Night Market Cleveland presents POP AYE at CIFF41
This week kicks off the 41st year of the Cleveland International Film Festival. What began as eight films from seven different countries shown over an eight-week period in 1977, has grown into a celebration of 416 films from 71 countries including shorts and a special virtual reality immersion exhibit. From March 29th to April 9th attendees will experience one of the top film festivals in the country with over 300 filmmakers in attendance, attracting an estimated 2,000 people over its twelve day run.
This marks the first year that Night Market Cleveland has participated as a community partner at CIFF. Along with MotivAsians and sponsor Ty Fun, we present POP AYE on Friday, April 7 and Saturday, April 8. Get more information about NMCLE’s upcoming season in the Community Engagement Corner at the conclusion of the film.
Written and directed by Kirsten Tan, POP AYE takes place in Singapore and Thailand, two locations that the young filmmaker has also called home. A surreal take on the classic road trip trope, Thana a once well-known architect in Bangkok is reunited unexpectedly with his childhood pet Popeye, a 12,000-pound Asian elephant, just as he needs it most. Depressed by his marriage and work, Thana’s mid-life crisis revolves around returning Popeye to his family’s rural farm.
The bond between man and elephant is heartwarmingly presented in this cinematically entrancing movie, often captured in wide angled shots of the countryside, dwarfing man and elephant in its visual and emotional scope. The story marries two strengths of Tan’s: surrealism and fantastically human storytelling
“Once when I was filming by a beach, I saw this group of boys pulling an elephant to sea to shower him. Somehow that image stayed with me for all of these years, and I kind of wrote a story based on that image and the feeling of that image,” said Tan in an interview conducted at Sundance, which you can watch below. “I feel extremely honored that I got to work with such a majestic giant beast. I think it’s something not everyone can say that they have done.”
POP AYE was an official selection at Sundance 2017 where it won a Special Jury prize in screenwriting and was the opening movie for this year’s World Cinema Dramatic Competition section. The film is competing for prizes at CIFF41 in ReelWomenDirect: an award for excellence in directing by a woman. It joins 18 other films from Hong Kong, USA, Japan, and Taiwan among others as a part of the Pan-Asian film category presented by Cleveland State University.
The Pan-Asian sidebar category resonated with NMCLE because it embodies the mission of bringing together culture, community, and creativity in the Asian-American population of Cleveland by connecting them to filmmakers and artists from around the world. The film extends our mission of engaging greater Cleveland communities with Asian culture and finding unique ways to tell those stories.
They say an elephant never forgets and POP AYE is as unforgettable as they come. Use discount code NIGHT at checkout to receive $2 off of any CIFF41 film screening. Purchase tickets online at www.clevelandfilm.org 24/7 or call the box office at 1-877-304-FILM (3456). You can even use our code in line at the Tower City Cinemas’ box office at any point during the festival.