“Filipino” films at the upcoming 38th Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival (May 5 – 13, 2022)

By Oliver Carnay

Several films are going to be included at the upcoming Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival, which will run from May 5 through the 13th, 2022.  Here are some of them.  For complete schedule and how to get tickets, please go to festival.vcmedia.org/. (Check which films are available virtually and in-theatre screening).

May 6, 2022, 9:30 p.m. at the Directors Guild of America (There will be a Q&A with Dir. Mikhael Red after the DGA screening)
The North American Premiere of “ARISAKA” from director Mikhael Red (NEOMANILA and BIRDSHOT) and starring Maja Salvador.  ARISAKA delivers another successful mix of drama, intense action and political commentary. Director Mikhail Red drops us into the world of policewoman Mariano (Maja Salvador), who seeks vengeance on her captors. But when she escapes them, she has to retrace the Bataan Death March’s trail. Struggling to survive in the jungle, Mariano finds help when.she’s taken in by a family from the local Aeta tribe.
Playing on May 7, 1:30 p.m. at the Directors Guild of America
Martika Ramirez Escobar’s feature directorial debut is a genre-bending ride. It coasts between the fiction and real life of Leonor, a retired filmmaker who falls into a coma after a television lands on her head, compelling her to become the action hero of her unfinished screenplay. It’s storytime with your Lola (Pilipino for Grandmother) with a hint of Alice In Wonderland.  The film made its world premiere at Sundance where it won the Special Jury Prize for Innovative Spirit in Sundance.
DELIKADO docfilm
Directed by Karl Makalunas, the program will have a Q&A after the screening on May 8 at 4:30 p.m. at the Directors Guild of America.  

Palawan appears to be an idyllic tropical island but… To save the island paradise, three environmental crusaders confront murder, betrayal and their own demons. Through dynamic documentary storytelling, we follow a charismatic lawyer who leads good men to their deaths, an ex-illegal logger who seeks redemption, and a grandmother politician who defies assassination threats


A LONG MARCH, directed by TS Botkin, will have a Q&A after the May 10, 2022 4:00 p.m. screening at the Directors Guild of America
Many Philippine migration stories, here in California and across the nation, are linked to the thousands of Filipino and Filipino American soldiers who went to war to defend the United States and the Philippines during World War II. In an honest and heartfelt directorial debut, TS Botkin follows Filipino American veterans as they emotionally trace their paths from war to erasure by the U.S. Government, marching from an obscured history to the Federal courts, right up to the steps of Congress in search of promises denied.


KUWENTUHAN (short programs) – May 10, 2022, 7:00 p.m. at the Directors Guild of America. All short films in this program will have a Q&A with the filmmakers.
Prepare the balikbayan box full of tissues with these films celebrating histories, heritage, and values through stories on the Philippine diaspora at home and abroad.

MORENA, directed by Nicole Mairose Dizon.  While painting, Ciara Morena, an insecure folk artist, runs out of paint. At the art store, she hesitates on darker paint after remembering mom’s opposition to darkness. Fed up with triggers, Ciara uses skin whitening cream and hallucinates her ancestor. With side effects, she must rush before it erases her…



At the age of six, director Kent Donguines’ mother left him and his family to become a nanny. Years later, his film Kalinga (Care) shares the stories of several Filipina caregivers and nannies in Vancouver, bearing witness to their sacrifices as they struggle to reunite with their children and families.


From Dir. Derek Aiello.  A young man receives an unexpected package from his mother that sparks a journey of connection with his culture, his passion and his mother through making a dish close to his heart, Sinigang.

NOTHING BUT AN EMPTY ROAD, written and directed by Cole Bacani.  Vanessa hasn’t seen her dad in years until the night of her premiere, and now she only has minutes to convince him to stay, and he only has minutes to make up for lost years. Sometimes, showing up is one of the most powerful ways a parent can show love.



CONNECTION, directed by Achim Mendoza.  Anton, a frustrated Filipino musician, uploads a song he’s been working on social media. However, when an unauthorized French cover of his song goes viral, Anton attempts to reach out to his rival, but immediately encounters a linguistic and cultural barrier.

THE HEADHUNTERS DAUGHTER, directed by Don Josephus Raphael Eblahan, 
Lynn, an aspiring country singer, and July, her trusty horse, endure an arduous descent along the Cordilleran highlands to make it to the city for an audition. Her journey leads her on a path where her indigenous identity is confronted by the unseen forces of the landscape’s colonial American past.
For complete schedule and how to get tickets, please go to festival.vcmedia.org/. (Check which films are available virtually and in-theatre screening).