Reviewer: Ross Michael Pink
Festival director, Tracy Ho, beamed on opening night as a record crowd turned out for the launch of the 6th Annual Vancouver Asian Film Festival, which featured a combined program of 31 documentary, short, animated, and feature films. " We have over 300 guests," said the energetic Ho, "it'll be our best opening ever." She added confidently that" audience response to the festival and unique mix of programmes has been strong and should continue to grow."
Truly, the oak tree sleeps in the acorn, and it is certain that the VAFF will continue to prosper and grow over the years as it fills a growing demand for distinctly Asian films.
Opening night, with its sellout crowd, featured three films. VISION TEST is a 6-minute animated programme which cleverly uses a routine eye exam as a metaphor to examine minority rights in the United States. The clever film short has been presented at Chicago American Asian showcase, San Diego Asian Film Festival and other venues. It is a creative effort by writer, director, Wes Kim.
OLIVIA'S PUZZLE, written and directed by Jason Dasilva, is an interesting short film exploring the daily life of two seven-year-old girls of Goan hertitage. (Goa is the former Portuguese colony on the west coast of India which now attracts international tourists for its magnificent beaches and scenery.) Reshma was born and raised in Goa; Olivia was born in British Columbia. The charming tale covers the girls in the daily routines and their conversations about life and the future. The film has been presented at the Vancouver International Film Festival, New York Asian American Film Festival, and other leading film forums.
Directed by Nisha Pahuja, BOLLYWOOD BOUND is another film that taps the growing interest in Mumbai, India's famed Bollywood, which churns out twice as many films each year than Hollywood. If Andrew Lloyd Webber can create the amusing, colourful, frenetic Bollywood world on stage, it was only time before filmmakers followed suit. The film follows four eager young Canadian actors as they pursue dreams of stardom in Bollywood. In Canada, small, low publicity roles are common. In contrast, Bollywood has the real and tantalizing potential to make one a star to millions of viewers.
Next year will surely result in a larger festival with more entries in the increasingly expanding Asian film market. A city famed as a bridge between Asian and Western cultures, Vancouver is the perfect site for such a festival.
© 2002, Ross Michael Pink