Sundance Film Fest 2008: Features and Docus with Asian Link

DEATH IN LOVE/ U.S.A. (Director and Screenwriter: Boaz Yakin)A self-assured but neurotic 40-year-old bachelor attempts to make sense of his complicated life as he negotiates his sexual relationships in the shadow of his mothers concentration camp experience. Cast: Josh Lucas, Jacqueline Bisset, Adam Brody, Lukas Haas. World Premiere

Asian American actress Vanessa Kai makes her film debut in this film.

DINNER WITH THE PRESIDENT/Pakistan (Directors and Screenwriters: Sabiha Sumar and

Sachithanandam Sathananthan) From on-the-street interviews to audiences with religious leaders to dinner with the President of Pakistan, the film takes the temperature of a culture on issues from politics to womens rights. U.S. Premiere

Filmed by a Pakistani filmmaker in urban and rural Pakistan, including tribal areas on the border with Afghanistan.

THE DRUMMER (JIN. GWU)/ Hong Kong/ Taiwan/ Germany (Director and Screenwriter: Kenneth Bi) A young man transforms from a reckless youth and gangster into a mature adult through the inspiration of Zen drumming. Cast: Jaycee Chan, Tony Leung Ka Fai, Josie Ho, Roy Cheung, Lee Sinje, Kenneth Tsang.

This director is from Hong Kong. The Drummer was filmed in Hong Kong and Taiwan and features Jaycee Chan, son of martial arts action figure Jackie Chan.

GAS ZAPPERS (Director: Kenneth Tin-Kin Hung) A short animation about climate change, where an ironically over-appropriated and fuzzy polar bear, abruptly finds itself in a position to save its home.*

The director is originally from Hong Kong

JUVENILE/ United Kingdom (Director: China Moo-Young; Screenwriter: Glenn Doherty) A single parent's relationship with his teenage daughter, on the day she brings home her new boyfriend.*

The filmmaker is of Asian descent.

THE LINGUISTS/ U.S.A. (Directors: Seth Kramer, Daniel A. Miller, Jeremy Newberger;

Screenwriter: Daniel A. Miller)David and Greg are “The Linguists,” who document languages on the verge of extinction. In the rugged landscapes of Siberia, India, and Bolivia, their resolve is tested by institutionalized racism and violent economic unrest. World Premiere

This was filmed in Russia and India.

NERAKHOON (THE BETRAYAL) (Director: Ellen Kuras; Co-Director: Thavisouk Phrasavath; Screenwriters: Ellen Kuras, Thavisouk Phrasavath) The epic story of a family forced to emigrate from Laos after the chaos of the secret air war waged by the U.S. during the Vietnam War. Kuras has spent the last 23 years chronicling the family's extraordinary journey in this deeply personal, poetic, and emotional film. World Premiere

PATTI SMITH: DREAM OF LIFE (Director: Steven Sebring) An intimate portrait of poet, painter, musician and singer Patti Smith that mirrors the essence of the artist herself.

This was shot partially in Japan.

PUUJEE/ Japan (Director and Screenwriter: Kazuya Yamada) Against the backdrop of a magnificent but harsh natural landscape, a Japanese photojournalist encounters puujee, a young girl who tames wild horses on the Mongolian plains. North American Premiere.

This was filmed in Mongolia by a Japanese filmmaker.

SEVEN INTELLECTUALS IN BAMBOO FOREST, PARTS 4 and 5/ U.S.A. (Artist: Yang Fudong) A rare screening of the artist's most recently completed films in his celebrated series, based on the history of seven intellectuals in the ancient Chinese Wei and Jin Dynasties.

This will show in the New Frontier on Main.

SMART PEOPLE/U.S.A. (Director: Noam Murro; Screenwriter: Mark Jude Poirier)An acerbic and self-absorbed literature professor has alienated his son and turned his daughter into an overachieving, friendless teen. When his brother unexpectedly shows up at his door, the man is forced is to confront his own life. Cast: Dennis Quaid, Sarah Jessica Parker, Thomas Haden Church, Ellen Page, Ashton Holmes. World Premiere

The director is from India.

UP THE YANGTZE/ Canada (Director and Screenwriter: Yung Chang) At the edge of the Yangtze River, not far from the Three Gorges Dam, young men and women take up employment on a cruise ship, where they confront rising waters and a radically changing China. U.S. Premiere.

Filmed in China by a Chinese-Canadian director.

YASUKUNI/ Japan (Director and Screenwriter: Li Ying) Controversy abounds as Japanese officials honor the deceased at the legendary Yasukuni shrine, where swords used to kill Chinese soldiers were famously forged. Few know about the shrines eerie past and the mysterious sword inside. Cast: Kariya Naoji, Sugawara Ryuken,Gaojin Sumei. North American Premiere

Filmed in Tokyo by a Chinese director.

SHORT FILMS

AUGUST 15th/ China (Director: Jiang Xuan) Based on a real life event, a young Chinese woman boards a bus with her boyfriend to head home to meet his parents. What was supposed to be a joyful holiday turns unpredictable when a pair of countryside crooks hijack their bus. Traveling through China's dangerous mountain passes, the passengers must decide how much they are willing to sacrifice for their own safety.

The director is Chinese and the film was shot in Hebei Province, China.

PILGRIMAGE (Director: Tadashi Nakamura; Screenwriter: Karen Ishizuka) A tribute to the small group of Japanese Americans in the late 1960s who transformed an abandoned WWII concentration camp into a symbol of retrospection and solidarity for people of all ages, races, and nations.

The director and screenwriter are Japanese.

SMILE/ Canada (Director: Julia Kwan) A subtle look at the fractures that bond a Chinese immigrant family on the day they use their cut-out Sears coupon for a free family portrait.

This film tells the story of challenges faced by first generation Chinese-American immigrants.

SALIM BABA (Director: Tim Sternberg)Salim Muhammad is a 55-year-old man who lives in North Kolkata with his wife and five children. Since the age of ten he has made a living using a hand-cranked projector to screen discarded film scraps for the kids in his surrounding neighborhoods

This is a portrait of an Indian family struggling to keep their portable cinema alive and running on the streets of Kolkata.