|San Diego Asian Film Festival Announces Winners 9:30am|
The San Diego Asian Film Festival wraps its seventh year at the Mission Valley UltraStar Cinema at Hazard Center. During one of San Diego’s largest Pan Asian cultural events, an estimated 13,000 attendees came out October 12-19, 2006 to experience more than 130 films and videos from over 15 countries, plus celebrity panels, and parties.
"We are thrilled with the turnout," said Lee Ann Kim, executive director and founder of the film festival. "We had more sold-out shows than ever before, which proves we are providing this community with a valuable cultural experience while connecting them to amazingly, talented filmmakers and artists."
Winners of the competitive portion of the festival were announced during the star-studded annual Awards Gala on October 14. Top filmmakers were presented with awards by several Asian American celebrities, including actors Daniel Dae Kim, Ming-Na, Grace Park, Dustin Nguyen and Roger Fan.
Los Angeles-based filmmaker Ham Tran took highest honors with the $1000 Grand Jury Prize from EAfter Productions. His debut film "Journey from the Fall" chronicles the experiences of boat people after the fall of Saigon. In his reaction to the award, Tran stated that it is "more than just recognition. For an independent film such as this, it’s a priceless seal that will help spread the word to the Asian and non-Asian community to help support and show interest in the film’s theatrical release next spring."
Best Narrative Feature went to Julia Kwan’s "Eve & the Fire Horse," a Canadian film about two sisters exploring their faith. Best Feature Documentary was received by longtime filmmaker Robert Richter whose film, "Last Atomic Bomb" follows a survivor of the Nagasaki bombing whose life mission is to end nuclear weapons. A Special Jury award was given to Richard Wong’s "Colma: The Musical," the first Asian American musical. In the short film categories, Matthew Swanson’s "Hiro" took Best Short Narrative; Youngwoon Jang’s "Mirage" won for Best Short Animation; Shon Kim’s "Latent Sorrow" won Best Short Experimental; and Chris Deaner’s "Steal the Blueprints" won for Best Music Video.
This year’s record-breaking attendance led to several sold out programs and panels, including opening and closing night films and the festival’s inaugural music event Blowfish which featured live performances by Asian American artists. "Over 400 people attended," stated Associate Festival Director George Lin, "Everyone had a great time and we look forward to continuing Blowfish and moving it to a larger venue."
posted on October 25, 2006