[updated] something i always anticipate greatly in nyc is the tribeca film festival. one of the films that i’ve been following that i would really like to see is west 32nd directed by michael kang starring john cho (of harold and kumar fame) and grace park (battlestar galactica, which i miss so much – the new season doesn’t start up again until 2008…grrrr). watch the trailer here.
here’s an excerpt from my boy won kim at adiversity interviewing michael kang.
What was your motivation for writing West 32nd? Do you think there could be a mainstream pull for this movie?
I co-wrote the script with Edmund Lee. We both felt like we had seen enough “Asian American” films that dealt with race, identity and politics through family dramas. Our hope was to write a movie that was entertaining while layered with things we were interested in about the Asian American community. For me, the character of John Kim (John Cho) was on one level a passport for the audience into this subculture of the Korean American experience, as well as a representative of my own experience as a 2nd generation Korean American who didn’t grow up in a Korean enclave. Ed and I often felt like the movies we had seen dealt with an insulated 2nd generation experience and we really wanted to explore the relationship between the 2nd and 1.5 generation and new immigrants. But first and foremost, we wanted to do this in a way that wasn’t academic. Choosing the crime drama genre made it possible to explore these issues without forsaking entertainment value.
At the heart of it, I think the film is very accessible to a non-Asian audience. It’s also a peek into a world that I haven’t seen on screen before. The story is about ambition and moral ambiguity; those themes transcend race. I hope that it has mainstream appeal. But you can never tell. I have no idea how non-Asians think. They may assume that it is a foreign film because it has so many Asians in it. I hope that they can get past that and realize that this is a uniquely American story.