San Francisco International Asian American Film Festival

3/11/11 to 3/19/11

The Center for Asian American Media's twenty-ninth annual SFIAAFF brings us the best in contemporary cinema from Asia and the Asian diaspora. This year's festival at BAM/PFA includes many filmmakers in person, a spotlight on recent horror films, and a special presentation by UC Santa Barbara scholar Yunte Huang about the real Charlie Chan.

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Past Films

  • Bend It Like Beckham

    • Saturday, March 19 4:00 PM

    Gurinder Chadha (U.K., 2002). Chadha's girl-powered breakout hit features a British Indian teenager forced to choose between her dreams of soccer stardom and her traditional Sikh family. Featuring future stars Parminder K. Nagra and Keira Knightley. (112 mins)

  • The Imperialists Are Still Alive!

    • Saturday, March 19 6:10 PM

    Zeina Durra (U.S., 2010). A comedy of radical solidarity and designer purses, Durra's whip-smart debut centers on a Bosnian-Palestinian-Jordanian woman artist living in the shadow of the Twin Towers. There's room for both political paranoia and intoxicating romance in this quintessential New York story. (91 mins)

  • After Death/Horror Retro: Histeria

    • Saturday, March 19 8:00 PM

    Death from beyond stalks an all-girls high-school when six students pretend to be “possessed,” with entertainingly deadly results. Art house director James Lee turns to horror in this camp thriller, nearly banned for featuring Malaysia's first on-screen lesbian kiss. (90 mins)

  • Passion

    • Friday, March 18 7:00 PM

    Byamba Sakhya (Mongolia, 2010). This spectacular tour through both Mongolia's vast landscapes and its troubled filmmaking history open up a country-and a cinema-rarely seen. Featuring rare clips from rarely seen Mongolian cinema classics. (83 mins)

  • The Taqwacores

    • Friday, March 18 8:45 PM

    Eyad Zahra (U.S./Pakistan, 2010). Based on the provocative 2003 novel that inspired the real-life Muslim-American punk scene, Eyad Zahra's debut feature takes a hard and fast look at what it means to be young, Muslim, punk, and American. (83 mins)

  • Dance Town

    • Thursday, March 17 7:00 PM

    Jeon Kyu-hwan (South Korea, 2010). A strikingly effective and dark political allegory, Dance Town follows a North Korean defector whose existence in the South proves more isolating and dismal then her previous life. Recalling Lars von Trier, the film dissects everything from the family unit to hyper-consumerist youth culture. (95 mins)

  • After Death/Horror Retro: Nang Nak

    • Thursday, March 17 9:20 PM

    Nonzee Nimibutr (Thailand, 1999). A husband and wife in rural Thailand are together “till death do us part”-and beyond, in this moody Thai horror film, based on traditional Thai folktales. (100 mins)

  • M/F Remix

    • Wednesday, March 16 7:00 PM

    Jy-Ah Min (U.S., 2010). Jy-Ah Min in Person. Lifting the aggressive style of Godard's Masculin féminin, M/F Remix repurposes Godard's inquiry for a new generation. Ensconced in their slogan-strewn digs, Mimi and Philip toy with romance while History takes place elsewhere. (78 mins)

  • Sampaguita, National Flower

    • Wednesday, March 16 9:00 PM

    Francis Xavier Pasion (Philippines, 2010). The Sampaguita may be the national flower of the Philippines, but it's a source of shame in this beautifully shot docudrama concerning the difficult lives of children who hawk the delicate flowers in Manila. Interviews with the cast, all street children, are interspersed with fictional narratives to examine poverty's bitter divide. (78 mins)

  • I Wish I Knew

    • Tuesday, March 15 7:00 PM

    Jia Zhang-Ke (China/The Netherlands, 2010). One of the world's most important filmmakers explores the contested city of Shanghai, as witnessed through citizens, politicians, criminals, exiles, artists, and especially filmmakers. Both a historian's and a cinephile's dream, I Wish I Knew is as much about Shanghai in cinema, as Shanghai. (116 mins)

  • Anna May Wong: In Her Own Words

    • Sunday, March 13 3:30 PM

    Yunah Hong (U.S./S. Korea, 2010). Yunah Hong and Elaine Kim in Person. Delve into the life of screen legend Anna May Wong in this intricately constructed documentary of commentaries, film clips, and re-enacted performances. With Elaine Kim's newest short, Slaying the Dragon Reloaded. (87 mins)

  • Charlie Chan at the Olympics

    • Sunday, March 13 6:00 PM

    H. Bruce Humberstone (U.S., 1937). Yunte Huang and Stephen Gong in Person, followed by book signing. Detective Charlie Chan's on a case at the 1936 Berlin Olympics (site of Triumph of the Will) in this fast-moving Fox programmer, screened as part of a larger discussion with Chan historian, author Yunte Huang. (71 mins plus discussion).

  • Bi, Don't Be Afraid!

    • Sunday, March 13 8:00 PM

    Phan Dang Di (Vietnam/France/Germany, 2010). Events in a young Hanoi family flow and freeze in time in this finely observed, sensual feature debut about an inquisitive six-year-old boy discovering the mysterious secrets-and sexuality-of adults. Winner of two International Critics Week's prizes at the Cannes Film Festival. (90 mins)

  • Summer Pasture

    • Saturday, March 12 4:00 PM

    Lynn True, Nelson Walker (U.S./China/Tibet, 2010). Lynn True and Nelson Walker in Person. A young, nomadic Tibetan couple struggle to find their place in a more-and-more globalized Tibet. Warmth, humor and one of the world's most dramatic landscapes mark this beautifully observed documentary. (85 mins)

  • The Piano in a Factory

    • Saturday, March 12 6:30 PM

    Zhang Meng (China, 2010). A steel worker embroiled in a custody battle enlists some ragtag locals to help him build a piano, which he hopes will secure the affections of his musically inclined daughter, in this comic drama on China's changing times. (107 mins)

  • Living In Seduced Circumstances

    • Saturday, March 12 9:00 PM

    Ian Gamazon (U.S./Philippines, 2010). Ian Gamazon in Person. The codirector of Cavite returns with this psychological thriller involving a pregnant younger woman, a handicapped older man, some hypodermic needles, and a cabin in the woods. (74 mins)

  • Abraxas

    • Friday, March 11 7:00 PM

    Naoki Katô (Japan, 2010). A Buddhist monk (and former punk rocker) decides to stage his own rock show, much to the chagrin of his conservative community, in this understated comedy of traditional demands and personal aspirations in small-town Japan. (113 mins)

  • Break Up Club

    • Friday, March 11 9:20 PM

    Barbara Wong (Hong Kong, 2010). Joe (Jaycee Chan) discovers a mysterious website that reunites estranged lovers-as long as one party agrees to break up a happy couple in exchange. This acutely observed, thoroughly modern romance explores the contemporary obsession with documenting our lives, and loves, on camera. (115 mins)