8Asians is proud to be a community co-presenter of KTown Cowboys at the 2015 Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival (LAAPFF). As a reader of 8Asians, please enjoy a discount to this film using the code: KC15 or other films with 8ASIANS15
Saturday, April 25 at 8:00 PM (Aratani Theatre, Little Tokyo)
Wednesday, April 29 at 9:15 PM (CGV Cinemas 1, KTown)
What a difference five years makes: back in 2010, music video director and online content developer Daniel Park brought his brilliantly rude, crass, and homemade web series KTOWN COWBOYS to the Film Festival as a self-contained featurette, with one crucial detail — he stitched together all but the last of eight episodes to create a work that would deliver to him the Festival’s Special Jury Award for Best First Feature, and compelled viewers to visit the film’s website to discover how the whole story ended. A brilliant example of transmedia, certainly, but an experience that screamed out for a fuller, more complete story. So, working with many of the principals from the web series, director Park returned to K-Town, so to speak, and revisited much of the same terrain covered in that earlier, heralded work. The result, also named KTOWN COWBOYS, should not be confused with the earlier feature: taking place months before the events of the web series, this new iteration of the adventures of Jason (Shane Yoon), Sunny (Sunn Wee), Peter (Peter Jae), Danny (Danny Cho), and Robby (Bobby Choy, aka folk guitarist Big Phony) is even more of a comedy caper than the earlier effort, and renders obsolete Chris Chan Lee’s classic YELLOW (Festival 1997), acknowledged as the progenitor of modern Korean American cinema.
Jason, a reluctant heir and caretaker to the family-run business, is in trouble as this new story opens: no thanks to an embezzlement scheme perpetrated by a mid-level manager (a deliciously twisted cameo by comedian Steve Byrne), the company teeters on the brink of collapse. As Jason’s straight-laced uncle and v-e-r-y loopy and self-absorbed cousin Mindy (Angie Kim) fly in from Seoul to confront Jason, his buddies confront problems of their own. Sunny, an aspiring entrepreneur, chafes at the prospect of inheriting the family-owned liquor store. Hot-headed macho-man Peter toils by day at the Fashion Institute, where none of his fellow buddies can see his nascent talents as a dress designer. Danny, a struggling comic, wonders if his big break will ever come. And Robby, a Korean adoptee ensconced in a mind-numbingly suburban reality, begins to get in touch with his Koreanness and contemplates a return to the motherland to find his roots. Together, the five join forces with Mindy to seek out a solution to Jason’s problems — a trek that will take them through Koreatown’s designer hotels, noraebangs, K-BBQ hangouts, afterhours drinking spots, and lounges.
If the aforementioned YELLOW served as a travelogue through Los Angeles’ Koreatown for the uninitiated, then KTOWN COWBOYS uses a roadmap that can’t be found in any MapQuest or Google Earth app. Indeed, today’s K-Town, a “vertical city” that mimics South Korea’s own high-rise profile, is cosmopolitan, urbane, and trendy in its own right. And with such sharply-dress denizens as Jason and crew, not to mention a soundtrack inspired by state-of-the-art K-Pop, who’s to say that KTOWN COWBOYS isn’t a case of the hallyu wave breaking back across the Pacific, to where it all started? Director Park has updated and contemporized the K-Town story while — with a huge assist from screenwriters Danny Cho and Brian Chung — judiciously makes sure not to throw everything and the kitchen sink into the whole mix. Gotta save something for the next story, you know…
Cast & Crew
Executive Producer: Sam Chi, Ken Jeong
Producer: Gregory Bishop, Brian Chung, Daniel Sollinger
Director: Daniel Park
Writer: Danny Cho
Cast: Steve Byrne, Danny Cho, Bobby Choy, Peter Jae, Young Chul Kim, Daniel Dae Kim, Simon Rhee, Eric Roberts, Sunn Wee, Shane Yoon