This year, SXSW (a.k.a. South by Southwest) film festival has a very hearty helping of Asian-ness — and I’LL BE THERE! YAY!
Sure, the music and interactive portions of the popular festival are big draws, but when it comes to the film festival, I am totally all over it.
This year they will be featuring big time movies like the Jonah Hill/Channing Tatum comedy romp 21 Jump Street and Joss Whedon’s Cabin in the Woods — but the selection of Asian-centric films are in abundance. From Indonesian forest-based thrillers to Olivia Munn trying to get preggers, here’s a list of them in no particular order.
The Babymakers (World Premiere): Olivia Munn and Paul Schneider star as a couple who can’t get pregnant so they rob a sperm back — but things go awry and hilarity ensues. Director: Jay Chandrasekhar, Screenwriters: Peter Gaulke, Gerry Swallow. Cast: Paul Schneider, Olivia Munn, Kevin Heffernan, Wood Harris, Nat Faxon.
Seeking Asian Female (World Premiere): This is just your standard documentary of a man with “yellow fever” and his attempt to make a marriage work with a Chinese woman half his age that he meets online. Director: Debbie Lum. Check out the film’s website.
Modus Anomali (World Premiere): The Indonesian-based thriller about a man who loses his family during a vacation and his bloody quest to save them. Director/Screenwriter: Joko Anwar. Cast: Rio Dewanto, Hannah Al Rashid, Izziati Amara Isman, Aridh Tritama, Surya Saputra, Marsha Timothy, Sadha Triyudha, Jose Gamo. Watch the trailer here.
Eden (World Premiere): Jamie Chung stars alongside Beau Bridges in this film about a Korean-American girl who is forced into human trafficking. Sounds fun, right?! Director: Megan Griffiths, Screenwriters: Richard B. Phillips, Megan Griffiths, Story by: Richard B. Phillips & Chong Kim. Cast: Jamie Chung, Matt O’Leary, Beau Bridges, Jeanine Monterroza, Scott Mechlowicz
The Taiwan Oyster (World Premiere): Two Americans travel through Taiwanese countryside to bury a fellow countryman. It doesn’t exactly sound happy, but it sounds good, right? Director: Mark Jarrett. Screenwriters: Mark Jarrett, Jordan Heimer, Mitchell Jarrett. Cast: Billy Harvey, Jeff Palmiotti, Leonora Lim.
The Raid: This movie has been making it’s festival rounds and if you don’t know about it already, you should be ashamed of yourself. Director/Screenwriter: Gareth Huw Evans. Cast: Iko Uwais, Joe Taslim, Doni Alamsyah, Yayan Ruhian, Pierre Gruno. Click here to read more at the director’s blog.
Girl Model (U.S. Premiere): A documentary about a group of young Russian girls who join a modeling agency to seek work in Japan, but get introduced into another side of the fashion industry. I wonder if we can expect a lot of smizing. Directors: A. Sabin, David Redmon. Check out the website.
Wildness: This documentary directed by Wu Tsang paints a “magical-realist portrait” of the Silver Platter, a historic Latin/LGBT bar in Los Angeles. Check out the trailer here.
Daylight Savings (World Premiere): Musician Goh Nakamura has a breakup and then goes on the road with his irresponsible cousin to pursue a promising rebound with fellow musician Yea-Ming Chen. YAY! A road trip movie! Director: Dave Boyle. Screenwriters: Dave Boyle, Michael Lerman, Joel Clark, Goh Nakamura. Cast: Goh Nakamura, Michael Aki, Yea-Ming Chen, Lynn Chen, Ayako Fujitani.
Bijuka (North American Premiere): The Indian movie (which translates into “Scarecrow), is inspired by true events and tells the story about a woman escaping an abusive arranged marriage. When I Googled the title, one of the results read, “Bijuka – Bollywood’s Longest Rape Scene”. Perhanps it’s the Girl with the Dragon Tattoo of India. Director: Ashtar Sayed. Screenwriter: Dr. Mahendra Purohit.
Last Call at the Oasis: Jessica Yu’s documentary about the global water crisis. The title alone makes me thirsty. Read more about it here.
John Dies At The End: The movie about a street drug called “soy sauce” — so that’s cool. And it is based on the book by David Wong — a pseudonym used by Jason Pargin. Director & Screenwriter: Don Coscarelli. Cast: Chase Williamson, Rob Mayes, Paul Giamatti, Clancy Brown, Glynn Turman. Watch the trailer here.
Read the entire SXSW 2012 film lineup by clicking here.