Docs on singer M.I.A. and SXSW prize winner 'People's Republic of Desire' highlight LA Asian Pacific Film Festival program
34th edition of LAAPFF features international array of docs including Sundance winner Science Fair
Documentary programming will be on an equal footing with narrative features once again at the Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival, which runs from May 3-12.
The festival program was announced Tuesday, featuring more than a dozen docs in competition including Science Fair, winner in January of the first ever Sundance Festival Favorite award voted on by festival attendees.
Among films playing out of competition is the closing night documentary -- Stephen Loveridge's Matangi/Maya/M.I.A about the British-Sri Lankan recording artist M.I.A. The film won a special grand jury award at Sundance in January.
MATANGI / MAYA / M.I.A. is drawn from a cache of personal tapes shot by Maya Arulpragasm and her closest friends over the last 22 years, capturing her remarkable journey from immigrant teenager in London, to the international pop star M.I.A.
“This is so exciting that we are sharing this incredible film with Los Angeles,” said festival programming manager Sheryl Santacruz regarding Matangi/Maya/M.I.A. “It transcends your standard music doc, and in such a multi-cultural and intersectional city like ours, there is so much in Maya’s story that we can all relate to... It’s not only fun and celebratory, but also intimate and unflinching.”
People's Republic of Desire, the documentary by Hao Wu that won the top documentary prize at SXSW last month, joins six other films in the Competition Documentaries -- International section. The film reveals the immense popularity of "online showrooms" in China where internet stars try to win fans among ordinary people and financial support from the country's super-rich.
The Competition Documentaries -- North America section includes the aforementioned Science Fair, along with Call Her Ganda, a film by P.J. Raval that is set to premiere at the Tribeca Film Festival later this month. The documentary centers on the notorious case of a transgender Filipina woman in the Philippines who was allegedly killed by a U.S. Marine stationed in the Philippines.
Also competing in that category is Bing Liu's Minding the Gap, winner of a special jury prize for breakthrough filmmaking at the Sundance Film Festival. "Three young men bond together to escape volatile families in their Rust Belt hometown," Kartemquin Films says of Minding the Gap. "As they face adult responsibilities, unexpected revelations threaten their decade-long friendship."
Related: Science Fair directors say their film stands as rebuke to Trump immigration policy
Below is a list of some of the documentaries programmed in the LA Asian Pacific Film Festival. Find more information on tickets, venues, et al by clicking here.
COMPETITION DOCUMENTARIES - INTERNATIONAL
COMPETITION DOCUMENTARIES - NORTH AMERICA
Matthew Carey is a documentary filmmaker and journalist. His work has appeared on Deadline.com, CNN, CNN.com, TheWrap.com, NBCNews.com and in Documentary magazine.