AUSTIN, TX – Today the Austin Asian American Film Festival (AAAFF) announced the full lineup for its 10th annual cinema showcase. AAAFF 2017 will be held from Thursday, December 7 to Sunday, December 10 at the AFS Cinema.
This year’s centerpiece presentation is the Academy Award-nominated WHO KILLED VINCENT CHIN? (1987) about the murder of Vincent Chin and the pan Asian American movement it galvanized. Filmmaker Christine Choy will be in attendance for a Q&A following the film and will also serve on the AAAFF documentary jury.
The complete lineup of 11 features and 17 short films covers a vast swath of time, geography, cultures and experiences. “This year’s program celebrates the past, present and future of Asian and Asian American cinema,” said AAAFF Programming Director Anand Modi. “Filmmakers from around the world are investigating history, reckoning with contemporary life, and presenting their visions of the coming years and decades. Once again, we’re excited to present work by established and emerging filmmakers who are telling important stories and exploring the boundaries of what movies can be.”
Films like 95 AND 6 TO GO and closing night feature, THE FUTURE PERFECT, blur the line between reality and fiction through innovative storytelling, while THE CHINESE EXCLUSION ACT and RESISTANCE AT TULE LAKE highlight a remarkable history of activism that’s been largely unnoticed. MIXED MATCH examines what it means to be multi-racial when you’re confronted with a life-or-death search for a bone marrow match, and WEXFORD PLAZA is a charming coming-of-age tale that explores a young adult’s anxieties with nuance and sensitivity.
Short films from around the globe will precede select features and in two free showcases. The shorts lineup includes JAZZ ABROAD, by local filmmaker Yuta Yamaguchi, about the Japanese Jazz Trio G.G. (Groovin’ Girls), and the animated THE FBI BLEW UP MY ICE SKATES, based on the true experiences of an eight-year-old girl during the 1980 Iran Hostage Crisis.
The 2017 festival marks an important milestone for AAAFF. In addition to its 10th anniversary, it’s also celebrating the formation of a nonprofit. “This is an important next step as we embark on our second decade,” said Executive Director Tim Tsai. “The new nonprofit board is excited to spearhead the continued growth and evolution of AAAFF.”
The 2017 festival will return to its former home at the theater newly renovated as the AFS Cinema in north central Austin (6406 N I-35, Suite 3100, Austin, TX 78752). Individual tickets ($10), film passes ($45), and festival badges ($65) are available for advanced purchase now, with student discounts available.
Please see www.aaafilmfest.com for full schedule and details.
AAAFF 2017 Feature Film Selection
USA | Documentary | 2016
Filmmaker Kimi Takesue sparks an unexpected creative interest in her grandfather, Tom, when she shares her latest fictional screenplay. A recent widower in his 90s, Tom offers his suggestions for the film and candid glimpses into his own past. As memories intertwine with fiction and Tom’s daily routines, 95 AND 6 TO GO evolves into an exploration of love, loss, humor, and Japanese American identity.
Philippines, Germany | Crime, Drama, Thriller | 2016
In a near-future Manila, a pre-adolescent gang runs roughshod over the city until their boss is sentenced to 20 years after a big heist gone wrong. Once he’s out, he and his old cronies set out to reclaim their loot from the crooked cops who stole it. Essentially an act of provocation, ALIPATO is garish and electric in its imagery and unbound by any real sense of propriety– an unhinged and uninhibited act of pop cinema. A fresh salvo from Khavn De La Cruz (2015 AAAFF favorite, RUINED HEART), it’s not for the faint of heart.
USA | Comedy | 2016
Down and out in high-flying silicon valley, Chee and T (Sunkrish Bala and Dominic Rains) spend their days as bagmen and enforcers for ruthless Uncle Rob (Silicon Valley’s Bernard White). Ordered to help shiftless cousin Mayunk (Asif Ali) get ready for his engagement party, their day quickly goes sideways. Winner of a jury award at AAAFF 2016 for GRASS, director Tanuj Chopra returns with another deceptively resonant comedy.
THE CHINESE EXCLUSION ACT (Opening Night)
USA | Documentary | 2017
In the late 1800s, anti-Chinese agitation led to federal laws targeting Chinese abroad and those already in the U.S. THE CHINESE EXCLUSION ACT looks far beyond the legislation of its title and weaves archival photos, historian interviews, and first-hand accounts into a sweeping chronicle of Chinese American life in an era that still informs American conceptions of national and ethnic identity.
THE FUTURE PERFECT (EL FUTURO PERFECTO) (Closing Night)
Argentina | Drama | 2016
Recently arrived in Argentina, 18-year-old Xiaobin (Xiaobin Zhang) is struggling with her Spanish: at her job in a market she does okay with the names of things but struggles with quantities. She enrolls in Spanish classes with her saved wages and as her grasp of the language improves, her world expands, and our glimpses of her life become richer and more expressive.
Canada | Documentary, Animation | 2016
How do our genes matter? As the multiracial population grows, so too does a rarely acknowledged problem: the difficulty of finding suitable bone marrow donors for such a genetically diverse group. This audience favorite uses colorful animation and personal anecdotes to reveal the efforts of the afflicted, their families, and their communities to ensure lifesaving care for all.
USA | Documentary | 2017
Filmmaker Konrad Aderer explores the much-suppressed history of the Japanese Americans who protested their unjust imprisonment during World War II. The 12,000 citizens deemed “disloyal” were relocated to the Tule Lake Segregation Center, a militarized camp where they faced further abuse. RESISTANCE AT TULE LAKE combines rare historical footage with emotional oral histories from survivors and their descendants to shed light on a dark period in American history.
Canada | Drama | 2016
Set in a dilapidated strip mall, Betty meets Danny, a bartender, when she’s hired for a security guard position. Desperate for a connection, Betty immediately finds herself drawn to Danny, but after a drunken and misunderstood sexual encounter, the two find their lives falling to pieces. Joyce Wong’s debut film WEXFORD PLAZA is a charming, sweet coming-of-age millennial tale.
USA | Documentary | 2017
11-time Jeopardy! champion Arthur Chu built a reputation as a divisive figure with his uncompromising personality and unconventional gameplay. This intimate, fascinating portrait examines Chu’s coming-of-age in the Midwest as a self-described “social misfit” and follows him on his post-Jeopardy! quest to utilize his celebrity to become an active voice for the voiceless through his writing and public speaking.
WHO KILLED VINCENT CHIN? (Centerpiece)
USA | Documentary | 1987
On a summer night in 1982, Vincent Chin was brutally beaten to death by unemployed autoworker Ronald Ebens, who ultimately escaped prison time. Christine Choy and Renee Tajima-Peña’s Academy Award-nominated film WHO KILLED VINCENT CHIN? explores the economic decline of the American auto industry and the failures of the justice system through the public outcry and national mobilization of a pan Asian American civil rights movement.
The mission of the Austin Asian American Film Festival (AAAFF) is to tell Asian and Asian American stories via media arts and help Asian Americans explore opportunities in cinema.
AAAFF is supported in part by the Cultural Arts Division of the City of Austin Economic Development Department and is a sponsored project of the Austin Creative Alliance. More information at www.aaafilmfest.com.
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