‘Building Bridges’ Amid Crisis: 23rd San Diego Asian Film Festival Begins Thursday

Halloween may be over, but moviegoers can dive into a bowl full of eye candy this week as the 23rd San Diego Asian Film Festival kick-off Thursday.

“After three years of reinventing our festival, Pac Arts remains committed to sharing the stories of Asia, Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders around the world,” said Henry Manayan, Executive Director of the Pacific Arts Movement.

“Through these unique films, we hope to illuminate people’s view of each other by shining a light on new cultures and perspectives,” he said. “This is how we not only transform the hearts and minds of the public, but build bridges between remote and diverse communities.”

This year’s Asian and Asian-American cinema showcase will feature 130 films, its largest collection of films since before the pandemic in 2019.

They include documentaries that explore complex and moving issues and individuals, a wide range of Asian pop films ranging from comedy to action, and a Masters category of beloved and influential films. The films bring a wide level of representation, coming from China, India, Indonesia, Iran, Hong Kong, Japan, Myanmar, Philippines, Taiwan and South Korea.

Among the highlights to watch are the opening night showcase, “bad axa documentary that explores the immigrant experience by focusing on a Cambodian family’s struggle to survive during the pandemic in a small Michigan town.

Other films of note include ’80 Years Later’, which features interviews with two cousins ​​who were sent to internment camps during World War II and ‘Crossings’, a timely look at the tensions between North Korea and South Korea.

“So many of this year’s movies acknowledge the crises of our time, and unlike Hollywood movies, they’re not stuck forever in a pre-pandemic 2019 tackling issues of social inequality or just learning to fall in love with masks, these movies are basically 2022,” said festival artistic director Brian Hu.

Indeed, the pandemic and its impact are impossible to ignore. “Nurse Unseen” is a documentary that explores the unsung contributions of Filipino nurses who were on the front lines of the COVID-19 response while being thousands of miles from home.

The films will be screened at several venues, including UltraStar Mission Valley, the San Diego Museum of Natural History, the Museum of Photographic Arts, and the UCSD Price Center theater in La Jolla.

Moviegoers will be strongly encouraged to be up to date on all COVID-19 vaccinations and to test before and during the festival. Masking will also be strongly recommended in all theater and lobby areas.

For information and tickets, visit sdaff.org/2022.

About Debra D. Johnson

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