Non-profit pan-Asian film organization Sophia’s Choice today has announced Asian Pop-Up Cinema – Season Eight, the spring film series presenting sixteen films from across Asia, running from March 12 through April 24, 2019. The schedule represents a consolidated schedule, with more films screened each week and this season running just six weeks. Each week, a new theme of films will screen at AMC River East 21, while screenings with community partners take place at venues throughout the city.
Asian Pop-Up Cinema – Season Eight opens by honoring Japanese filmmaking, with the North American premiere of Fly Me to the Saitama on Tuesday, March 12. The dark comedy is a live-action adaptation of a 1980s manga about an alternate-universe rebellion by the natives of one of Tokyo’s much-mocked suburbs. Starring Fumi Nikaido and Japanese superstar Gackt, Mark Schilling of The Japan Times calls it “the funniest film I’ve seen all year.” Programming from Japan continues with Ten Years Japan, on Wednesday, March 13; that film will also screen on Thursday, March 14 in Toronto as part of Asian Pop-Up Cinema on Tour. Also screening in the Japan-focused week is acclaimed documentary The Ito Sisters on Saturday, March 16 at the Wilmette Theatre.
The season continues with films that highlight cross-continental productions, including Out of Paradise (Mongolia/Switzerland) on Tuesday, March 19; A Land Imagined (Singapore/France/Netherlands) on Wednesday, March 20 and the animated Funan (France/Cambodia) on Thursday, March 21. The former two films screen at AMC River East, while Funan, starring the voice of Bérénice Bejo, will screen at Alliance Française.
One of Hong Kong’s biggest stars features prominently in the following week’s screenings: actress Nina Paw will be in Chicago to accept the Career Achievement Award at the Tuesday, March 26 screening of Show Me Your Love at AMC River East; she will also attend the Wednesday, March 27 screening of Taiwan’s Sen Sen (that film will also screen as part of APUC on Tour, at locations in Michigan). The week of Taiwanese films concludes with Taipei Film Festival selection High Flash on Thursday, March 28.
As Asian Pop-Up Cinema respectfully “goes dark” at AMC River East during the Chicago Latino Film Festival, Chinese-centric documentaries will screen at the Heritage Museum of Asian Art in Chinatown. Up the Mountain, a True/False Film Festival official selection, screens Saturday, April 6, while Four Springs screens on Sunday, April 7. On Friday, April 12, Asian Pop-Up Cinema presents a special screening of Canada’s Circle of Steel, a dark comedy about personal ethics in the face of corporate interest. Chicago’s independent filmmaking community is especially invited to the screening and post-film discussion with Columbia College Chicago’s Ron Falzone and filmmakers. Next, South Korea is the focus of programming, as The Pension and Memories of a Dead End screen on Tuesday, April 16 and Wednesday, April 17, respectively. Indonesian film Memories of My Body will screen at the Joffrey Ballet Tower Studio on Tuesday, April 23, and Season Eight concludes with the premiere of Tracey on Wednesday, April 24. An official selection at the Tokyo International Film Festival, the Hong Kong-made film follows a man whose life is upended at the news of a former classmate’s death.
All told, Asian Pop-Up Cinema – Season Eight will present sixteen films from every corner of the Asian continent, many of them making their Chicago debut and all of them exceptional examples of international filmmaking and diverse programming, from comedy and mystery to drama and documentary.
A complete list of films, trailers and ticketing for each screening, plus information on special guests, are available at www.asianpopupcinema.org.