Columbus was one of my favorite films of 2017, and John Cho’s latest feature Searching kicks off opening night at the Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival (LAAPFF). The 34th edition of the fest runs May 3-12, with features being shown in a various locations throughout the City of Angels (West Hollywood, Downtown LA, Little Tokyo, Koreatown, Hollywood, the Arts District).
Searching centers on a distraught father (John Cho) who attempts to find his missing teenage daughter by scouring the internet for answers after a local investigation goes nowhere. The narrative co-stars Debra Messing, Joseph Lee, and Michelle La. Director Aneesh Chaganty along with the cast and crew will do a Q&A after the premiere (taking place May 3 at West Hollywood’s Directors Guild of America.
“We are very excited to open the Festival with the multiple award winning Searching from director Aneesh Chaganty, starring John Cho and Debra Messing,” says Festival Artistic Consultant Anderson Le. “This innovative mystery thriller, which takes place all within a computer screen, is a unique experiment that is very outside-the-box, yet it all takes place within the “box” of a computer screen. Through Chaganty’s deft direction and an intense performance by Cho, this film showcases a new voice in Asian American and stretches the parameters of genre filmmaking, similar to how Jordan Peele’s Get Out flipped the script on horror film conventions.”
Thirty-nine features and 79 shorts taken from over 800 submissions will be screened at LAAPFF, with the documentary Matangi/Maya/M.I.A. serving as the closing night film at the Aratani Theatre in Little Tokyo’s Japanese American & Cultural Community Center. In The Life of Music, a Cambodian film detailing how music can bind a family affected by the Khmer Rouge regime, and the comedy/love story Fiction & Other Realities (directed by Bobby Choy and Steve Lee) make their world premieres at LAAPFF and serve as the fest’s “Centerpiece Films.”
The fest’s expansive focus is exemplified by their “International Showcase,” which spotlights filmmakers and features from all over the world. This year features from Cambodia, Canada, France, Germany, India, Japan, New Zealand, China, Philippines, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, Vietnam, and the United Kingdom will grace the silver screen. For more info, check out the fest’s official Facebook page.