The 32nd Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival held its opening night at the Aratani Theatre in Los Angeles’ Little Tokyo area with the gala screening of “The Tiger Hunter” starring Danny Pudi, Jon Heder and directed by Lena Khan.
Known as the premier festival for Asian films, the festival has featured about 5000 films and shorts by Asian International and Asian Pacific American artist, directors and producers.
Danny Pudi was excited that his film was the gala night film for the film, especially since diversity and whitewashing of Asian characters in Hollywood must be addressed. Pudi added, “I feel that in certain ways, the times has gotten better with diversity in film and in television and tonight is a celebration of that in many ways. This film was made by an Indian American, produced by an Indian American and features an amazing Indian American cast. I think to me, I want to celebrate more of this. We have to celebrate more projects like this and make sure people come support it because this is our community. It’s also giving opportunities to people like Lena Khan, first time director, more reps. Giving chances to do more, make more films. I’m hoping this is the time to do more stuff. You see shows like “Masters Of None,” “The Mindy Project,” Kal Penn’s everywhere you know. I think this is an important time and progress needs to keep going.”
Actress Karen David of “The Tiger Hunter” interjected, “It’s such a fine line. Every time I wake up and look in the mirror, I never saw myself as brown and I just looked at myself as a girl like any other girl who happens to have a few childhood dreams that wanted to make come true. I wanted to be an actor. When I was a little girl with my older sister, sitting and watching “Xanadu” and being completely mesmerized by Olivia Newton John, wanting to be blonde and blue eyed and thinking that could happen, but I remember that moment I was bitten by so hard. That feeling why I wanted to be an actor was because it came from a genuine and a very pure place. I always remember those things throughout my journey. At the end of the day, I want to be looked at for me, whatever that means. I happen to be of diversity. I never look at myself as Karen the diverse actor. I’m so proud of it. My mixed background, I’ve grown to embrace. As a kid you want to fit in, but once as you get older, you start to embrace these quirks that make you you. At the end of the day, I want to get the job because I was good for the role. I mean, I’m playing a Spanish princess in “Galavant.”’
Aside from the diversity and excitement of the opening night of the Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival, the celebrities were a bit sad about the news of the passing of iconic music artist Prince. Various celebrities shared their thoughts with this writer’s affiliate, Pacific Rim Video.
Holding back tears and emotions, Janina Gavankar said, “It’s pretty hard for so many musicians and fans. I got to meet him when I first moved to Los Angeles and I’ll never forget it. My best friend was very close to him. I cannot say anything eloquent enough in this moment to be as profound as his life was.”
Josie Davis of “Charles In Charge” fame was also shocked. “I was on the treadmill and I was running and I stopped. I was devastated and I tweeted about it. When I got home, I put a play list on while I was showering and his song came on. “Little Red Corvette. “ I just thought about the lyrics and how genius he was. Oh man! What a loss.”
The Los Angeles Asian Film Festival runs through April 28 at the Aratani Theatre, Directors Guild of America, Downtown Independent, Tateuchi Democracy Forum at JANM, The Great Company along with other theatres in the Los Angeles Area. For more festival information and screenings visit festival.vconline.org