explorASIAN Festival Blog

Friday, May 16, 2008

NEW: New Asia Film Festival - May 23 to 25

Asian Heritage Month Film Festival kicks off in Richmond

2008 New Asia Film Festival to Feature Groundbreaking New Films from Asian Filmmakers

To showcase the rich diversity of Asian-Canadian culture in Richmond, the Richmond Cultural Centre is co-hosting its first ever New Asia Film Festival with the Cinevolution Media Arts Society.

The festival features a total of 25 films that document Asian native/immigrant groups and cultures from China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Canada, Germany and South Africa. The featured films range from documentaries and dramas to short films and animation.

According to Kirsten Schrader, Cultural Programmer at Richmond Cultural Centre, which is affiliated to the Richmond City Hall, Asian Heritage Month held every May across Canada is the best time and perfect opportunity for Richmond in British Columbia to schedule cultural events for the community, and introduce cultures to the new immigrants through cinematic art.

According to Rachel Fan, festival planner and Chair of Cinevolution Media Arts Society, Richmond's Asian immigrant population has undergone a noticeable change in recent years, with new immigrants making up nearly 60% of the residents, and with a diversity of immigrant groups from many different countries spread throughout the city. In addition, Richmond has embarked on ambitious developments in public and private projects, including the Canada Line, infrastructure improvements, brand-new business districts and high-rise residential towers, which are rapidly transforming the face of the city. "The festival highlights cultural perspectives in the process of urban development. Incorporating local and overseas points of view and styles, our feature films freely address many issues involved in urban transformation and development," says Fan.

This year's festival is based on two themes. The first is "Focus on Chinese Language Documentaries", featuring documentaries by Chinese filmmakers from China, Hong Kong, Taiwan and overseas. Secondly, the "Salute to Asian Canadian Filmmakers" covers independent film works from Asian Canadian filmmakers from China, India, Japan and the Philippines. According to Ying Wang, Artistic Director of Cinevolution Media Arts
Society, this year's offerings present Asian cultural experiences from different perspectives. The documentaries and independent films, represented by the diversified Asian diaspora around the globe, provide their viewers with a glimpse of the present and the past of the Asian world.

"Focus on Chinese Language Documentaries" addresses current issues faced by ethnic Chinese societies. The 13 films selected include Umbrella, which received considerable international attention at the Venice and San Francisco Film Festivals, as well as at France's Cinema du Reel, and Please Vote for Me, (one of 15 films on Oscar's documentary shortlist]. Also being screened are How Deep is the Ocean and How High is the Mountain from Taiwan, official selections at several international film festivals, All's Right with the World from Hong Kong, official selection
at the Hong Kong film festival, and Life Among the People of Choni, a documentary from Tibet.

The "Salute to Asian Canadian Filmmakers" explores Canadian immigrant history with nine works, including Partition, which involves questions regarding Indo-Canadian identity, and Strangers Re-Unite, about Filipina workers. Two films, Sleeping Tigers and Shepherds Pie and Sushi, explore Japanese immigrant history and identity, and a new experimental film Shattered, which brings together two historic perspectives of the riots happening in Vancouver history. We are also honoured to be able to present two award winning animated shorts from a Japanese-Canadian filmmaker: What are you anyways? and Yellow Sticky Notes.

The sponsors also plan to assemble a distinguished group of overseas filmmakers this year, including Umbrella and Way of Fortune and Card Boom Mainland Chinese producer Jiang Xianbin, Taiwanese female documentary director Tseng Wen-Chen, whose works Homework and After Championship are being screened at the festival, and Tibetan director and scholar Yongdrol K Tsongkha. In addition, local directors have been
scheduled to participate discuss films with audiences after screenings.

In addition, the 2008 New Asia Film Festival is featuring an "Audience Choice Award" contest, where audience members can vote for their favourite film onsite after each screening. The organizer will announce the winning film before the conclusion of the festival at 8pm on May 25, and the winning film will be shown once more at the final screening.

For the updated information about the film festival, please visit our website at or call 604-247-8300