San Francisco International Asian American Film Festival

3/9/12 to 3/17/12

Join us for the thirtieth San Francisco International Asian American Film Festival, featuring films from China, the Philippines, New Zealand, Cambodia, South Korea, the United States, and even a rarity from Burma.

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Past Films

  • Give Up Tomorrow

    • Saturday, March 17 6 pm

    Michael Collins (U.S., 2011). In this gripping true-crime documentary, a rural family battles police and underworld collusion to clear the name of their beloved son, who was charged with kidnap, rape, and murder in a notorious case in the Philippines. "An incredible story, beautifully and persuasively told” (Guardian UK). (101 mins)

  • In the Family

    • Saturday, March 17 8 pm

    Patrick Wang (U.S., 2011). In a heartfelt story woven around child custody, two-dad families, parental loss, interracial relationships, and the human side of the law, the nature of what it means to be in a family is explored with ambitious and rewarding nuance. “As ambitious an American epic as The Tree of Life” (Hammer to Nail). (169 mins)

  • 11 Flowers

    • Friday, March 16 8:25 pm

    Wang Xiaoshuai (China/France, 2011). Brimming with youthful energy and featuring lovingly detailed evocations of southwest China in 1975, 11 Flowers follows a young boy who negotiates the onset of puberty while trying to decipher the anxious whispering around him-of Red Guards clashing with conservatives, and of a killer running loose in the woods. (110 mins)

  • The Tsunami and the Cherry Blossom

    • Friday, March 16 7 pm

    Lucy Walker (U.K., 2011). Documentary filmmaker Lucy Walker (Waste Land) compares the devastation of the Tohoku Earthquake with the simple beauty of the Japanese cherry blossom in this Oscar-nominated work. With short Two Seconds After Laughter. (55 mins)

  • There Once Was an Island

    • Thursday, March 15 7 pm

    Briar March (New Zealand, 2010). Briar March in person. Faced with coastal erosion and saltwater-contaminated gardens, members of the Polynesian community of Takū must decide how to adapt to the devastating impact of climate change. Brian March's award-winning documentary shows the frustration, despair, and resilience of these innocent victims of environmental change. With short Moke Action. (61 mins)

  • Ryang-Kang-Do! Merry Christmas North!

    • Thursday, March 15 8:45 pm

    Kim Sung-hoon (South Korea, 2010). Christmas descends on a North Korean village in the form of a toy robot that inspires awe, desire, and jealousy among the impoverished children. Comical and inspiring, this family-centric film is a Christmas tale unlike any other, and gives a much-needed view of everyday North Koreans. (95 mins)

  • The Catch

    • Wednesday, March 14 7 pm

    Rithy Panh (Cambodia/France, 2011). The award-winning director of the classic documentary S21: Khmer Rouge Killing Machine makes a rare return to fiction filmmaking with this devastating adaptation of a Kenzaburo Oe story. Reset in Cambodia during the Vietnam War, it involves a captured American soldier, his child guards, and the mounting presence of the Khmer Rouge. (90 mins)

  • Love Crimes of Kabul

    • Wednesday, March 14 9 pm

    Tanaz Eshaghian (U.S., 2011). Tanaz Eshaghian in person. In this intimate portrayal of Afghan society and its treatment of women, Emmy-nominated director Tanaz Eshaghian goes where few journalists have ever been: Kabul's Badam Bagh Women's Prison. There she discovers the heartbreaking stories of its “moral prisoners,” women incarcerated for premarital sex, running away from home, and adultery. (80 mins)

  • The Space in Back of You

    • Sunday, March 11 4 pm

    Richard Rutkowski (U.S., 2011). Richard Rutkowski in person. This lyrical homage to the radical choreographer/dancer Suzushi Hanayagi, whose work influenced and included such artists as David Byrne, Anna Halprin, and her longtime collaborator, Robert Wilson, combines footage of her classical and avant-garde work, as well as her own philosophical reflections on dance. With short, What's Up with the Future! (68 mins)

  • Scenes from a Memoir with Cherylene Lee

    • Sunday, March 11 6 pm

    Cherylene Lee, Virginia, Lee, and Stephen Gong in conversation. Best known for performing in Flower Drum Song and a Rat Pack–era Vegas revue with her sister Virginia, the pioneering entertainer Cherylene Lee will join us to read from her new memoir on show business, Just Like Really, and reminisce with film historian Stephen Gong.

  • Return to Burma

    • Sunday, March 11 8 pm

    Midi Z (Taiwan, 2010). A Burmese laborer in Taiwan returns home, but feels like a stranger in a strange land, in this Taiwanese feature made by a Burmese-born artist and filmed clandestinely in Burma. (84 mins)

  • I Am a Ghost

    • Saturday, March 10 6:10 pm

    H.P. Mendoza (U.S., 2011). Director H.P. Mendoza and producer Mark Del Lima in person. H.P. Mendoza, the award-winning writer/director of Colma and Fruit Fly, returns with this Lynchian venture into macabre horror. A beautiful ghost with a mysterious past is “visited” by the medium hired to help her to the other side (and out of the house she's currently haunting). (72 mins)

  • Sun Beaten Path

    • Saturday, March 10 8:30 pm

    Sonthar Gyal (China, 2011). This superb debut feature, winner of the Vancouver International Film Festival's prestigious Dragons & Tigers Award, suggests that the New Tibetan Cinema is upon us. A young man making a pilgrimage to Lhasa has to overcome the guilt of causing his family member's death. (89 mins)

  • Mr. Cao Goes to Washington

    • Saturday, March 10 4 pm

    S. Leo Chiang (U.S., 2011). S. Leo Chiang in person. Follow New Orleans Representative Joseph Cao-the first Vietnamese American member of the U.S. Congress, and the Congress's only nonwhite Republican-in this heady documentary on contemporary politics. (75 mins)

  • Fable of the Fish

    • Friday, March 9 7 pm

    Adolfo Alix Jr. (Philippines, 2011). Somewhere in the slums of Manila, amongst a driving rainstorm and some inquisitive neighbors, a middle-aged woman gives birth . . . to a fish, in this delightful “realist fable” from the director of Adela. (85 mins)

  • Bang Bang

    • Friday, March 9 8:50 pm

    Byron Q (U.S., 2010). Thai Ngo, best known as real-life Portland rap artist Thai, debuts as a resilient Vietnamese teenager looking for a way out of the gang life. "A serious and unflinching look at a side of Asian America that rarely gets portrayed in film" (Hyphen Magazine). (101 mins)