Dec. 13: Tzi Ma Will Receive Trailblazer Award at Whistler Film Festival; A SHOT THROUGH THE WALL’s Fiona Fu and Kenny Leu to Join Ma for Talent Talk

Tzi Ma. Photo by Lia Chang

On Sunday, December 13 at 4:00pm PST/7:00pm EST, Whistler Film Festival (WFF) will shine the spotlight on Hong Kong-American actor Tzi Ma, represented at WFF with the Canadian Premiere of A SHOT THROUGH THE WALL. He will receive the Trailblazer Award and participate in a Q & A with his A SHOT THROUGH THE WALL’s cast members Fiona Fu and Kenny Leu. Click here to purchase tickets.

The Trailblazer award is presented to an actor who has blazed a unique and inspiring trail for themselves in film and who continues to engage audiences with meaningful and impactful work.

Tzi Ma in Disney’s live-action Mulan. PHOTO BY DISNEY -Jasin Boland

For more than four decades, Tzi Ma (pronounced “Tai Ma”) has blazed new trails for the representation of Asian Americans in Hollywood. Celebrated for his uncanny versatility, his body of work encompasses virtually every genre across film, television and theater. Ma is well known for his roles in television shows, such as The Man in the High Castle and 24, and films, such as DANTE’S PEAK, ARRIVAL, and TIGERTAIL. From big budget studio pictures like Disney’s MULAN and the RUSH HOUR series to acclaimed independent films like THE FAREWELL and MEDITATION PARK, Ma’s unforgettable performances have garnered unanimous critical acclaim and honors throughout his groundbreaking career. 

Long outspoken on issues of racism and media inclusivity, Ma has been a leading voice for the Asian American community. Despite the limited number of parts for actors of Asian descent during the early part of his career, Ma vehemently refused to perform roles that he considered demeaning or stereotypical. This unwavering stance helped kickstart a newfound consciousness in Hollywood that has transformed the way Asian American characters are portrayed. Next up, Ma will star in The CW series remake of Kung Fu and appear in Lifetime’s holiday film A Sugar & Spice Holiday to be released on December 13 at 8:00 p.m. Helmed by Jennifer Liao, A Sugar & Spice Holiday is Lifetime’s first Asian American-led Christmas movie, written by Eirene Donahue and starring Jacky Lai, Tony Giroux, Tzi Ma and Lillian Lim.

 

A SHOT THROUGH THE WALL, written, directed and co-produced by Aimee Long, features Kenny Leu as Mike Tan, Ciara Renée as Candace Walker, Fiona Fu as May Tan, Tzi Ma as Chao Tan, Lynn Chen as Grace Tan, Clifton Davis as D.C. Walker, Derek Goh as Ryan Doheney, Kathryn Erbe as Dr. Selvy,  Kelly AuCoin as Larry Berman, and Dan Lauria as Ritchie Barrett.

The production team also includes Producer Daniel Langa, Editors Michael Fay and Ian Blume, Cinematographer Alexander Chinnici, Production Designer Rocio Gimenez and Music Composer Jon Monroe. 

Inspired by a true event, this is a balanced account of an Asian American police officer who accidentally discharges his weapon during an investigation, killing a black teenager through an apartment wall. The case quickly spirals out of control as Black Lives Matter and other organizations pounce on the incident as yet another example of police racial bias. His fellow cops and unions initially tell him that there is nothing to worry about, but the politics take on a life of their own, and he is soon left to his own devices. His own fiancée is an African American woman, so presumably he cannot be racist. But his reluctance to involve her in the case and use her as part of a PR defense unleashes a series of mishandled opportunities for him to defend himself.

At first the film seems to play as a very sympathetic view of the men in blue. But the dramatic ending may lead to a rethinking of how A SHOT THROUGH THE WALL views very complex matters of law enforcement. Balanced and thoughtful, this very topical American Indie film tries to show various sides of the ongoing conflict between the men in blue and people of colour. Vancouver’s Tzi Ma does a great job as Officer Mike’s father, a man who doesn’t believe in bucking the system. Aimee Long’s first feature should generate vigorous debate on both sides of the polarizing police systemic bias issue. Click here for tickets.

The Whistler Film Festival is funded by the Government of Canada through Telefilm Canada, and by the Province of British Columbia and the Resort Municipality of Whistler through the Resort Municipality Initiative, is sponsored by Creative BC, Cineplex, Netflix, Variety, William F. White International, Tourism Whistler, and RE/MAX Sea to Sky Real Estate.

Discover more at whistlerfilmfestival.com.

 

The Whistler Film Festival Society is a charitable cultural organization dedicated to furthering the art and business of film by providing programs that focus on the discovery, development and promotion of new talent culminating with a must-attend festival for artists, industry and audiences. WFFS fulfills its mission by producing a highly respected and recognized international film festival (WFF) and industry summit that draw industry, audiences and global exposure for Canadian talent; delivering a robust slate of talent programs for Canadian artists including screenwriters, producers, directors, actors and musicians; and through year-round film and event programming that enriches community life beyond the festival. In all its programs, WFF strives for gender parity, inclusivity and diversity. The 20th annual Whistler Film Festival returns December 1 to 20 with an online edition. Discover more at whistlerfilmfestival.com.

Lia Chang

Lia Chang is an actor, a multi-media content producer and co-founder of Bev’s Girl Films, making films that foster inclusion and diversity on both sides of the camera. Bev’s Girl Films’ debut short film, Hide and Seek was a top ten film in the Asian American Film Lab’s 2015 72 Hour Shootout Filmmaking Competition, and she received a Best Actress nomination. BGF collaborates with and produces multi-media content for artists, actors, designers, theatrical productions, composers, musicians and corporations. Lia has appeared in the films Wolf, New Jack City, A Kiss Before Dying, King of New York, Big Trouble in Little China, The Last Dragon, Taxman. She stars in and served as Executive Producer for the short independent films Hide and Seek, Balancing Act, Rom-Com Gone Wrong, Belongingness andWhen the World was Young. She is also the Executive Producer for The CactusThe Language LessonThe Writer and Cream and 2 Shugahs.

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