Zhao Li lives for Sichuan opera but knows not everyone does. Only the elderly still show up for her theater’s performances. Meanwhile, the performers in her troupe have an eye on more lucrative and modern stagecraft. So when Zhao Li receives the devastating news that her theater is about to…View purchasing options for TO LIVE TO SING Buy tickets
A riveting look at the Naovaratpongs, a family who cryogenically preserved their daughter in the hopes of reviving her and curing her cancer. As father and son both dedicate their scientific careers to this future, they struggle with Buddhist question marks and a media firestorm. A fascinating look into love…View purchasing options for HOPE FROZEN Buy tickets
Director and lead actress Isabel Sandoval ignites the screen with this tense drama about an undocumented Filipina transwoman in Brooklyn navigating work, romance, and a man she’s paying for a green card marriage. Paranoia builds – from the gaze of ICE, family members, and potential partners – and everyday rhythms…View purchasing options for LINGUA FRANCA Buy tickets
Teenaged Raghav thinks he's a loser for not getting into his dream college. To lift his spirits, Raghav's dad reveals his own youthful tales of loserdom. An underdog epic told across two time periods, full of cheerful reunions, schoolyard hijinks, sports melodrama, music, and of course romance, CHHICHHORE is a…View purchasing options for CHHICHHORE Buy tickets
In this spirited alternate-universe fantasy, residents of the much-ridiculed Tokyo suburb Saitama finally get some respect when one of their own (played by pop idol Gackt) infiltrates the Tokyo elite and catches the eye of the governor’s son.View purchasing options for FLY ME TO THE SAITAMA Buy tickets
Shengzhe Zhu takes a deep dive into the phenomena of DIY live-streaming in China and emerges with a monumental collage of the diverse personalities who cam, as well as a collective portrait of the crowd glued to their every move.View purchasing options for PRESENT. PERFECT. Buy tickets
ENCORE SCREENING - 20,000 feet of film gathering dust in Harry Chuck’s garage is now an electrifying documentary, tracing massive changes in San Francisco Chinatown, from the tumultuous 1960s to today. Ethnic studies, bilingual ed, housing rights, this is a love letter to three generations of Asian American activism, and…View purchasing options for CHINATOWN RISING Buy tickets
Akio desires a stronger relationship with his stoic dad – so what’s a millennial to do? Befriend him anonymously through the online Final Fantasy world! As their bond grows stronger, Akio learns more about his father—including a secret that changes their relationship IRL.View purchasing options for BRAVE FATHER ONLINE: OUR STORY OF FINAL FANTASY XIV Buy tickets
An ex-con named Jalal reluctantly takes custody of his estranged young children after their mother falls deathly ill. Anchored by nuanced performances, Iranian writer/director Reza Mirkarimi crafts a painful domestic drama about a deeply flawed man who must confront the emotional trauma caused by his prolonged absence.View purchasing options for CASTLE OF DREAMS Buy tickets
Since the 1960s, the Taiwan government has hosted summer culture camps for young overseas Chinese. But “Love Boat,” as it became known, turned into wild excuses for partying, romancing, and more. An exposé and a love letter, Valerie Soe's documentary is a frolicking testament to soft power by any means…View purchasing options for LOVE BOAT: TAIWAN Buy tickets
Jeans meet shorts in these fresh takes on awkward lengths, '90s nostalgia, and thinking outside the denim box. From black comic book writers to Filipino house parties and a Vietnamese teen desperately seeking lost love.View purchasing options for SHORTS: Jorts Buy tickets
Thirty years after the Korean War, South Korea emerged as the leader in international adoption, despite a flourishing economy. Pioneering director Deann Borshay follows four non-traditional adoptees as she investigates the US/ Korea political relationship that created an adoption market, and its impact on migration, nationhood, and belonging.View purchasing options for GEOGRAPHIES OF KINSHIP Buy tickets
Surgeon Wil, a closeted lesbian, must suddenly take in her pregnant, unwed mother as a roommate, while hiding a growing romance with the beautiful dancer Vivian. A romantic comedy that broke barriers in its time and sparkles as freshly today, with an all-star Asian American cast that shines.View purchasing options for SAVING FACE Buy tickets
After her father dies, Acacia discovers she has two half sisters when she sees chats with them on his phone. From awkward funeral introductions to saving Dad’s hot pot restaurant, the three sisters reckon with painful pasts and how to form family on their own terms. An all-star cast with…View purchasing options for FAGARA Buy tickets
Maya may write about romance, but every time she meets her Prince Charming, a rainstorm curses her chance at happily ever after. Things come to a head as tikbalang and a big storm threaten Maya’s one true love. Nadine Lustre and Carlo Aquino star in this unusual mix of magic…View purchasing options for ULAN Buy tickets
After her parents’ death, In-Ae swore to protect her younger sister. But one day, sis is abducted by human traffickers, none of whom scare In-Ae as she rampages into the underworld wielding a gun, a sledgehammer, and the whip-smash ferocity of her fists. This is Korean revenge action with deadly…View purchasing options for NO MERCY Buy tickets
After witnessing a faked moon landing in 1960s Indonesia, Siman’s tongue gets cut off, rendering him a possessed spacewalker and mute witness to history’s fictions. Mesmerizingly performative and strange, Yosep Anggi Noen’s latest sideways crack at Indonesian history examines the persistence of personal trauma amidst new lies the nation tells…View purchasing options for THE SCIENCE OF FICTIONS Buy tickets
The iconic “White Building” of Phnom Penh, home to 493 families including the director’s own, is set to be demolished by a Japanese developer. Kavich Neang’s documentary captures families packing their belongings and peeling back memories, and stands as a dedication to the building’s last breaths of resilience.View purchasing options for LAST NIGHT I SAW YOU SMILING Buy tickets
Films to make you laugh, cry, and cheer, featuring gorgeous young lovers, butt-kicking sisters, and unwitting dancing stars.
A special exhibition project in collaboration with Artistic Director Brian Hu, The Los Angeles Times, the University of San Diego and other community partners. To read more, visit this page. https://sdaff.org/2019/the-asian-american-film-canon/
The best of Asian American cinema in all of its colors—from stories of activism and history-making, to tales of woe and humor.
From Asia’s most innovative and thought-provoking filmmakers come new stories and new ways of telling them.
Fresh from Venice, Busan, and other prestigious international film festivals, these are premiere works by the world’s best directors
Discover the thrills of the short form in this year’s program, which includes international award winners, surprising documentaries, narrative thrills, slow burns, and lush pleasures, from an exciting new generation of filmmakers.
The feature presentations of this year’s San Diego Asian Film Festival include an omnibus look at San Diego from four Asian American cinematic voices, a modern sexual identity crisis only possible in this day and age, and a fable-like story of a group of Chinese opera performers valiantly holding on in its twilight days.