Beyond Politics

Asian fest films get personal

Several shorts showcase emerging talent from and beyond Little Saigon. Minh Nguyen-Vo, of San Pedro, directs Crimson Wings, a tight and surprisingly uplifting (given its subject) film of a Caucasian lover's remembrances of his Vietnamese-American girlfriend after she is killed in a car accident. Noted actress Hiep Thi Le (Heaven and Earth and Bugis Street) enchants with her all-too-brief depiction of the girlfriend as a "butterfly." Is she just a ghost? Or are these flashbacks? And does it matter? Huntington Beach director Stephane Gauger, who was born in Vietnam of biracial parents, presents Seabirds, featuring the dashing Tony Nguyen as Hai Nguyen, an Amerasian seeking to locate his white American father against scenes of Orange County Tet celebrations, hip-hopping LA blacks, and re-enactments of bureaucratic maze in Ho Chi Minh City. Gauger's depiction of an Amerasian living among black street youths deserves more extended film treatment. And Van Phan's Wild Card is a 3-minute computerized animation of unattainable love.

For information on where and when to catch the films listed above, call the Newport Beach International Film Festival hot line at (949) 651-8555 or visit the Web site at www.nbiff.org.

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