It’s been a long journey for writer/director Bao Tran‘s kung fu comedy, The Paper Tigers, with nine years of meticulous planning and pitching all the way through production. The film’s next stop on the festival circuit will be the 43rd Asian American International Film Festival as of Thursday, while word from Deadline‘s Dino-Ray Ramos reports the film now has North American acquisition thanks to Well Go USA.
The film had its world premiere for the virtual 24th Fantasia Festival back in August. You can check out my review at this link.
Billed as an homage to Bruce Lee and Seattle’s kung fu scene, the film stars Alain Uy (Marvel’s Helstrom), Ron Yuan (Disney’s Mulan) and Mykel Shannon Jenkins (Undisputed III), as a trio of former Seattle kung fu badasses years away from their teenage glory. When they learn of their Sifu’s murder, the three are forced to dust themselves off and measure up to some of today’s young and cocky purveyors of martial arts, in order to hunt down their Sifu’s killer: a cold-blooded gung fu assassin with a silent-but-deadly killer touch.
The film also stars Matthew Page (Enter The Dojo) and Ken Quitugua (Unlucky Stars), along with Roger Yuan (Shanghai Noon), Jae Suh Park, Raymond Ma and Joziah Lagonoy, and actors Yoshua Sudarso, Peter Sudarso, Gui DaSilva, Andy Le, Brian Le, Phillip Dang and Mark Poletti. Quitugua and fellow former Zero Gravity cohorts Kerry Wong and Sam Looc shepherded the film’s key stunts and action sequences.
“The Paper Tigers is simultaneously heartwarming, action-packed and side-splittingly funny, an excellent homage to kung fu films of eras past,” said Doris Pfardrescher, President and CEO at Well Go USA Entertainment. “It’s one of those movies that enthralls you, and keeps audiences on the edge of their seats to the very last second.”
“We hope The Paper Tigers will lift spirits in these uncertain times with a story of Kung Fu, laughs and friendship,” said Tran. “We are thrilled Well Go understands the heart of our film and we are absolutely excited to join forces with them.”
The film officially launched in 2015 as a proof-of-concept from Tran called “The Challenger”, before Tran and partners Michael Velazquez, Al’n Duong and The Karate Kid: Part II actor Yuji Okumoto would begin major crowdfunding measures to raise funds and film preliminary footage to pitch to the Frontières Market at Cannes.
Prior to The Paper Tigers, the Corey Yuen protégé has worn several hats on various projects over the years, including as action coordinator on sci-fi thriller, the Christopher Caldwell/Zeek Earl-directed Prospect, and as editor on Charlie Nguyen’s unreleased gangster thriller, Bui Doi Cho Lon. Tran and the aforementioned Quitugua previously worked on Tran’s award-winning noir drama short, Bookie.
Click here for the film’s AAIFF event page, and click here to check out Tran’s recent livestream interview for the Art School Dropouts YouTube channel.