DHTML Menu By Milonic JavaScript
Media Contact: Peter Cavagnaro, pcavagnaro@berkeley.edu, (510) 642-0365


Top to bottom: The Land of Hope, Royston Tan, Mekong Hotel

Download a PDF version of this press release


A film series spotlighting the work of Singaporean director Royston Tan, featuring introductions by and a conversation with the filmmaker; a new film and related gallery installation by Thai artist/filmmaker Apichatpong Weerasethakul; rare screenings of the Academy Award nominated Touch of the Light and the Toronto International Film Festival favorite Comrade Kim Goes Flying; and several in person appearances highlight the PFA Theater schedule.

February 13, 2013, Berkeley, CA –
The UC Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive (BAM/PFA) is honored to host thirteen features and six short films as part of CAAMFest 2013. A presentation of the Center for Asian American Media, the annual festival (formerly the San Francisco International Asian American Film Festival) brings moviegoers the best in contemporary cinema from Asia and the Asian diaspora. Beginning Friday, March 15 and continuing through Saturday, March 23 at the PFA Theater, this thirty-first installment of the festival features films and documentaries from China, India, Indonesia, Japan, Philippines, Taiwan, Thailand, the United States, and North Korea.

In conjunction with the festival’s special highlight on filmmakers from Singapore, BAM/PFA hosts the sometimes controversial director Royston Tan, as part of its ongoing Afterimage series. Tan introduces three films and joins artist and critic Valerie Soe in conversation following the screening of the provocative 15, a film heavily censored upon its first release. We also present two films by the great Thai filmmaker Apichatpong Weerasethakul in recognition of the artist’s new MATRIX exhibition, on view in the BAM/PFA galleries February 15 through April 21, 2013: his newest, Mekong Hotel, and the 2010 Cannes Grand Prize–winner Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives.

CAAMFest presentations at the PFA Theater begin on Friday, March 15 with San Francisco–based director Debbie Lum’s feature-length debut Seeking Asian Female. Lum will be in person to present the film, in which an aging white man with “yellow fever,” finds a young Chinese bride named Sandy through the Internet. The couple quickly discover that their dreams of perfect love do not match bitter reality. Later that evening, Ernesto Foronda will be on hand to present Sunset Stories (codirected with Silas Howard), an offbeat film about two ex-lovers who reluctantly reunite to retrieve a lost cooler (containing a transplant organ). On Saturday, March 16, filmmaker and guitarist Florante Aguilar introduces Harana, his award-winning documentary with codirector Benito Bautista. The film brings to light the long-abandoned Philippine art of harana (serenade), in which three of the tradition’s last surviving practitioners perform songs never before captured on film.

International art-house favorite and so-called “bad-boy” of Singaporean cinema Royston Tan introduces three of his films as part of CAAMFest 2013 and BAM/PFA’s Afterimage: Filmmakers and Critics in Conversation series. Tan began making provocative short films, which caught the attention of Singapore’s film censors, when he was just twenty-one; his subsequent films have included candid takes on the forbidden pleasures of disaffected youth as well as affectionate homages to his homeland. On Sunday, March 17, Tan takes us on a fond outing to experience Singapore through the recollections of everyday citizens with his latest film, Old Romances. Instead of monuments of high culture or touristic clichés, the film focuses on vernacular sites that have deep meaning for the locals: the Carnival Beauty Salon, the Moh Chan Cake House, the Kovan Coffeeshop, and many others. Also screening on this date is 881 (2007). Take a small-time Vegas musical, add Beach Blanket Babylon costumes, strain it through the Hokkien dialect, and you have that Singaporean mash-up called getai. Revealing the campy comedic side of Tan, the film follows the Papaya Sisters, who summon the supernatural Goddess of Getai in hopes of winning the national getai contest. Tan returns to the PFA Theater on Wednesday, March 20 for a presentation of the feature-length version of 15 (2003)—a raw and forbidden look at disaffected punks. Following the screening, Tan will join critic/artist Valerie Soe on stage for a conversation. Soe has produced experimental media, installations, and documentaries that address issues of Asian American identity and culture.

On Saturday, March 16, controversial Chinese filmmaker Zhang Yuan’s latest, Beijing Flickers, focuses on the dynamics of a close-knit collection of young Beijing misfits. Beauty comes to the forefront on Sunday, March 17 with Beautiful 2012, an omnibus collection of shorts from four of Asia's greatest filmmakers--Kim Tae-yong, Tsai Ming-Liang, Gu Changwei, and Ann Hui. On Thursday, March 21, we screen Sion Sono’s The Land of Hope, the first feature inspired by the 2011 Tohoku-Fukushima disaster. In this alternately naturalistic and surreal work, an earthquake and nuclear crisis forces two Japanese families to decide what is worth sacrificing in the name of safety.

The festivities turn an eye towards Southeast Asian cinema on Friday, March 22. Indian director Deepa Dhanra’s Invoking Justice explores the first women’s jamaat—traditionally a male institution—in South India, where women are raising their voices and enacting new interpretations of Sharia law to demand gender equality. Indonesian director Edwin’s Postcards from the Zoo is a captivating, poetic portrait of Indonesia’s capital city, about an orphan raised in a Jakarta zoo. The girl, Lana, knows only the world of animals, until she meets a handsome magician who leads her to the outside world, where far stranger beings await.

Taiwan’s official entry to this year’s Academy Awards screens on Saturday, March 23. A production of Wong Kar-wai’s trend-setting Jet Tone company, Chang Jung-Chi’s Touch of the Light presents the true story of a blind musician who leaves his small village to become the first visually impaired music student at his university. Later in the evening, a plucky coal-miner abandons her life in a suspiciously cheerful industrial village to head to Pyongyang and become a circus trapeze artist in Comrade Kim Goes Flying (Kim Gwang Hun, Nicholas Bonner, Anja Daelemans). This sprightly, fairytale-like romantic comedy shows off a side of North Korea you’ve probably never imagined.

In conjunction with CAAMFest, BAM/PFA presents a gallery exhibition by festival favorite Apichatpong Weerasethakul. MATRIX 247, on view February 15 through April 21, 2013, features the Thai artist and filmmaker’s 2007 installation Morakot (Emerald), a single-channel video shot in an abandoned Bangkok hotel. Weerasethakul uses the spatial qualities of the gallery to create a transformative environment, breathing life back into the abandoned hotel. A low-hanging green lamp casts an ethereal glow over the gallery, but the moving images onscreen exist in a more fantastical absent world, a dreamscape for wandering in and out of consciousness. We highlight Weerasethakul’s cinematic contributions on Saturday, March 16 with his new feature Mekong Hotel, a magical blend of documentary, narrative, and fable, set in the crumbling Mekong Hotel near the Thai/Laos border. And on Tuesday, March 19, we host a special screening of his Palme d'Or-winner, Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives, which melds the last dying encounters of a farmer, with a gorgeously rendered landscape enlivened by the presence of ghostly apparitions.

Festival screenings will take place at the PFA Theater, which is located at 2575 Bancroft Way near Bowditch Street, on the southern edge of the UC Berkeley campus. General admission to the screenings is $12 per program. BAM/PFA and CAAM members, students, seniors, and disabled persons are admitted for $10. Advance tickets for programs are available from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the BAM/PFA admissions desk, evenings at the PFA Theater Box Office, online at bampfa.berkeley.edu, or by telephone at (510) 642-5249. For information about screenings in San Francisco, or about purchasing PFA Theater tickets in San Francisco, please visit the CAAMFest website at www.caamedia.org.

A full list of times and titles for screenings at the PFA Theater is included on the following page. For program notes on these screenings, please visit bampfa.berkeley.edu.

Founded in 1963, the UC Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive (BAM/PFA) is UC Berkeley’s primary visual arts venue and among the largest university art museums in terms of size and audience in the United States. Internationally recognized for its art and film programming, BAM/PFA is a platform for cultural experiences that transform individuals, engage communities, and advance the local, national and global discourse on art and ideas. BAM/PFA’s mission is “to inspire the imagination and ignite critical dialogue through art and film.”

BAM/PFA presents approximately fifteen art exhibitions and 380 film programs each year. The museum’s collection of over 16,000 works of art includes important holdings of Neolithic Chinese ceramics, Ming and Qing Dynasty Chinese painting, Old Master works on paper, Italian Baroque painting, early American painting, Abstract Expressionist painting, contemporary photography, and video art. Its film archive of over 14,000 films and videos includes the largest collection of Japanese cinema outside of Japan, Hollywood classics, and silent film, as well hundreds of thousands of articles, reviews, posters, and other ephemera related to the history of film, many of which are digitally scanned and accessible online.

The Films of Singapore’s Royston Tan
is part of our ongoing series Afterimage: Filmmakers and Critics in Conversation, which is made possible by generous funding from the Hollywood Foreign Press Association® and the continued support of the BAM/PFA Trustees. With special thanks to Masashi Niwano, CAAM; the Consulate- General of the Republic of Singapore, San Francisco; Nicholas Chee, Sinema Productions; Gary Goh, Zhao Wei Films; Hui Hui, Mediacorp Raintree Pictures; Media Development Authority of Singapore; and Wahyuni A. Hadi, Objectifs Centre for Photography & Film/Objectifs Films.

Apichatpong Weerasethakul / MATRIX 247 is organized by Assistant Curator Dena Beard. The MATRIX Program is made possible by a generous endowment gift from Phyllis C. Wattis and the continued support of the BAM/PFA Trustees.

The Pacific Film Archive Theater
2575 Bancroft Way near Bowditch Street
University of California, Berkeley
510.642.1412 / bampfa.berkeley.edu

Media Contact: Peter Cavagnaro: pacavagnaro@berkeley.edu or (510) 642-0365

CAAMFest 2013 and Related Screenings at the PFA Theater

A copresentation with the Center for Asian American Media

Friday, March 15
7:00 pm: Seeking Asian Female (U.S., 2012), Debbie Lum
In person: Debbie Lum
9:10 pm: Sunset Stories (U.S., 2012), Ernesto Foronda, Silas Howard
In person: Ernesto Foronda

Saturday March 16
4:00 pm: Mekong Hotel (Thailand, 2012), Apichatpong Weerasethakul
Preceded by Advantageous (U.S., 2012), Jennifer Pang

5:50 pm: Harana (U.S., 2012), Benito Bautista, Florante Aguilar
In person Florante Aguilar

8:20 pm: Beijing Flickers (China, 2012), Zhang Yuan
Preceded by Shanghai Strangers (China, 2012), Joan Chen

Sunday March 17
4:00 pm: Beautiful 2012 (China, 2012), Kim Tae-Yong, Tsai Ming-Liang, Gu Changwei, Ann Hui

6:00 pm: Old Romances (Singapore, 2012), Royston Tam
In person: Royston Tan

7:45 pm: 881 (Singapore, 2007), Royston Tam
In person: Royston Tan

Tuesday, March 19
*6:00 pm: Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives (Thailand, 2010), Apichatpong Weerasthekul

Wednesday March 20
7:00 pm: 15 (Singapore, 2003), Royston Tan
In conversation: Royston Tan and Valerie Soe

Thursday March 21
7:00 pm: The Land of Hope (Japan, 2012), Sion Song

Friday March 22
7:00 pm: Invoking Justice (India, 2012), Deepa Dhanraj

8:45 pm: Postcards from the Zoo (Indonesia, 2012), Edwin

Saturday March 23
6:30 pm: Touch of the Light (Taiwan, 2012), Chang Jung-Chi

8:45 pm: Comrade Kim Goes Flying (Belgium/North Korea/U.K., 2012), Kim Gwang Hun, Nicholas Bonner, Anja Daelemans

General admission: $12; BAM/PFA and CAAM members, UC Berkeley students: $10 (limit two tickets per person per program); non-UC Berkeley students, seniors, disabled persons: $11 (limit one ticket per person per program)

*Regular PFA Theater pricing applies: general admission: $9.50; BAM/PFA members and UC Berkeley students: $5.50; UC Berkeley faculty/staff, non- UC Berkeley students, 65+, disabled persons, 17 & under: $6.50