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Film Festivals

Women Texas Film Festival: Sugar, Spice, & Grit


The Women Texas Film Festival, held at the Texas Theatre (231 W Jefferson Blvd, Dallas, TX 75208), showcases the range and depth of female driven visual stories. This film festival isn’t just made of sugar and spice, it's got some grit and gasoline, too.

WTxFF (August 19 - 21, 2016) screens qualified films that have women in at least one key creative role: Writer, Producer, Director, Cinematographer, Editor, Composer. The festival also hosts virtual reality demos, game room, Q&As with filmmakers, panel discussions, a master class, exclusive parties, and a gala night with filmmaker red carpet.

In 42 Seconds of Happiness a circle of friends reunite for a weekend away to celebrate the same sex wedding of a member of their group. Yet, despite their best efforts to behave themselves, a series of surprise plans, unexpected arrivals and exposed secrets lead to an explosion of drama that, coupled with the flammable combination of hurt feelings, unresolved tensions, and lots of wine cannot be contained.

Girl Asleep, a vibrant portrayal of Australian adolescence, follows Greta Driscoll as her bubble of obscure loserdom is burst when her parents throw her a surprise 15th birthday party and invite the whole school! Perfectly content being a wallflower, suddenly Greta's flung far from her comfort zone into a distant, parallel place -- a strange world that’s a little frightening and a lot weird, but only there can she find herself. Equal measures Wes Anderson and Lewis Carroll, Girl Asleep is an enchanting journey into the absurd -- and sometimes scary -- depths of the teenage mind.

The festival also has multiple specialized tracks of short films. The “Video Mix Tape” shorts program takes audience members on a visual ride that ranges from the high comedy of a brother and sister who can’t stop bickering as they attempt to choose a casket for a loved one, and two couples that must do some fast thinking to outsmart a magical board game that has transported them to the Old West, to the emotional lows and heart-wrenching drama of a little boy determining the fate of a piggy bank he has come to love, and a prostitute that must make a hard choice in order to provide for her autistic son.

The “Youth” shorts program, many of which were directed by local up-and-coming female filmmakers, features films that deal with the conflicts and hurdles ever-present in the lives of young women, be it dealing with an unwanted pregnancy, escaping poverty, getting out of a day at work in order to head out to the beach, navigating the dating world, or being a transvestite in the unforgiving religious culture in Pakistan.

To learn more, go to:

The Women Texas Film Festival
August 19 - 21, 2016

The Texas Theatre
231 W Jefferson Blvd.
Dallas, TX 75208

Asian American Film Festival Takes You From Rural China to LA

Spa Night

Presented by Asian CineVision, the 39th Annual Asian American International Film Festival (AAIFF) focuses on films made by and about Asian Americans and features a plethora of touching, shocking, and thought provoking films. The festival will take place in New York City from July 21 to July 30, 2016. Screenings will be held at Cinema Village East (181-189 2nd Avenue), Asia Society (725 Park Avenue), Museum of the Moving Image (36-01 35th Ave, Astoria), and Flushing Town Hall (13735 Northern Boulevard, Flushing).

Opening AIFF is Spa Night, which had its world premiere at the 2016 Sundance Film Festival where main lead, Joe Seo, won the Special Jury Award for Breakthrough Performance. Set in LA’s Korea Town, Spa Night addresses the issue of gay sexual awakening within a family with Korean immigrant parents that have high hopes for their son.

Based on the incredible true story of Jackie Chan's parents, A Tale of Three Cities  is an epic yet intimate account of love at a time of epochal upheaval. The new film from Hong Kong cinema's golden couple, Mabel Cheung and Alex Law, spans decades - from the Second Sino-Japanese War in the 1930s to the beginning of Mao's era in the early 1950s - as it follows one couple who defied all odds and kept their passion alive.

As part of the festival, there are several special brackets of films. The We Are Beautiful shorts program features brief but powerful films addressing issues of social, cultural, and sexual identity. In Speechless in Japan a deaf and speech-impaired cross-dressing outcast in Tokyo bears the burden of social judgment with extraordinary grace, inducing people to finally listen to his/her story, shattering societal expectations in the process. Mumbai Mornings follows a humble, but driven, Indian jewelry polisher-turned-ultramarathoner shows us how the world has opened to him as he runs through the city he calls home.

This is only a small sampling of the films at the AAIFF, which offers a truly wide selection of fascinating features.

To learn more, go to:

Asian American International Film Festival
July 21 - 30, 2016

Various Locations

The Grotesque Beauty of Butoh at Howl! Happening


Haunting, mesmerizing, and a little disturbing, Butoh is a form of Japanese theatre unlike anything else. Eschewing the formality of Noh and the pageantry of Kabuki, Butoh takes it’s cues from interpretive dance, but the performers tend to resemble contorted corpses rather than Baryshnikov. Butoh is an expression of Japanese post-war horror and identity crisis. The 1969 Japanese cult classic The Horror of Malformed Men even used Butoh dancers to play Dr. Moreau-esque creatures. Now the Howl! Happening gallery (6 E 1st St, New York, NY) will be exhibiting (FOR FREE!) the Butoh Film Series, running July 13 - 17, 2016. 2016 marks the 6th and 30th Anniversary of the passing of founders of Butoh, Kazuo Ohno, and Tatsumi Hijikata, both of whom have documentaries in this film series.

Kicking off the series is Kazuo Ohno in Conversation at 86, directed by Toru Fukui. Kazuo Ohno (1906 - 2010) was the co-founder of Butoh with Tatusmi Hijikata. Ohno based many of his performances on the horrors he witnessed in China during World War II. The next film is Tatsumi Hijikata: Summer Storm, chronicles a 1973 performance by Hijikata. And ending the series is  Sankai Juku: Umusuna, a recording of a 2015 performance. Founded by Ushio Amagatsu in 1975, Sankai Juku also performed at the Nancy International Festival in France. The performance was such a sensation and that the Avignon Festival invited them to perform that year as well. Since 1982, Sankai Juku has premiered a new piece approximately once every two years at Theatre de la Ville, Paris, and continues to introduce Butoh to audiences worldwide.

If you are looking for a free film festival and a chance to see some truly bizarre Japanese performing arts, come to the Howl! Happening.

To learn more, go to:

Butoh Film Series
July 13 - 17, 2016

Howl! Happening
6 E 1st St.
New York, NY 10003

Over 50 Films at The New York Asian Film Festival 2016

Tetsuo the Iron Man

The Film Society of Lincoln Center and Subway Cinema has brought back their cavalcade of Asian cinematic delights with the 2016 New York Asian Film Festival.  Running June 22 -  July 5 at the Film Society of Lincoln Center (70 Lincoln Center Plaza) and July 6 - 9 at the SVA Theatre (333 West 23rd Street), the NYAFF showcases 51 feature films, and in-person appearances by more than 30 international filmmakers and celebrity guests from Hong Kong, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, and Southeast Asia. The fest features a staggering amount of variety, including new hits, animated adventures, cult classics, from gun toting gangsters to high school drama, NYAFF has a little something for everybody.

The Opening Night Gala will be the World Premiere of Kazuya Shiraishi’s wild crime epic Twisted Justice, based on Yoshiaki Inaba’s autobiography and starring Go Ayano as a corrupt police detective. The Centerpiece Gala is the North American Premiere of Ralston Jover's Hamog (Haze), an empowering, thrilling and impassioned tale of a gang of street kids, headlined by Teri Malvar. Closing Night is the International Premiere of Adam Tsuei’s The Tenants Downstairs a blackly comic, sexually explicit thriller featuring Simon Yam as a landlord spying on and manipulating the lives of his tenants.

The Hong Kong portion of the fest features Lazy Hazy Crazy(a coming-of-age drama about high-school girls who become involved in the sex trade), Weeds on Fire (a feel-good baseball movie set within Hong Kong’s public-housing system), and Triviṣa (a hard-boiled gangster omnibu).

The South Korean Cinema lineup includes a vibrant mix of thrillers (both supernatural and surreal) from first- and second-time directors that are daring twists on genre films (Alone, The Boys Who Cried Wolf, and The Priests), and insightful art-house dramas focusing on social issues from established directors (Jung Ji-woo’s Fourth Place about how much we demand from the next generation, and E J-yong’s The Bacchus Lady about the plight of the country’s abandoned elderly). In co-presentation with the Korean Movie Night New York Master Series, NYAFF will feature the two latest films by Lee Joon-ik, who will attend screenings of Dongju: The Portrait of a Poet (with producer and screenwriter Shin Yeon-shick) and The Throne.

Special screenings include a full day of films celebrating the indie spirit of Hong Kong cinema, a screening of Shinya Tsukamoto’s Tetsuo The Iron Man (think Eraserhead by way of Tokyo) and the lavishly animated Tekkonkinkreet from Michael Arias.

 NYAFF is one of the most jam packed festivals in NYC with a selection of films that can't be beat.

To learn more, go to:

New York Asian Film Festival

June 22 - July 9

Film Society of Lincoln Center
70 Lincoln Center Plaza
New York, NY 10023

SVA Theatre
333 W 23rd St.
New York, NY 10011

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