by Erin Chew, AsAmNews Contributor
This week San Diego will begin celebrating the work of Asian and Asian American filmmakers.
The Pacific Arts Movement (Pac Arts) is hosting the 23rd annual San Diego Asian Film Festival (SDAFF) from November 3-12, 2022. It recently held its promo event called “Chew The Scene” which was full of fanfare, Asian food, drinks and of course highlights of films and documentaries to look out for at the upcoming festival.
At “Chew The Scene,” SDAFF’s Artistic Director Brian Hu spoke about some of the struggles filmmakers and festivals like SDAFF have faced over the past few years through the pandemic. He praised the resilience of Asian and Asian American filmmakers.
“I just want to quickly mention that this year we definitely feel like we are back to normal in terms of the number of films submitted this year. Asian and Asian American filmmakers have conjured through these last few years of the pandemic not having many opportunities to show their films-hence they are in the most need for platforms like this,” said Hu.
The programming for this year’s San Diego Asian Film Festival is the largest since 2019. It will showcase more than 130 films from over 30 countries in 30 different languages. In addition to films coming from the US and Canada the festival has gone quite global and will include a range of films from New Zealand, Australia, China, India, Indonesia, Iran, Hong Kong, Japan, Myanmar, Philippines, Taiwan, and South Korea.
Hu introduced some of the festival’s featured films, including the opening night’s film titled “Bad Axe,” a documentary that follows a Cambodian-Mexican family’s restaurant business in Michigan in 2020. “Bad Axe” intertwines the all too familiar themes of anti-Asian hate, running a business during the pandemic, cross-racial solidarity and the importance of family.
The festival’s Centerpiece film “Wisdom Gone Wild” was created by legendary Asian American filmmaker Rea Tajiri. The explores Tajiri’s evolving relationship with her mother Rose Tajiri Noda, who was diagnosed with dementia at the age of 76. As Rea and other loved ones care for Rose, they delve into her family’s history, discussing her life growing up on a strawberry farm in Salinas and her life in the Japanese internment camps.
Hu also mentioned that there will be a sneak preview at this year’s festival of the film “Nurse Unseen”- a documentary about the phenomenon of Filipino nurses in the United States. It will highlight how Filipino nurses have, throughout history, worked on the front lines of the nation’s biggest health crises, risking their own lives and sacrificing their well-being.
Finally, the “Closing Night” film was announced as “Riceboy Sleeps”, a Canadian film directed by Anthony Shim. The film tells the story of a Korean single mother and son who leaves South Korea for a new life and dreams in Canada. “Riceboy Sleeps” also premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival last month.
If you are interested in attending the San Diego Asian Film Festival, you can purchase passes and tickets on the website: https://sdaff.org/2022/. The festival opens on November 3 and closes on November 12,
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