Skip to Content
Spring Showcase 2023

April 20: Pacific Arts Movement’s 12th Spring Showcase Presents Rich Diversity of Asian and Asian American Cinema

March 29, 2023

CONTACT: Carmela Prudencio,
SAN DIEGO, March 30, 2023

April 20: Pacific Arts Movement’s 12th Spring Showcase Presents Rich Diversity of Asian and Asian American Cinema

  • Film festival presents an array of films highlighting immigrant, queer, South Asian stories, and more 
  • Sunday Spotlight Series features a four-film tribute to Hong Kong icons Leslie Cheung and Anita Mui

In a 15+ film collection, Pacific Art Movement’s 12th San Diego Asian Film Festival (SDAFF) Spring Showcase returns to the Ultrastar Cinemas in Mission Valley, San Diego from April 20 through 27, 2022. Audiences will enjoy eight days of films from Japan, Hong Kong, Iran, Malaysia, Pakistan, Singapore, South Korea, UK, USA, and more including a four-film retrospective on legendary actors Leslie Cheung and Anita Mui. The showcase opens with the genre-bending documentary Starring Jerry as Himself on April 20 telling the true story of an immigrant father recruited by the Chinese police to be an undercover agent. Closing night features Director Justin Chon’s Jamojaya which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival this January. Other programming includes live Q&As from filmmakers and musical performances.

“We’re thrilled to present the 12th annual Spring Showcase, a testament to the rich diversity of Asian and Pacific Islander storytelling,” said Alex Villafuerte, Executive Director. “As we unveil this year’s lineup, we invite our community to join us in celebrating our storytellers that unite us through film.”

The Spring Showcase film programming for 2023 is full of hits, laughs, and thrills from Asian and Asian American filmmakers. This year’s line-up presents a variety of films highlighting South Asian stories outside of the classic Bollywood features. Joyland (Un Certain Regard Jury Prize, 2022 Cannes Film Festival and Best International Film, 2023 Independent Spirit Awards) is an Urdu and Punjabi-language Pakistani dancehall drama. The story follows a son who secretly joins an erotic dance theater and falls for an ambitious trans starlet. Other films include the British-Pakistani feminist action comedy Polite Society starring Priya Kansara and Ritu Arya (The Umbrella Academy), Hong Kong drama Sunny Side of The Street about a Hong Kong-born Pakistani refugee boy who forms an unexpected bond with a local taxi driver, and the documentary newsroom drama While We Watched that chronicles the working days of broadcast journalist Ravish Kumar.

The film programming spotlights immigrant stories of family through unexpected narratives redefining the trope of the American dream. The opening night film Starring Jerry Himself is the American dream refracted through fantasy, documentary, and the magic of moviemaking following an immigrant father who gets phone scammed and ends up as an undercover agent. 

Closing the festival this year is  Jamojaya starring Brian Imanuel (aka Rich Brian) in his first acting role where he plays James, an Indonesian rapper on the cusp of stardom.  In his most propulsive film to date, Justin Chon (Blue Bayou, Gook) tackles professional ambitions and familial demons through a different kind of immigrant tale – one of global stardom infused with mysticism and music.

In celebration of Hong Kong icons Leslie Cheung and Anita Mui, Spring Showcase pays tribute to these stars with a day-long, four-film tribute to the late stars of Hong Kong cinema titled “Days of Being Leslie and Anita” featuring their two most famous collaborations, a Wong Kar-wai breakthrough Days of Being Wild with Leslie as lead and Anita providing the theme song. 

“The Spring Showcase is the San Diego Asian Film Festival’s fun alter ego, overrun by rainbows and rom-coms,” Artistic Director Brian Hu shares. “These are the films that dream aloud, featuring body switching and vacation adventures where your real self takes over. And it features the biggest stars like Brian Imanuel and Asian icons like Nam June Paik, Leslie Cheung, and Anita Mui.” 

More News