The first weekend for the NY Asian Film Festival is over, and I’m exhausted from all the different events, but damn it was worth it! I was insanely busy helping out and didn’t get to see everything I wanted, but I did manage to check out a few good films and hobnob with a few celebrities I’ve loved through the years. If you weren’t able to make it out this weekend, I’ll try to recap some of the awesomeness that you missed.
Thankfully none of my top 5 films I’m excited for were screening this weekend or I would have sadly missed something. Instead I wound up watching the opening night world premiere of Tales From the Dark Part 1 which is an interesting horror film made up of three short stories in the same vain as Three. The three short stories were completely unrelated other than the fact that they were all ghost stories. My favorite of the three was A Word on the Palm which was a horror/comedy about a couple being haunted by a dead teenage girl. The couple goes to a psychic that works in a mall to help figure out what’s going on. The other two short films were decent, but none of them were scary, so the added comedic element made A Word on the Palm the best.
I also saw The Legend is Born: Ip Man which I was kind of skeptical about walking into it. There have been many Ip Man (sometimes written/pronounced as Yip Man) movies made since 2008, and I felt a little burnt out by them. When the Chinese film industry finds a popular hero from the past to latch on to, everyone and their mom makes a movie about them. There are nearly 90 Wong Fei Hung movies, and almost 20 Fong Sai Yuk movies. There are about 7 or 8 Ip Man movies that have been made starring the character, and I felt kind of done with him. Thankfully The Legend is born brought my interest back again.
Director Herman Yau and writer Erica Lee put a really good film together about Ip Man’s early years before he became the master the other movies portray him to be. For those that don’t know, Ip Man was martial arts Grand Master that made great advancements in Wing Chun. Later in life he became one of Bruce Lee’s many teachers. I don’t know how accurate this movie is to real life, but it made an entertaining story. The lead actor Yu-hang To has a striking resemblance to Donnie Yen, so the movie works well as a prequel to the first two Ip Man films. On Sunday at the festival, they also screened Ip Man: The Final Fight, which was also made by Mr. Yau and Mrs. Lee. Unfortunately I was unable to attend this screening due to scheduling conflicts, but according to the publicist there will be another screening sometime in August, along with a wider release. I talked to both Herman and Erica quite a bit over the weekend, and they were very cool down to earth people.
Outside of the movies being screened, the NY Asian Film Festival also has several events which are usually closed to the public. The Korean reception was held on Saturday for the stars the Korean stars we invited including Ryoo Seung-Beom, E-J Yong, and the NYAFF Rising Star Award recipient Kim Go-Eun. The event was catered with some awesome food and free beer, so I extremely happy.
On Sunday there was an art gallery showing for Fab Five Freddy, and MC Yan’s paintings in tribute to the 40th Anniversary of Enter The Dragon, which was screened after the art show. MC Yan is (obviously) an MC, but he also does graffiti art. I talked to him about his artwork in the gallery, and his creative process. He told me that it was all done by spray paint, and his artwork different shapes he used to give it a 3D effect were inspired by sound proofing in music studios. During the event, Roc-A-Fella records co-founder Damon Dash showed up to check out the gallery. The art gallery was open to the public and, and catered with wine and finger food, which once again, made me extremely happy :-).
All of that happened in the first 3 days of the Festival, with another 14 days remaining. Do yourself a favor and look into going to the NY Asian Film Festival. You don’t want to miss out on what is likely the most entertaining and personable film festival in NYC.