Seattle Asian American Film Festival

Seattle Asian American Film Festival

Thursday, Mar 4, 2021 from 3:01am to 3:38am

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Schedule of Events

Opening Night Spotlight: The No-Good Very Bad Terrible Longest Worst Year — 2020 COVID Shorts

Runtime: 2 minutes
Director: Laj Waghray
A glimpse into the lives of frontline workers by documenting one doctor's life in isolation at home.

Closing Night: Collective Memory, Community Spaces

Director: Baljit Sangra
Runtime: 4 minutes
In this emotionally compelling short, acclaimed director Baljit Sangra shines light on North American's oldest running Sikh Temple and the struggle it represents. Children of East Indian immigrants share letters and stories of their parents and the temple they could find a home in.

From Here

Director: Christina Antonakos-Wallace
Runtime: 89 minutes
From Here is a hopeful story of artists and activists based in Berlin and New York whose lives hang in the balance of immigration and integration debates. The protagonists move from their 20s into their 30s as they fight for citizenship, start families, and find room for creative expression. This sensitive and nuanced documentary captures their journeys to define what it means to "belong" in societies that are increasingly hostile to their existence. Filmed over a decade in two of the world's largest immigration countries–the U.S. and Germany–their individual stories echo the millions of young people from immigrant families coming of age during this era of rising nationalism. FROM HERE showcases not only their struggles, but enormous power.

The Girl Who Left Home

Director: Mallorie Ortega
Runtime: 100 minutes
The Girl Who Left Home is a live-action musical feature film that surrounds an Asian American working class family that faces tragedy at the height of Christine's career. After her father suddenly passes away, Christine must choose to either save her family restaurant from getting shut down, or continuing to pursue her life's dream.

Tokyo Hula

Director: Lisette Marie Flanary
Runtime: 72 minutes
Tokyo Hula explores the explosive popularity of the hula dance in Japan from both Native Hawaiian and Japanese perspectives. Today it is estimated there are nearly 2 million people dancing hula in Japan – a figure greater than the entire population of Hawaiʻi. With more people dancing hula in Japan than in Hawaiʻi where the native art was born, this phenomenal growth has created a multi-million dollar industry based on culture as commodity. But what motivates Japanese students and teachers to dance hula and how is it translated into a foreign culture? How do Native Hawaiians participate in this cross-cultural exchange? Through the personal stories of Hawaiian master hula teachers and Japanese teachers and dancers, the documentary examines how tourism, economics and a love affair with the islands of Hawaiʻi have made hula big business in Japan.

Curtain Up!

Director: Hui Tong, Kelly Ng
Runtime: 68 minutes
Curtain Up! follows elementary school kids in New York's Chinatown as they prepare for the musical production of "Frozen Kids" and begin to discover their identities. Behind the scenes, they face Asian stereotypes, their families' expectations, and uncertainties post-graduation. But it is through rehearsing for this American favorite that these kids grapple with their Chinese roots. Will they have to let something go?

The World Is Bright

Director: Ying Wang
Runtime: 116 minutes
When an elderly Beijing couple receives notice that their only son has allegedly committed suicide and has been buried on Canadian soil, they travel to Vancouver to investigate the mysterious circumstances of his death. Made over the course of ten years, docu-thriller THE WORLD IS BRIGHT guides the viewer down a rabbit hole of mental illness, the crushing wheels of bureaucracy, and the vulnerability immigrants can face without cultural coping mechanisms. The themes and questions the film explores — such as the stigma surrounding mental illness, the invisible mechanisms of control in our modern life, the dislocation and disconnection produced through global migration, and the perpetual search for meaning — are universal and relevant to all contemporary societies.

Grief Like No Other: Holding Space for Healing from Miscarriage, Stillbirth, and Infant Loss

Director: Heather Hawthorn Doyle
Runtime: 14 minutes
A young married couple finally conceive their first child, but it ends in a heartbreaking miscarriage. As they process the loss together, they discover that grieving their child is much harder than expected.

SAAFF 4 Kidz

Director: Zhike Yang, Wenjie Wu, Han Chen Chang
Runtime: 4 minutes
"RenaiDance" centers cultural inheritance and the integration of dreams, courage, and culture as transformation. Through its inspiring story and motifs of inheritance and family support, this film braces strong family love and elder culture in a never-ending chain.

Looking Past Paradise: Shorts From Hawai'i

Director: Alika Maikau
Runtime: 9 minutes
A wayward young man, recently released from prison, struggles to reconnect with his son and Hawaiian heritage through a conversation outside his son's school.

Thrills, Chills, and Things Gone Wrong

Director: Mitchel Viernes
Runtime: 16 minutes
While he reflects on a family conflict that took place during his last night on Earth, a Hawaiian astronaut must save the world. Sifting through this complicated experience, he makes the next great leap for his planet, his family, and himself. Tonight is his last chance.

Queer AF

Director: Emory Chao Johnson
Runtime: 3 minutes
BIND is about an intimate moment of dis/connection between a Taiwanese immigrant mother and her gender-nonconforming child. Its specific story is immersed in the transnational experience of diasporic communities in North America, as well as portraying scenes from an Asian American trans experience.

Southeast Asian Showcase

Director: Chen-Wen Lo
Runtime: 16 minutes
It's Myanmar in 2013. A 12-year-old Burmese child soldier, imprisoned for deserting battle, is forced to either kill her older brother, a fellow deserter, or die alongside him. Based on actual events.

Family Portraits

Director: Serena Violet Hodges
Runtime: 5 minutes
Mango Baby is a series of fictionalized memories about sharing mangoes and extending care across time and diaspora. This film is dedicated to the director's maternal grandparents, Gopa Chowdhry and Ruddrendra Kumar Ghose.

We Need to Talk About This

Director: Yanghuixiao Gao
Runtime: 6 minutes
Sharon is on her way home from her first counseling session and continues to think about the conversation she had with her therapist. That session begins to affect her reactions to everything happening around her.

Lingering

Director: Ellison Shieh
Runtime: 3 minutes
The split identities of being an immigrant's child leaves filmmaker Ellison Shieh with endless questions of who they could have been if their childhood had taken place in Taiwan, as opposed to in the United States. The film juxtaposes humid lake views in Taiwan with childhood photos in the Pacific Northwest, simulating the experience of considering alternate lives.

Việt Kiều: Vietnamese American Shorts

Director: Anthony Newen
Runtime: 8 minutes
Just outside of Portland, Oregon, a farmer owns two-thirds of an acre by herself. She makes a living by growing and selling annual vegetables. Her philosophy on farming is a rebellion against industrialized agriculture. Instead, she aims to take care of the land she uses and her customers, as evident in her intentional farming process.

Trace Your Roots

Director: Joella Cabalu
Runtime: 3 minutes
Ode To A Seafaring People, featuring spoken word artist Sol Diana, poetically reveals the often hidden world of Filipino seafarers and in so doing, celebrates the resiliency of the Filipino community.

Haru Haru: Day by Day

Director: Aaron Field
Runtime: 6 minutes
Stuck in standstill traffic, a young boy tries to spark a connection with a girl in the next lane over. With an attention to the small details that form especially memorable moments, HAENGSYO is both good-humored and heartfelt.

Closing Night: Collective Memory, Community Spaces

Director: Baljit Sangra
Runtime: 4 minutes
In this emotionally compelling short, acclaimed director Baljit Sangra shines light on North American's oldest running Sikh Temple and the struggle it represents. Children of East Indian immigrants share letters and stories of their parents and the temple they could find a home in.

Growing Pains

Director: Katherine Tolentino
Runtime: 14 minutes
After three years of living in America and attending a high school for international students, Chinese teenager Wendy Zhang is struggling. Her teachers don't care about her, her host family doesn't understand her, and her own parents are too far away to help. With the arrival of Mei-Ling, a classmate who breezes through with ambition and bilingual fluency, Wendy find herself increasingly destabilized.

Opening Night Spotlight: The No-Good Very Bad Terrible Longest Worst Year — 2020 COVID Shorts

Director: Laj Waghray
Runtime: 2 minutes
A glimpse into the lives of frontline workers by documenting one doctor's life in isolation at home.

We Need to Talk About This

Director: Yanghuixiao Gao
Runtime: 6 minutes
Sharon is on her way home from her first counseling session and continues to think about the conversation she had with her therapist. That session begins to affect her reactions to everything happening around her.

Closing Night: Collective Memory, Community Spaces

Director: Baljit Sangra
Runtime: 4 minutes
In this emotionally compelling short, acclaimed director Baljit Sangra shines light on North American's oldest running Sikh Temple and the struggle it represents. Children of East Indian immigrants share letters and stories of their parents and the temple they could find a home in.