Thursday, Mar 4, 2021 at 2:00am
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We are Colorado's only all Asian & Asian American film festival!
We highlight and promote the culture, contributions, and accomplishments of Asian and Asian Pacific American communities through film.
Opening Night - Definition Please
Director: Sujata Day
When we meet Monica Chowdry in 2005, the eight-year-old is on top of the world as champion of Scribbs National Spelling Bee. Fast-forward to present day: grown-up Monica (writer-director Sujata Day) is still living at home in Greensburg, Pennsylvania with her ailing mom Jaya (Anna Khaja), making a living tutoring a new crop of future overachievers while hesitating to make any big moves in her own life. Monica faces an unwelcome disruption in her mundane routine when her older brother Sonny (Ritesh Rajan) reappears from out of the blue. A sweet-natured, fitness-obsessed goofball, Sonny blithely refuses to address his bipolar disorder, and Monica is wary of embracing his presence lest they repeat past traumas. Known for her role on HBO’s Insecure, Day has crafted an assured directorial debut that pays loving homage to Bollywood fantasy while offering a refreshingly nuanced look at a complicated South Asian-American family. An effervescent, feel-good film packing a genuine emotional punch, Definition Please is a lovely meditation on mental health, cultural expectations, and the universal challenges of growing up.
Lunana: A Yak In the Classroom
Director: Pawo Choyning Dorji
Struggling with his profession as a teacher, Ugyen is sent to Lunana in northern Bhutan for his final year of training. The high altitude and the lack of amenities make Ugyen want to leave as soon as he arrives. With a warm welcome the local children try to win him over but they don’t have much time as the harsh winter is about to arrive in the glacial parts of the Himalaya…
Mu and the Vanishing World
Directors: Jessica Leung, Paco Beltrán
"Mu and the Vanishing World is an 86 minute documentary feature that immerses us in the journey of a young single mother and her tribe over the course of 10 years. Ever since fleeing Myanmar as a child, Mu lives confined as a refugee and tourist attraction in a Long Neck Village in Northern Thailand. Soon after she becomes a single teenage mother, the U.N. initiates a resettlement plan for the refugee camps along the Thai-Burma border creating an opportunity for many to start new lives in the USA. Determined to pursue freedom for herself and her baby, Mu ruptures ties with her traditional mother, her culture and tribe to fulfill the requirements of the rigorous vetting process. Once she finally arrives in America, her romanticized ideas are challenged by the reality that unfolds. As Mu strives to give her son a better future, she struggles to find out where her true identity lies."
Includes a post-film community panel
Veins of the World
Director: Byambasuren Davaa
Amra’s father Erdene is the leader of the last nomads opposing global mining companies digging for gold in the Mongolian steppe. After his father dies in a tragic car accident, Amra sets out to continue the fight in his father's spirit – but with the tools of an 11-year-old boy.
Far East Deep South
Director: Larissa Lam
When Charles Chiu, a Chinese-American man from California, travels to Mississippi to visit the grave of his father who abandoned him as a baby, he and his family stumble upon surprising revelations that change their lives. Along the way, they meet a diverse group of local residents and historians, who shed light on the racially complex history of the early Chinese in the segregated South. Their emotional journey leads them to discover how deep their roots run in America.
My Prince Edward
Director: Yee-Lam (Norris) Wong
"Serving countless newlyweds in Hong Kong’s go-to one-stop-shop of cheap wedding supplies doesn’t exempt Fong from social pressure to marry. Since nodding to Edward’s proposal, she has been pushed beyond limits by unaffordable housing, archaic customs, and intrusive in-laws. What befuddles her further is the reappearance of Shuwei, a mainlander she’s supposed to be divorced from out of a sham marriage that solved her coming-of-age hardship. Zeroing in on nuts and bolts of modern marriage, My Prince Edward pokes around fixated correlations of freedom with relationship status and geographic residence. Like a breath of fresh air out of the breathless space it navigates, the delightful gem contributes a rare humane take on the worldly metropolis's divisions with humor and wisdom. As Fong redefines her best life and writer-director Norris Wong reclaims her home city's narrative from outsiders, the profound thrills sparked by their courage will make you wholeheartedly cheer for a woman’s independence and Hong Kong cinema’s rejuvenation"
Death of Nintendo
Director: Raya Martin
Set in Manila in the 1990s, Death of Nintendo takes us into the colorful pop- culture world of four friends, back in the days when video games were still a novelty. Mimaw and her friends Paolo, Kachi and Gilligan go on a journey of self- discovery together as they play games and wrestle with new dilemmas – puppy love, circumcision and other horror stories.
The Celine Archive
Director: Celine Parrenas Shimizu
"Adulteress, traitor, heroine, or prey? In 1932, Celine Navarro was buried alive by her community in Northern California. This film digs up herstory. The filmmaker, a grieving mother, with a long-term commitment to exploring race, gender and immigration, digs up Celine Navarro's story, exposing silences that haunt Filipinx American communities today, along with Celine Navarro’s family, community members and scholars who know different details about this largely untold event in American history."
Director: Matthew E. Rosen
In 1938, Philippine President Manuel L. Quezon agrees to welcome Jewish refugees from Germany in the Philippines.
Director: Ming-liang Tsai
Under the pain of illness and treatment, Kang (Lee Kang-sheng) finds himself adrift. He meets Non (Anong Houngheuangsy) in a foreign land. They find consolation in each other before parting ways and carrying on with their days. The latest film from Tsai Ming-liang (Goodbye Dragon Inn, Stray Dogs, The Wayward Cloud), Days marks yet another masterwork in one of contemporary cinema’s most extraordinary careers.
Angry Rice Wives
Director: Katsuhide Motoki
Based on historical events, this comedy drama revolves around a group of ‘desperate housewives’ in 1918 who take on the authorities when the nation’s rice stocks run low. Motoki is known for the Samurai Hustle comedy franchise, while the cast is headed by Mao Inoue who starred in the Boys Over Flowers TV series and won the best actress prize at the Japan Academy Awards for Izuru Narushima’s Rebirth (2011).
Emerging Artists Showcase (Student)
Films and presentations include Marin Lapore’s, I Put the Bi in Bitter Season’s 1, 2, and 3, Steven Thai’s Safe, and Madison Santa Maria’s Checkbox: Other.
Includes post-film QandA’s
Short Films Showcase
Films and presentations include Tom Huang’s The Loyal Betrayal, Cecilia Wu’s Voices, David Kaufman’s Mastery Part 1 and Part II, Lava Buckley’s The 3 Day Nun, Bowen Tan’s Mechamorphosis, Karlton Hester and Cecilia Wu’s Duo Pandemia, Chou Xiong’s Ib Tsug 13 Hnub, NploojSiab Vaj’s Ntuj Tsim Txom, and Asian American Documentary Network’s #AsianAmCovidStories.
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Tuesday, Mar 23, 2021 at 6:00pm Eastern Time
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