ASIAN POP-UP CINEMA COMMUNITY SCREENINGS FEATURE SPECIAL GUESTS,

FREE AND OPEN TO THE PUBLIC

RITOMA, from Oscar-winning director Ruby Yang, and MADE IN VIETNAM

to feature guests and post-film conversations October 26 & 27

(Chicago, IL) – Pan-Asian film organization Sophia’s Choice today announces Asian Pop-Up Cinema’s newest community screenings, RITOMA on Friday, October 26 and MADE IN VIETNAM on Saturday, October 27. The two community screenings (timing and location info below) feature special guests and, due to popular demand, an added screening. Bill Johnson, the Boston-based basketball coach featured in RITOMA, the story of how he taught the sport to Tibetan nomads, will be in Chicago for the film’s screenings on October 26; Canadian-Vietnamese filmmaker Thi Vo will attend the screening of his highly-personal origin story MADE IN VIETNAM on October 27. Each screening is free and open to the public, though RSVP is required at www.asianpopupcinema.org.

From Academy Award-winning filmmaker Ruby Yang (The Blood of Yingzhou District), RITOMA chronicles Bill Johnson’s arrival on the Tibetan Plateau, an area where one is just as likely to see nomads herding their yaks and sheep, monks reciting their mantras and locals playing one of their favorite sports—basketball. Before long, a new tournament is announced, the first in their region. Can they put together a team that’s good enough to compete? Might they even be able to win? Johnson played basketball internationally for years until his Political Science background took him to Tibet, where he worked with Norlha Textiles, a groundbreaking Tibetan social enterprise and innovative fashion brand. In the evenings, he coached the area basketball programs, marrying his experience as a professional athlete with the locals’ favorite past-time. RITOMA screens twice on October 26: 2pm at Flashpoint Chicago (28 North Clark Street, 5th Floor) and 7pm at Joffrey Ballet Tower (10 East Randolph Street, Studio A); Pat McDonald, writer/editor at HollywoodChicago.com will moderate the post-film Q&A. Both screenings are free and open to the public; RSVP is required here.

On Saturday, October 27, filmmaker Thi Vo joins Asian Pop-Up Cinema for a screening of MADE IN VIETNAM, the story of his search for his roots and the secrets of his extended family in a war-torn country. In this emotional, heartfelt feature documentary, Thi Vo and his friends navigate Vietnam as they search for clues about their backgrounds and connect with people who help them along their way. MADE IN VIETNAM screens at 2pm at Chinese-American Museum of Chicago (238 W 23rd St); free and open to the public, RSVP is required here.

Special guests Bill Johnson and Thi Vo are available for interviews and in-studio appearances, and each film is available for feature and review; contact Lisa Trifone (lisa@11thstreetlot.com or 317.362.5378) to make arrangements. Details of each film is below; information on the entire Asian Pop-Up Cinema - Season Seven line-up is at www.asianpopupcinema.org.

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Friday, October 26, 2:00 PM @ Flashpoint Chicago | MIDWEST PREMIERE

Friday, October 26, 7:00 PM @ Joffrey Ballet Studio | Q&A moderated by Pat McDonald

RITOMA | Free and Open to the Public. RSVP is required.

Hong Kong/Tibet | 2018 | Documentary | English or Tibetan w/English subtitles

Director: Ruby Yang | Main Characters: Willard (Bill) Johnson, Jampa Dhundup, Dechen Yeshi

On any given day on the vast Tibetan Plateau, nomads herd their yaks and sheep, and monks recite their mantras. Locals also play one of their favorite sports — basketball. The game is so popular, makeshift courts are found in nearly every village. Next to traditional horseback riding, basketball has become a way for young men to work off their aggression and channel their energy. With the introduction of televised NBA games, the nomads of Ritoma have a new strategy for their court game. And when a proper coach arrives from the United States, “slam-dunk” becomes their new mantra. Before long, a new tournament is announced, the first in their region. Can they put together a team that’s good enough to compete? Might they even be able to win?

Saturday, October 27, 2:00 PM @ Chinese-American Museum of Chicago | U.S. PREMIERE

MADE IN VIETNAM | Free and Open to the Public. RSVP is required.

Canada/Vietnam | 2017 | Documentary

Director/Cast/Executive Producer: Thi Vo | Cast/3rd Cameraman/Music Producer: Kaleb Tekeste

Thi Vo was a refugee who escaped from Vietnam with his mother when he was only a baby, escaping war and poverty. After fleeing to Hong Kong, they later immigrated to Canada when Thi Vo was just four years old. Thirty years later, he decides to not only find his extended family, but also to locate his father and uncover the mysteries of his past. In this emotional, heartfelt feature documentary, Thi Vo and his friends navigate Vietnam as they search for clues about their backgrounds and connect with people who help them along their way.

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