Tuesday, October 15, 2013


Summer Pasture (China/USA) at the Pacific Rim Film Festival

Pacific Rim Film Festival celebrates 25 years of cross-cultural understanding

Break out the silver confetti! One of Santa Cruz's most beloved cultural events, the Pacific Rim Film Festival, celebrates its 25th anniversary this year.

Originally inspired by the Hawaii International Film Festival around the theme, "East Meets West: When Strangers Meet," our own home-grown PRFF marks its first quarter-century with an expanded program.

Twenty films from twelve countries will unspool over seven days, October 17-23, at four venues county-wide. And as always, except for the closing-night musical fundraiser, every single film will be shown free of charge.

This year's dramas, comedies and docs come from North Korea, Cambodia, Tibet, China, the Philippines, Thailand, New Zealand/Samoa, Japan, Taiwan, India, and the United States. Participating theatres include the Theatre Del Mar, the Rio Theatre, and the Riverfront Twin in Santa Cruz, and Green Valley Cinema in Watsonville.

Q & A sessions with filmmakers will follow select screenings.

Among this year's highlights is Starry Starry Night (2011, Taiwan, 80 minutes). Tom Lin's beauteous live-action adaptation of the celebrated Jimmy Liao picture book captures all the whimsy, magic, and artfulness of Liao's paintings in a very moving story of a 13-year-old girl and boy learning to navigate life, loss, love, and growing up. (Read more)
The kids bond through art (a jigsaw puzzle of Van Gogh's eponymous painting looms large in the story), and their projects bleed into their real-life landscape in fanciful ways. Giant origami animals march over bridges and own city streets; when the kids board a train out of town, it flies through Van Gogh's painted sky.

I was unfamiliar with Liao's lovely book until I saw the film and did some research. Look how gorgeously filmmaker Lin reimagines  some of the book's painted images, with all their humor and soulfulness intact. I loved this movie so much—don't miss it!
(Starry Starry Night plays twice Friday night at the Riverfront, 7 pm, and 9:30 pm.)


  1. Wow, what a great review Lisa. It is people like you who inspire us to go the next year. Thanks for all your support.
    Paula Suzuki
    Festival Coordinator, PRFF

  2. Thanks, Paula! PRFF is such a wonderful addition to the Santa Cruz cultural landscape!