CalArts alumnus Andrew Ahn's (Film/Video MFA 11) debut film Spa Night receives its Los Angeles premiere on Aug. 26 at Sundance Cinema Sunset in West Hollywood, Calif. and is currently running at Metrograph in New York through Aug. 25.
The film, which premiered at this year's Sundance Film Festival, is set in the neighborhood of Koreatown in Los Angeles and features a predominantly Korean-American cast. Eighteen-year-old David (played by Joe Seo) finds himself working part-time at a Korean spa when his parents' small restaurant is forced to close. There he gets a glimpse of a thriving underground gay hookup scene, and a glimpse into his own sexuality. The film is also an exploration of family dynamics between first- and second-generation immigrants.
The Hollywood Reporter calls it "an impressive if extremely subtle first film" and Variety says, "Spa Night serves as an homage to the sacrifices first-generation immigrants made in order that their children could achieve their full potential in the States, expanding the concept of 'pride' far beyond its protagonist’s gay identity."
Spa Night has screened in several festivals since Sundance, including Inside Out LGBT Film Festival in Ottawa, Canada; Seattle International Film Festival; and BAM Cinematek in New York. It recently won the U.S. Grand Jury Prize for Best Narrative Feature at Outfest LA, while Seo earned Special Mention for Outstanding Performance.
Spa Night is produced by David Ariniello, Giulia Caruso (Film/Video MFA 13), Ki Jin Kim (Film/Video MFA 10) and Kelly Thomas.