Fifth Festival Flies
DisOrient Asian American Film Festival arrives in town this weekend
by Suzi Steffen
An accident-scarred former body double for Saddam Hussein wanders the streets of L.A., avoiding the FBI and trying to navigate his memories along with the shock of the new in his now-home.
That movie, Mr. Sadman, opens the DisOrient Asian American Film Festival on Friday. The festival, now in its fifth year, features everything from short student films to performers, workshops to receptions with directors (like Mr. Sadman director Patrick Epino). The festival gives at least one place for our area’s Asian American populations to spend some time in a majority-minority world. And how many Asian Americans have you seen on the big screen lately? That can change with a weekend of films at the Bijou.
The movies range from A Village Called Versailles, in which S. Leo Chiang documents a New Orleans Vietnamese-American community’s focus on rebuilding and recovery after Hurricane Katrina (Chiang also leads a 4:30 pm “Filmmaking and Social Justice” workshop Friday, April 23), to the comedy Fruit Fly, in which Colma: The Musical director H.P. Mendoza recounts the story of a young woman looking for career success and her biological mother. Mendoza will also be at the festival, according to the website.
Other highlights include Bob Watada, the father of Lt. Ehren Watada, hosting the free selection of documentary shorts, “Life As We Know It,” which includes a documentary about Ehren’s court-martial (noon Sunday, April 25, at the Bijou), and L.A.-based singer/songwriter Dawen headlining an opening night show, 9:30 pm Friday, April 23, at the Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art.
The full schedule, including more description and details about workshops, movies and more, is online at www.disorientfilm.org