Back from Texas where I had a blast! It was hot and sweltering but it actually cooled down about 10 degrees when I got in. I went from the airport directly to LOTUS for the official Kickoff party. Nick and I arrived with filmmaker Mark Tran (ALL ABOUT DAD) who also just flew in from LA. An hour and a half late, there was no more Chang beer, but it didn't seem to phase anyone. Everyone was still drinking and dancing and having a good time. I had to cool off and get some free Natsumi gelato. Natsumi had a cart at Lotus offering the usual chocolate and vanilla flavors but also some special Asian flavor creations such as Black Sesame and Thai Iced Tea. Thanks Natsumi for the free tastings!
We all stayed in the official sponsor hotel, STAYBRIDGE SUITES near DFW. This new hotel is wonderful. The rooms have a mini kitchen and full fridge. The decor and the bed makes you feel like you are staying at a Starwood, but for probably much less the price.
Opening night almost went smoothly. ICHI screening had technical issues that turned out to be an improperly produced HDcam tape which caused the film to run at the incorrect speed. Nonetheless the audience mostly stayed through the film and watched it as is. You can check out ICHI in the "proper" speed at SDAFF in Oct.
The opening night film, btw, was Dante Lam's BEAST STALKER which is so awesome on the big screen. It MIGHT come to SDAFF, so I hope you all try to catch it.
Saturday was a busy day as ALL ABOUT DAD brought a packed house and a very lively Q&A. I had a great time hanging out with "DAD" himself, actor CHI PHAM and his 2 sons Duc and Nguyen from San Jose.
[Here's filmmaker MARK TRAN chatting with the new fans after the screening.]
Nick and I also watched WRITTEN BY the new Wai Ka Fai film. Very bittersweet and complex film about death, life after death, grief and sorrow.
The crowd for NEKO RAMEN TAISHO (aka pussy soup) was a riot. It was so much fun to hear everyone laugh at all the silly puppet stuff. This film is coming to SDAFF, so be sure to check it out and grab some beers beforehand.
Later that night we went with some of the festival peeps and the ALL ABOUT DAD gang to some karaoke in K-town. Mark and Chi are fabulous at the mic. Chi even did some dance moves to "Billie Jean."
The next morning was our last day. My friends Eric and Tien were kind enough to host the ALL ABOUT DAD gang at their house in Irving. We had an amazing Vietnamese cookout (without having to do any
We said our goodbyes right before the intro of KIMJONGILIA. There was a nice mix of people in the screening. I hope the film helps garner awareness of the suffering in North Korea. If you saw the film and want to know how to help, please visit www.linkglobal.org.
I'm sad to not be able to be there tonight for the CLOSING FILM - IP MAN but I'm sure it'll be a great night. IP MAN is one of the best Hong Kong martial arts film I've seen in a while and it's coming to SDAFF, so stay tuned.