Asian American International Film Festival kicks off July 21

The Asian American International Film Festival, which began as the first event of its kind in 1978 and which remains the longest-running, will highlight the best from the APIA community’s filmmakers once more this year, from July 21 to 30, at various venues in New York City.

Presented by Asian CineVision, the festival will open with a showing of “Spa Night,” a film set in Los Angeles’ Koreatown and directed by Andrew Ahn which premiered to critical acclaim at Sundance, and close with Ray Yeung’s “Front Cover,” the story of a gay Chinese American and his struggle with his heritage.

The centerpiece presentation is “A Tale of Three Cities,” a Hong Kong romance based on the story of Jackie Chan’s parents directed by Mabel Cheung, who will also hold a panel.

This year’s selected shorts include Milton Liu’s “I Hate Big Phony,” Julian Kim’s “Call Taxi” and Larry Tung’s “Coming Full Circle.” And, in a partnership with Shanghai Film Distribution and Exhibition Association, award-winning Chinese films – “Deep In the Heart,” “Farewell My Concubine: The Beijing Opera,” “Happiness,” “River” and “Young Love Lost” – will also show.

"Call Taxi" (Photo courtesy of AAIFF)
“Call Taxi” (Photo courtesy of AAIFF)

AAIFF is also providing a voice for Asian American-created television, with a panel featuring “Master of None” co-creator Alan Yang and actor Kelvin Yu. Other panel discussions include a focus on shorts that tell stories of Japanese American incarceration and a talk with TV and film writers.

According to festival organizers, the event attracts up to an average of 5,000 visitors each year.

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