In “Happy Fun Room,” Greg Pak once again explores timeless sci-fi

When we last caught up with Greg Pak, he was simultaneously addressing his work in comics and movies at the Philadelphia Asian American Film Festival.  Since then, his resume has grown so thick that it has been difficult to keep up with his exploits.  Appearances at events such as the recent San Diego Comic-Con.  A collaboration with fellow nerd and singer-songwriter Jonathan Coulton that started as a dare on Twitter, morphed into a fundraising campaign on Kickstarter, and resulted in a graphic novel complete with accompanying soundtrack called Code Monkey Save World.  (Full disclosure: We contributed to said campaign and an ad for Meniscus Magazine appears in the hard copy of the graphic novel.)  Comics, comics and more Marvel comics.  He even took some time to recommend a backup video camera when we asked the Twitterverse for suggestions (for the record, it’s a Flip Ultra HD 2nd Gen, U2120W, which is no longer manufactured but still available on websites like eBay).

(That video is a look at The Treats Truck Stop, the brick-and-mortar version of a fabulous food truck specializing in desserts in New York City.)

Now, it’s back to film – briefly – for the “Robot Stories” director and Asian American International Film Festival (AAIFF) favorite.  Pak’s 14-minute short film, “Happy Fun Room,” is yet another brilliant thought-provoking take on his preferred genre of science fiction, with a setting once again disarmingly teetering between past, present and future.  Cindy Cheung plays Sam, a washed-up children’s television host whose show of the same film name – complete with an original jingle – attempts to teach kids on how to protect themselves from the evils of the outside world.  In reality, Sam herself uses the show as a cocoon, shielding herself from reality and a painful past in an environment that already itself is a shelter of sorts: a television studio in Southern California.  Her simmering rage over the attitudes of the child actors on set and the forced, out-of-touch peppiness of the show’s tone eventually boils over, forcing “Super Sammy” to make a decision about her own life.

“Happy Fun Room” was originally made as part of the FUTURESTATES independent science fiction film series.  It will be screened at the AAIFF on Aug. 1, 5 p.m., at the City Cinema Village East as part of the festival’s “Happily Obsessed” program, which includes six other short films.  If you are unable to watch it on the big screen in New York, it is also streaming online at