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Chang

Walter Chang Records His Incredible 3-Year Journey to Over 60 Countries

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by JAMES S. KIM | @james_s_kim
jamesskim@iamkoream.com

Many of us daydream about dropping everything we have one day and traveling across the world. Walter Chang actually did it.

As an overworked, exhausted young professional in 2010, Chang began having thoughts about quitting his job traveling through Southeast Asia for three months. For about a year, he saved up money by moving out of his apartment, selling most of his belongings and crashing at his friends’ homes.

In September 2011, Chang hopped on a plane and went to see the world. He traveled to Nepal and trekked to the Everest Base Camp, saw cheetahs in southern Africa and visited the spiritual sites of Varanasi, India.

What was initially meant to be a three-month trip became a year. A year soon became two. Then three. Chang’s final tally of traveling included over 60 countries, mugging in Chile, a near-fatal car accident in the Namib Deserta as well as lifelong memories and relationships.

Armed with camera equipment, Chang recorded his globetrotting adventures in photographs and on film, and he’s now working on a photo book to share his memories and hopefully inspire a bit of wanderlust in young people.

The film portion of his “We Call This Home” project is complete (you can watch it above), but the photo book needs a bit of financial support to complete.

Chang took to Kickstarter to fund the remaining expenses of the photo book, namely finalizing designs as well as printing and shipping costs. Even though the campaign began just a few days ago, it has already raised nearly $6,000 out of the requested $12,000 goal.

Rewards include the hardcover photo book itself, postcards, an E-book edition, and 11”x14” prints of collages or images not featured in the book. Everything is slated to ship out by May 2016.

For more information, you can check out the Kickstarter page, as well as visit Chang’s We Call This Home website. Chang also wrote a more detailed account of his travels for Medium.

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Feature image via Kickstarter

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The 38th Asian American Int’l Film Festival Kicks Off in NYC

by JAMES S. KIM | @james_s_kim
jamesskim@iamkoream.com

The 38th Asian American International Film Festival (AAIFF) is kicking off this weekend in New York City.

Launched in 1975, AAIFF is the first and longest running festival in the U.S. that is devoted to films created by Asian and Asian Americans and centered on their experiences. This year’s festival will spotlight several filmmakers and actors of Asian descent, including a handful of Korean talent.

You can check out the festival’s schedule and purchase tickets on the official AAIFF website. All screenings will be held at Cinema Village East, Asia Society, Museum of Chinese in America, Museum of the Moving Image, and Flushing Town Hall.

Here are some AAIFF films created by filmmakers of Korean descent.

Seoul Searching (Gala Presentation)

 

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Director: Benson Lee

Cast: Justin Chon, Jessika Van, Esteban Ahn, Teo Yoo, Byul Kang, Albert Kong, Rosalina Leigh, Cha In-Pyo

Screening: Saturday, July 25 at 7:30 p.m. at Village East Cinema.

Set in the 1980s, Seoul Searching is a coming-of-age film that follows a group of gyopos, or Koreans who were raised overseas, as they spend their summer in South Korea to learn more about their motherland.

Benson Lee and Justin Chon will be in attendance.

A Girl At My Door

 

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Director: July Jung

Cast: Bae Doona, Kim Sae-ron

Screening: Sunday, July 26 at 8 p.m. at Village East Cinema

Following a personal scandal, a young female police officer is sent to work in a small village and takes in a teenager to protect her from her abusive stepfather.

Someone Else

 

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Director: Nelson Kim

Cast: Aaron Yoo, Leonardo Nam and Jackie Chung

Screening: Friday, July 24 at 9 p.m. at Village East Cinema.

Someone Else is a surreal drama about the clash of wills between two Korean American cousins. The film centers on a Jamie, a young and straight-laced Korean American law student who is hungry for a more exciting lifestyle. When Jamie visits his wealthy playboy cousin Will, he finds himself pursuing desires his reserved self had never dared to explore before

Nelson Kim, Aaron Yoo and Brandon Harris will be in attendance. 

Everything Before Us (Closing Night)

 

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Directors: Philip Wang, Wesley Chan

Cast: Aaron Yoo, Randall Park, Victoria Park, Ki Hong Lee

Screening: Saturday, August 1 at 8 p.m. at the Museum of the Moving Image.

Set in the a futuristic world not so different from our own, Everything Before Us follows two couples who struggle to keep their relationships alive while navigating around the rules of a government organization that monitors all romantic relationships.

Philip Wang and Wesley Chan will be in attendance. They will be joined by editor Taylor Chan and producers Christine Chen and Christopher Dinh. 

The Surrender

 

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Documentary director: Steven Maing

Screening: Sunday, July 26 at 12:30 p.m. at Village East Cinema

In August 2010, Stephen Kim, a highly-regarded State Department intelligence analyst, was indicted under the Espionage Act for jeopardizing national security by allegedly divulging classified information to a reporter, leading him to face 10 to 15 years in prison if convicted at trial.

Steven Maing will be in attendance.

Enfilade

 

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Director: David Coyle

Cast: David Coyle, Lewis Costin

Screening: July 26, 2015 at 4:00pm at the Village East Cinema

Screening as part of the Arthouse Shorts program, Enfilade centers on a man who awakens in a white room with two doors. Each door loops into the other, and the man is only left with a red ball and a revolver containing a single bullet as means of escape.

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All images courtesy of AAIFF.

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‘Northern Limit Line’ Sets Sail for USA and Australia

by REERA YOO | @reeraboo
reera@iamkoream.com

South Korea’s 3D maritime film Northern Limit Line will hit theaters in North America and Australia later this month, according to the Hollywood Reporter.

Based on a true story, Northern Limit Line depicts the Second Battle of Yeonpyeong between North and South Korean patrol boats. The battle occurred during the 2002 FIFA World Cup when South Korea’s national soccer team was playing against Turkey in the semifinals.

Starting July 16, the maritime action flick is set to release in seven Australian cities: Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide and Perth. The following day, the film will hit 13 North American cities, including New York, Los Angeles, Washington D.C., Atlanta and Dallas.

Northern Limit Line is also preparing to premiere in other Asian locations, such as Hong Kong, Macao, the Philippines and Myanmar by the end of 2015.

Despite its premiere date being postponed due to the MERS outbreak, Northern Limit Line had a record-breaking opening weekend. As of July 7, the film has earned about $22 million total.

The film initially made headlines when its director, Kim Hak-soon, launched a crowdfunding campaign to produce the film. More than 7,000 individuals contributed to the campaign, which amassed about a third of the film’s budget of $6 million.

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Featured image via Next Entertainment World (NEW)

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GIVEAWAY: Win an Awkward Animal + Free Copy of ‘Everything Before Us’

 

by KoreAm Staff | @KoreAm

Awkward moments are the worst. If you’ve ever needed someone to share your pain with, Wong Fu’s Awkward Animals make for an adorable, comforting companion in those seemingly dark times.

We’re giving away three Awkward Animals with our sister publication, Audrey Magazine, to celebrate Wong Fu Production’s first feature film, Everything Before Us, which stars Aaron Yoo, Brittany Ishibashi, Brandon Soo Hoo, Victoria Park, Randall Park, Joanna Sotomura, Chris Riedell and Ki Hong Lee. The winners will also receive codes to stream the film, which is currently available on Vimeo.

The three winners will be chosen from our Facebook, Twitter and Instagram platforms. We’d love to hear some awkward stories from our readers to empathize with. It can be therapeutic to let it out and leave it in the past!

Here’s the lowdown: The contest ends July 1. The winner will be announced the next day, July 2. Contest entrants can choose to participate through Facebook, Instagram OR Twitter, but please remember to submit your email to the contest page.

FACEBOOK

 

1. “Like” this post on our Facebook page, and share your awkward stories in the comments section.

2. Enter your email at our contest page: http://contest.iamkoream.com/.

Winners will be notified by email, so be sure to do this step! (Disclaimer: We value your privacy. Your email will not be shared with any outside parties and will be used only for the purposes of this contest.)

Once you’ve entered your name and email, you will receive a confirmation from us, info@iamkoream.com. Any questions or concerns can be sent to that address.

TWITTER

 

1. Send us a tweet @KoreAm and @AudreyMagazine with the hashtag #WongFuGiveaway.

2. Enter your email at our contest page: http://contest.iamkoream.com/

INSTAGRAM

 

1. Re-post our Awkward Bunny image on KoreAm’s Instagram on your own personal account (must be public during giveaway) with the hashtag #WongFuGiveaway. Be sure to tag @koreamjournal and @audreymagazine.

2. Enter your email at our contest page: http://contest.iamkoream.com/

Once you’ve completed the steps, you can do some homework on Everything Before Us while you wait!

Get to Know the Cast of ‘Everything Before Us’

 

Randall Park | Victoria Park | Ki Hong Lee | Brtitany Ishibashi | Chris Riedell

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Chew

David Tennant Joins Steven Yeun, Felicia Day in ‘Chew’ Comic Adaptation

 

by JAMES S. KIM | @james_s_kim
jamesskim@iamkoream.com

Here’s something to chew on: David Tennant will be joining Steven Yeun (not Moffat—sorry, Doctor Who fans) for an animated movie adaptation of Chew, an award-winning comic book by John Layman and Rob Guillory.

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Chew centers on a character named Tony Chu (Yeun), a detective and Food and Drug Administration (FDA) agent. Chu happens to be a “cibopath”—someone who has the ability to see the life history of everything he eats. That means he can take a bite of anything (except beets, apparently) and then receive a vivid psychic impression. In the world of Chew, bird meats are illegal after the bird flu wiped out millions of Americans.

Of course, that power isn’t limited to just food items? If Chu were to, say, take a bite out of a corpse, he’d have a pretty gross but very useful edge in closing out murder mysteries. But we’ll leave those thoughts for potential plot points.

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Mason Savoy (left) and Tony Chu. (Image via Things From Another World)

Tennant will voice Tony’s partner and mentor, Mason Savoy. The role was originally planned for the late Robin Williams, reportedly a fan of the Chew series. However, production halted, and the role was recast in the wake of his death in 2014.

A.V. Club noted that Day had already recorded her part has Tony’s love interest, Amelia Mintz, whose own power allows anyone who reads her food reviews actually experience the tastes she describes.

Jeff Krelitz (Torchwood: Web of LiesPeter Panzerfaust) is directing the film adaptation and co-producing with David Boxenbaum via Heavy Metal.

See Also

 

Steven Yeun Takes Conan O’Brien to a Korean Spa

The TARDIS Pub & Grill: A South Korean ‘Doctor Who’ Bar

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MyLove600

‘My Love, Don’t Cross That River’ Wins Documentary Award at L.A. Film Fest

 

by JAMES S. KIM | @james_s_kim
jamesskim@iamkoream.com

Here’s one more reason to watch possibly the most popular South Korean documentary of 2015: My Love, Don’t Cross That River and its director, Jin Mo-young, recently won the Documentary Award at the 21st Annual Los Angeles Film Festival.

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On Wednesday, the L.A. Film Fest announced the winners of this year’s festival at the Awards Cocktail Reception. Jury awards were given for U.S. Fiction, World Fiction, Documentary, Zeitgeist, LA Muse and Nightfall, as well as Best Short Fiction and Best Short Documentary. Audience awards went to Best Fiction Feature Film, Best Documentary Feature Film, Best Short Film and Best Web Series.

My Love, which follows an elderly South Korean couple known as the “100-year-old lovebirds,” made its North American premiere at the L.A. Film Fest this past weekend. The documentary captures the peaceful life of a 98-year-old husband and 89-year-old wife in their mountain village home in the Gangwon province until the husband passes away. Since its premiere in South Korea, the film has broken domestic box office records.

Other Asian American filmmakers to garner festival awards included Takeshi Fukunaga, who won the U.S. Fiction Award for Out of My Hand, and Viet Nguyen, who won the inaugural Nightfall Award for independent filmmakers for Crush the Skull.

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Among short films, the Best Short Fiction honor when to Drama, directed by Tian Guan, and the Shorts Jury gave a special mention to actress Kaori Momoi for her role in Oh Lucy!, directed by Atsuko Hirayanagi.

You can check out the full press release for the L.A. Film Festival Jury Award winners here.

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[VIDEO] Ki Hong Lee is a Prisoner in ‘The Stanford Prison Experiment’

 

by REERA YOO | @reeraboo
reera@iamkoream.com

“Would you rather be a guard or a prisoner?”

In 1971, Dr. Philip Zimbardo conducted a notorious experiment that randomly assigned 24 male undergraduates to be either a guard or a prisoner. What was intended to be a civilized prison simulation quickly turned into a psychological nightmare, with “guards” brutally abusing and degrading “inmates.” This is the story of The Stanford Prison Experiment.

Directed by Kyle Patrick Alvarez, feature film The Stanford Prison Experiment made a spine-chilling premiere at the 2015 Sundance Film Festival. The film bring together an ensemble cast, which includes Maze Runner star Ki Hong Lee, who portrays Gavin Chan, a Stanford undergrad assigned the role of prisoner in the controversial experiment.

The ensemble cast also includes Billy Crudup, Ezra Miller, Olivia Thirby, Nelsan Ellis, Michael Angarano, Tye Sheridan, Logan Miller, Keir Gilchrist, Thomas Mann, Johnny Simmons, James Frecheville, Jesse Carere, Matt Bennett and Jack Kilmer.

Coup d’Etat Films released the trailer for The Stanford Prison Experiment last Friday.

See if you can catch Ki Hong in the trailer below:

The Stanford Prison Experiment is slated for a July 17 theatrical release and a July 24 VOD release.

See Also

 

Ki Hong Lee Romances ‘Kimmy Schmidt’ on Tina Fey’s New Netflix Show

Ki Hong Lee Makes His Feature Debut With ‘The Maze Runner’

CAPE’s 2015 #IAM Campaign Features Korean American Role Models

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emma-stone-aloha

Will The Real Hapa Please Stand Up?

 

by KIMBERLY-ROSE KA’IULANI WOLTER

In his latest film, Aloha, Cameron Crowe has written one of the most prominent hapa characters in a big budget motion picture: Allison Ng. For the mixed-race role, he’s cast the oh-so-very white actress, Emma Stone. On his website, Crowe explains, “Captain Allison Ng was written to be a super-proud ¼ Hawaiian who was frustrated that, by all outward appearances, she looked nothing like one.”

To understand why I, as a hapa, find the casting problematic, let me tell you a little more about what it is to be hapa.

Hapas come in all shades and any combination of eye color, hair and complexion. It’s often what makes us exotic to others, hard to place ethnically—or, what completely alienates us from our own people. We can blend in or stand out.

My mother is Hawaiian, Korean and Chinese. My father was French, German and Hungarian. I was born and raised in Hawai’i and moved to Los Angeles to pursue an acting career when I was 20. (Side note: “Hawaiian” does not mean you’ve lived in Hawai’i for 20 years; it means you can trace ancestral lineage prior to when British explorer Captain James Cook arrived in 1778.)

kimberly parentsKimberly-Rose’s father and mother. (Photo courtesy of Kimberly-Rose)

There is a certain discomfort to spending most of your life being misunderstood and inappropriately labeled. Since leaving Hawaii, where being hapa is common, I’ve learned the world does not agree on what I am.

My first day in L.A., someone spoke to me in Spanish; I was flustered yet flattered. “I don’t speak Spanish, I’m from Hawai’i,” I explained.

During my first media interview as an actress, a journalist from China asked me, “What does it feel like to be Asian?” As if being Asian was a perfume I sprayed on.

A few years later, when I went to Virginia to meet my white boyfriend’s mother for the first time, she squealed, “Oh, it’s okay ‘cause you don’t look Asian.”

I’ve learned people are comfortable generalizing about my race or being outright racist because I “don’t count” as Asian Pacific Islander. I’ve also learned I’m a chameleon of sorts—people identify me based on their experiences. White people think I’m white, while in Latin countries I’m mistaken for a Latina. Asians suspect that I’m lying about my race while hapas seem to recognize other hapas. The irony is, growing up, my cultural identify didn’t come from what I looked like—it was rooted in who raised me. My mother—a beautiful and strong Hawaiian, Chinese, Korean single woman—I came from her; I identified with her.

Imagine my surprise when I got older and realized that’s not how people saw me.

I get it: we hapas are hard to pin down because we are Asian, Black, Hispanic, Indigenous, Polynesian and White. The only thing we are not is one exclusive race. Being mixed is what defines us. Maybe for the general population that’s hard to comprehend because there is a loss of origin or we are not easy to externally categorize.

So how about Crowe’s idea to cast Stone as Allison Ng? In his apology, the director explains that Ng is “extremely proud of her unlikely heritage” and “feels personally compelled to over-explain every chance she gets.”

“The character was based on a real-life, red-headed local who did just that,” he writes. Got it. I can relate, I like.

Yet, in the film, Ng is brought to a village of Hawaiians living as a sovereign nation. Instead of wrestling with the internal struggle of being a proud Hapa-Hawaiian whose own people may not recognize her as their own, Stone plays Ng as a bright-eyed tourist who acts like she’s never seen Hawaiians before. There is no mana, no cultural pride or connection to straddling multiple ethnicities.

If Crowe was compelled to write a character who is constantly telling everyone she’s Hawaiian, to the extent other characters laugh about it, why did he fall short in entrusting the role to a hapa actress? Sure some hapas can look white and acting is about pretending, but when being hapa is ostensibly the crux of the character, hire a hapa.

Don’t take my race and culture and call it an actor’s choice.

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Aloha would have been a unique opportunity to break in a new hapa actress or introduce one to a wider audience. A white actor should never appropriate a role written for an Asian Pacific Islander—although it’s happened time and time again.

Yay to Cameron Crowe for being curious about Hawaiian sovereignty; nay to Crowe for hiring a white actress to play a hapa trying to protect Hawaiians from the encroachment of white society.

Let’s be real: This isn’t just about Aloha, this is about a U.S. film industry that whitewashes anything it gets its hands on. Even when Hollywood wants to promote diversity, it can’t seem to figure it out. Over and over, Hawaiians have seen their stories told without their true likeness onscreen, replaced by an outsider butchering the language and cultural mores.

Crowe himself writes that he has “learned something very inspiring” from the backlash of casting Stone. “So many of us are hungry for stories with more racial diversity, more truth in representation, and I am anxious to help tell those stories in the future,” he writes. Well, maybe next time? Oh wait—for his next project, the Showtime comedy, Roadies, Cameron has cast another Caucasian actress, Jacqueline Byers, to play a character named Natalie Shin. With the notably Asian last name, it is unclear if Natalie is supposed to be part Chinese or Korean.

In any case, Mr. Crowe, writing API characters in your scripts, then casting white actresses to play them, is the opposite of “racial diversity.”

I wonder, what is Crowe so afraid of—low ticket sales? News flash: Aloha, according to box office numbers, bombed even with three A-list Caucasian leads not to mention an amazing Caucasian supporting cast. Studio executives and directors, it’s 2015: time to expand what the leading lady looks like. Furthermore, diverse characters don’t always need to have a specific, race-based purpose for why they exist in films. Let us breathe onscreen as we breathe in life and the stories will get richer.

Hollywood, you’re already an archaic institution pandering to the last of the dinosaurs. Catch up, because out here in the real world, kids are mixed and racial diversity is no longer an exception—it’s the rule.

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0000000_wolter2_7017 copy copyKimberly-Rose Ka’iulani Wolter is a writer, actor and producer who lives in L.A. She wrote and starred in the Hawaii-based comedy, “4 Wedding Planners,” about three Hapa sisters. Her first feature film, TRE, in which she also co-starred, won Special Jury Prize at the 2007 San Francisco International Asian American Film Festival and was nominated for The Maverick Award. Wolter also co-founded and served as co-Artistic Director of the critically acclaimed, L.A.-based VS. Theatre Company for six seasons.

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