Portraits of Mosquito Press. Courtesy, AAIFF
NYC & Company is a media partner of the Asian American International Film Festival (AAIFF). This article was written by Catherine Gumarin, AAIFF staff member.
Presented by the media arts organization Asian CineVision (ACV), AAIFF celebrates its 45th anniversary as the nation’s first and longest-running film festival dedicated to Asian American and Pacific Islander cinema. AAIFF has served to premiere acclaimed filmmakers such as Life of Pi’s Ang Lee and The Joy Luck Club’s Wayne Wang during the festival’s screening history. Originally held at Henry Street Settlement, the festival now calls Asia Society home, though certain events take place elsewhere in the boroughs—and virtually. Read on for a rundown of this year’s highlights.
AAIFF takes place from August 3 to 13 and is made possible by dedicated audiences who come together to celebrate AAPI stories.
Participate in the digital side of AAIFF’s hybrid festival by exploring an online catalog of titles. Chinese Singaporean feature No New Wave and the curated shorts block Dreaming in the City That Never Sleeps: Made in NY Shorts are among selected works available for a 48-hour rental period after filmgoers’ first play.
In an interactive VR gallery, artists and organizations explore bringing archival media to life via technology.
Free Chol Soo Lee. Courtesy, AAIFF
Free Chol Soo Lee, directed by Julie Ha and Eugene Yi, documents the wrongful murder conviction of 20-year-old Korean immigrant Chol Soo Lee in 1970s San Francisco. Ha and Yi showcase the Asian American activist movement that assembled to protest Lee’s life sentence.
View the Filipino Film Series Selective Memory Has No Bounds
Aug 6, noon, and Aug 7, 2:15pm
Angel Velasco Shaw presents a film series detailing the enactment of Filipino martial law. On August 6, view Kidlat Tahimik’s rumination on 1980s Philippines, The next day, see JL Burgos’ , a more recent look at restrictions under Ferdinand Marcos. Learn more about the subject at Q&A sessions following each Taglish narrative documentary.
Yuni. Courtesy, AAIFF
Yuni, directed by Kamila Andini, tells a powerful Indonesian coming-of-age story as its title character rejects marriage proposals that conflict with her poetry aspirations. AAIFF is the NYC premiere of Indonesia’s entry for the 2022 Academy Awards.
Drink, eat and jam with music artists and music video filmmakers at AAIFF’s ticketed roundtable event. Hear live performances by Vietnamese American synth-pop artist TONIE, Vietnamese American indie-pop artist ÊMIA and Japanese Puerto Rican R&B singer Mai Anna. Watch the music video debuts of Cambodian American filmmaker Kimberly Te and Chinese American filmmaker Joshua Chee, followed by a conversation on the legacy of Asian American representation.
The drama Man Push Cart, directed by Ramin Bahrani, revolves around a Pakistani rock star turned New York City pushcart vendor. Mingle during the Manhattan-based film’s outdoor screening in East Harlem.
A Father's Son. Courtesy, AAIFF
AAIFF’s closing screening program features three shorts by festival alumni filmmakers along with archival footage from ACV. , directed by Patrick Chen, narrates Chinese American Jack Yu’s Chinatown detective story; , a documentary work by Curtis Chin, pays homage to Chinatown photographer Corky Lee; and Christine Choy’s depicts early Chinatown’s residential community.