Vancouver Asian Film Festival 2014: From neo-noir to romance and racial stereotypes

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      It's film festival season. Not only does the Vancouver Jewish Film Festival start today but the Vancouver Asian Film Festival also gets underway with its selection of cinematic offerings from and about Asian North American filmmakers and culture.

      Opening the festival (Thursday, November 6) is the neo-noir film Man From Reno. VAFF-goers may remember director Dave Boyle's 2009 comedy White on Rice.  

      In his latest bilingual film (in English and Japanese), a Japanese crime novelist travels to San Francisco where she has a fling with a Japanese traveler. But he suddenly vanishes. Meanwhile, a Latino sheriff hits a Japanese pedestrian who later disappears from the hospital before an investigation is launched. The novelist and sheriff both get embroiled in the mystery of the missing man from Reno.  

      The centerpiece presentation (on Saturday, November 8) shines its spotlight on J.P. Chan's debut feature A Picture of You. The dramedy follows an estranged brother and sister who travel from New York City to Pennsylvania to settle the estate of their deceased mother.

      As they pack up her belongings, they stumble upon an uncomfortable family secret that changes everything.

      Stephen J. Kung's A Leading Man, which closes the festival (Sunday, November 9), addresses a predicament that minority actors and pop cultural observers are well-acquainted with. What do you do when you're cast in a demeaning stereotypical role in a hit TV show?

      In Kung's dramatic feature, a Chinese American actor decides to speak out against the role—and gets fired. What's a struggling actor to do? In GQ's case, he starts dating an A-list casting director.

      And it features that absolute unicorn of unicorns—an Asian American guy in a romantic relationship with a Caucasian woman. (Gasp!)

      That's just a taste of what the festival has to offer, as there are numerous programs filling up the four-day event.

      To browse through the lineup or for more information about the festival, visit the VAFF website.




      Nov 7, 2014 at 8:05pm

      Man From Reno was pretty engaging all round. Good writing and acting.