthepajarillo.com

 

Jason Barlaan is a proud Marine Veteran who served honorably in both OIF & OEF as an enlisted Marine and an Officer, and has received recognition in multiple ranks. He carried over those talents into his civilian life and has credits with commercial work for USAA, Navy Federal, and USO. He loves his craft and understands the many challenges it presents, but being a Marine has prepared him to endure Hollywood and beyond. Jason loves working on projects with other Veterans!

MATANGI / MAYA / M.I.A.

Screen Shot 2018-04-09 at 11.35.35 AM.png

In our conversation with WASI in Episode 22 we let them know that they remind us of M.I.A. WASI’s infectious, dance music with a message fits right in with M.I.A.’s sound.  The closing night film for Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival is MATANGI/MAYA/M.I.A. a documentary by first time filmmaker Stephen Loveridge. Loveridge creates an intimate portrait of the unconventional pop star through personal footage spanning decades.

Get your tickets to the film and closing night party! What are notable films that you saw throughout the festival? Find the TFAL crew at the closing night party and let us know!

MATANGI / MAYA / M.I.A.Aratani Theatre, May 10, 2018 7:00 pm

 

FestWebsiteHeaderBanner2_2018_FINAL

Spotlight on Taiwan

Screen Shot 2018-04-09 at 2.08.52 PM

The 34th Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival (LAAPFF) shines a light on the country of Taiwan, highlighting the best in Taiwanese cinema and the country’s rich culture and history that have shaped the island nation into one of the most dynamic countries in the Asia-Pacific Rim.

This year, LAAPFF is honored to present two feature films — Jay Chern’s third feature film, OMOTENASHI, and Frank W. Chen’s documentary LATE LIFE: THE CHIEN-MING WANG STORY.

OMOTENASHI, from LAAPFF Award winner Jay Chern (THIEF, LAAPFF 2014), stars Edison Wang as Jacky, the young heir to a construction company in Taiwan. His father sends him to Kyoto to oversee the renovation of the  beautiful yet obsolete Bright Moon Ryokan. Jacky is going in hopes to get back his ex-girlfriend Naoko and to sell the hotel. There, he meets the innkeeper Mistuko and her daughter Rika. Unaware of his hidden agenda, the innkeeper is excited about the idea of turning the hotel into a wedding venue, and suggests that Jacky learns “omotenashi”, the virtue of traditional Japanese hospitality, together with her daughter and her otaku helper.

LATE LIFE: THE CHIEN-MING WANG STORY could be best described as a baseball version of LINSANITY. Directed by Frank W. Chen and produced by Brian Yang (coincidentally, who also produced the eponymous Jeremy Lin documentary), chronicles Taiwanese baseball player Chien-Ming Wang’s last ditch effort to be recruited back on a professional baseball team after a series of injuries disrupted his trailblazing career in the major leagues. Much like LINSANITY, the documentary is an up close and personal film that delves into Wang’s personal drive as a star athlete with a steely determination and resiliency that impresses everyone in his wake.

In addition to these two features, this year’s spotlight also highlights the works of emerging Taiwanese filmmakers with three short films — 100th BIRTHDAY WISH by Lien Chien Hung, MISS WORLD by Georgia Fu, and FUNDAMENTAL by Shih-Chieh Chiu. These short films present universal stories that are also unique in capturing everyday Taiwanese life.  As LAAPFF is an Academy Award®-qualifying festival for Short Film Awards, perhaps these new directors will one day be the next Ang Lee.

We celebrate Taiwanese filmmakers with their latest shorts, in the following programs:

100th BIRTHDAY WISH (dir. Lien Chien Hung) appearing in Forever Alone (Or Not)

MISS WORLD (dir. Georgia Fu) appearing in My So-Called Adolescence

FUNDAMENTAL (dir. Shih-Chieh Chiu) appearing in My So-Called Adolescence

SPOTLIGHT TAIWAN: BUY TICKETS 

FestWebsiteHeaderBanner2_2018_FINAL

The No Spin Zone

This Filipino American Life shorts program recommendations!

The Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival continues to highlight talented short filmmakers and storytellers. A few short films that shouldn’t be missed are Just A Kid From Seattle, Fakeapino, Limboland, and Aswang Next Door.

If you are looking for one shorts program to check out, TFAL recommends The No Spin Zone. Filipino/Filipino American Short Films included in this program include The Duwende, Killings, and Your Mother.

THE NO SPIN ZONE, Downtown Independent, May 5, 2018 9:00 pm: BUY TICKETS

Screen Shot 2018-04-11 at 9.32.55 AM.png

 

Screen Shot 2018-04-11 at 9.38.06 AM

While working far from home to make ends meet, Boyet is called back to his family in rural Philippines after his young daughter Abby goes missing. His distraught wife, Tata, believes their child was taken by the duwende, a mythical creature from Filipino folklore that steals children from their homes.


Director’s Bio

Odin B. Fernandez is a filmmaker from Quezon City, Philippines and currently based in Melbourne, Australia. He has been in the film production industry in various capacities for more than a decade. In 2016, he graduated with a Master’s degree in Film and Television from the Victorian College of the Arts, University of Melbourne. His graduate film received the Best Production Script at the 2016 VCA Film and TV Graduate Awards.

 

Screen Shot 2018-04-11 at 9.56.35 AM.png

Through a series of killings, PATAYAN examines the wearisome violence plaguing the country and questions the amalgam of murder with impunity, along with the public’s apathy for the dead. Without narrative or characterization, choosing only to depict the act of killing itself, the film confronts the violence head on.


Director’s Bio

Joseph Mangat is a filmmaker born in Manila, Philippines and based in Brooklyn, New York. He received his BA in Visual Arts at the University of California, San Diego. He holds a MA in TV, Film and New Media from San Diego State University. His short films have screened at multiple festivals and showcases. He is currently finishing his first feature documentary film, HOLY CRAFTS.

 

Screen Shot 2018-04-11 at 9.57.31 AM.png

Follow Ana, a housemaid in Manila, and her quiet resilience as she is hassled by the family she has come to care for. While she is desperate to send more money to her mom, her job is jeopardized when her employer’s children’s desire for her go too far.


Director’s Bio

Mary is an NYC based filmmaker. She blurs the lines between personal drama, fantasy, and fiction ever since she got a hold of her first 16mm camera as a teenager. She received her MFA at NYU for Writing and Directing where she was the recipient of the prestigious Tisch Graduate Fellowship for Cinematography. With her work, she pursues distinct and transformative stories full of bullish heart and levity.

FestWebsiteHeaderBanner2_2018_FINAL

The Cleaners + Call Her Ganda

This Filipino American Life Documentary Recommendations!

THE CLEANERS and CALL HER GANDA are two films in the documentary competition for Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival. Under the International Documentary Feature Competition there is THE CLEANERS highlights who’s job is it to Olivia Pope/fix your online profiles. CALL HER GANDA makes it’s west coast premiere in the LAAPFF Documentary Features Competition. The film follows the story of a 19 year old transgender woman murdered by a US Marine.

Screen Shot 2018-04-11 at 9.27.27 AM.png

THE CLEANERS, Regal L.A. Live – Theatre 13, May 7, 2018 6:30 pm: BUY TICKETS

When you post something on the web, can you be sure it stays there? Who is controlling what we see… and what we think? Social media sites — particularly Facebook and YouTube — have been under intense pressure to monitor and delete offensive, pornographic, and incendiary posts. Compassionately portraying the Filipino workers who comb through thousands of online images in the dark of night, THE CLEANERS exposes the dark side of information technology.


Director’s Bio

Hans Block is a German theatre director, musician, and filmmaker. He studied Music at the Berlin University of the Arts and Directing at the Ernst Busch Institute for Theatre Directing. Moritz Riesewieck is a German theatre director, author, and filmmaker. He studied Economics as a scholar of the German National Academic Foundation, followed by Directing at the Ernst Busch Institute for Theatre Directing in Berlin.

 

Screen Shot 2018-04-11 at 9.24.53 AM.png

CALL HER GANDA, AMC Dine-in Sunset 5, May 4, 2018 7:00 pm: BUY TICKETS

Grassroots activists in the Philippines are spurred into action when a local transgender woman is found dead in a motel room with a 19-year-old U.S. marine as the leading suspect. As the activists demand answers and a just trial, hidden histories of U.S. colonization come bubbling to the surface.


Director’s Bio

PJ Raval is an award‐winning filmmaker whose credits include TRINIDAD (Showtime, Logo) and BEFORE YOU KNOW IT, which follows the lives of three gay senior men, described by indieWIRE as “a crucial new addition to the LGBT doc canon.” An accomplished cinematographer, PJ shot the Academy Award‐nominated Best Documentary, TROUBLE THE WATER and is a 2015 Guggenheim Fellow, 2016 Firelight Media Fellow, and a 2017 Robert Giard Fellow.

FestWebsiteHeaderBanner2_2018_FINAL