This year marks the 35th annual Asian American International Film Festival (AAIFF '12), the first and longest running festival in the country devoted to films by and about Asians & Asian Americans, hosted by AsianCineVision (ACV).
After work a few of us headed up to the exclusive Park Avenue for the event, which included the NYC Premiere of Shanghai Calling
(starring Daniel Henney!), a special Q&A session, and the festival Opening Night Gala Reception afterwards. Here is a quick review of the movie and a couple of fun shots of the Gala as DramaFever caught up with old friends at ACV!
stars Daniel Henney, Eliza Coupe, Bill Paxton, Geng Le, Zhu Zhu and Alan Ruck. About an arrogant, ambitious, and very handsome NYC lawyer (Daniel Henney, duh) sent into Shanghai by his firm, the movie follows the trials and tribulations of "immigrating" to an entirely different country and world. Throughout the film's 100 minutes, I was never bored once and was constantly being stimulated in one way or the other (read: laughing hysterically, emotionally tearing, and/or drooling over Daniel's chocolate abs). As a Chinese American myself, I'm often skeptical of movies depicting the typical "Foreigner in Asia" plot, but Shanghai Calling
was witty, thoughtful, and non-offensive! Hooray!
Nearly all of the characters were lovable, well-developed, and well-portrayed, which was another rare and heartwarming aspect of the movie. I particularly loved the women: Amanda, the kind and intelligent, relocation specialist who was also a single, hardworking mom, and Fang Fang, the beautiful and talented Assistant (played by newcomer Zhu Zhu), who wasn't afraid to stand up for herself and her work.
Overall, I would definitely recommend the film. Everyone I was with absolutely loved it, and the feedback from audiences in China have also been super positive. It comes out in China in August, and in the US soon after that, so bring your mothers, daughters, best friends, and boyfriends--it's safe for any occasion!
By the way, did we mention that there's a Daniel Henney shower scene? Yeah, sold.
Speaking of Daniel Henney,the chiseled actor was supposed to make an appearance at the Q&A and Gala, but was unable to make it last minute. Instead, audience members were pleasantly surprised when it turns out that Daniel had made a special video to be shown at the premier (awww). Ten points to Daniel for surprising us all--the second best thing to him being there, of course.The Opening Night Gala followed the screening, and we all shuffled back upstairs at the Asia Society's opulent headquarters. Arrivals included international filmmakers, producers, sponsors, celebrity guests, industry professionals and festival patrons--we were a little busy schmoozin' and boozin' (more like making a beeline for live sushi chefs), but we managed to get a few shots of the fun times (and beautiful people!). Enjoy!
Shirley, Jenny, and Olivia, from ACV
Margaret and Pamela
John Woo, Executive Director of AsianCineVision and ACV board member, Jackie McCaffrey
Actress Di Quon, “Grown Ups” and author Henry Chang, Chinatown Beat
Shanghai Calling Director Daniel Hsia and AAIFF Program Director Martha Tien
La Frances Hui, Assistant Director, Asia Society NY Public Programs
Cindy in her fabulous dress
Producers Joyce Yung and Debbie Ting, "Supercapitalist"
David Zhao; Janet Yang, Producer Shanghai Calling; Tian Zeng