Newport Beach Film Festival Highlights the Latest in Asian Cinema

AWerewolfBoy.png

Film festivals are usually the sort of thing I’ve always read about celebrities and socialites attending—not college students like me. But with the Newport Beach Film Festival so close to UC Irvine, how could I pass up an opportunity to attend? The festival ran from April 25 to May 2, featuring films from all over the world. The Asian showcase featured one film apiece from China, Japan, and South Korea. In recent years I’ve become a fan of Korean cinema, so TAO Event Coordinator Sheryl and I chose to watch "A Werewolf Boy" after catching the trailer on YouTube. Unexpectedly, “A Werewolf Boy” completely blew us away. Only after watching it did I realize why it is a best-selling melodrama in South Korea. Now that the “Twilight” brand is almost always attached to anything “werewolf” and “vampire,” I'm sure people had reservations about this movie's potential, but it is beautifully composed and scored. Many of the scenes were filmed in an organic atmosphere (e.g. in the fields during “golden hour” right before the sun sets), and is often framed so that the characters are enveloped in a warm halo of soft light. Gentle piano melodies subtly accompany scenes, which are sometimes lighthearted, somber, and of course, romantic. “A Werewolf Boy” displays a playful innocence and familial love that is sometimes lost in American films these days. Without giving away the storyline, the film is wonderfully endearing, charming, hilarious, and definitely heart-warming. It’s rare for a movie to make me both laugh and cry, and believe me, there was a symphony of sniffles throughout the theater during the last segment of the film.

The after-party took place at the Koi pond inside Fashion Island, and the sponsoring restaurants (Pick Up Stix, Ten Asian Bistro, Rude Awakeningz Catering, and Mochilato, to name a few) catered mostly Asian fare for the guests. And, of course, there was the open bar, sponsored by Stella Artois and Absolut Vodka (which was a hit). A live DJ kept the party going, in addition to performances by local student groups (including UC Irvine’s own Jodaiko drumming group, UC Irvine's Vietnamese Student Association Lion Dance and Cal State Fullerton's Wushu Martial Arts, and a traditional Korean choir group). Amidst the pastel parasols, white lanterns, colorful koi, and a dragon ice sculpture, the performances and décor resembled a Lunar New Year celebration.

I would like to thank Mochi Magazine and Mochi staffer Amy Lee for reaching out to UCI’s Taiwanese American Organization and extending the opportunity for us to attending the film festival and allowing me to be a guest blogger. It was definitely a grown-up experience, and now that I’ve been to one, I’m sure I’ll be attending next year’s Newport Beach Film Festival!

Guest blogger Victoria Lee is the 2012-2013 Internal Vice President of Taiwanese American Organization at UC Irvine.

Header credit: "A Werewolf Boy" promotional poster