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SFIAAFF goes along with audience moods
By Patrick Frater
Tue, 16 March 2010, 11:50 AM (HKT)
Even the best planned festivals can be taken by surprise by how audiences react to films and guests, and which presentations really catch light.
The San Francisco International Asian American Film Festival, which opened last Thursday and runs through to this weekend (11-21 March), is no exception. Assistant director, Vicci Ho provides a breathless view from inside the programmer's office.
"Quentin Lee's (李孟熙) The People I've Slept With sold out the Castro Theatre (1,400 seats) as the festival's centre-piece," she reports by email.
"What took us completely by surprise is the success of a panel of YouTube stars. This was a very late addition to the festival (a few days before we opened) and we were suddenly hit by mobs of teenagers, hundreds in the rush line who waited patiently until it was over.
"It gave us a great insight into what is interesting to the younger generations: online media is definitely a highly effective medium for the teens of today.
Some of the guests that have been here include Opening Night star Aasif Mandvi (The Daily Show, The Last Airbender), two Oscar winners — Ruby Yang (won [2006 documentary short] Oscar for The Blood of Yingzhou District) and Frieda Lee Mock (won [1995 documentary feature] Oscar for Maya Lin: A Strong Clear Vision). Other stars include Terence Yin (尹子維), Eugenia Yuan (原麗淇) for Kit Hui's (許潔華) Fog (霧). Jason Tobin was here with his short Cut Short. And Daniel Wu (吳彥祖) threw an Alivenotdead party here as well."
At least advance bookings can help the organisers get some insight.
"Coming up in a few days we have About Elly, Hana Dul Sed..., City of Life and Death (南京! 南京!) and closing night film Au Revoir Taipei (一頁台北). It will be a North American premiere and it is completely sold out. (Director) Arvin Chen (陳駿霖), (producer) Lee In-ah (이인아) and (actor) Lawrence Ko (柯宇綸) will be coming out for it."