London East Asia Film Festival Unveils Full Programme for 5th Edition

The London East Asia Film Festival (LEAFF) celebrates its fifth edition in 2020. In keeping with the times, LEAFF presents a unique approach to its programme between 10th and 13th December. LEAFF 2020 opens with the gripping Korean box office hit, Beasts Clawing at Straws, directed by Kim Yong-hoon which was awarded the Special Jury Prize at Rotterdam Film Festival earlier this year. The Festival closes the Official Selection with acclaimed director Yonfan’s first film in a decade, No. 7 Cherry Lane, an exquisite animation painting the portrait of late 1960s Hong Kong.

The five titles in Official Selection are cinematic offerings from Korea, Japan, China, Taiwan and Hong Kong. From Japan, Naomi Kawase’s latest feature True Mothers was selected at Cannes Film Festival, and will be screened as a UK premiere. From China, Derek Tsang’s powerful youth drama Better Days will be screened. From Taiwan, John Hsu’s Detention has been programmed. It is a kinetic and chilling adaptation of a popular video game based on a dark period in Taiwan’s recent past.


Rather than make this edition an online event, LEAFF understands the importance of this festival in projecting films and sharing in a physical space. The festival has decided to reduce the number of films screening whilst offering audiences more socially-distanced opportunities to see them. Bringing an exciting line up of films to the biggest screens at the home of cinema in Leicester Square will allow the maximum number of people to safety and enjoy the wide-ranging programme. As the Festival team has stated, “we hope it will remind people of the pleasure of the cinema and provide a bridge between the hugely successful fourth edition in 2019, and what we hope will be a full programme in 2021.”

I Weirdo

In partnership with the Cinema at Selfridges, LEAFF also brings 5 films in Special Focus, bringing diverse voices and stories of East Asia to the London audience. Salaryman culture, casual misogyny and unethical work practices are the focus of director Shin Su-won’s impressive feature, Light for Youth. There may be a film no more timely for our current climate than the iPhone shot romance about two young lovers living with with OCD in I Wierdo. Director Ray Yeung’s heartfelt paean to autumnal love is poignant in its portrayal of the tension between family responsibilities and person desires in Twilight’s Kiss (Suk Suk).

Festival Director Hyejung Jeon enthuses,

LEAFF’s mission has been to celebrate the wealth and creativity of East Asian cinema with audiences in London and around the UK. We have welcomed some of the world’s finest filmmakers, hosted masterclasses with practitioners at the top of their craft and screened hundreds of new films as well as treasures from the archives, exploring each country’s rich cinematic past. This year, we are glad to be able to screen highlights of East Asian cinema to the London audience and also recognise individual contributions with LEAFF AWARDS 2020.

The Award Ceremony will take place at the Closing Gala. LEAFF’s Competition seeks out East Asia’s most talented emerging directors, with a stellar jury which comprises of: Sabrina Barachetti of the Udine Far East Film Festival, Paolo Bertolin of the Venice International Film Festival and Director’s Fortnight at Cannes, Kiki Fung of the Hong Kong International Film Festival and Ellen Y. D. Kim of the Bucheon International Fantastic Film Festival. Furthermore, awards for Lifetime Achievement, Rising Star, Best Actor Awards will recognise the outstanding work of one individual over the course of this year.

The 5th London East Asia Film Festival is kindly supported by Film London, British Film Institute, Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office, Taipei Representative Office in London, Korea Tourism Organization and sponsored by Korean Air, Jinro and Nongshim.

The Festival will take place between 10th and 13th December at Odeon Luxe Leicester Square, Cineworld Leicester Square and the Cinema at Selfridges.

The full programme can be found here.