Cinema Pacific film festival brings leading Asian cinema figures to Eugene

The third annual Cinema Pacific film festival will bring three prominent figures in Asian media back to Eugene, where their careers were launched as students at the University of Oregon.

Actor Daniel Wu, producer Roger Lee and photographer Russel Wong will headline the film festival that runs from April 18 to April 22 with 30 events, including film screenings on campus and in Eugene, lectures, receptions, and a 72-hour film competition and other interactive opportunities.

“Last year, we featured Terence Chang, the producer of John Woo’s great films, who attended UO in the 1970s,” said Richard Herskowitz, director of Cinema Pacific.  “It is pretty amazing how many alumni of the University of Oregon are significant forces in Asian film today, and it is exciting that three major alumni talents are returning to our festival this year.”

Wu, a Hong Kong actor, director and producer, will screen his 2011 film, “Overheard 2,” a crime thriller set in the world of high finance, at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, April 20 at the Regal Cinema at Valley River Center. One of the top movie stars in the Chinese film industry, Wu graduated from the UO with a degree in architecture. A longtime Chinese martial arts enthusiast, he founded the UO Wushu club in 1994 and was its first coach. After graduation, Wu traveled to Hong Kong and modeled before he was discovered by film director Yonfan. He will screen a second film, “The Heavenly Kings,” for which he won the Hong Kong Film Award for best new director, at 10 a.m. on Saturday, April 21, at the Bijou Art Cinemas.

Lee, a Hong Kong producer and UO alumnus, will present his autobiographical feature “A Simple Life” at 6:45 p.m. on Saturday, April 21, at the Bijou Art Cinemas. The film, which stars Andy Lau and Deanie Yip and was directed by Ann Hui, was Hong Kong’s selection for this year’s Best Foreign Film Academy Award.  It earned Yip the Best Actress award at the 2011 Venice Film Festival. Co-written by Lee and Susan Chan, the screenplay evolved from Lee’s reflections on his relationship with his childhood nanny or “amah.”

Wong will return to Cinema Pacific for the opening of his photography exhibition, “The Big Picture,” at the Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art. Wong will give an artist talk with projected slides at 2 p.m. on April 21, in the JSMA Lecture Room. From his beginnings in sports photography, Wong moved into photographing celebrated actors such as Jackie Chan, Michelle Yeoh  and Isabella Rossellini and doing publicity shoots for feature films like Ang Lee’s “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon” and Oliver Stone's "Heaven and Earth." An opening reception celebrating Wong’s and other spring JSMA exhibitions and Cinema Pacific will take place at the JSMA from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. on April 20.

Focus: Japan

Approximately half of Cinema Pacific’s film selections are devoted to a Pacific Rim national cinema each year. This year’s selections explore the dynamic cinema of Japan, including a screening of a film about the aftermath of the 2011 tsunami, “Fukushima Hula Girls,” at 2 p.m. on Sunday, April 15, at the Baker Downtown Center. The screening is cosponsored by the Consulate-General of Japan in Portland, the Japanese American Association of Lane County and the Asian Council.

Japanese film scholar and Cinema Pacific 2012 Festival Fellow Jonathan Hall will present a selection of films addressing music and sound in contemporary Japanese film. The series looks to rock, rap, metal, noise and cinematic sound effects as cultural expressions and social debate within Japan today. Hall will launch the series on April 18 with a lecture titled “In the Din: Dissonance and Dissidence in Japanese Film Today.” The talk will include the presentation of three short films by Ishii Yuya, a rising Japanese author whose films Hall has helped subtitle in English.

Hall will be joined on April 19 by Japanese director Matsue Tetsuaki, whose2011 “Tokyo Drifter” follows a street musician as he serenades the dark streets of Tokyo following the recent earthquake and nuclear disaster. On April 20, Tetsuaki will also present his 2009 debut film “Annyong Kimchi,” a funny, irreverent and tough look at the repressed Korean side of his Korean-Japanese identity.

Music films, “Abraxas” and “KanZeOn,” a Japanese feature film and a British documentary, raise the question of Japanese Buddhism’s relation to music and performance. In addition, two films, “Midori-Ko” and “The Echo of Astro Boy’s Footsteps” showcase the role of sound in Japanese animation.

The festival will close on April 22 with the regional premiere of “Jiro Dreams of Sushi,” and a sushi dinner party at Kamitori.

Fringe Festival 2012: A Page of Madness

Cinema Pacific’s Fringe Festival returns for the third year with a gallery exhibition in the Broadway Commerce Building featuring media installations inspired by the Japanese silent film classic “A Page of Madness (1926).” Featured in the exhibition will be artworks by UO student artists Maile Reiniche and Wenzhizhi Zhang, along with remixes of “A Page of Madness” submitted to the Fringe Festival’s annual remix competition. The Fringe Festival opens with First Friday on April 6 and continues until April 22.

Adrenaline Film Project

The Adrenaline Film Project is the 72-hour filmmaking workshop that culminates in a public screening on April 21. Between April 18 and April 21, the 12 teams of three filmmakers, mentored by professional filmmakers Jeff Wadlow, Omar Naim and Leigh Kilton-Smith, will write, cast, shoot, edit and premiere their short films. The Adrenaline Film Project assigns genres, and provides a prop and one line of dialogue for teams as a starting point. Following the screening on April 21, ticketed guests can attend the Adrenaline Afterparty, featuring music and refreshments in the Shedd Great Hall.

Media Mashers: Raiders of the Archives

This two-day symposium within Cinema Pacific will feature guests Rick Prelinger, Mark Hosler and DeeDee Halleck, three media artists who remix archival and commercial media.

Prelinger is an archivist, writer, filmmaker and “outsider librarian.” He partnered with the Internet Archive, of which he is a board member, to make more than 2,000 films available online for free viewing, download and reuse. He will discuss his work as an archivist of "ephemeral," unwanted media in "Confessions of an Outsider Archivist" on April 19 at 2 p.m. At 4 p.m. on April 20, he will screen “Lost Landscapes of Detroit,” a feature-length compilation of home movies, industrial films, outtakes and newsreels about Detroit.

Hosler will present a lecture/performance, “Adventures in Illegal Art,” at 2 p.m. on April 19, at the Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art. He is a founding member of the group Negativland, an experimental music and sound collage band. Hosler has been involved in promoting the reform of copyright laws, writing for publications such as Billboard Magazine, Keyboard Magazine, and NYU Law Commentator, and lecturing at institutions such as MIT, Yale and New York University.

Halleck is a longtime media activist, speaker and filmmaker. At Cinema Pacific, she will present a program at 2 p.m. on April 20 in Knight Library, celebrating the 30th anniversary of Paper Tiger TV, the non-profit national public access program of media criticism that she founded. She will also screen her feature-length film, “The Gringo in Mananaland,” a compilation of several hundred clips from more than 80 American films from 1910 to 1960. The screening is 4 p.m. on April 19, at the JSMA lecture room.

Animation at Cinema Pacific

According to Herskowitz,Cinema Pacific gives special emphasis to animation each year to reflect the prominent status of animation in Oregon filmmaking. This year’s program includes a special presentation of “Portland Animation Now,” brought to the festival by Sven Bonnichsen, director of the Northwest Animation Festival. The first event of the festival at 7 p.m. on April 18, at the Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art, is a screening and gallery talk by animator Stacey Steers. Steers will also guide viewers on a tour of her installation “Night Hunter House,” on view at the JSMA from April 19 to May 13.

After earning her advanced animation certificate from the Zagreb Film Studio in Croatia, Steers acquired her bachelor’s degree in fine arts and film from the University of Colorado, Boulder. Her animations have screened at the Sundance Film Festival, Telluride Film Festival, New Directors New Films in NYC and the National Gallery of Art in Washington D.C., and she is a recipient of a 2012 Creative Capital grant.

Cinema Pacific is sponsored by the UO Arts and Administration Program and UO Academic Extension, with support from University Relations, UO Cinema Studies, and the School of Journalism and Communication. Cinema Pacific also receives major support from the Oregon Arts Commission, UO Libraries, the Center for Asian and Pacific Studies, and the UO Confucius Institute. Additional support comes from the UO Office of International Affairs and the Oregon Humanities Center.