Thank You and Farewell!

Regular readers of VCinema have likely noticed that our site has been inactive since summer 2022. Indeed, the second half of last year saw the site take a hiatus in terms of posting new content since time was needed to reflect on the viability of keeping it running. Ultimately, it has been decided that VCinema will close its doors in August following 13 years of Asian film coverage. But please refrain from breaking out the violins. There is no crisis here, just a site that has run its course.

VCinema was founded in 2009 by Jon Jung and Josh Samford. Those who have followed the site since its inception will recall that it initially revolved around the podcast where the hosts and guests would discuss “Asian cinema from the cult to the classics”. Shortly thereafter, they were joined by Rufus L de Rham with Stan Glick of AsianCineFest also making many appearances. The blog gradually became busier with the addition of an increasing number of prodigiously knowledgeable contributors, while fostering links with festivals and independent distributors resulted in bountiful access to new titles. In 2014, lead blogger John Berra inherited editor-in-chief duties from Jon, who remained involved as site owner and adviser, with Josh generously providing stellar technical support whenever the site suddenly vanished from view.

Over the years that we have been covering Asian cinema, national film industries have developed apace, a new generation of auteurs and genre specialists has emerged, and a Golden Globe-awarded Bong Joon-ho encouraged an audience of Hollywood A-listers to “overcome the one-inch-tall barrier of subtitles.” We never devised a long-term plan for the site, but always strived to make a useful contribution to the Asian cinema conversation. Yet having taken various factors into consideration, it has been determined that it is time for VCinema to bid farewell.

This has nothing whatsoever to do with current Asian cinema, which is not only as vibrant as ever but more readily accessible thanks to developments in distribution technology dovetailing with increasingly diverse audience tastes. Instead, it is mainly due to the matter of inevitably shifting personal or professional priorities. In some cases, there is also a lingering sense of fatigue from the travails of the last few years that can only be alleviated by spending less time in front of screens, regardless of how aesthetically invigorating, profoundly moving, or boundary-pushing the films might be. VCinema has often been categorized as an “enthusiast site” and it’s best that we bow out while covering Asian cinema is a pleasure rather than a nagging obligation.

One of the joys of VCinema has been interacting with contributors from all around the world. Most are involved in other projects, but we would particularly like to call attention to Heroic Purgatory:An Asian Cinema Podcast. Established in 2020 by our regular bloggers John Atom and Jason Maher, it’s reminiscent of the VCinema podcast, but very much its own animal. From their first episode on Police Story to their recent discussion of In the Mood for Love, the hosts have been providing informed and engaging analysis of films that have become touchstones or entry points, while also delivering festival reports. In short, it’s essential listening for Asian cinema aficionados.

Our readers are no doubt familiar with other sites that offer coverage of Asian cinema. Nonetheless, we would like to take this opportunity to acknowledge other dedicated sources for reviews, news, features, interviews, and passionate discussion: Asian Movie Pulse, Cinema Escapist, City on Fire, easternKicks, Far East Films, Filmed in Ether, Kong-Cast, Modern Korean Cinema, and the Podcast on Fire Network.

We would also like to thank the independent distributors and sales agents who have been especially courteous in facilitating access to their titles for review purposes: Article Films, Asian Shadows, Cheng Cheng Films, The Cinema Guild, dGenerate Films, Icarus Films, Midnight Blur Films, Terracotta Distribution, Third Window Films, and WellGo USA.

In addition, we have greatly appreciated the cooperation of such festivals as the Alula Film Festival (aka DC Chinese Film Festival), Aperture: Asia & Pacific Film Festival CAAMFest, Chinese Visual Festival, JAPAN CUTS, The Japan Foundation, New York Asian Film Festival, Osaka Asian Film Festival, San Diego Asian Film Festival, the Shinsedai Cinema Festival, and the Toronto Reel Asian International Film Festival. It has been an absolute thrill to cover events that have bridged cultures while providing a springboard for exciting Asian cinema discoveries. We hope that our reviews have also played a small role in bringing certain titles to receptive audiences.

Although we won’t be posting any new content, VCinema will remain online until August. Until then, please enjoy our archive of reviews, features, interviews, and video essays.

Finally, we would like to express our wholehearted thanks to everyone who has contributed to and read VCinema! It’s been a fulfilling experience and we wish everyone all the best for the future!