Sunday April 4 2010 Diversity of Places Film Festival, Features Award-winning New Orleans Documentary

HONOLULU, HI (Mar. 19, 2010) – The second annual Diversity of Places Film Festival showcases documentary films that explore the city as a complex and endlessly unique process of placemaking. This one-day event presented by the University of Hawaii Manoa Urban and Regional Planning Department consists of screenings and discussions on Sunday April 4 from 3 to 7:30 pm at the ARTS at Marks Garage in downtown Honolulu.

“These films ask the question, who has the right to make or remake places and why?” said organizer Vera Zambonelli, who will be leading the event. “We want to promote awareness and critical outlook on how we, all of us, experience place.”

The first half of the festival is a carefully curated selection of short documentaries about a dazzling variety of places as far-flung as Russia and as close as Honolulu’s Chinatown. Also delving into a local sense of place, students from the University of Hawaii’s Department of Urban Planning will also be showing their projects filmed here in Hawaii.

Teenagers are featured in two films: “Fine Threads” is set in the beauty parlors of Queens, NY and “Bikes Work” films teens in a Philadelphia repair shop. “One Night” by local filmmaker Misa Tupou won last year’s Showdown in Chinatown for a story that was “compelling throughout” and “gave a great sense of Chinatown.”

In the second half, the award-winning “A Village Called Versailles” portrays a Vietnamese American community in eastern New Orleans after the devastation of Hurricane Katrina. Their struggle to rebuild not only their homes but to protect their community from the city’s plan to locate a toxic landfill right next to their neighborhood inspired filmmaker Leo Chiang to make the film.

Mike DiGregorio will open the event and a moderated discussion with filmmakers Leo Chiang, Brittney Shepherd, Eva Moss and Misa Tupou follows the screening.

“A Village Called Versailles”

– Audience award for feature documentary at the New Orleans Film Festival

– “Untold story… moving documentary.” Judy Stone, San Francisco Film Society.

The festival is free and open to the public. More information about the films is available at

This event has been sponsored by the University of Hawaii Diversity and Equity Initiative, the Student Activities Program Fee Board, the University Student of Urban and Regional Planning, the Graduate Student Organization, the UH Globalization Research Center, the ARTS at Marks Garage, ITVS and IndependentLens.

Producer-Director S. Leo Chiang at the Versailles Lunar New Year Festival, 2009. Photo Credit: Andy Levin

Brittney Shepherd - A Village Called Versailles Associate Producer

Mike DiGregorio - Keynote Speaker

Versailles elderly gardener takes a moment away from her work, 2006. Photo Credit: Lucas Foglia

One Night. Picture taken by Keoki Smith.


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