Contact:        

Beth Silverman/Rob Walton
The Silverman Group, Inc.
312.932.9950
Beth@silvermangroupchicago.com
For Immediate Release
Photos available HERE

ASIAN POP-UP CINEMA SERIES LAUNCHES SEPTEMBER 16 TO PREMIERE CONTEMPORARY ASIAN FILMS
•    SERIES IS SIGNATURE PROGRAM OF NEW CHICAGO NON-PROFIT, SOPHIA’S CHOICE
•    U.S. PREMIERE OF MANGA-BASED POISON BERRY IN THE BRAIN - CLOSING NIGHT, DEC. 4
•    POPULAR CINEMA SLAPDOWN HOST RON FALZONE TO MODERATE POST-FILM Q&A SESSIONS

(August 5, 2015) – From a sexy romantic comedy to a school heist that’s “gone south,” the inaugural season of ASIAN POP-UP CINEMA will showcase the wide variety of current and contemporary Asian language films at screenings taking place bi-weekly at the AMC River East 21, 322 E. Illinois Street (Chicago), and the Wilmette Theatre, 1122 Central Avenue, from September 16- December 4, 2015.

Among highlights of the inaugural season, Opening Night festivities include a screening of the breezy rom-com WOMEN WHO FLIRT (Hong Kong, dir. Pang Ho-cheung), preceded by a reception supported in part by the Hong Kong Economic & Trade Office (New York), September 16. Audiences here will be the first in the country to see the manga-based POISON BERRY IN THE BRAIN (Japan, dir. Yuichi Sato) which has its U.S. Premiere as the Closing Night film, December 4. ECOTHERAPY GETAWAY HOLIDAY (Japan, dir. Okita Shuichi), MEETING DR. SUN (Taiwan, dir. Yee Chih-yen) and ONLY YOU (China, dir. Zhang Hao) are making their Chicago debuts. Most films in the ASIAN POP-UP CINEMA series will be followed by question-and-answer sessions led by award-winning screenwriter, Columbia College Chicago Associate Professor in Cinema Art + Science, and host of the popular Cinema Slapdown series, Ron Falzone.   The inaugural series features films primarily in Cantonese, Mandarin, Japanese and Korean languages (with English subtitles); other Asian cultures will be the subject of future offerings.

ASIAN POP-UP CINEMA is the signature series of SOPHIA’S CHOICE, a new Chicago not-for-profit arts organization under the direction of Chicago-based, Hong Kong-bred cultural entrepreneur Sophia Wong Boccio. SOPHIA’S CHOICE was started here with the ambitious multiple mission of: cultivating the general public’s interest in Asian culture via film; connecting the Asian film industry with local industry for both professional and educational exchanges; and promoting Chicago as a destination for Asian film companies. All of the above programs will serve as the incubator for the First Chicago Asian Film Festival, to be launched in tandem with the Chinese New Year holiday in 2017.

“Asian Pop-Up Cinema is intended for those culturally curious about the wide range of contemporary Asian films that are rarely theatrically released in America, as well as the rapidly growing Asian-American population here that wants to understand more about their heritage through current films. These films- by award-winning filmmakers and featuring Asian superstars - all tell stories that transcend the different languages,” said Wong Boccio.


Inaugural ASIAN POP-UP CINEMA series schedule

Opening Night Film: WOMEN WHO FLIRT (撒娇女人最好命)
Wednesday, September 16, 7:30 PM, at AMC River East 21
Directed by: Pang Ho-cheung
Starring: Zhou Xun, Huang Xiao-ming and Sonia Sui
Hong Kong/China co-production, 2014, 96 min, Mandarin w/subtitles
Synopsis: Angie and Marco’s friendship since college was so tight they presumed they’d be buddies forever, until Marco falls for a girl he met on a business trip. Angie’s true feelings come to the surface. Will she sabotage the new couple and speak out? Shot on locations in Shanghai and Taiwan, WOMEN WHO FLIRT is an “ultra-pop confection.” Director Pang once again proves to be one of the most talented and versatile directors on the Asian scene.

LOST AND LOVE (失孤) 
Thursday, September 17, 7:30PM, at the Wilmette Theatre
Directed by:  Pan San-yuan 
Starring:  Andy Lau and Jing Bo-ran
China/Hong Kong co-production, 2015, 112 min, Mandarin w/subtitles
Synopsis:  After losing his two-year-old son, Lei begins a 15-year-long quest in search of his missing child. On his way, he meets Zeng, a young car mechanic who was abducted as a child himself.  Shot in arresting widescreen lensing by cinematographer Mark Lee Ping-bing (longtime collaborator of Taiwanese director, Hou Hsian-hsien), LOST AND LOVE is a lyrical road drama that examines the problem of child abduction in China, while the two protagonists develop a father-son bond that never turns over-sentimental.

ECOTHERAPY GETAWAY HOLIDAY (滝を見にいく) ** CHICAGO PREMIERE
Tuesday, September 29, 7:30 PM at the Wilmette Theatre
Wednesday, September 30, 7:30 PM at AMC River East 21
Directed by: Okita Shuichi 
Starring: Negishi Haruko, Yasuzawa Chigusa, Ogino Yuriko, Kirihara Mie, Kawada Kumiko, Tokuno Keiko, Watanabe Michiko and Kuroda Daisuke 
Japan, 2014, 88 min. Japanese w/subtitles
Synopsis: A group of middle-aged ladies gets lost during a trip into the woods.  “Cast from an audition open to amateurs and based on Okita’s own script, the film is somewhat like a reality show, with the lost-in-the-woods situation used to bring out each participant’s true personality and amusing foibles.  Director Okita presents us with a wonderful display of improbable adventurers.” From Variety Japan correspondent, Mark Schilling. 
MEETING DR. SUN (行動代号-孫中山) ** CHICAGO PREMIERE
Tuesday, October 6, 7:30 PM at the Wilmette Theatre
Wednesday, October 7, 7:30 PM at AMC River East 21
Directed by: Yee Chih-yen 
Starring: Chan Huai-yun, Matthew Wei and Joseph Chang
Taiwan, 2014, 93 min Mandarin w/subtitles
Synopsis: Lefty has devised an amazing plan to make money by stealing and then selling a bronze statue of Sun Yat-sen (the father of modern China) from the storage room of the school. When he finds out that another student has the same idea, a battle of wits ensues. Director Yee’s exceptionally humorous portrayal of these dopey students will make you laugh until your stomach hurts. 


A SIMPLE LIFE (桃姐)
Tuesday, November 3, 7:30 PM at the Wilmette Theatre
Wednesday, November 4, 7:30 PM at AMC River East 21
Directed by: Ann Hui 
Starring: Deanie Ip and Andy Lau
Hong Kong, 2012, 119min, Cantonese w/subtitles
Synopsis: Ah Tao, who was orphaned during the Japanese occupation of Hong Kong, spent her entire life as the live-in maid for four generations of a Chinese family. She’s now looking after Roger, a movie producer, the only family member still living in Hong Kong. According to the late Roger Ebert, “A SIMPLE LIFE is one of the year’s best films, which is content to regard these two inward people as they express love and care in their quiet ways.”

COLD EYES (감시자들) 
Tuesday, November 17, 7:30 PM at the Wilmette Theatre
Wednesday, November 18, 7:30 PM at AMC River East 21
Directed by: Cho Ui-seok & Kim Byung-seo
Starring: Seol Kyung-gu, Jung Woo-sung and Han Hyo-joo
S. Korea, 2013, 119 min, Korean w/subtitles
Synopsis: Adapted from the 2007 Hong Kong film EYE IN THE SKY, directed by Johnny To’s longtime scriptwriter Yau Nai-hoi, COLD EYES is a levelheaded thriller about a team of detectives who plot their chess game-like surveillance on a villain who enjoys watching his carefully engineered schemes from above the roofs of the crime scenes.

ONLY YOU (命中注定) ** CHICAGO PREMIERE
Wednesday, December 2, 7:30PM, at AMC River East 21 
Directed by: Zhang Hao 
Starring: Tang Wei and Liao Fan
China, 2015, 114 min, Mandarin, Italian, English w/subtitles 
Synopsis:  ONLY YOU is loosely based on the popular 1994 Hollywood romance of the same title with Marisa Tomei and Robert Downey Jr.  Fang Yuan, played by actress Tang Wei (Ang Lee’s “Lust, Caution”) is a Beijing veterinarian, engaged to a dull dentist, who flies off to Italy to hunt down the man named Song Kun-ming whom she was twice been informed by fortunetellers that she would marry. 

Closing Night Film: POISON BERRY IN MY BRAIN (脳内ポイズンベリー) ** U.S. PREMIERE 
Friday, December 4, 7:00 PM, at the Wilmette Theatre
Directed by: Yuichi Sato
Starring: Yuki Furukawa, Yoko Maki, Hidetoshi Nishijima
Japan, 2015, 121 min, Japanese w/subtitles    
Synopsis: Based on a manga of the same title illustrated by Setona Mizushiro, POISON BERRY IN THE BRAIN is about the love life of a 30-year-old unemployed woman, Ichiko. She meets Ryoichi at a drinking establishment and, even though he is a lot younger than she, she can't forget him. Meanwhile, similar to the current Pixar hit, INSIDE OUT, Ichiko has five different characters in her brain that govern her actions: “Yoshida” presides over the meeting as the chairman; while “Ishibashi” is the optimist; ”Ikeda” is the pessimist; “Hatoko” is the character who lives in the moment; and “Kishi” thinks about the past.

TICKETS for the individual screening and post-film Q&A sessions are $13 (AMC River East 21) and $10 (Wilmette Theatre) with special discounts for students and seniors.  (Opening and Closing Night tickets are $15). Theater box offices will start selling individual tickets August 15. More info: www.amctheatres.com/rivereast21 and www.wilmettetheatre.org. All programs are subject to change. All tickets sales are final, non-exchangeable and non-refundable.  

A special five-film package at $35 is available for both theatres’ screenings.  They are available at http://www.asianpopupcinema.org/tickets. 

SPECIAL EVENTS:

OPENING NIGHT: Wednesday, September 16
Film: 7:30pm; reception preceding: 5:30 - 7 PM 
In celebration of the two award-winning Hong Kong directors and films being presented at the inaugural season of ASIAN POP-UP CINEMA -- Ann Hui (A SIMPLE LIFE) and Pang Ho-cheung (WOMEN WHO FLIRT, Opening Night film) -- a Hong Kong Night reception will be co-hosted by the Board of Directors of SOPHIA’S CHOICE and the Hong Kong Economic & Trade Office in New York. The festive reception will offer specialty drinks inspired by Hong Kong landmarks, and Hong Kong cuisine specially prepared by Chicago’s own celebrity chef Tony Hu at Lao Sze Chuan (520 North Michigan Avenue).  Net proceeds of this event will benefit ASIAN POP-UP CINEMA with its endeavor of connecting the East with the West via films.  
Reception & preferred film tickets: $65
Film tickets only: $15  

CLOSING NIGHT AFTER PARTY: Friday, December 4 
Film: 7pm; party immediately following: 9 – 10:30 PM
Venue & Tickets: to be announced

About SOPHIA’S CHOICE founder Sophia Wong Boccio

Sophia Wong Boccio was born and raised in Hong Kong by parents who were part of Hong Kong’s film industry from the 1950s through the ’70s. Her father (Wong Tsao-she) was an award-winning editor with the Motion Picture and General Investment Company/Cathy Studio and her mother (Yu Wan-fei) an actress with Sil-Metropole Organization Ltd. Growing up “on the sets” of these film studios, Wong Boccio became both interested in, and an advocate of, Asian film.

Wong Boccio’s business career first took her to China where she spent almost a decade working for Marc Rich & Co., a large Swiss multinational corporation. As Managing Director of its Hong Kong and Beijing offices, she was responsible for more than $400 million (US) in annual trading activity. 
In the early 1990s, while working as the Beijing-based director of a U.S. agribusiness trade association, Sophia launched a Sophia’s Choice movie series in Beijing, setting the stage for this current endeavor. In collaboration with China Film Export & Import Corp., Sophia’s Choice brought Chinese film and cultural exchange with the films or films’ actors and directors to Beijing’s expatriate and diplomatic community. In the late-1990s, during a two-year residency in Sydney, Australia, Wong Boccio curated two independent retrospective Chinese and Hong Kong film festivals on behalf of the Hong Kong Economic & Trade Office and the People’s Republic of China Consulate in Sydney. In 1999, she also became the Hong Kong Consultant for Italy’s Udine Far East Film Festival’s (FEFF) and continues to support the festival as the official Cantonese (and also Mandarin) Chinese translator for the festival’s VIP guests.

In 2000, Wong Boccio relocated to Chicago with her husband Michael and they have made Chicago their permanent home. Inspired by Chicago’s diverse and vibrant culture, Wong Boccio applied her business acumen to supporting Chicago’s arts community as Managing Director of the Chicago International Film Festival (2000-2007), Executive Director of Fulcrum Point New Music Project (2007-2013) and Managing Director of Redmoon Theater (2013-2014). She is passionate about and committed to bringing Sophia’s Choice to Chicago, supporting Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s Chicago Cultural plan and advancing Chicago as one of the world’s diversified arts and culture capital.  For more information, please visit http://www.asianpopupcinema.org.

The inaugural season of ASIAN POP-UP CINEMA is supported in part by Hong Kong Economic & Trade Office in New York, AMC Independent, The Wilmette Theatre, China Lion Film Distribution, Cathay Pacific Airways Limited, Huayi Bros. International, Lao Sze Chuan Michigan, Walton J. Newton & Co. and Big Picture Marketing, Inc.
About Hong Kong Economic & Trade Office in New York
Set up in 1983, the Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office in New York is the office of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Government tasked to promote and strengthen the economic and trade links between Hong Kong and the 31 eastern state of the U.S.A.  As the world’s freest economy, Hong Kong is a leading international business and financial center, as well as a regional transportation and logistics hub.  It is the gateway to China and remains a choice location for international companies to oversee and manage their regional operations. Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office in New York works with American businesses that are keen to invest in Hong Kong or gain a foothold in the burgeoning Mainland Chinese market through the territory.  We are in close contact with state and city governments, think tanks, academia and the media to keep them abreast of latest developments on Hong Kong. Promotional events, such as dragon boat festivals and film festivals, are also held regularly to enhance cultural ties with major cities on the east coast.
###