On April 30, 2015, Visual Communications celebrated the Closing of the 31st Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival with an awards ceremony and the LA premiere screening of the award winning MARGARITA, WITH A STRAW, directed by Shonali Bose.
Los Angeles-based director Dax Phelan was awarded the Grand Jury Prize for Best Narrative Feature for his feature debut JASMINE. The festival’s Best Director award was given to LAAPFF alumni Jennifer Phang for her film ADVANTAGEOUS.
Both JASMINE and ADVANTAGEOUS were among multiple award winners. JASMINE was recognized by 5 awards; ADVANTAGEOUS took home 4 awards; and MISS INDIA AMERICA was honored with 2 prizes.
The actress/writer Jacqueline Kim was recognized for her work as the lead actress and co-writer of ADVANTAGEOUS with the special inaugural Linda Mabalot Renaissance Award. This award recognizes a multi talented artist who exemplifies the spirit and fierceness of the late executive director of the LAAPFF and Visual Communications, Linda Mabalot. Mabalot died in 2003 just after the festival ended.
In the documentary competition, directors Samantha Futerman and Ryan Miyamoto won the Grand Jury Prize for the film TWINSTERS. The film tells the real life story of co-director Futerman finding her twin sister on social media by accident. Futerman and her twin sister were separated in Korea when they were adopted by separate families – one in the US and the other in Europe.
Best Documentary Director award was given to Jim Choi for CHANGING SEASON; Best Cinematographer prize was bestowed on Patrick McLaughlin for his work on EVERYTHING WILL BE; and Best Editing went to Sara Newens and Summers Henderson for TOP SPIN. A special jury prize was awarded to Kimberlee Bassford for WINNING GIRL.
Attendance was up with many sold out shows this year and audiences really responding to the films and stories. All of the 32 feature films were eligible for Audience Award. This was divided into the fiction and documentary categories. THE KILLING OF DR. HAING S. NGOR from award winning filmmaker Arthur Dong took home the Audience Award in the documentary arena; and HOW TO WIN AT CHECKERS (EVERY TIME) by Josh Kim wowed the audiences and won the Audience Award for Best Fiction Feature.
This year, the LAAPFF presented over 102 short films from directors across the globe. The dramatic and elegantly executed 90 DAYS by Timothy Yeung received the Golden Reel Award, while Ken Ochiai was honored with the Linda Mabalot New Directors/New Visions Award for his musical short JULIET JULIET – THE SOUND OF LOVE MUSICAL.
Here is the full list of winners from this year's Festival!
=== Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival 2015 Awards ===
NARRATIVE FEATURE FILM AWARDS
Grand Jury Prize - Best Film - JASMINE (Dir. Dax Phelan)
Best Director - Jennifer Phang - ADVANTAGEOUS
Best Screenplay - Ravi Kapoor & Meera Simhan - MISS INDIA AMERICA
Best Cinematography - Guy Livneh - JASMINE
Best Actor - Dramatic - Jason Tobin - JASMINE
Best Actor - Comedy - Tiya Sircar - MISS INDIA AMERICA
Best Editing - TIE:
Chris Chan Lee - JASMINE
Sean Gillane / Jennifer Phang - ADVANTAGEOUS
Best Ensemble Cast - KTOWN COWBOYS
Best Sound Design - Lisa K. Fowle - JASMINE
Best Musical Score -Timo Chen - ADVANTAGEOUS
Special Jury Award, Best Animation in a Non-Animated Film - MAN UP (Dir. Justin Chon)
Special Jury Award, Best New Actor - TIE:
Brandon Soo Hoo - EVERYTHING BEFORE US
Anthony Ma - LOVE ARCADIA
Special Jury Award, Best First Feature - THERE IS A NEW WORLD SOMEWHERE (Dir. Li Lu)
Special Jury Award, The Linda Mabalot Renaissance Spirit Award - Jacqueline Kim – ADVANTAGEOUS
DOCUMENTARY FEATURE FILM AWARDS
Grand Jury Prize - Best Film - TWINSTERS (Dirs. Samantha Futerman, Ryan Miyamoto)
Best Director - Jim Choi - CHANGING SEASON
Best Cinematography – Patrick McLaughlin – EVERYTHING WILL BE
Best Editing – Sara Newens & Summers Henderson – TOP SPIN
Special Jury Award – Kimberlee Bassford – WINNING GIRL
Documentary Audience Award – THE KILLING FIELDS OF DR. HAING S. NGOR (Dir. Arthur Dong)
Narrative Audience Award – HOW TO WIN AT CHECKERS (EVERY TIME) (Dir. Josh Kim)
SHORT FILM AWARDS
Linda Mabalot New Directors/New Visions Award - JULIET JULIET – THE SOUND OF LOVE MUSICAL (Dir. Ken Ochiai)
Festival Golden Reel Award - Best Film - 90 DAYS (Dir. Timothy Yeung)
SPECIAL JURY MENTIONS:
QUYEN (Dir. Lucretia Stinnette)
THICKER THAN WATER (Dir. Seung Yeob Lee)
The 2015 Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival kicked off on April 23, 2015 for eight days starting with the world premiere of EVERYTHING BEFORE US – a film by Wesley Chan and Philip Wang aka Wong Fu Productions. Since opening night, LAAPFF has screened all over Los Angeles from Little Tokyo to Koreatown to Downtown LA to West Hollywood.