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SDAFF 2021 Blog

Welcome from the Artistic Director

September 29, 2021
Photo of two people wearing masks with a social distancing sign behind them.

Back to normal? How about never normal?

As we plunge into the 22nd annual San Diego Asian Film Festival, we take pride in a history of bucking the norm. Of growing the largest Asian film festival in western North America, in a city that supposedly wasn’t “Asian enough.” Of rigging 16mm and 35mm projectors to booths not built for them. Of producing our own feature film because San Diego deserves more Asian American stories. Of putting out fires metaphoric and literal, and of pulling out the resuscitator when somebody passed out in the theater, allegedly because of Daniel Henney’s hotness.

How about never normal because the social context has proven time and again that championing our communities and transnational families means keeping on our toes? SDAFF has pivoted in the face of terrorist attacks on the U.S., climate disasters in Japan and the Philippines, political upheaval in Thailand, Myanmar, and here at home, and anti-Asian violence the world over. And now as we dip our toes back into theaters in 2021, we do so with both trepidation and excitement over the so-called post-pandemic world.

SDAFF is back and while it’s not a return to normal, let’s find consolation in a return to what we do miss: physical togetherness and the safety and comfort in knowing that we’re not in isolation but in solidarity. We return not to a status quo, but to films and filmgoing that continue to challenge it, whether that is INSIDE THE RED BRICK WALL, the courageous Hong Kong documentary that marches defiantly into an abnormal future, or even 7 DAYS, a charming rom-com that understands that even our most familiar and trustworthy genres might never be the same again. Welcome back to never normal.

–Brian Hu, Artistic Director

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