VAALA presents Viet Film Fest 2015: My Top 10 Picks!

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by Tom Nguyen

2015 is an important year for the Vietnamese diaspora, the largest of which is here in Southern California’s Little Saigon, Orange County. The end of April marks the 40th anniversary of the fall of Saigon and it’s personal to me because my family and I were among the first wave of post-Vietnam War refugees that would eventually number up to 2 million who have fled overseas by any means necessary.

April 16-19, the Vietnamese American Arts & Letters Association (VAALA) will present the Viet Film Fest at Ultraluxe Cinemas in Anaheim, near Disneyland. VAALA started the festival in 2003, then known as the Vietnamese International Film Festival (VIFF) and screened at UCI and UCLA campuses, with support from Vietnamese student groups. The festival started biennially every 2 years and I’m not sure if that was due to funding, lack of enough Vietnamese cinema to feature, or a combination of both, but fast forward to 2014 and a lot had changed! Continue Reading →

Cambodia Town Film Festival this Weekend Sep. 5-7!

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by Tom Nguyen

I just attended the private filmmaker reception last night at Thunder Studios, an intimate pre-kickoff to the 2nd Annual Cambodia Town Film Festival, running this weekend at the Art Theatre Long Beach. In just its second year, the ambitious film festival returns with an eclectic lineup of films, celebrating Khmer cinema both here and abroad.

The reception was an opportunity to meet some of the filmmakers and the festival founders Caylee So and PraCh Ly took time to thank their team and sponsors, without whose support the film festival would not be possible. Many supporters, like singer Bochan, had flown from faraway to attend this weekend’s festival, featuring cinema you’re not likely to see anywhere else!

Tonight Friday, you can attend the official kickoff party at Sophy’s Restaurant, well known for its Cambodian cuisine. The organizers have transformed the interior of the restaurant into a jungle and members of Intradevi and others will be performing and spinning great music. Rumany and her electro-Khmer band, with their elaborate costuming and over-the-top stage presence, stole the show at the recent inaugural Cambodian Music Festival.

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Free Screenings of Contemporary South American Cinema at USC April 5-7

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April 5-7, another set of free film screenings open to the public at the USC School of Cinematic Arts will be showcasing recent cinema from South America. These films aren’t the most recent coming from South America and I’ve seen quite a few of them already, but from dramas to comedies to horror, this series is a good representation of the different genres of quality film and diverse stories coming from South America cinema. You can click on the film titles in the lineup to RSVP. Continue Reading →

Best of Belgian Cinema every 3rd Wednesday at Aero Theatre

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This is the 4th annual Grit and Whimsy series of Belgian cinema organized by the Consulate General of Belgium and showing at the Aero Theatre in Santa Monica every 3rd Wednesday of the month throughout the year. I only found out about it now so I’m quite disappointed I’ve already missed 2 spectacular films coming from Belgium. Some of the screenings will include Q&A with the filmmakers and every screening is followed by a Belgian beer reception! Continue Reading →

French Language Cinema Week at Theatre Raymond Kabbaz


Monday, March 18 – Friday, March 22 is French Language Cinema Week at the Theatre Raymond Kabbaz. Presented in partnership with the Los Angeles consulates of France, Belgium, Switzerland, Canada and Quebec Government Office, each day will feature a free film from their respective regions: Continue Reading →