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I can safely say that these are not all the best Asian films completed in 2020.  

There are more. They’re in the can, but aren’t ready for a world too volatile and a market too unforgiving. Like so many film industries, those in Asia are in a holding pattern, navigating shifting release dates, virtual platforms, and public health predictions. We’ll see them soon. Watch this space.

But I can safely say that the films in this year’s San Diego Asian Film Festival are the boldest Asian films of 2020.

These are the ones that analyzed the treacherous marketplace and dove in regardless. That’s because they might also be the most urgent films of 2020. Documentaries like WE HAVE BOOTS, about Hong Kong demonstrations of the past four years, or A THOUSAND CUTS, about journalist heroes in the Philippines. These are living stories whose subjects have been arrested since the films’ premieres and thus demand to be seen and discussed, even under improvised circumstances. Films like THERE IS NO EVIL by Mohammad Rasoulof or 76 DAYS by Hao Wu, Weixi Chen, and their anonymous co-director were lucky to be made at all. Even a family dramedy like Sujata Day’s tender DEFINITION PLEASE or Lynn Chen’s bittersweet I WILL MAKE YOU MINE are defiant interventions by artists who are done waiting for Hollywood.

If not now, then when? These are the quintessential 2020 films, refusing to be silenced, refusing to be imperiled, refusing to wait for normal.

–Brian Hu, Artistic Director