HomeAsian AmericansStars Shine at San Diego Asian Film Festival

Stars Shine at San Diego Asian Film Festival


By Mandy day
Photos by Brian Bautista

Pacific Arts Movement held it’s annual awards gala to celebrate visionaries in the entertainment industry. More than 600 celebrities, sponsors, filmmakers, and benefactors gathered at the Marriott Mission Valley in San Diego to support Pacific Arts Movement and the San Diego Asian Film Festival. Featuring performances by famed violinist Jason Yang and Canadian Beatboxer Terry Im with esteemed hip-hop dancer Mike Song, the event brought together a community to support Asian films and Asian American media.

Among the honorees were a group of San Diego area high school students who learned about film and every facet that goes into creating and producing documentaries through Pac Arts’ Reel Voices program. Students completed an intensive twelve week internship and their films premiered at this year’s festival. The twelve young filmmakers were honored at the ceremony emceed by comedienne Jenny Yang and actor Leonardo Nam. On the red carpet, the interns expressed interest in pursuing film making and the arts after high school. Most agreed that the most difficult aspect of making their films was the editing process.

New projects were in the spotlight for many attendees including actress Lynn Chen who announced she would be a villain in the new Call of Duty video game. She admits she didn’t like how she looked with bangs and tattoos. Ten years after Saving Grace brought her to the San Diego Asian Film Festival for the first time, she was back with her husband, BuzzFeed producer Abe Forman-Greenwald.

BuzzFeed staff were in attendance to accept the Digital Pioneer Award for the company. The trio, Abe Forman-Greenwald, Mallory Wang, and Eugene Lee Yang spoke on the red carpet about the rapid growth of the company, which now resides at Siren Studios in Hollywood. Forman-Greenwald discussed his morning adventures at the World Famous San Diego Zoo watching the pandas, while Yang wasn’t up for waiting in line to see some of the city’s most famous celebrities. Yang, who rose to fame as a quarter of BuzzFeed’s The Try Guys, is known for being a man willing to do almost anything from wearing women’s clothing to undergoing a prostate exam. He told AsAmNews, the one thing he won’t do is eat unseasoned food like oatmeal. He also shared his disdain for mayonnaise.

Along with the Buzzfeed crew, Dr. Ken stars Ken Jeong and Suzy Nakamura were two of the most sought after people for guest photos and selfies. Dr. Ken Jeong made himself a household name in Hollywood with his role in NBC comedy Community as inept Spanish professor, Señor Chang. He always wanted to do a show based on his life after he quit his job in medicine. “It all kind of happened organically and almost by accident, in many ways it kind of evolved into this,” he said about the development of Dr. Ken. Margaret Cho, star of the first network series about an Asian American family, appeared on Dr. Ken this week as his sister, Wendi. Jeong admits that without the support of ABC, home to three sitcoms about families of color like Fresh Off the Boat, he doubts his show would be what it is today.

As Asian films continue to find their way across the Pacific and Asian Americans become mainstream media stars, the future is bright for Pacific Arts Movement and the San Diego Asian Film Festival.

Move your cursor over the photos for captions. Click on any photo for full screen slide show


16th Annual San Diego Asian Film Festival Awards

Grand Jury Award- Distance Between– directed by R.J. Lozada (UCSD Alumnus)

Best Narrative Feature- Crush the Skull– directed by Viet Nguyen

Best Documentary Feature- Operation Popcorn– directed by David Grabias

Best Narrative Short- Drama– directed by Tian Guan

Best Documentary Short- From Tonga- directed by Huay-Bing Law

Best Animated Short- Cuz He’s Black– directed by Ji Sub Jeong

Lifetime Achievement Award- Tyrus Wong

George C. Lin Emerging Filmmaker Award- Out of My Hand– directed by Takeshi Fukunaga

Digital Pioneer Award: BuzzFeed


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