Press Release: The New York Asian Film Foundation And Film At Lincoln Center Unveil 2nd Wave Of Titles, Award Honoree Ann Hui For 20th Edition Of The New York Asian Film Festival

New York, NY (July 16, 2021) – The New York Asian Film Foundation and Film at Lincoln Center are delighted to unveil further highlights of the 2021 New York Asian Film Festival (NYAFF), including the Opening film, lifetime award honorees, the competition lineup, the inaugural Asian American Focus and additional films. The Festival will screen over 60 films, both virtually and in person, to audiences in New York and across the country from August 6 – 22, 2021.

NYAFF’s 20th edition will kick off at Film at Lincoln Center on August 6 with the in-person international premiere of Ryoo Seung-wan’s tense action thriller Escape from Mogadishu, starring Kim Yoon-seok (NYAFF Star Asia winner 2018) and Zo In-sung. The film is dramatically constructed based on real events that took place in 1991 at the onset of the Somali Civil War, and depicts the perilous escape attempted by North and South Korean embassy workers who were stranded during the conflict. (Well Go USA is releasing the film in the United States and Canada.)


Legendary filmmaker Ann Hui will be the recipient of the Variety Lifetime Achievement Award. One of the most critically acclaimed Hong Kong New Wave filmmakers for four decades, Hui has created work of great sensitivity, focusing on themes of cultural displacement, family conflict, and female perspectives. In her honor, NYAFF will be showcasing her early masterwork, The Story of Woo Viet, starring Chow Yun-fat and marking the film’s 40th anniversary, as well as Man Lim Chung’s insightful, delightful portrait of the inimitable Hui, Keep Rolling.

NYAFF also unveiled the six wildly diverse and singular titles nominated for this year’s Uncaged Award for Best Feature Film Competition, which shines a spotlight on first- or second-time directors, celebrating their passion, their vision, and their willingness to take risks. The films are: Anima (Cao Jinling, China), City Of Lost Things (Yee Chih-yen, Taiwan), Hand Rolled Cigarette (Chan Kin Long, Hong Kong), Joint (Oudai Kojima, Japan), Ten Months (Namkoong Sun, South Korea) and Tiong Bahru Social Club (Tan Bee Thiam, Singapore).

The winner of the Uncaged Award will be selected by a competition jury comprised of prominent personalities from the film business that bridge Asia and America: Michael Rosenberg (president, Film Movement), Evan Jackon Leong (director, Linsanity, Snakehead) and Janice Chua (VP, International Development and Production at Imagine Entertainment & Television).

The CON HEARTIST: Image courtesy of New York Asian Film Festival

Following an unprecedented year in which COVID-19 and increased violence against the Asian community in the United States presented enormous challenges, NYAFF is more committed than ever to increasing exposure of Asian representation on screen. The festival is proud to launch a brand-new Asian American Focus, a selection of superlative films made in the US that will kick off in person with Aimee Long’s torn-from-the-headlines thriller A Shot Through the Wall. Members of the filmmaking team will be present.

The Asian American Focus will also feature Iman K. Zawahry’s Americanish and Evan Jackson Leong’s Snakehead, with appearances by members of the films’ cast and crew. The selection also includes two new short film showcases of five films each, which will be screened in person and virtually on Eventive.

FIGHTER | Image courtesy of New York Asian Film Festival

Other festival highlights include the world premiere of the manga-inflected marital comedy Sensei, Would You Sit Beside Me? starring Tasuku Emoto (NYAFF 2018) and Haru Kuroki; and the international premieres of Stanley Tong’s celebration of classic kung-fu, Rising Shaolin: the Protector, with megastar Wang Baoqiang; Lee Woo-jung’s powerful coming-of-age debut, Snowball, starring Bang Min-a from K-Pop girl group Girl’s Day; and Min Kyu-dong’s haunting exploration of AI sentience, The Prayer. And finally, making its North American premiere, Fruit Chan’s Coffin Homes tickles the funny bone and tingles the spine, as soaring real estate prices force people in Hong Kong to share their homes with the dead.

For NYAFF’s 20th edition poster, we have drawn from Ko Chen-nien’s The Silent Forest, an image almost tailor-made to represent how we’re feeling as we cautiously emerge from the Covid-19 pandemic: slightly dazed, but laser focused and ecstatic to be back in person at FLC and SVA with this year’s most unforgettable Asian films.

NYAFF’s 2021 lineup will include two Japanese world premieres, six international premieres, 29 North American premieres, eight U.S. premieres, and nine New York premieres, showcasing the most exciting action, comedy, drama, thriller, romance, horror, and art-house films from Japan, Hong Kong, China, South Korea, Philippines, Malaysia, Taiwan, Thailand, Kazakhstan, Singapore, and for the first time, Myanmar and the US.

THE ASIAN ANGEL | Image courtesy of New York Asian Film Festival

LATEST LINEUP (with more to come)
(Please note the program is still subject to change.)

Titles in bold are newly announced titles in the lineup.

OPENING FILM
Escape from Mogadishu | dir. Ryoo Seung-wan, South Korea 2021 | International Premiere. In-person Only

SPECIAL 20TH ANNIVERSARY CLASSIC SCREENING IN DAMROSCH PARK
Dragon Inn AKA New Dragon Gate Inn | dir. Raymond Lee, Hong Hong 1992 | In-person Only

SHADOWS | Images courtesy of New York Asian Film Festival

ANN HUI TRIBUTE SCREENING
– The Story of Woo Viet | dir. Ann Hui, Hong Kong 1981 | 40th anniversary tribute screening. In-person Only

UNCAGED AWARD FOR BEST FEATURE FILM
The Uncaged competition section shines the spotlight on first- or second-time directors and celebrates their passion, their vision and their willingness to take risks.
– Anima | dir. Cao Jinling, China 2021 | North American Premiere. In-person Only
– City Of Lost Things | dir. Yee Chih-yen, Taiwan 2020 | North American Premiere. In-person Only
– Hand Rolled Cigarette | dir. Chan Kin Long, Hong Kong 2021 | North American Premiere. In-person & Virtual
– Joint | Kojima Oudai, Japan 2021 | International Premiere. In-person & Virtual
– Ten Months | Namkoong Sun, 2020 | International Premiere. In-person Only
– Tiong Bahru Social Club | dir. Tan Bee Thiam, Singapore 2020 | U.S. Premiere. In-person & Virtual

ASIAN AMERICAN FOCUS
Americanish | dir. Iman K. Zawahry, USA 2021 | In-person Only
A Shot Through the Wall | dir. Aimee Long, USA 2021 | In-person Only
Snakehead | dir. Evan Jackson Leong, USA 2021 | In-person Only
Shorts Showcase, 10 films | In-person and Virtual

HOLD ME BACK | Images courtesy of New York Asian Film Festival

CROWD PLEASERS
Films with broad appeal and titles accessible to all tastes
– All U Need is Love | dir. Vincent Kok, Hong Kong 2021 | North American Premiere. Virtual Only
– Breakout Brothers | dir. Mak Ho Pong, Hong Kong 2020 | North American Premiere. Virtual Only
– The Con-Heartist | dir. Mez Tharatorn, Thailand 2020 | North American Premiere. Virtual Only
– From Today, It’s My Turn!! | dir. Yuichi Fukuda, Japan 2020 | U.S. Premiere. Virtual Only
– Hold Me Back | dir. Akiko Ohku, Japan 2020 | U.S. Premiere. Virtual Only
– jigoku-no-hanazono: Office Royale | dir. Kazuaki Seki, Japan 2021 | North American Premiere. In-person Only
– My Missing Valentine | dir. Chen Yu-hsun, Taiwan 2020 | New York Premiere. Virtual Only
– One Second Champion | dir. Chiu Sin-Hang, Hong Kong 2020 | New York Premiere. Virtual Only
– Tonkatsu DJ Agetaro | dir. Ken Ninomiya, Japan 2020 | North American Premiere. Virtual Only
– Zero to Hero | dir. Wan Chi-Man, Hong Kong 2021 | North American Premiere. In-person Only

GENRE MASTERS
Innovative new work that tweaks and twists genre conventions
– Coffin Homes | dir. Fruit Chan, Hong Kong 2021 | North American Premiere
– The Fable: The Killer Who Doesn’t Kill | dir. Kan Eguchi, Japan 2021 | North American Premiere. In-person Only
– Last of The Wolves | dir. Kazuya Shiraishi, Japan 2021 | North American Premiere. In-person Only
– Limbo | dir. Soi Cheang, Hong Kong, 2021 | North American Premiere. In-person Only
– Midnight | dir. Kwon Oh-seung, South Korea 2021 | International Premiere. Virtual Only
– The Prayer | dir. Min Kyu-dong, South Korea 2021 | International Premiere. Virtual Only
– Rising Shaolin: the Protector | dir. Stanley Tong, China, Hong Kong 2021 | International Premiere. Virtual Only

– Sweetie, You Won’t Believe It | dir. Yernar Nurgaliyev, Kazakhstan 2020 | North American Premiere. Virtual Only

TIME | Images courtesy of Rob Domingo/New York Asian Film Festival

NEXT/NOW
Highlighting emerging voices and promising works by up-and-coming directors
– Here And There | dir. JP Habac, Philippines 2021 | North American Premiere. In-person & Virtual
– Keep Rolling | dir. Man Lim Chung, Hong Kong 2020 | New York Premiere. Virtual Only
– Money Has Four Legs | Maung Sun, Myanmar 2020 | North American Premiere. Virtual Only
– The Old Town Girls | dir. Shen Yu, China 2020 | North American Premiere. Virtual Only
– Shadows | dir. Glenn Chan, Hong Kong 2020 | North American Premiere. Virtual Only
– Snowball | dir. Lee Woo-jung, South Korea 2021 | International premiere. In-person Only
– Time | dir. Ricky Ko, Hong Kong 2021 | North American Premiere. Virtual Only.

BEYOND BORDERS
Films that tell stories about characters confronting different cultures
– The Asian Angel | dir. Yuya Ishii, Japan 2021 | North American Premiere. In-person Only
– Fighter | dir. Jéro Yun, South Korea 2020 | North American Premiere. Virtual Only
– Nasi Lemak 1.0 | dir. Namewee, Malaysia 2021 | International Premiere. TBD
– A Song for You | dir. Dukar Tserang, China 2020 | North American Premiere. In-person Only

THREE SISTERS | Images courtesy of New York Asian Film Festival

FRONTLINES
Films grounded in the lives of those in marginalized communities, with narratives that examine pressing issues
– Babi | dir. Namewee, Malaysia 2020 | North American Premiere. TBD
– A Balance | dir. Yujiro Harumoto, Japan 2020 | North American Premiere. In-person Only
– I Don’t Fire Myself | dir. Lee Tae-Gyeom, South Korea 2020 | North American Premiere. Virtual Only
– Ninja Girl | dir. Yu Irie, Japan 2021 | World Premiere. In-person Only
– The Silent Forest | dir. Ko Chen-nien, Taiwan 2020 | New York Premiere. Virtual Only
– Three Sisters | dir. Lee Seung-won, South Korea 2020 | North American Premiere. Virtual Only
– Tough Out | dir. Xu Hui-jing, China 2020 | North American Premiere. Virtual Only
– The Way We Keep Dancing | dir. Adam Wong, Hong Kong 2020 | New York Premiere. Virtual Only

BLUE | Images courtesy of New York Asian Film Festival

STANDOUTS
Exceptional films, regardless of their premiere status __
– Blue | dir. Keisuke Yoshida, Japan 2021 | U.S. Premiere. Virtual Only
– The Book of Fish | dir. Lee Joon-ik, South Korea 2021 | International Premiere. In-person Only
– A Leg | dir. Chang Yao-sheng, Taiwan 2020 | US Continental Premiere. In-person & Virtual
– Samjin Company English Class | dir. Lee Jong-pil, South Korea 2020 | New York Premiere. In-person & Virtual
– Under the Open Sky | dir. Miwa Nishikawa, Japan 2020 | New York Premiere. In-person Only

VANGUARDS
Original films that break away from formalistic and/or narrative conventions
– As We Like It | dir. Muni Wei, Chen Hung-i, Taiwan 2021 | East Coast Premiere. Virtual Only
– Barbarian Invasion | dir. Tan Chui Mui, Malaysia 2021 | North American Premiere. In-person Only
– Junk Head | dir. Takahide Hori, Japan 2021 | U.S. Premiere. In-person Only
– Over the Town | dir. Rikiya Imaizumi, Japan 2021 | U.S. Premiere. Virtual Only
– Sensei, Would You Sit Beside Me? | dir. Takahiro Horie, Japan 2021 | World Premiere. In-person Only
– Zokki | dir. Naoto Takenaka, Takayuki Yamada, Takumi Saitoh, Japan 2021 | North American Premiere. Virtual Only

 

 

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