LAAPFF Features Korean and Korean American Films

by REERA YOO | @reeraboo

The 31st Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival (LAAPFF) will be showcasing a wide variety of indie films, documentaries and short films created by Asian and Asian American filmmakers. The festival will run from April 23 through April 30, 2015 at several theaters in Little Tokyo, Koreatown and West Hollywood—just in time for Asian Pacific American Heritage Month.

Here are the feature-length Korean and Korean American films that will be screened at this year’s LAAPFF. The following list does not include short films.

Cat Funeral


Director: Lee Jong-hoon

Cast: Kang-in (from K-pop group Super Junior), Park Se-young, Park Se-young, Jung Gyu-woon, Hong Wan-pyo, Kim Byeong-choon

Based on a webtoon of the same name, The Cat Funeral tells the story of an indie musician and a cartoonist reuniting a year after breaking up over the death of the cat they owned together. The couple embark on an overnight trip to hold a funeral for their beloved pet.

Changing Season


Director: Jim Choi

Cast: David “Mas” Masumoto, Nikiko Masumoto

Set in California’s San Joaquin Valley, Changing Season chronicles the transitional year of famed farmer David “Mas” Masumoto and his relationship with his queer daughter Nikiko, who returns to her family’s peach farm to take the reins from her father. The documentary explores the process of handing over a family farm from one generation to the next as well as the changing dynamics within the Japanese American community.

How to Win at Checkers (Every Time)


Director: Josh Kim

Cast: Toni Rakkaen, Ingkarat Damrongsakkul, Thira Chutikul, Arthur Navarat, Natarat Lakha, Kowit Wattanakul

After both of his parents die in the poor outlying districts of Bangkok, 11-year-old Oat faces an uncertain future when his older brother, Ek, must apply to Thailand’s annual military draft lottery. In order to buy his older brother out of the army, Oat steals money from a local mafia boss, only to endure traumatic consequences.

How to Win at Checkers (Every Time) was screened at the 65th Berlin International Film Festival.

Top Spin 


Director: Mina T. Son, Sara Newens

Cast: Lily Zhang, Ariel Hsing, Michael Landers

Top Spin chronicles the journey of three American teen athletes who aspire to make the 2012 Olympic table tennis team. The film made its world premiere at DOC NYC, America’s largest documentary film festival.

Ktown Cowboys


Director: Daniel “DPD” Park

Cast: Danny Cho (screenwriter), Shane Yoon, Bobby Choy, Peter Jae, Sunn Wee, Simon Rhee, Daniel Dae Kim, Eric Roberts, Steven Byrne

Based on a popular web series of the same name, Ktown Cowboys is a bromantic comedy that follows a group of Korean American friends who band together in Los Angeles’ Koreatown and struggle with transitioning into adulthood.

Ktown Cowboys premiered at the 2015 SXSW Film Festival.

I Have Seen My Last Born 


Director: Lee Isaac Chung, Samuel Gray Anderson

I Have Seen My Last Born is a documentary about Rwanda, a sovereign state in central and east Africa, transitioning from its violent history towards development. The story is told through the perspective of a villager who juggles the roles of father and son.

The film’s co-director, Lee Isaac Chung, is a renowned Korean American filmmaker, whose debut feature Munyurangabo was screened at the 2007 Cannes Film Festival.

Man Up


Director: Justin Chon

Cast: Kevin Wu, Justin Chon, Dion Basco, Gerry Bednob, Nichole Bloom, Parvesh Cheena, Samantha Futerman, Amy Hill, Galadriel Stineman

Martin, a 19-year-old slacker, gets kicked out of his house after his tiger mother discovers that he got his Mormon girlfriend pregnant. Martin then moves in with his stoner best friend, Randall, who vows to turn him into a good father.



Director: Samantha Futerman, Ryan Miyamoto

Cast: Samantha Futerman, Anaïs Bordier

Documentary Twinsters follows the story of actress Samantha Futerman and budding fashion designer Anaïs Bordier, twin sisters separated at birth and adopted by American and French families. Through the power of social media, the sisters discover their existence for the fist time and reunite after 25 years of separation.



Director: Jennifer Phang

Cast: Jacqueline Kim (screenwriter), James Urbaniak, Freya Adams, Ken Jeong, Jennifer Ehle, Samantha Kim

In a near-future dystopian city where women are pressured to quit the workforce in order to make room for men, Gwen, a gifted corporate spokesperson, must decide whether to undergo a radical medical procedure to save her job and pave a better future for her daughter.

Advantageous premiered at the Sundance Film Festival.

Diving Bell


Director: Hae-ryong Ahn, Lee Sang-ho

Cast: N/A

Diving Bell details the struggles of the namesake rescue equipment that was used during the largely failed search for victims of South Korea’s Sewol ferry disaster, which killed more than 300 passengers, most of them high school students who were on a school trip.

To learn more about the LAAPFF, visit their website and official Facebook page


All images via LAAPFF