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April 21: Pacific Arts Movement’s 11th Spring Showcase Returns To Theaters To Celebrate Asian, Asian American, & Pacific Islanders’ Influences On Pop History

April 4, 2022

CONTACT: Carmela Prudencio,, 951-265-1544
SAN DIEGO, April 1, 2022

April 21: Pacific Arts Movement’s 11th Spring Showcase Returns To Theaters To Celebrate Asian, Asian American, & Pacific Islanders’ Influences On Pop History

Exclusive panel featuring authors of RISE: A Pop History of Asian America From The Nineties To Now

Sunday Spotlight Series features a retrospective on Kinuyo Tanaka, prolific actress and one of the first prominent female directors in Asia

In a 15+ film collection, Pacific Art Movement’s 11th San Diego Asian Film Festival (SDAFF) Spring Showcase returns to in-person programming at the Ultrastar Cinemas in Mission Valley, San Diego from April 21 through 28, 2022. This year’s showcase recognizes the impact of Asian, Asian American, and Pacific Islanders (AAPI) on popular culture. Audiences will enjoy eight days of films from China, Indonesia, the Philippines, South Korea, and Vietnam, including a four-film retrospective on director and actress Kinuyo Tanaka. The showcase opens with the biopic Anita on April 21, telling the captivating story of the “Madonna of Hong Kong.” Closing night features Free Chol Soo Lee, which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival this January. Other programming includes live Q&As from filmmakers and a panel discussion with the authors of RISE: A Pop History of Asian America From The Nineties To Now.

“Our 11th Spring Showcase marks more than just a return in-person for the Asian, Asian American, and Pacific Islander stories we share,” says Kent Lee, Executive Director. “It reminds us just how important it is for communities to gather and connect over experiences that help to uplift our collective voices.”

For over a decade, Spring Showcase has aspired to bring the hits, laughs, and thrills from Asian and Asian American filmmakers. The film line-up this year celebrates AAPI influences on pop culture and history, from Hong Kong pop stars, Japanese film icons, and Asian-American cultural leaders. The opening night film Anita honors the eponymous legendary popstar, who personified the Hong Kong Golden Age of the 1980s and 90s. This Spring Showcase’s Sunday Spotlight is a collection of four films directed by Kinuyo Tanaka that amplify women’s voices. The well-known actress of Ozu and Mizoguchi was one of the world’s rare female directors in the 1950s and 60s and a pioneer in the Japanese film industry.

Also, a part of this year’s showcase is a panel by the authors of the new book RISE: A Pop History of Asian America from the Nineties to Now, with a special conversation about the actors, musicians, athletes, and trendsetters that make up Asian American popular culture. RISE is a love letter to and for Asian Americans—an illustrated primer on the best (and worst) of Asian American music, movies, graphic novels, food, and celebrity.

Closing the festival this year is Free Chol Soo Lee, the riveting documentary about social justice icon Chol Soo Lee, whose wrongful imprisonment sparked an Asian American movement in the 1970s and 80s.

“Now that we have one in-person festival under our belt, we’re treating this year’s Spring Showcase like the joyous celebration it had always been,” Artistic Director Brian Hu shares. “We’re looking forward to Korean rom-coms, Vietnamese adventure, Japanese animation, and all the other genres that put smiles on our faces and make us giddy to be in the presence of our community again.”

This year’s films feature a timeline of Asia and Asian America’s pop culture history, from Japan in the 50s and 60s, to Hong Kong in the 80s and 90s, and a recap of Asian America’s unique evolution throughout the times, told by the icons and stars themselves.


ANITA | Opening Film, April 21, 7 PM

The film follows the life of Hong Kong Cantopop singer and actress Anita Mui. The film begins from her life as a child performer with her sister Ann Mui in the now-demolished Lai Chi Kok Amusement Park and follows her relationship with her fashion designer Eddie Lau, fellow singer Leslie Cheung, ex-boyfriends Goto Yuki and Ben Lam, her career, and up till Mui’s death in 2003.

RISE: A Pop History of Asian America from the Nineties to Now Book Event | Special Presentation, Live Panel | April 23, 5 PM

Join the authors of RISE: A Pop History of Asian America from the Nineties to Now, Phil Yu, Jeff Yang, & Philip Wang, for a special talk about the book — its inspirations, contradictions, and aspirations. Copies of RISE will be on hand, sold by local Asian American-owned bookseller Comickaze Comics. Q&A Panel with RISE Authors, Final slate of panelists TBD. Free outdoor reception after the panel discussion.

DIRECTED BY KINUYO TANAKA | Sunday Spotlight, Live Q&A | April 24, 1 PM

A presentation of four of Kinuyo Tanaka’s pioneering features, all in new 4K restorations.Films in the collection include FOREVER A WOMAN (1955), GIRLS OF NIGHT (1961), LOVE UNDER A CRUCIFIX (1962), LOVE LETTER (1953). Special reception on April 24 from 6:00-8:00 PM at UltraStar Cinemas.

FREE CHOL SOO LEE | Closing Film, Live Q&A | April 28, 7:15 PM

Asian Americans unite to free Chol Soo Lee, a Korean immigrant who was wrongly convicted of a gang murder, but once out, he self-destructs, threatening the movement’s legacy and the man himself. Live Q&A with directors Julie Ha and Eugene Yi. Pre-screening reception at UltraStar Cinemas and a post-screening reception at BJ’s Restaurant and Brewhouse located in Hazard Center.


After the Rain (Director: Jian Fan, China, 104 min, 2021)
Big Night! (Director: Jun Robles Lana, Philippines, 105 min, 2021)
Fortune Favors Lady Nikuko (Director: Ayumu Watanabe, Japan, 96 min, 2021)
Maika The Girl From Another Galaxy (Director: Ham Tran, Vietnam, 105 min, 2022)
Nothing Serious (Director: Jeong Ga-young, South Korea, 95 min, 2021)
On The Line (Director: Kim Sun, Kim Gok, South Korea, 109 min, 2021)
Quickening (Director: Haya Waseem, Canada, 89 min, 2021)
Yuni (Director: Kamila Andini, Indonesia, Singapore, France, Australia, 95 min, 2021)
• Mystery Kung-Fu Theater

*Screener links available upon request for press coverage.


• Director Ham Tran (Maika: The Girl From Another Galaxy): April 23
• Director Haya Waseem (Quickening): April 26
• Directors Julie Ha and Eugene Yi (Free Chol Soo Lee): April 28
• Panel with the authors of RISE: A Pop History of Asian America from the Nineties to Now: April 23

*Interviews available: For interviews with filmmakers, actors, or festival staff and list of available screeners, please fill out a media accreditation form and contact


We are asking all guests attending festival events to provide proof of full COVID-19 vaccination or a negative COVID-19 PCR test taken within 72 hours of the event. Proof of vaccination or negative test will be required before entering any festival venue. Every festival patron will also be required to wear a mask inside all theater spaces. Additionally, we will be requiring masks for all festival patrons and ensuring social distancing in all festival lines.

Additional details on our COVID-19 protocols can be found here.

In order to expedite the pickup of your festival pass, you are welcome to submit your vaccination record in advance to this form.

Any of the following forms of proof will be acceptable:
• Your vaccine card
• Photo of your vaccine card
• CA Digital COVID-19 Vaccine Record

*Get a digital copy of your COVID-19 vaccination record here:

11th San Diego Asian Film Festival (SDAFF) Spring Showcase
Presented by Pacific Arts Movement
Tickets: Available at

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All press must be credentialed prior to Opening Night. Press can register for credentials by filling out a media accreditation form. For press kit materials, please contact



The smaller of Pac Arts’ two major events, the 1qth Annual SDAFF Spring Showcase is a week-long presentation of the freshest Asian and Asian American cinema, held from April 23 – May 2, 2021. In past years, the SDAFF Spring Showcase has dedicated a special series to significant individuals and occasions including the 40th anniversary of the Fall of Saigon through “Cinema Little Saigon” as well as the 75th anniversary of Executive Order 9066 through “Right to Resist.”


Pacific Arts Movement (Pac Arts) is the most comprehensive portrait of Asian and Asian American cinema in North America. Located in San Diego, California, Pac Arts is the presenter of the annual San Diego Asian Film Festival, the largest showcase of Asian cinema on the West Coast, and the Spring Showcase of Asian Cinema. The 23rd San Diego Asian Film Festival is scheduled for November 2022.


Pacific Arts Movement (Pac Arts) launched in 2000 when it debuted at the San Diego Asian Film Festival, a showcase of Asian American and Asian international cinema. Rooted in the love of film and the arts, global citizenship, and Asian culture and communities, Pac Arts became an official nonprofit media arts organization in 2002 and is now one of the most significant exhibitions of Asian cinema in North America. For more information, visit

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