Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Macho Like Helie

The Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Fest begins April 29 to May 8 this year, with films being screened in Hollywood, Little Tokyo and Koreatown. But being so removed from the Asian acting scene, I don't really know what movies anyone should see.

Usually, per the 6 or so times I've been to the fest, the opening and closing movies are the most popular, with a handful of interesting choices popping up here and there.

Author Helie Lee's Macho Like Me just might be one of those choices on May 5. The film stands out to me because I once participated in Helie's writing workshop and even ran into her documentary film crew on at least one occasion.

Helie, as a writer, is one of those live-it-first-then-write-about-it memoir types, and this was before the memoir was even popular. When she went to North Korea via China to rescue her long-lost uncle, I thought she had bigger cojones than anyone with a nut sac, including me. Especially me.

But when she brought up the idea of chopping off her long hair and getting butch for a documentary, I thought she was a bit, yeah, nuts. In fact, I told her so, and I think that probably fed her determination a bit. Okay, so I'm not particularly persuasive.

Now, more than a decade later, her doc is hitting the festival circuit and, frankly, I'm afraid to look. You'd think that after all these reality shows, I'd be jaded enough to watch something like this. Bored even. But no, I cringe at just the thought of it.

Yeah, I know what you're thinking. And I agree: I am (whatever you are thinking).

The festival's Opening Night Gala is at the DGA in Hollywood, and if you've never been to one, try to score a VIP ticket and get up close and personal with your favorite Asian American film or TV star. Believe it or not, there are actually quite a few of them these days.