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Film Festivals

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

Films on the Green Festival Brings French Classics to NYC Parks


Ah, summer. When the grass grows, the AC’s go on full blast, and the parks come alive with the sound of the French New Wave. At Central Park, Washington Square Park, Transmitter Park (Brooklyn), Riverside Park, Tompkins Square Park and Columbia University, the Films on the Green Film Festival will be showing free(!) French cinema on Fridays from June to September.

The festival is courtesy of the Cultural Services of the French Embassy and the FACE Foundation and features films from the likes of Jean-Luc Godard, Agnès Varda, Luc Besson, François Truffaut, and Céline Sciamma, blending classic French New Wave with contemporary cinema.

Films featured as part of the festival include:

  • Breathless
    By Jean-Luc Godard, 1960, 1h30
    Preceded by The Red Balloon by Albert Lamorisse, 1956, 36min
    Tuesday, June 7, 8:30 pm, Central Park, Cedar Hill

  • The Tall Blond Man with One Black Shoe
    By Yves Robert, 1972, PG, 1h30
    Friday, June 10, 8:30 pm, Washington Square Park

  • Air of Paris
    By Marcel Carné, 1954, 1h50
    Friday, June 17, 8:30 pm, Washington Square Park

  • Subway
    By Luc Besson, 1985, R, 1h44
    Friday, June 24, 8:30 pm, Transmitter Park
  • The 400 Blows
    By François Truffaut, 1959, 1h39
    Friday, July 1, 8:30 pm, Transmitter Park
  • April and the Extraordinary World
    By Christian Desmares & Franck Ekinci, 2015, 1h43
    Friday, July 8, 8:30 pm, Riverside Park, Pier I
  • Un Flic
    By Jean-Pierre Melville, 1972, PG, 1h38
    Friday, July 158:30 pm, Riverside Park, Pier I

  • Cleo From 5 To 7
    By Agnès Varda, 1962, 1h30
    Friday, July 22, 8:30 pm, Tompkins Square Park

  • Boyfriends and Girlfriends
    By Eric Rohmer, 1987, PG, 1h42
    Friday, July 298:30 pm, Tompkins Square Park

  • Girlhood
    By Céline Sciamma, 2014,1h52
    Thursday, Sept. 8, 7:30 pm, Columbia University

To learn more, go to:

Films on the Green 2016
June 17 - September 8, 2016

Various Locations
New York, NY

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