Friday, March 17, 2006

2006 SFIAAFF—Opening Night Gala Gossip

The Asian Art Museum co-sponsored the opening night screening of AMERICANese and hosted the gala reception. Catering by McCall and Associates was deliciously achieved in the North and South Courts, desserts by Sugar Bowl Bakery, Galaxy Deserts and Joseph Schmidt in the Samsung Hall, and drinks provided all over the place—my favorites being the Kikkoman plum wine, the Vermeer Chocolate Cream liqueur, and the ever-appreciated Sierra Nevada pale ale! No wonder I had difficulty negotiating BART on the way home.

I rushed to the museum foregoing the Q&A at the Castro Theater to mingle with the director and cast of AMERICANese but they, no doubt, were in a private party or out to dinner because they were nowhere to be found. My dreams of schmoozing with Joan Chen dashed!!

But I did have a great talk with Roger Garcia. I tried to woo a scoop out of him with regard to San Francisco's upcoming International Film Festival but he was professionally tightlipped, and even a bit irked that I already knew about Gubra, complaining that Yasmin just had to spill the beans on her blog!

He mentioned Amir had recently completed The Last Communist but was uninformed that the life of the film is being tracked in a blog under the same title.

Well, Amir's next film is a horror film with musical numbers, he offered. That would be Susuk, I cut him off at the pass. Garcia raised an eyebrow.

I thanked him belatedly for last year's Malaysian showcase, for which Garcia was responsible, and for the cutting edge Asian films he has procured for the Bay Area over the past few festivals. He agreed to let me interview him during the festival. Keep tuned.

I told him I was delighted that the festival had secured Tsai Ming-Liang's The Wayward Cloud and he concurred, saying he didn't know why it was such an effort to get the film when it had screened at so many other festivals. He encouraged me to do some prep for the film by watching Grace Chang in the old Chinese musicals Wild Wild Rose and Mambo Girl, which I've dutifully ordered from HKFlix.com.

Garcia apologized for not being able to tell me anything further about the program line-up for the San Francisco International and seemed bemused that there is a bevy of bloggers piecing together the films to be shown. "It's not wrong of me to keep you somewhat in suspense, is it?" he asked. Not at all, I smiled, do your job.

I will tell you, he said, that we are featuring a batch of experimental Japanese film and you should look for that.

So noted.
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