The 2018 Seattle Asian American Film Festival (SAAFF) runs from February 22 to 25. The following is a guide to the films and information about where and when they’ll be screened:
SIGNATURE MOVE & OPENING NIGHT PARTY
Thursday, Feb 22, 7:00 p.m., Broadway Performance Hall
Co-presented by Tasveer and Three Dollar Bill Cinema
Directed by Jennifer Reeder (Narrative Features / United States / 2017 / 79 mins)
This award-winning film tells the story of Zaynab, a Pakistani Muslim woman who finds romance with the free-spirited Mexican American woman Alma, and also inspiration through Lucha Libre wrestling. Her newfound passions force her to confront her relationship with her recently widowed mother. Zaynab must navigate all of her desires and identities in this heart-warming, hilarious, and painfully familiar coming of age story.
**Tickets to SIGNATURE MOVE include admission to the Opening Night Party**
Thursday, Feb 22, 9:00 p.m., Broadway Performance Hall
Kick off the 2018 Seattle Asian American Film Festival with live performances from local artists, a DJ, photobooth, and, of course, drinks and hors d’oeuvres. We’ll get this party started right after the screening of SIGNATURE MOVE. Headlining: Lions Ambition. Performances: Groove Clan, Champagne Honeybee, Jyun Jyun, Malicious Allure.
Friday, Feb 23, 5:30 p.m., Northwest Film Forum Screen 2
Directed by Shane Andries (Narrative Shorts / United States / 2015 / 11 mins)
A man is abruptly woken up in his room and interrogated about a racist interaction earlier in the evening.
Directed by T.L. Quach (Narrative Shorts / United States / 2016 / 3 mins)
A single mother tries to calm and understand her son’s troubled mind.
Directed by Chen Xu (Narrative Shorts / United States / 2017 / 23 mins)
WITNESS follows an undocumented immigrant, Shen Hao, and his struggle to make the right decision after witnessing a murder near the Chinese restaurant he works at. Will he remain silent to pursue his American dream with his pregnant wife or risk deportation by calling the police to settle his guilty conscience when he finds out who the victim is?
Directed by Zorinah Juan (Narrative Shorts / United States / 2017 / 19 mins)
Two estranged Filipino-American siblings are forced to reunite when their offbeat mother chooses death with dignity.
Directed by Lu Han (Narrative Shorts / United States / 2017 / 15 mins)
An infertile nail salon owner decides to confront her husband, the salon’s shuttle driver, whom she suspects of sleeping with one of her employees.
Directed by Sohil Vaidya (Narrative Shorts / United States / 2017 / 16 mins)
In this film inspired by true events, Geeta has been brought to the United states as domestic worker by an Indian couple with the promise of giving her the American Dream. However it is not long until Geeta realizes that although she is in the land of opportunity, her financial, personal, and social freedoms are slowly being taken away. How will she escape this gilded cage?
Friday, Feb 23, 6:30 p.m., Northwest Film Forum Screen 1
Co-presented by Pride Asia
Directed by Val Wang (Documentary Shorts / United States / 2016 / 25 mins)
THE FLIP SIDE presents the increasingly globalized circus world, where disparate people and acrobatic cultures come together, clash, and ultimately transform each other. We meet Daqi, a Chinese circus artist who leaves home at age 9 to train at an elite state-run circus academy. Restless after ascending to the zenith of the Chinese circus world, he leaves his stable job to perform with Cirque du Soleil. Though Daqi possesses extraordinary technical skills, he has a difficult journey ahead to develop an artist’s expressive power. He eventually collides with Shana Carroll, a trapeze star who began with the San Francisco-based Pickle Family Circus, where she trains with a Chinese coach and even marries the coach’s Chinese protégé, then has a stint with Cirque du Soleil. Daqi grows as an artist when he joins Shana’s circus troupe, 7 Fingers, whose intimate circus shows are based on the individual artists’ stories.
Directed by Dean Hamer, Joe Wilson & Hinaleimoana Wong-Kalu (Documentary Shorts / United States / 2016 / 11 mins)
IN LADY EVA, a brave young transgender woman sets off on a journey to become her true self in the conservative Pacific Island Kingdom of Tonga – with a little inspiration from Tina Turner along the way. The story is told in the context of her involvement in the Miss Galaxy beauty pageant, where Tonga’s “leitis” participate even when family members do not approve.
Directed by Steve Arounsack (Documentary Shorts / Lao People’s Democratic Republic / 2017 / 40 mins)
After 25 years of silence, the private Lao music and film industries are reawakening. Filmed over 10 years, the documentary GETTING LAO’D: THE RISE OF MODERN LAO MUSIC AND FILMS follows a new generation of young pioneers as they reimagine Lao media in a Communist country. The film, featuring many of the country’s most prominent musicians and filmmakers, is perhaps the most comprehensive examination of the rise of modern music and films in Laos. Many neighboring countries in Southeast Asia have seen their music and film industries remain vibrant. Laos, however, remains shrouded in mystery due to its land-locked geography and communist regime. This documentary provides extremely rare insights on a media landscape that tipped the cultural fulcrum. This is a story about a small country with a big heart.
Friday, Feb 23, 8:00 p.m., Northwest Film Forum Screen 2
Directed by Cameo Wood (Narrative Shorts / United States / 2017 / 12 mins)
Against all odds, Sophia Baker just scored her dream interview at the world-famous Semaphore Animation Studios — who’d have thought a fan edit of one of their hit films could land her a shot at a job? But when she meets the mysterious executive Anne Palladon, she soon learns all is not as she expects behind the curtain. Every instinct Sophia has ever had about art in filmmaking is about to be challenged. Based on Nebula, Hugo and World Fantasy Award-winning author Ken Liu’s short story of the same name, REAL ARTISTS asks a poignant question: In a dystopian near-future where big data, AI and natural language processing learn and create quickly and at massive scale, what role can a single artist play? Is Sophia a creative rebel who can make a difference? Or is the situation more serious than that?
Directed by Christina Yoon (Narrative Shorts / United States / 2017 / 18 mins)
MIDNIGHT GIRL tells the story of Kate, a Chinese American high school student, dealing with the aftermath of sexual assault. When she meets a “cam girl” who shows her how to be comfortable with her sexuality, Kate has an unexpected night out that will challenge everything she knows.
Directed by Lelinh Du (Narrative Shorts / Canada / 2017 / 15 mins)
In ANH HUNG, Jenny is a 9-year-old Vietnamese girl growing up first generation in Canada. Her brother Tuan, whom she looks up to as her hero, slowly reveals that he is not who he seems when she secretly disobeys his rule to stay home and joins him for a night out.
Directed by Dinh Thai (Narrative Shorts / United States / 2017 / 18 mins)
MONDAY is the first place winner of HBO’s inaugural APA Visionaries contest. “What can I get to you?” That’s the question driving a conflicted young hustler who sells everything and anything to make money. As he code-switches through various cliques, he must confront the racism as well as the immorality of his occupation.
Directed by Tristan Seniuk & Voleak Sip (Narrative Shorts / United States / 2016 / 24 mins)
FLOAT is set in mid-1990s Seattle, and follows the day-to-day trials and tribulations of Cambodian-American hustler Rocky Mang. Still living at home with his family, Rocky spends his days cruising the streets of Seattle, slinging cheap goods on the corner as he struggles to help his family make ends meet. His days are a hazy wash of grinding and hustling, only broken by his persistent attempts to convince a local barista named Jenni-Mo Day to go on a date.
Friday, Feb 23, 9:00 p.m., Northwest Film Forum Screen 1
Co-presented by JACL–Seattle Chapter
Directed by Don Sellers & Lucy Ostrander (Documentary Features / United States / 2017 / 54 mins)
PROOF OF LOYALTY tells the story of a Japanese American who played a crucial role in World War II. Drafted just before the war, Kazuo became part of the renowned 100th Infantry Battalion, a unit made up entirely of Nisei from Hawaii. Their success was spectacular, but Kazuo was plucked from their ranks for his exceptional knowledge of Japanese. His journey led him to the Pentagon, to a secret facility in northern Maryland, and finally to serving under Eisenhower in Europe. His incredible work was instrumental in shortening the war in the Pacific.
AN AMERICAN HERO: FRANK NISHIMURA
Directed by Shannon Gee (Animated Documentary Shorts / United States / 2016 / 23 mins)
This animated short film tells the story of a World War II veteran and is based on the graphic novel “Fighting for America: Nisei Soldiers,” written by Lawrence Matsuda and illustrated by Matt Sasaki. Frank grew up in Seattle where his family ran hotels, including the Puget Sound Hotel. With Executive Order 9066, which set in motion the expulsion of Japanese Americans from the West Coast, the Nishimuras moved to Eastern Washington, avoiding imprisonment. Frank volunteered to join the U.S Army as part of the 442nd/100th Battalion, where he made new friends and strong connections. Frank saw heavy combat in France and Italy and was awarded the Purple Heart, Bronze Star, French National Order of the Legion of Honor, and the Congressional Gold Medal.
Saturday, Feb 24, 11:00 a.m., Northwest Film Forum Screen 2
Co-presented by ACLF
Directed by Nadine Truong (Narrative Features / United States / 2016 / 114 mins)
In the award-winning I CAN I WILL I DID, foster youth Ben is bullied and as a result gets into a car accident. His recovery process is slow, until he meets Adrienne, a wheelchair bound fellow patient at the hospital who breathes hope into his life and introduces him to her grandfather, Taekwondo Grand Master Kang. Kang not only teaches him how to walk and get back up on his feet, but also how to take charge of his own life and ultimately to face his inner demons.
Saturday, Feb 24, 11:30 a.m., Northwest Film Forum Screen 1
Directed by Pierre-Jean Le Moel & Eva Jiahui Gao (Animated Shorts / France / 2016 / 3 mins)
In OURO, a woman is sacrificed as a gift for the Great Snake. But she will have her chance at revenge.
Directed by Ryan Willard (Narrative Shorts / United States / 2017 / 11 mins)
In QUANTUM, when a boy battling a brain tumor is ready to give up, his little sister helps him discover a message of hope.
Directed by Carmen Liang and Steven Liang (Narrative Shorts / United States / 2017 / 3 mins)
A 6-year-old girl named Emma uses her drawing skills to try to help out her father with his money problems and at the same time gain his love and attention which she craves.
Directed by Woody Fu (Narrative Shorts / United States / 2017 / 2 mins)
The struggle is real when searching for adult content featuring ASIAN MAN, WHITE WOMAN.
Directed by Julio Salcedo & Sun Hong (Narrative Shorts / United States / 2017 / 9 mins)
Meet THE HAHNS, your typical not-so-typical American family, as they face the age-old question, “Where do babies come from?”
Directed by Jackie Lee (Animated Shorts / United States / 2017 / 6 mins)
In SEWING CIRCLE, love requires sacrifice, but it comes back to you in the end.
Directed by Linnea Ritland (Narrative Shorts / Canada / 2017 / 6 mins)
VIOLET AND JUNE tells a story of falling love, the terror of being alive in a cold heartless universe, and butts.
Directed by Bernard Badion (Narrative Shorts / United States / 2017 / 6 mins)
A friendly neighbor has unwelcome news for an expectant mother in ASWANG NEXT DOOR.
Directed by Michael Chan (Narrative Shorts / United States / 2016 / 10 mins)
Marc Chung regales his friends Stan and Kyle about the absurd events that led up to his purchasing a pellet gun to protect his address in MARC CHUNG PROTECTS HIS ADDRESS.
Directed by David Chai (Animated Shorts / United States / 2017 / 8 mins)
In the annals of mankind, we will realize that humans have been mistreating Mother Nature for far too long. It was only a matter of time before the universe blasted back. Watch SPACE BUTTHOLE to experience a warning from the deepest bowels of the galaxy. Can humanity squeeze out a solution before it goes to pot? Don’t stall to find out!
Directed by Marie Jamora (Narrative Shorts / United States / 2016 / 15 mins)
In this coming-of-age story set in the 1980s, FLIP THE RECORD follows 14-year-old Filipina American Vanessa who is sick of the constraints of her conservative family and the boring piano lessons she takes. On the sly Vanessa teaches herself how to scratch on her older brother’s turntables, and discovers her talents and place in the local music scene.
Saturday, Feb 24, 2:00 p.m., Northwest Film Forum Screen 2
Co-presented by Friends of Little Saigon
If Asians aren’t supposed to play sports, these extraordinary athletes weren’t listening.
Directed by Kristina Wong (Narrative Shorts / Canada / 2016 / 9 mins)
TIDAL WAVES follows Riley, a young dancer struggling with scoliosis. A once triumphant and passionate dancer, Riley must now come to terms with the fact that she can no longer dance after undergoing a surgery to correct her spine. Now in recovery, her mother tries to steer her in a different direction while her doctor enrolls her in water therapy to help relieve her physical and mental pain.
Directed by Lawrence Chen (Narrative Shorts / United States / 2016 / 16 mins)
I DON’T MAKE THE RULES portrays an ex-pro football player’s struggles to survive on blue collar odd jobs and willingness to do whatever it takes to land an entry level office job at a law firm.
Directed by Alfonso Bui (Documentary Shorts / United States / 2017 / 22 mins)
NGUYENing | THE LEE NGUYEN STORY tells the story of Lee Nguyen, the footballer son of two nations who traveled the world to find his footing. A teenage soccer phenomenon skyrockets to stardom, becoming the first ethnic Vietnamese player to represent the U.S. Then, in an unprecedented move, he leaves for Asia, his star fading into obscurity. In a sport defined by winning, his story reminds us that it’s instead how you deal with the unexpected turns of sport and of life that matter most.
Directed by Jason Karman (Narrative Shorts / Canada / 2017 / 17 mins)
The newest member of a minor league hockey team, Ray fights to have ice time after being hazed and finds the courage to be comfortable in his own skin.
Directed by Rick Quan (Documentary Shorts / United States / 2017 / 20 mins)
RACE: THE AL YOUNG STORY tells the true tale of the first Asian American world champion drag racer, Al Young. Besides his race, Al broke many stereotypes. Before he could find success on the racetrack, he had to overcome a learning disability. Find out how he not only did that but used his disability to become a world champion.
Saturday, Feb 24, 2:30 p.m., Northwest Film Forum Screen 1
Directed by Steve Nagano (Documentary Shorts / United States / 2017 / 10 mins)
A MATTER OF TRUTH serves as an example of how the U.S. government — through euphemisms, distortions and alternative facts — attempts to give the wrong impression to its citizenry about the illegal roundup, forced removal, and inhumane incarceration of Japanese Americans during World War II. The U.S. government’s propaganda film on the evacuation of Japanese Americans to America’s concentration camps is juxtaposed against the testimonies of incarcerees given at the 1981 Commission on Wartime Relocation and Internment of Civilians. The film raises the questions of “Who do you believe?” and “What is the truth?”
RESISTANCE AT TULE LAKE
Directed by Konrad Aderer (Documentary Features / United States / 2017 / 78 mins)
RESISTANCE AT TULE LAKE tells the long-suppressed story of 12,000 Japanese Americans who dared to resist the U.S. government’s program of mass incarceration during World War II. Branded as ‘disloyals’ and re-imprisoned at Tule Lake Segregation Center, they continued to protest in the face of militarized violence, and thousands renounced their U.S. citizenship. Giving voice to experiences that have been marginalized for over 70 years, this documentary challenges the nationalist, one-sided ideal of wartime ‘loyalty.’
Saturday, Feb 24, 5:00 p.m., Northwest Film Forum Screen 2
Co-presented by Seattle Women in Film
Directed by Jennifer Zheng (Animated Documentary Shorts / United Kingdom / 2016 / 5 mins)
TOUGH tells the story of a Chinese mother and her British-born daughter speaking as adults for the first time. It sheds light on childhood cultural misunderstandings. With this newfound maturity, connections begin to form.
Directed by Matthew Kaundart (Documentary Shorts / United States / 2017 / 5 mins)
In DEAR MOTHER, we see that like thousands of Korean orphans since the 1950s, Kayla Tange was adopted by an American family. She was brought to the U.S. as an infant in 1983. Now in Los Angeles, she works as an exotic dancer and a performance artist. In 2011, Kayla made arrangements through a social worker to meet her birth mother. After traveling to Korea, she was devastated to learn that her birth mother had changed her mind and refused to meet with her. Kayla returned to the US with even more questions and an even heavier heart than before. Kayla hopes this visual letter filmed over the course of a year will help bring her some sort of peace.
Directed by Jeff Man (Narrative Shorts / United States / 2017 / 15 mins)
Set on Christmas night, SANTA CLAUS features two lonely neighbors coming together to share a meal. Despite having little in common, they attempt to make a meaningful connection before the holiday comes to a close.
Directed by Zulfiya Hamzaki (Documentary Shorts / United States / 2016 / 7 mins)
In DISTANCE, Vandana Kumar left her home country in search of the American Dream. After setting up a successful beauty store in the heart of Palo Alto, she seems to have achieved it. But deep inside, memories of her deceased father haunt her. She reconnects with her mother to relive his presence.
Directed by Mayumi Yoshida (Narrative Shorts / Canada / 2017 / 10 mins)
AKASHI follows Kana, a young woman from Japan, who leaves home to pursue her career in North America. Though she’s adapted to her new life, she feels emotionally distant and can’t seem to sustain a long-term relationship. When Kana returns home to pay respects to her recently deceased grandmother, she begins to recall one of their most intimate conversations. Reliving these memories and the funeral compel Kana to reflect upon her own actions and examine the course of her life.
Directed by Zac Chia (Narrative Shorts / United States / 2017 / 15 mins)
THE SEVEN STEPS contemplates marriage customs in the modern world. On her wedding day, Anika reflects upon the good and bad times she’s been through with the love of her life. He seems to possess all the qualities of a good husband, so why doesn’t she feel ready to go through with it?
Directed by Disha Patel-Webb (Shorts / United Kingdon / 2017 / 7 mins)
THE BRIDGE tells the story of Nima, a Hijabi from east London, who is the victim of a horrible hate crime.
Directed by Katherine Cuscatlan (Narrative Shorts / United States / 2017 /3 mins)
20TH CENTURY WOMAN takes a scene from the Academy Award-nominated screenplay for the film of the same name (dir. Mike Mills, 2016), and reimagines it with a Chinese American family in San Francisco.
Directed by Chelsie Pennello (Shorts / United States / 2017 / 9 mins)
KILL GREEN tells the story of a young Chinese woman who experiences the joys, thrills, and heartbreak of a relationship through the practice of her culture’s long-held tradition: the art of drinking tea.
Directed by Carol Nguyen (Shorts / Canada / 2017 / 6 mins)
EVERY GRAIN OF RICE explores losing one’s culture and identity using the metaphor of recipes and food. They say it only takes three generations for those of a foreign culture to fully assimilate.
Saturday, Feb 24, 5:30 p.m., Northwest Film Forum Screen 1
Directed by Nathan Fitch (Documentary Features / Untied States / 2017 / 86 mins)
ISLAND SOLDIER follows members of the Nena family from one of the most remote islands in the world to the training grounds of Texas and the battlefields in Afghanistan. The death of Sapuro “Sapp” Nena in Afghanistan makes waves through his tiny home island of Kosrae – where nearly everyone is connected to the U.S. Military directly or through family members. In an attempt to heal from his own deep wounds, Sapuro’s best friend in the Army, Mario Robles, heads to Kosrae with his family to meet Sapp’s parents for the first time and pay his respects on Veteran’s Day. It is an emotional gathering of two families, from opposite sides of the world, brought together by loss, love and honor.
Saturday, Feb 24, 8:00 p.m., Northwest Film Forum Screen 2
Directed by Clifford Miu (Narrative Shorts / United States / 2017 / 8 mins)
In BARGAIN, a superstitious Chinese student locks herself into a lease at a luxurious New York apartment, only to realize that her bedroom was the site of a recent homicide.
Directed by Meredith Koch (Narrative Shorts / United States / 2017 / 20 mins)
In RAKSHA, Archana is told at a young age that she is a Manglik, someone cursed due to the positioning of Mars in her horoscope, and her family tries to counteract the curse in various ways. At 25, Archana is about to perform a ritual to cleanse herself of the curse, but finds herself in a position that might prove her horoscope true.
Directed by Sujata Day (Narrative Shorts / United States / 2016 / 8 mins)
When a young Bengali bride collapses in the desert, a cowboy appears out of the sunset and rescues her in COWBOY AND INDIAN.
Directed by Richa Rudola (Narrative Shorts / Untied States / 2017 / 8 mins)
FRESH BLOOD follows a young South Asian girl forced into the sex trade and her path to freedom, even if it involves a vampire.
Directed by Brett Ryoji Kodama (Narrative Shorts / United States / 2017 / 21 mins)
In HEARTSEEKER, a single woman with a passion for cooking meets a thriving entrepreneur through a popular dating app. The two eventually make their way back to her apartment, but unknown to either party, both harbor secrets and ulterior motives that will have deadly consequences for the rest of the night — and one of them isn’t leaving alive.
Directed by Mel Wong (Animated Shorts / United States / 2016 / 4 mins)
The animated LEAVE WITH ME follows a little schoolgirl whose imagination has taken over her world. Mocked by her classmates and belittled by her teachers, her world becomes twisted, and the people in it turn into aliens. Something is amiss in her surroundings, and she must find it and confront it.
Directed by Daryn Ryo Wakasa (Narrative Shorts / United States / 2016 / 22 mins)
Mari Yoshimori holds the U.S. record for the fastest 400 meter time in track and field. Shortly before the Olympic trials, she learns that she has a potentially career-threatening torn hamstring. This news crushes her soul. Not listening to her doctor or mother’s advice, Mari keeps training, and pushes herself too far. So far that the powers of nature thrust her into the depths of a psychological purgatory. While there, she meets her spiritual sidekick, Bettari. Petite, cute, and mysterious, she communicates through a handwritten sign as she playfully lures Mari deeper into her domain. Only Mari can decide whether Bettari intends to guide or destroy.
Saturday, Feb 24, 8:30 p.m., Northwest Film Forum Screen 1
Directed by Kami Horton (Documentary Shorts / United States / 2016 / 28 mins)
MASSACRE AT HELLS CANYON tells the story of Chinese immigrants who were instrumental in building the American West, but they faced unprecedented legalized discrimination and violence. The US’s worst mass murder of Chinese by whites happened in rural Oregon when a gang of horse thieves killed as many as 34 Chinese gold miners. For over a century, the murders were covered up, and no one was held accountable. Today, the massacre at Hells Canyon is finally being acknowledged.
ALL OUR FATHER’S RELATIONS
Directed by Alejandro Yoshizawa (Documentary Features / Canada / 2016 / 57 mins)
In ALL OUR FATHER’S RELATIONS, three siblings – whose mother was the last fluent hən̓q̓əmin̓əm̓ speaker from the Musqueam First Nation – travel to their father’s ancestral village in China for the first time, in order to better understand the challenges their parents faced and how it fractured their lives and relationships.
Sunday, Feb 25, 11:00 a.m., Northwest Film Forum Screen 2
Co-presented by ACRS
Directed by Camille Chao (Animated Shorts / France / 2017 / 3 mins)
The animated ODE speaks to those suffering from depression and how people try to help them breathe again.
Directed by Rachel Leyco (Narrative Shorts / United States / 2016 / 15 mins)
Torn between the ‘perfect’ daughter that her strict traditional family believes her to be and the open-minded free spirit that she is, a second-generation Filipino-American must make a move to declare her identity in BICULTURAL.
Directed by Jeannie Nguyen & Andrew Yuyi Truong (Narrative Shorts / United States / 2019 / 9 mins)
FIRST GENERATION explores the boundaries of self-expression and the experience of growing up as a first generation Asian American in the late 90’s. It follows a young Asian American protagonist, My-Linh, through her challenges and eventual acceptance and embrace of her Asian features. Beauty is subjective and can be difficult for a young Asian American girl growing up where the media objectifies women and often portrays a white, tall, blonde female as the ideal woman.
Directed by Tiffanie Hsu (Narrative Shorts / United States / 2016 / 14 mins)
In WONDERLAND, twelve-year-old Adeline Tang struggles to navigate Sin City and keep her mother’s gambling under control – all for the promise of that perfect family Christmas once her father arrives. As the days unfold, Adeline realizes growing up might not hold all the excitement she’d been hoping for.
Directed by Eric I. Lu (Documentary Shorts / United States / 2017 / 26 mins)
LOOKING FOR LUKE explores mental health, depression, and suicide among Asian American youth through the true suicide tale of a well-liked, passionate and brilliant Harvard sophomore, Luke Tang. Luke took his family and friends by surprise when he decided to take his own life. The film follows Luke’s parents, Wendell and Christina, as they attempt to understand why he committed suicide by reading through his journals and talking to his closest friends. As they piece together what happened, they begin to uncover the truth about their son’s death.
Sunday, Feb 25, 11:30 a.m., Northwest Film Forum Screen 1
Directed by Jalena Keane-Lee (Documentary Shorts / United States / 2017 / 24 mins)
THE CONSTRUCT: FEMALE LABORERS AND THE FIGHT FOR EQUALITY follows women day laborers in the context of a rapidly changing Burma. Told through the eyes of San Thi Da, a 20-year old laborer working on construction sites, and Cheery Zahao a human rights activist, The Construct explores the complexity of feminism and opportunity within different socio-economic classes in Yangon, Myanmar.
Directed by May May Tchao (Documentary Features / United States / 2014 / 53 mins)
Decades after emigrating to the United States, May May returns to China and explores the very different lives of four women: a young rural farmer who, against all odds, became a teacher; a successful lawyer in a male-dominated profession; a divorced factory worker struggling to brighten her daughter’s future; and an ethnic minority singer torn between her dreams, and her responsibilities as a peasant’s wife. Through their intimate stories, SPILLED WATER shows us why gender equality in China is so hard-earned, and worth the struggle.
Sunday, Feb 25, 12:00 p.m., Northwest Film Forum Screen 2
Co-presented by The Wing Luke Museum
Directed by William Worthington (Silent Features / United States / 1919 / 53 mins)
THE DRAGON PAINTER is a 1919 silent film starring Sessue Hayakawa, who was the first actor of Asian descent to achieve Hollywood stardom during the silent era of the 1910s and 1920s. Based on the novel by the same name, the film tells the story of a wild artistic genius who becomes a master painter’s disciple. But when the young painter finds love, he loses his artistic gift. With an original score by renowned musician Goh Nakamura, audiences can literally experience this classic film as never before. Goh Nakamura was commissioned by Rob Buscher from the Philadelphia Asian American Film Fest to score the film.
Sunday, Feb 25, 2:00 p.m., Northwest Film Forum Screen 2
Co-presented by Youth Speaks Seattle
Directed by Ann Marie Fleming (Animated Features / Canada / 2016 / 89 mins)
WINDOW HORSES tells the story of Canadian poet Rosie Ming. As she travels to a poetry festival in Shiraz, Iran, she’d definitely rather go to Paris. But once in Iran, this sheltered young woman finds herself in the company of poets and Persians who regale her with stories that finally force her to confront her past. A visual delight, this animated film truly captures the feeling of finding your own voice through poetry.
Sunday, Feb 25, 2:30 p.m., Northwest Film Forum Screen 1
Directed by Tiffany Hsiung (Documentary Features / Canada / 2016 / 104 mins)
THE APOLOGY follows the personal journeys of three former “comfort women” who were among the 200,000 girls and young women kidnapped and forced into military sexual slavery by the Imperial Japanese Army during World War II. Some 70 years after their imprisonment in so-called “comfort stations”, the three “grandmothers”—Grandma Gil in South Korea, Grandma Cao in China, and Grandma Adela in the Philippines—face their twilight years in fading health. After decades of living in silence and shame about their past, they know that time is running out to give a first-hand account of the truth and ensure that this horrific chapter of history is not forgotten. Whether they are seeking a formal apology from the Japanese government or summoning the courage to finally share their secret with loved ones, their resolve moves them forward as they seize this last chance to set future generations on a course for reconciliation, healing, and justice.
Sunday, Feb 25, 3:00 p.m., Northwest Film Forum Screen 2
Directed by Christopher Woon-Chen (Music Videos / United States / 2017 / 3 mins)
MY I.D. is a karaoke music video honoring the history of resistance within the International District, particularly the contributions made by the Filipino community in the neighborhood.
Directed by James Q. Chan (Documentary Shorts / United States / 2016 / 32 mins)
In FOREVER, CHINATOWN, artist Frank Wong’s exquisitely detailed dioramas of the Chinatown of his childhood serve as portals to the past in a rapidly changing San Francisco.
Directed by Eva Cohen (Documentary Features / Canada / 2017 / 55 mins)
In PAINT IT RED, young Chinese Canadian Beverly Ho is dedicated to preserving and continuing Chinese cultural heritage in Vancouver’s Chinatown. Can her efforts, along with other volunteers in the neighborhood, succeed in stemming the rapid proliferation of million dollar condos and pricey cafes?
Sunday, Feb 25, 5:00 p.m., Northwest Film Forum Screen 2
WHERE ARE YOU FROM
Directed by Xizi “Cecilia” Hua (Documentary Shorts / United States / 2017 / 4 mins)
WHERE ARE YOU FROM explores the often quiet conflict that a Chinese “Parachute Kid” experiences when asked where she is from, while living in the U.S. Though she is certainly Chinese, her desire to blend into American society often overtakes her as she struggles with a proper response that accurately reflects her cross-continental loyalties and upbringing. The short documentary follows her straddling two worlds, the Eastern and the Western, including time in the U.S. and a trip back home to China, where she “parachutes” in for a visit and then just as quickly, is back out again.
Directed by Miao Wang (Documentary Features / United States / 2017 / 89 mins)
Over 370,000 students from mainland China are enrolled in American high schools and universities – six times more than a decade ago – with $11.4 billion contributed to the American economy. MAINELAND follows two teenagers – fun-loving Stella and introspective Harry – who are part of this enormous wave of “parachute students” from China’s wealthy elite seeking Western-style education and the promise of a Hollywood-style U.S. high school experience. Through their personal stories we see China’s place in the contemporary world order.
Sunday, Feb 25, 5:30 p.m., Northwest Film Forum Screen 1
Directed by Lauren Frohne (Documentary Shorts / United States / 2017 / 5 mins)
THE LEGACY OF LINC’S TACKLE shows the impact of Executive Order 9066 through the experiences of the Beppu family in Seattle. Linc’s Tackle has been the heart and soul of Seattle’s urban fishing culture for generations. But that legacy almost didn’t exist when the Beppu family, shop owners since the 1930s, were interned during World War II. 2017 marked the 75th anniversary of Executive Order 9066, signed by President Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1942, sending Japanese-Americans along the West Coast to internment camps for the duration of World War II. This policy forever upended the makeup of communities and families throughout the West.
Directed by Christopher Woon-Chen (Documentary Shorts / United States / 2017 / 18 mins)
In ALICE AT THE STORE, 92-year old Alice Eng goes everyday to the pub across the street, which used to be her store. Her family struggles with the realities of providing for her care as she ages and her dementia progresses. All she really wants is to be at home.
Directed by Joseph Mills & Sopheak Sun (Documentary Shorts / United States / 2017 / 33 mins)
Sopheak Sun began this video diary, HIGHPOINT SUMMER, early in the summer of 2006. He planned to document his life as a refugee from war-torn Cambodia and to explain the meaning of the term, “thug life.” However, his summer is ultimately defined by tragedy.
Directed by Terrence Jeffrey Santos (Documentary Shorts / United States / 2017 / 4 mins)
SAM CHOY’S POKE TO THE MAX shows how former Food Network Chef and Godfather of Poké, Chef Sam Choy, was a major factor in Poké’s rise in worldwide popularity. Now his new Hawaiian food trucks have arrived in Seattle, Washington. Chef Choy and colleagues share how Poké is a true taste of Hawaii and how this distinctly Hawaiian dish has spread the Spirit of Aloha from the islands to around the world.
Sunday, Feb 25, 8:00 p.m., Rhein Haus
Celebrate with us at the Bavarian-inspired bierhaus Rhein Haus as we conclude the 2018 Seattle Asian American Film Festival with beer, burgers, and bocce ball!