Sat. Jan. 4, 2014 at 6:00pm Central Valley Premiere
Janet Leigh Theatre
Dramatic Feature Film
73 min | USA, Czech Republic | 2013 Director: James E. Duff Language: English
In Person: Filmmakers James E. Duff and Julia Morrison.
Winner of the Audience Award at its World Premiere at the 2013 Slamdance Film Festival in Park City, Utah.
Asha, born and raised in India, is studying abroad in Prague for a year. She longs for deeper connections with people, at a time in her life when everything is about to change. Hank, a filmmaker and lonely new transplant to New York City, is still reeling from a romantic breakup, and facing increasing pressure from his parents to return to North Carolina to rescue the failing family business. When Asha sees Hank’s documentary at a film festival, she feels inspired to send him a video message. Intrigued, Hank responds in kind. Their friendship develops through an unconventional video correspondence, and as their relationship intensifies, they must decide whether or not to meet face to face. “Hank and Asha” unfolds through the video letters they record and send to each other – a modern love story about two people searching for human connection in a hyper-connected world. It’s about isolation, identity, and the irresistible appeal of entertaining life’s what-ifs. “Hank and Asha” celebrates the relationships that have a lasting impact on our lives, whether they last a moment, or a lifetime.
Select Festivals & Awards
- Winner, Audience Award, 2013 Slamdance Film Festival - World Premiere
Winner, Audience Award, 2013 Bend Film Festival
Winner, Audience Award, 2013 Hell's Half Mile Film & Music Festival
Winner, Jury Award, Best Feature, Portland Film Festival
Winner, Jury Award, Best Feature, First Prize, 2013 Rhode Island Film Festival
Meet the Filmmakers
James E. Duff
(Director, Producer, Writer)
James E. Duff crossed the country on a scooter directing his first documentary, “The Cycle Also Rises,” which was broadcast nationally on PBS. He then spent two years in West Africa directing development and human rights documentaries for several NGOs. In 2000, he returned to the States and earned his MFA in directing from USC's School of Cinematic Arts, where he won a fellowship for excellence in directing actors. His award-winning short film, “Life is a Sweet,” screened at over 40 festivals worldwide from 2001-2002. In 2002, James moved from LA to NYC to broaden his directing experience by working in the theater. From 2002-2010, James worked with theater companies such as Ensemble Studio Theatre, and directed more than twenty productions at venues such as The Cherry Lane Theatre and SoHo Playhouse, as well directing and developing a new production, 36-24-36, for the NYC International Fringe Festival. James teaches film production, directing the actor, and documentary production workshops internationally. In 2007, he taught a directing workshop in Nairobi, Kenya, funded by UNESCO, with the goal to lay a new foundation for the East African film industry. In 2010, he traveled to the middle of the Sahara Desert to teach a directing workshop to Saharawi refugees who have been living in camps for 35 years. From 2010-2012, James joined the faculty of the Prague Film School in the Czech Republic, as the Directing instructor. “Hank and Asha” is James’ feature film writing and directorial debut.
(Producer, Editor, Writer)
Julia Morrison began her career in documentary television in 2001 as an Associate Producer on the Emmy-award winning PBS mini-series, “Benjamin Franklin,” with Middlemarch Films. From 2002- 2006, she continued to produce current affairs documentaries for New York Times Television, including the award-winning “MLK Boulevard” with director Marco Williams, and “China Rises: Getting Rich,” a co-production of New York Times Television, CBC, and ZDF. Julia then returned to Middlemarch Films as Coordinating Producer of “Alexander Hamilton” in 2006 starring Brian O’Byrne, and Producer of “Dolley Madison” in 2009, starring Eve Best – both of which aired on the PBS series, American Experience. In addition to developing a niche set of skills producing historical reenactments, Julia also made her on-screen debut in period costume playing Hamilton’s doting admirer. While teaching Documentary Production to international students at Prague Film School in the Czech Republic from 2010-2012, Julia changed course and returned to the 21st century. “Hank and Asha” marks Julia’s debut as a feature film producer, writer, and editor. Julia studied film at Wesleyan University.
Director: James E. Duff Screenwriters: James E. Duff, Julia Morrison Producers: James E. Duff, Julia Morrison Cinematographer: Bianca Butti Editor: Julia Morrison
Music Supervisor: Susan Dolan Starring: Mahira Kakkar, Andrew Pastides