Slideshow: Season 16 Asian Pop Up Finale with Lee Kang Sheng & Johnny Chiang of 'Lost in Forest’

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Johnny Chiang, and Lee Kang Sheng of ‘Lost in Forest.’

CHICAGO – Season 16 for the Asian Pop Up Cinema (APUC) had a spectacular finale with “Lost in Forest,” a North American Premiere wrapping up the Taiwan Cinema Showcase. Appearing live at the Red Carpet and participating in a post film Q&A were lead actor Lee Kang Sheng and Director Johnny Chiang.

Lee Kang Sheng portrays “Sheng,” who was the boss of a crime gang in the Zhongshan District of Taipei. He was sent to jail for 12 years after saving his old partner, nicknamed Seagull. After Sheng returns to his old turf upon release, he discovers that Seagull is the new boss of the District. The old boss reluctantly gets involved again, although he wants out of the life. But when an ambush happens and shots are fired, Sheng makes a revenge decision to challenge another gang rising in power.

“Lost in Forest” (Taiwan Title: Shan jhongsen lín) is the directorial debut for Johnny Chiang. Lee Kang Sheng is a veteran Taiwanese actor, with over 49 TV and film appearances since the late 1980s. Patrick McDonald of got a few Red Carpet questions – through an interpreter – to the “Lost in Forest” duo. The translation for the English title of your film is ‘Lost in Forest.’ Why do the characters in your film need to find their way out of that so-called ‘forest’?

Johnny Chiang: The crime gang members I depict in the film voluntary enter that ‘forest.’ They’re not actually lost, because deep in their souls they know the way out. It is the character Jing [girlfriend of a gang member] that realizes that she needs to get out, so that is what becomes lost in that life. Your character of Sheng is conflicted after his time in prison … what did you want to make sure your acting communicated about this complex role?

Lee Kang Sheng: After 12 years in prison, there are so many changes for the character … his relationship with his girlfriend ends and his father dies … he needs something to remind him of what he lost, so that is why he pursues his father’s old sausage cart. One of the most interesting character traits of your world was constant smoking cigarettes. Why is that important in presenting the gang world in Taiwan?

Johnny Chiang: Because Sheng is constantly smoking! [laughs] In a Taiwanese gang, smoking is quite symbolic. The gesture, for example, when they are indicating they need to smoke a cigarette, that signals for the gang to get their lighters ready.

Secondly, the smoke was like an obscuring foggy mist in the ‘forest.’ The character of Sheng also had a gesture of throwing his finished cigarette butt behind him, symbolically getting rid of the worries that drove him to the smoke break in the first place. Finally, Lee, what type of role would you like to portray before your career is done, even something that casting people would never think of you doing?

Lee Kang Sheng: When I began in the industry, I really wanted to do a kung fu film. [laughs] Now that I am older, it probably wouldn’t be a good idea. But maybe there is another role I can take in that genre of film.

Click “Next” and “Previous” to scan through the APUC Season 16 finale night or jump directly to individual photos with the captioned links below. All photos © Asian Pop Up Cinema.

  1. S16APUC1: Johnny Chiang, and Lee Kang Sheng of ‘Lost in Forest.’
  2. S16APUC2: Johnny Chiang, APUC founder Sophia Wong Boccio and Lee Kang Sheng.
  3. S16APUC3: Lee Kang Sheng portrayed ‘Sheng’ in ‘Lost in Forest.’
  4. S16APUC4: Johnny Chiang, Patrick McDonald and Lee Kang Sheng of ‘Lost in Forest.’

Season 17 of the Asian Pop-Up Cinema will be in the Fall of 2023. For a complete overview on APUC, click
. senior staff writer Patrick McDonald

Editor and Film Critic/Writer

© 2023 Patrick McDonald,

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