Photo: San Diego Asian Film Festival’s very first audience on Opening Night, 2000

We are 20. Not many film festivals make it to 20, so excuse us if SDAFF parties especially hard this year.

We’re marking our 20th year by celebrating the communities that have sustained us for two decades. We open the festival with the world premiere of Pac Arts’ first-ever feature-length production: THE PARADISE WE ARE LOOKING FOR, an omnibus film of four short documentaries highlighting Asian American stories in distinct and overlooked San Diego neighborhoods. The festival then proceeds to celebrate 20 years of Asian American filmmakers by playing some of the most monumental films from our history: SAVING FACECOLMA: THE MUSICALREFUGEEIN THE FAMILY. We also celebrate new visions of Asian America: three films about undocumented Filipino Americans, an Iraqi American documentary, a Mongolian American crime drama. The look back into our history only reveals how far Asian American filmmakers have come in 2019, and what visionary directions are still left undreamed.

We are also celebrating virtual reality, Taiwan and Tibet, the Conrad in La Jolla, a much-requested return to Edwards Mira Mesa, and the festival winners to be named at our legendary Gala Awards Dinner to be held this year at the landmark U.S. Grant Hotel. We’ll be celebrating over 170 films in 40 spoken languages and countless cinematic ones. But above all, we celebrate you–the audience–for 20 years of support and giving us the confidence and audacity to keep expanding our horizons to match the boundless ambitions of Asian and Pacific Islander film artists around the world.

–Brian Hu, Artistic Director