It’s time to wax lyrical about the finest Asian performances of the year. The 2022 Asian American International Film Festival got off to a fabulous start in the Big Apple. This rendition – the 45th anniversary – paid tribute to one of the premier film festivals of our time, celebrating the multitude of talent in the Pacific Islander and Asian American film community.
Over the years, internationally celebrated filmmakers from this community delivered exceptional content to audiences, notably The Joy Luck Club and The Life of Pi, to name a few.
Before delving into the intricacies of this incredible film festival, it’s worth pointing out that many Asian movies, TV shows, and series are readily available via the reputable Asian dramas app Viki. Filmgoers and fanatics love to brush up on the latest action blockbusters, romance stories, dramas, and soap operas in anticipation of major events.
Movie streaming services provide plenty of A-grade material to feast your eyes on. Plus, fans enjoy all the top stars in one place, including subtitle content, multi-language functionality, and other entertainment features designed precisely for Asian drama aficionados.
What to Expect From the Asian American International Film Festival?
For the most part, the festival was showcased at Henry Street Settlement, but lately, Asia Society is the headquarters. In addition, various events are held throughout New York’s Burroughs, and some of them are even broadcast online.
The event ran from August 3 – 13, 2022, to pay tribute to the fabulous work undertaken by Asian-American film directors, producers, actors, and other creative talents. Talent was recognized and rewarded from China to Singapore, Malaysia to South Korea, Hong Kong to Taiwan, and well beyond.
Some of the most celebrated theater performances, films, shorts, documentaries, and series featured in grand style included the following:
Yuni is a powerful coming-of-age story about an Indonesian woman. The title character rejects marriage offers that are incompatible with her poetry aspirations. AAIFF is the NYC premiere for Indonesia’s entry into the 2022 Academy Awards. Kamila Andini directed this film.
- No New Wave
The film marks the debut of Yao Ziwei, a new voice in Chinese cinema. This film is a chef-d’oeuvre to gobble up and enjoy, except for its inability to conclude on a satisfying note that connects all its meandering plot threads. The protagonists include a group of up-and-coming Chinese filmmakers living in the city. Enter Ginny, Ah–Yao, & Ah-Wei. They chose the Big Apple because they feel they can create immersive, artistically high-value content.
They wander through their social networks and personal relationships while drifting through the life of young filmmakers in a way that is as true to reality as possible. This film is about people who make films, as Yao asserts vis-a-vis Ginny. Although the film’s characters don’t spend much time discussing contemporary China or any sense of diaspora and living in exile, this broad-based topic is occasionally brought up in various communications. It hits hard, and it’s worth a watch!
- Free Chol Soo Lee
Free Chol SOO Lee is a documentary by Eugene Yi & Julie Ha and details the wrongful death conviction of Chol Soo, a 20-year-old immigrant from Korea, in 1970s San Francisco, CA. In addition, Yi and Ha depict the Asian American activist group that was formed to protest this freedom fighter’s death sentence.
- Selective Memory Has No Bounds
By Angel Velasco Shaw (a media artist, educator, curator, and cultural planner). 2022 marks 50 years since Ferdinand Marcos, dictator of the Philippines, declared martial law in the island nation. It was undeniably the worst period of the country’s historical history. The recent induction of Ferdinand “BongBong” Marcos Jr. as President of the Philippines exemplifies how history is still alive today.
- Dreaming in the City That Never Sleeps: Made in NY Shorts
This shorts block is part and parcel of the ‘Don’t Sleep on This City’ series. Viewers can take a journey through NYC and see the hopes so many have made. Can one ever feel connected, like a part of a larger community? These are just a few possibilities that await us when we all come together in this amazing, messy, and rough city. It’s tough to watch, but inspiring and heartwarming at the same time.
The Festival Organizers put all of this magic on display for Asian American film fans in NYC. But in case you missed it, you can catch up with news, reviews, updates, and streaming services,