The Korean American Film Festival Los Angeles launches this week, and while it imports several titles from its New York sister festival (including Magic and Loss, with indie star Kiki Sugino, and the portentous-sounding Ultimate Christian Wrestling), its centerpiece is a program of documentaries that focus on the 20th anniversary of the Los Angeles riots.
KJ Park, the festival director, explains that the riots (or “4-29” in Korean parlance, in reference to the date) were especially devastating for the Korean American community, many of whose businesses were destroyed in the violence. A subsequent generation has risen in the wake of those events, and Park feels the time is ripe for a cultural discussion of the riots' impact and legacy.
The documentaries in the fest (which is not to be confused with the Look East Korean film festival, which debuted in June) include The L.A. Riots: Reflections on Our Future, comparing social conditions in 1992 with 2012; Pok Dong, a portrait of the filmmaker's family, who suffered the loss of their business during the riots; and Clash of Colors: L.A. Riots of 1992, the debut film by the man who was vice president of the Korean Chamber of Commerce at the time. All filmmakers will be in attendance and there will be Q&As after every screening in the program.
KOREAN AMERICAN FILM FESTIVAL | Korean Cultural Center | 5505 Wilshire Blvd., Miracle Mile | Aug. 9-11