Critically acclaimed Philippine movie “Birdshot” was among the foreign films that were screened in the just concluded 3rd Asian World Film Festival (AWFF) held in Culver City from October 26 to November 6.
An AWFF organizer told Weekend Balita/US Asian Post that Birdshot’s screening was well attended and was amply supported by the staff of the Philippine Consulate General in Los Angeles.
Almost simultaneously, Birdshot won in the recently concluded Los Angeles Philippine International Film Festival (LAPIFF). The movie tied with movie Imbisibol for LAPIFF’s Best Picture Award.
Entries to LAPIFF were screened at the SouthBay Pavilion Cinemark at 20700 Avalon Blvd., in the City of Carson.
Birdshot is a mystery and drama film about a farm girl who shot a protected Philippine eagle, not knowing that it is illegal to kill protected animal species, as she wandered off a forest reservation.
Commendably, as the movie unfolded, director Mikhail Red and his crew were also able to accurately illustrate — visually and cerebrally — the faces and lives of Filipino policemen as they go about their daily grinds. The filmmakers were also able to examine the challenges that rank-and-file policemen face as they are caught in the intricacies of a corrupt justice system.
Birdshot is one of the 22 Oscar® Foreign Language contenders.
The AWFF started on an emotional pitch when it opened through the screening of Ayla: Daughter of War.
Ayla is a movie about a story that happened during the Korean War in the 1950s. The main character, Ayla (played by Kim Seol) is based on the true story of war survivor Eun-Ja Kim.
Eun-Ja Kim was a child found and rescued by a Turkish soldier named Suleyman among dead victims of the war.
The Turkish soldier, with the help of fellow soldiers, took care of Ayla in their camp. The bond between Ayla and Suleyman took the form of a father and daughter relationship.
After the war, however, Ayla and Suleyman were separated. The two kept their hopes of being reunited for almost 50 years after their separation.
Actress Kim Seol and the real life Ayla (Eun-Ja Kim were present during the AWFF opening and were presented to the audience after the screening of the movie.
The AWFF screened a total of 37 foreign films during the week-long festival.
George Takei’s Allegiance: The Broadway Musical on the Big Screen closed the festival and was preceded by an awarding ceremony hosted by actors Christopher Kriesa (Fresh Off the Boat, Cast Away) and Alexandra Kahwagi, with Korean actress Banyah Maria Choi presenting the awards to a sold-out audience.
Takei was honored with the Snow Leopard Lifetime Achievement Award for his activism work within the LBGTQ community.
The award was presented by Vietnamese actress, singer and philanthropist Ha Phuong.
Dr. Kim’s ‘He Can Do She Can Do’ Award, presented by Lighthouse Worldwide Solutions was awarded to A Taxi Driver (Dir: Jang Hoon, Republic of Korea).
The $10,000 award was presented by Peter MaGuire, an executive at Lighthouse Solutions, and the film was chosen by a jury designated by the company.
The Snow Leopard Rising Star Award was presented to Sreymoch Sareum for her role in First They Killed My Father.
The film’s director, producer and co-screenwriter Angelina Jolie and co-screenwriter and executive producer, Loung Ong, accepted the award on Sreymoch’s behalf at a special screening of the film earlier in the week (October 30). During the closing night ceremony, the award was re-presented by Jury President Lisa Lu to Olary Yim, Cambodian Community Leader. The award will be taken back to Cambodia and given to Sreymoch.
The Spirit Award for Dedication and Passion was given to Vietnamese actress Ha Phuong and presented by the Festival’s chairman and founder Sadyk Sher-Niyaz.
The Murray Weissman Poster Art Award was given to Little Gandhi (Dir: Sam Kadi, Syria; designer: Brian A. Metcalf) and presented by Korean actress, Banyah Maria Choi. Little Gandhi is Syria’s 2017 Foreign Language Film Oscar contender.
From a total of 16 films in competition, The AWFF Jury Awards, presented by members of the Jury, were:
Snow Leopard Best Picture: A Taxi Driver (Dir: Jang Joon, Republic of Korea) presented by Sergei Bodrov and accepted by Park Un-Kyoung.
The Snow Leopard Best Actor was actor and director, Aktan Arym Kubat in Centaur, (Kyrgyzstan) presented by Nancy Wang Yuen.
The Snow Leopard Best Actress: Anoma Janadari in Burning Birds (Dir: Sanjeewa Pushpaumara, Sri Lanka) presented by Cade Carradine.
A Special Mention was given to Kang-ho Song in A Taxi Driver by Banyah Maria Choi.
The Snow Leopard Special Jury Award went to Mad World (Dir: Wong Chun, Hong Kong) presented by Tuba Büyüküstün.
The Snow Leopard Audience Award was given to Ayla: The Daughter of War (Dir: Can Ulkay, Turkey). The Award was presented by Nathan Wang and accepted by the film’s actor Cade Carradine.
There were two winners in the Snow Leopard Best New Director Award: Scary Mother director Ana Urushadze (Georgia); was presented by Thomas Lin and How Victor “The Garlic” Took Alexey “The Stud” To The Nursing Home director Alexander Hant (Russia); presented by Igor Kokarev.