FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Lisa Trifone | email@example.com | 317.362.5378
CHICAGO'S ONLY PAN-ASIAN FILM ORGANIZATION ANNOUNCES
ASIAN POP-UP CINEMA - SEASON SIX
Program presents U.S., Midwest and Chicago premieres from across Asia, March 13 through May 16 -
plus free community screenings with cultural partners. Tickets on sale now.
February 15, 2018 (Chicago, IL) - Non-profit pan-Asian film organization Sophia's Choice today announces Asian Pop-Up Cinema - Season Six, the spring film series that presents to Chicago audiences more than fifteen films from across Asia, from March 13 through May 16, 2018. The series itself includes nine films screened at AMC River East 21, with special guests and post-film discussions; six films are presented free in conjunction with cultural community partners; and a kick-off event on Monday, March 5 at the Gene Siskel Film Center launches the entire program. A complete list of films, screening dates and ticket information is below and available at www.asianpopupcinema.org.
Asian Pop-Up Cinema - Season Six kicks off on Monday, March 5 with a pre-series screening of CLOSE-KNIT, a Berlin Film Festival selection from Japanese writer/director Naoko Ogigami, enjoying its Midwest premiere at the Gene Siskel Film Center. Tokyo-based film critic Mark Schilling (Japan Times) will emcee the evening.
On Tuesday, March 13, Asian Pop-Up Cinema - Season Six officially launches at AMC River East with the gala presentation of COLORS OF WIND, the exceptional creative partnership of a South Korean director (Kwak Jae-young, My Sassy Girl) and a Japanese superstar (Yuki Furukawa, Netflix's Erased). From there, eight more films will be presented as part of the Spring series, including three from Taiwan (THE LAST VERSE on Wednesday, March 28; A FISH OUT OF WATER on Monday, April 2; and THE GREAT BUDDHA + on Wednesday, April 4); two from Japan (PERFECT REVOLUTION on Wednesday, April 11 and DEAR ETRANGER on Wednesday, May 2); as well a selection each from India (VILLAGE ROCKSTARS on Wednesday, April 18) and South Korea (ALONG WITH THE GODS: THE TWO WORLDS on Wednesday, May 9).
The Spring 2018 Asian Pop-Up Cinema series concludes on Wednesday, May 16 with a Closing Night presentation of TOMORROW IS ANOTHER DAY, the U.S. premiere of this evocative drama from Hong Kong. Film details, trailers and ticketing information for each screening, plus details on expected special guests, are available at www.asianpopupcinema.org.
Alongside this latest series of the most acclaimed new cinema from across Asia, the organization presents six free community screenings in partnership with select cultural organizations. These include Hong Sang-soo's CLAIRE'S CAMERA, a Cannes Film Festival official selection starring Isabelle Huppert, on Thursday, March 22 at Alliance Française; A VILLAGE DOCTOR'S CHOICE on Saturday, April 14 at the Chinese-American Museum of Chicago; PATHS OF THE SOUL on Sunday, May 6 at the Midwest Buddhist Temple; and Kaleidoscope of Canadian-Chinese Films, a three-film mini-series on Saturday, April 7 at the International House at the University of Chicago (CHINA HEAVYWEIGHT, THE MAGICAL LIFE OF LONG TACK SAM and OLD STONE).
All told, Asian Pop-Up Cinema - Season Six will present sixteen films from every corner of the Asian continent, many of them making their Chicago debut, and all of them exceptional examples of international filmmaking and diverse programming, from comedy and romance to epic action, drama and documentary.
From Sophia Wong Boccio, founder and executive-artistic director of Asian Pop-Up Cinema:
"This season's films bring to Chicago a diversity of impassioned voices, perspectives and stories, every one of them a unique glimpse into life on the other side of the world, including a transgender knitter; a wheelchair-bound sex obsessive; a 10-year-old 's pursuit for a real guitar; and an autistic son giving hope to his family, just to name a few.
What's more, this season we're hosting the biggest representation yet of special guests from around the world-acclaimed actors, directors, producers, film critics and more-many of whom will visit Chicago for the first time. Their presence only intensifies the culture exchange that defines our programming and our mission."
Special guests scheduled to attend this year include the following (visit www.asianpopupcinema.org for an up-to-date list of special guests):
● Mark Schilling, Tokyo-based film critic and writer, Japan Times
● Yuki Furukawa, acclaimed Japanese actor and star of Opening Night film: Colors of Wind
● Gen Terader, Chief Direction Officer, ASIA Pictures Entertainment Inc.
● Tseng Ying-ting and Fu Meng-po, director and star (respectively) of The Last Verse
● Ann Marie Fleming, filmmaker, writer/director of The Magical Life of Long Tack Sam
● Shelly Kraicer, film critic and programmer, Vancouver International Film Festival
● Jumpei Matsumoto, director of Perfect Revolution
● Rima Das, director of Village Rockstars
● Chan Tai-lee and Ling Man-lung, writer/director and star (respectively) of Tomorrow Is Another Day. Ling Man-lung will also be honored with the festival's Bright Star Award celebrating his silver screen debut and the promise of a bright future.
Tickets for Asian Pop-Up Cinema - Season Six are on sale now; individual tickets are $15 (for screenings with special guests in attendance) and $13 otherwise, with discounts available for seniors and students. Purchase tickets in advance online or on-site before each film (cash only).
Select films are available for advance screening/review on a case-by-case basis; to request screenings links or interviews with Asian Pop-up Cinema founder Sophia Wong Boccio or filmmakers/cast of select films, contact Lisa Trifone (firstname.lastname@example.org or 317.362.5378).
ASIAN POP-UP CINEMA - SEASON SIX Full Schedule and Film Details
Monday, March 5, 8:00 PM @ Gene Siskel Film Center | Pre-Series Kick-Off | CHICAGO PREMIERE
Japan | 2017 | Japanese w/English subs
Directed by: Naoko Ogigami | Starring: Toma Ikuta, Rinka Kakihara, Kenta Kiritani
Special Guest: Mark Schilling, Japan Times Film Critic/Writer
As the story begins, 11-year-old Tomo (Rinka Kakihara) is living with her negligent mom who feeds her on convenience-store rice balls and vanishes for days at a time. Finally reaching her limit, the plucky girl finds refuge with her uncle Makio (Kenta Kiritani), a nerdy, good-hearted guy who is her mom's younger brother. But Makio now has a live-in girlfriend, Rinko (Toma Ikuta), who Tomo immediately sizes up as different. And Rinko soon tells her why: "I was born a boy," she says. "God made a mistake." -excerpt from Mark Schilling, Japan Times
Tuesday, March 13, 7:00 PM @ AMC River East 21 | Opening Night | U.S. PREMIERE
COLORS OF WIND (風の色)
Japan/South Korea | 2017 | 119 Minutes | Japanese w/English subs
Director: Kwak Jae-yong | Starring: Yuki Furukawa and Takemi Fujii
Special Guest: Yuki Furukawa
Before she passes away, Ryo's girlfriend Yuri tells him that she has a doppelganger in Hokkaido. Later, Ryo discovers he has a doppelganger himself named Ryu, a magician who died during a magic trick a year ago. Ryo travels to Hokkaido to investigate, getting involved with Aya, who knew Ryu and looks very much like Yuki. Aya is so happy that Ryu has returned to her she doesn't realize that he is Ryo. Now, Ryo must decide whether to stay with Aya as Ryu, or to leave her to live as himself.
Thursday, March 22, 7:00 PM @ Alliance Francaise de Chicago | MIDWEST PREMIERE
CLAIRE'S CAMERA (As part of Festival de la Francophonie 2018)
Free and Open to the Public. RSVP is required.
France/South Korea | 2017 | 69 Minutes | French, Korean w/English subs
Written & Directed by: Hong Sang-soo
Starring: Isabelle Huppert, Kim Min-hee, Chang Mi-hee, and Jung Jin-young
Guest Speaker: Ron Falzone, Associate Professor of Columbia College Chicago
A refreshingly sunny performance from Isabelle Huppert (The Piano Teacher, Elle) is at the center of this comic charmer from South Korean master Hong Sang-soo. Huppert plays Claire, a school teacher with a camera (that might be magical) on her first visit to Cannes. She happens upon a film sales assistant, Man-hee (Kim Min-hee), recently laid off after a one-night stand with a film director (Jung Jiny-oung). Together, this unlikely pair become detectives of sorts, as they wander around the seaside resort town, working to better understand the circumstances of Man-hee's firing-and developing new outlooks on life in the process.
Wednesday, March 28, 7:00 PM @ AMC River East 21 | MIDWEST PREMIERE
THE LAST VERSE (最后的诗句)
Taiwan | 2017 | 101 Minutes | Mandarin w/ English subs
Director: Tseng Ying-ting | Starring: Fu Meng-po and Wen Chen-ling
Special Guests: Tseng Ying-ting and Fu Meng-po
The summer of 2000 marked the best days in Ren-jie's life. He met Xiao-ping, walked hand in hand with her through their youth and wrote the opening sentence of his life's poem. But a visit by his military father changes his life forever and he falls into the uneasy atmosphere of 2006. When Ren-jie is discharged from the air force, the cruel reality of life wears away his and Xiao-ping's romantic love. When they finally got back together, will they again recite the poem about how beautiful life is?
Wednesday, April 4, 7:00 PM @ AMC River East 21 | MIDWEST PREMIERE
A FISH OUT OF WATER (上岸的鱼)
Taiwan | 2017 | 90 Minutes | Mandarin w/ English subs
Director: Lai Kuo-an | Starring: Junto Pai, Zheng Ren-shuo Z, and Peggy Tseng
Yian, just starting kindergarten, often asks his parents to help him find his parents from a past life. However, doctors and his parents just think it might be a psychosis, a passing phase. Meanwhile, his parents are separating; his mom Yaji decides to move out with him while his dad Hao-teng decides to look after Yian's ill grandfather. With his parents busy with their own lives, Yian brings his wish to find his other parents to his grandfather. However, it's all bound to fail again when his grandfather dies.
Thursday, April 5, 7:00 PM @ AMC River East 21
THE GREAT BUDDHA + (大佛普拉斯)
Taiwan | 2017 | 104 Minutes | Mandarin w/ English subs
Director: Huang Hsin-yao | Starring: Cres Chuang, Bamboo Chen and Leon Dai
Pickle works nights as a security guard at a Buddha statue factory. His favorite pastimes during the quiet shifts are to read porn magazines and watch TV with his best pal, Belly Button. One day, out of boredom, they grab Pickle's boss's dash-cam and watch the recording. They soon realize that they have not only intruded a man's private life but also witnessed his dirty little secrets, triggering a chaotic chain reaction.
Saturday, April 7, 1:00 PM - 8:00 PM @ Assembly Hall of International House of University of Chicago
Kaleidoscope of Canadian-Chinese Films | Free and Open to the Public. RSVP is required.
Special Guests: Shelly Kraicer and director Ann Marie Fleming
1:00 PM - THE MAGICAL LIFE OF LONG TACK SAM | 2003| Documentary | 90 Minutes
Writer/Director: Ann Marie Fleming, great-granddaughter of Long Tack Sam
Long Tack Sam was an internationally renowned Chinese acrobat and magician. He overcame isolation, poverty, cultural and linguistic barriers, extreme racism, and world wars to become one of the most successful vaudeville acts of his time. His showmanship was unrivaled, yet he refused to appear in movies because of the way Chinese people were portrayed at the time. The Magical Life of Long Tack Sam is a celebration of Long Tack Sam's spirit as told in this richly textured first-person road movie, an exhilarating testament to his legacy and a prismatic tour through the 20th century.
3:00 PM CHINA HEAVYWEIGHT (千 錘 百 煉)
2012 | Documentary | 89 Minutes | Chinese/Sichuanese w/ English subs
Writer/Director: Yung Chang
Award-winning filmmaker Yung Chang (Up the Yangtze) returns to China for another riveting documentary on the country's ever-changing economic landscape-this time through the lens of sports. In China Heavyweight, Chang follows the charismatic Qi Mo-xiang, a former boxing star and state coach who recruits young fighting talent from the impoverished farms and villages across Sichuan province. Cinematically rich and intimately observed, China Heavyweight is all at once a thrilling sports drama, astute social commentary and a beautifully- crafted portrait of an athlete.
6:00 PM OLD STONE (老石) | 2016 | Feature | 80 Minutes |Mandarin w/English subs
Writer/Director: Johnny Ma
In Johnny Ma's thrilling debut feature, a Chinese taxi driver finds himself plunged into a Kafkaesque nightmare where no good deed goes unpunished. Starting as a gritty social-realist drama before U-turning into a blood-drenched noir, Old Stone follows the repercussions of a car accident in a society where life is cheap and compassion is ruinously expensive. Old Stone premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival and opened at the IFC Center in New York, November 2016.
Wednesday, April 11, 7:00 PM @ AMC River East 21
PERFECT REVOLUTION (パーフェクト・レボリューション)
Japan | 2017 | 117 Minutes | Japanese w/English subs
Director: Jumpei Matsumoto | Starring: Lily Franky, Nana Seino, and Eiko Koike
Special Guest: Jumpei Matsumoto
Kuma is an author, a sex obsessive and wheelchair-bound. Beautiful and volatile Ryoko is unlike anybody he's ever met before. She barrages into one of his lectures, demanding to know why he only talks of sex, not love, before declaring her own affection. It's the first of many inappropriate acts by Ryoko and the start of a relationship that is by turns sweet, strange and toxic.
Saturday, April 14, 2:00 PM @ Chinese-American Museum of Chicago
A VILLAGE DOCTOR'S CHOICE (甘南曼巴)
Free and Open to the Public. RSVP is required.
China | 2014 | 85 Minutes | Mandarin w/English subs
Directed by: Zhou Yu-Pan | Starring: Tien Xiao-jie, Ma Shao-hua and Tibetan origin actors
A Village Doctor's Choice, based on a true story, portrays the challenges that face a Shanghai Medical College student when he is sent to the wild and savage Tibetan prairie to work as their one and only doctor "manba" in the late 60's. When his grown son eventually wants to follow his father's footsteps, he is once again confronted with the question of whether or not he has made the right choice for himself.
Wednesday, April 18, 7:00 PM @ AMC River East 21 | CHICAGO PREMIERE
India | 2017 | 87 Minutes | Hindu w/English subs
Directed by: Rima Das.
Special Guest: Rima Das
In a small village in northeast India, 10-year-old Dhunu dreams of having her own rock band. Her vibrant spirit, imagination and self-assurance stand out in a world where girls are expected to be timid and submissive. With her gang of boys and the support of her widowed mother, Dhunu faces the struggles of her daily life and hopes for the day she can finally play on a real guitar.
Wednesday, May 2, 7:00PM @ AMC River East 21
DEAR ETRANGER (幼な子われらに生まれ)
Japan | 2017 | 127 Minutes | Japanese w/English subs
Director: Yukiko Mishima | Starring: Tadanobu Asano, Rena Tanaka, and Shinobu Terashima
"Based on Kiyoshi Shigematsu's 1996 novel of the same Japanese title, Haruhiko Arai's script covers years in the lives of his principals with conventional flashbacks, if with unconventional freshness, as drawing from life in the messy raw, including the sort of interior truths that reveal themselves only rarely - or disastrously." -Excerpt from Mark Schilling, Japan Times
Sunday, May 6, 1:00 PM @ Midwest Buddhist Temple
PATHS OF THE SOUL（冈仁波齐）
Free and Open to the Public. RSVP is Required.
China | 2016 | 115 Minutes | Tibetan w/English subs
Directed by: Zhang Yang
An astonishing journey of redemption, faith, and devotion, internationally acclaimed filmmaker Zhang Yang (Shower, Getting Home) blurs the border between documentary and fiction to follow a group of Tibetan villagers who leave their families and homes in the small village of Nyima to make a Buddhist "bowing pilgrimage"-laying their bodies flat on the ground after every few steps-along the 1,200 miles road to Lhasa, the holy capital of Tibet. Stunningly photographed over the course of an entire year, with non-professional actors and no script, Paths of the Soul is a mesmerizing study of faith that will inspire viewers to reflect on their own journey through life.
Wednesday, May 9, 7:00 PM @ AMC River East 21
ALONG WITH THE GODS: THE TWO WORLDS (신과함께-죄와 벌)
South Korea | 2017 | 139 Minutes | Korean w/English subs
Director: Kim Yong-hwa | Starring: Ha Jung-woo, Cha Tae-hyun, Ju Ji-hoon, and Kim Hyang-gi
Having died unexpectedly, firefighter Ja-hong is taken to the afterlife by three afterlife guardians. Only when he passes seven trials over 49 days and proves he was innocent in human life is he able to reincarnate, his three afterlife guardians by his side to defend him through the trials.
Wednesday, May 16, 2018, 7:00 PM @ AMC River East 21 | Closing Night FIlm | U.S. PREMIERE
TOMORROW IS ANOTHER DAY ( 黃金花 )
Hong Kong | 2017 | 91 Minutes | Cantonese w/English subs
Written/Directed by: Chan Tai-lee | Starring: Teresa Mo, Ray Lui and Ling Man-lung
Special Guests: Chan Tai-lee and Ling Man-lung (slated to receive the festival's BRIGHT STAR AWARD)
Mrs. Wong knows her husband is carrying on an affair, but for the sake of their marriage and autistic son, she has chosen to silently endure. However, the mistress comes to disturb them, and in the end, Mr. Wong leaves home after a fight. Feeling at a loss and struggling to watch over her son by herself, Mrs. Wong begins to plot ways to take revenge against the mistress. But in the run-up to the plan, she soon discovers that there can be other ways to become a better woman…
ABOUT SOPHIA'S CHOICE / ASIAN POP-UP CINEMA
Asian Pop-Up Cinema, a semi-annual Asian Film Festival, is the brainchild of Sophia Wong Boccio, founder of SOPHIA'S CHOICE, Chicago-based 501 C (3) not-for-profit incorporated in the fall of 2015 with the multi-pronged mission of cultivating an interest in and understanding of Asian cultures via a diverse offering of Asian films; connecting the Asian film industry with local Chicago film professionals, educators and students; and promoting Chicago as a destination for international visitors.
ASIAN POP-UP CINEMA - SEASON SIX SPONSORS & PARTNERS (in alphabetical order):
The Alliance Française de Chicago; AMC Independent; Athena Design Group in Chicago; BMO Harris Bank; Chicago Film Office; Choose Chicago; Consulate General of Canada in Chicago; Consulate General of People's Republic of China in Chicago; Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events of Chicago; EVA Air; Gene Siskel Film Center; Hong Kong Economic & Trade Office in New York; Hing Kee Restaurant; International House Global Voices Program at The University of Chicago; Japan Foundation, New York; Japan Information Center; Japan Airlines; Ministry of Culture, Taiwan (R.O.C.) and Taipei Cultural Center of TECO in New York; National Film Board of Canada; Taipei Cultural & Economics Office in Chicago; Walton J. Newton & Co.; and Festival Host Hotel: The Whitehall Hotel.