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Could NBA player Jeremy Lin be the most visible Asian-American star since Bruce Lee?
The 2014 edition of the Seattle Asian American Film Festival (SAAFF), which runs Thursday-Sunday, Feb. 6-9, at the Ark Lodge Cinemas in Columbia City, promises to answer those questions and a few more. A showcase of lesbian and gay films also is on the schedule, and so are programs with considerable local input.
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Last year’s January festival, which drew hundreds of moviegoers to the Wing Luke Museum, had enough sold-out shows to demonstrate an appetite for Asian-American films that rarely get much conventional distribution.
Among the 28 films to be screened this year are “Seeking Asian Female” (5 p.m. Feb. 9), which deals with the marriage of a young Chinese woman and an older white man; “Someone I Used to Know” (6 p.m. Feb. 7), about a reunion of old friends; and “Linsanity” (6:30 p.m. Feb. 6), a documentary about Lin’s success as a Time magazine cover boy and a “Saturday Night Live” target.
Other documentaries include “American Revolutionary: The Evolution of Grace Lee Boggs” (5:30 p.m. Feb. 8), about the 98-year-old activist-philosopher; and “Raskal Love” (1 p.m. Feb. 8), which follows the Seattle career of b-boy Vanna Fut.
The locally produced feature, “R/Evolve” (8:30 p.m. Feb. 7), deals with marriage equality and radical gay politics. Seattle labor organizers are the subject of “One Generation’s Time: The Legacy of Silme Domingo & Gene Viernes” (2 p.m. Feb. 9).
Some of these have been honored at other festivals. “Seeking Asian Female” took the 2012 San Diego Asian Film Festival award for best picture. Panel discussions and Q&A sessions are part of several programs, and parties are scheduled for opening night and Feb. 8.
The festival had its beginnings in 1985, when it had a different name and flirted with becoming an annual event (“Beacon Hill Boys” and “Chan Is Missing” were among the early entries), but it’s been more sporadic since 2007.
SAAFF’s official stated goal is to showcase “works by Northwest Asian-American filmmakers, as well as films from across the country dealing with Asian-American people, issues and themes, which are absent from other local festivals. SAAFF is the only film festival in Seattle to provide a space for Asian-American voices, perspectives and histories.”
Free programs include “War Documentary Shorts” (11 a.m. Feb. 8), “Contemporary Shorts” (3:30 p.m. Feb. 8) and “Narrative and Animated Shorts” (noon Feb. 9).
John Hartl: email@example.com