Five Films Not to Miss at the Austin Asian American Film Festival

A long weekend of movies defined by global possibilities at AAAFF

Liquor Store Dreams

Asian cinema isn't one cinema, and the returning Austin Asian American Film Festival (June 23-26) reflects that diversity. In its broad remit, there are fantastical stories from China and cutting-edge social media dramas from the Kurdish diaspora, as well as a multiplicity of films that reflect the endless varieties of experiences of being Asian American, from indie comedies to true-crime documentaries.

Dealing With Dad

Families, right? Corporate go-getter Margaret (Dear White People's Ally Maki) is thrust back into all the drama when she and her siblings end up back home after their dad starts refusing to get out of bed. Writer/director Tom Huang's wry, lo-fi comedy opens up the festival. Thu., June 23, 7:30pm

A New Old Play

Qiu Jiongjiong's epic and fantastical depiction of five decades of Chinese history. Sichuan opera clown Qiu Fu (Yi Sicheng) looks back on his life and the midcentury turmoil that changed an ancient nation forever, all from the dreamlike, metaphorical perspective of his afterlife in the underworld. Fri., June 24, 8:05pm

A New Old Play

Liquor Store Dreams

In the supposed land of opportunities, your parents' homeland can still be a factor in the career choices presented: So it is with Korean migrants in Los Angeles, many of whom ended up running liquor stores because it was a job open to migrants. So Yun Um follows up on her short, "Liquor Store Babies," with a portrait of her family's business on Skid Row, and its history as both neighborhood institution and sometime target of violence in a primarily Black neighborhood. Sat., June 25, 6:30pm

Free Chol Soo Lee

The injustice against Korean immigrant Chol Soo Lee – imprisoned for a crime he didn't commit – led to massive public outrcy and, finally, his retrial acquittal. But the divide between the persona created by the campaign and the reality of this deeply flawed man is explored in this documentary that questions simplistic ideas of good and bad. Sun., June 26, 6pm


Director Kurdwin Ayub has described this year's closing night film as definitely not your typical "girl in a veil" drama. Instead, she looks at the complexity of one's personal culture through the intimate story of a young Austrian woman (Maya Wopienka) navigating both her identity as the child of Kurdish migrants and unexpected social media fame after a video she shoots with friends goes viral. Sun., June 26, 8:30pm

Austin Asian American Film Festival, June 23-26. All screenings at AFS Cinema, 6406 N. I-35 #3100. Tickets and passes at

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for over 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

More Austin Asian American Film Festival
<i>Inbetween Girl</i> Comes Home for the Austin Asian American Film Festival
Inbetween Girl Comes Home for the Austin Asian American Film Festival
Austin-Made dramedy brings teenage dreams and Sorkin rhythms to the drive-in

Selome Hailu, June 4, 2021

Austin Comedy Walkabout <i>Night on Sixth</i> Comes to the Austin Asian American Film Festival
Austin Comedy Walkabout Night on Sixth Comes to the Austin Asian American Film Festival
Into the Downtown rabbit hole with local comedian Mohit Jasawal

Richard Whittaker, June 4, 2021

More by Richard Whittaker
<i>Everything Everywhere All at Once</i> Directors Return to South By Southwest
Everything Everywhere All at Once Directors Return to South By Southwest
Daniels, Kara Swisher, AI, Mobile Suit Gundam for fest

Dec. 5, 2023

Lost Cinema Reopening in East Austin
Lost Cinema Reopening in East Austin
Blue Starlite teams with Millennium for community initiative

Dec. 5, 2023


Austin Asian American Film Festival, AAAFF 2022

One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Keep up with happenings around town

Kevin Curtin's bimonthly cannabis musings

Austin's queerest news and events

All questions answered (satisfaction not guaranteed)

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle