Now in its 10th year, and celebrating its transformation into a nonprofit, the AAAFF is returning to the newly renovated AFS Cinema, Dec. 7-10. This year’s showcase will continue to highlight Asian and Asian-American stories throughout history.
The three headlining films feature two documentaries and a drama: The Chinese Exclusion Act, Who Killed Vincent Chin, and The Future Perfect.
At the center of this year’s festival is the Academy-Award nominated film Who Killed Vincent Chin?, which tells the story of the 1982 murder of Vincent Chin. The documentary examines the aftermath of the attack, how the killer avoided prison, and the consequent mobilization of a pan Asian-American civil rights movement. The film made its debut in 1987 – just five years after the murder – and celebrated its 30th birthday earlier this year. As the focal point of the festival, the galvanizing film will also feature a Q&A with filmmaker Christine Choy.
In a press release, AAAFF programming director Anand Modi said, "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."
Among the stories to be shared will be Mixed Match, a film which looks at genetic diversity and the difficulty of finding suitable bone marrow donors as the multiracial population grows. This documentary uses color animation and anecdotes from afflicted families to explore the question: How do your genes matter?
Even though the feature films selection is primarily documentaries, the lineup also includes comedy Cheet and T, and dramas like Wexford Plaza and Alipato: The Very Brief Life of an Ember.
“This year’s program celebrates the past, present and future of Asian and Asian-American cinema,” Anand Modi said. “Filmmakers from around the world are investigating history, reckoning with contemporary life, and presenting their visions of the coming years and decades.”
Individual tickets ($10), film passes ($45), and festival badges ($65) are available for advanced purchase now, with student discounts available.
Visit www.aaafilmfest.com for full schedule and details. Full lineup below:
95 AND 6 TO GO 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.
ALIPATO: THE VERY BRIEF LIFE OF AN EMBER 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.
CHEE AND T 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 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) 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.
MIXED MATCH 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.
RESISTANCE AT TULE LAKE 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.
WEXFORD PLAZA 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.
WHO IS ARTHUR CHU? 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? 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.
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