New York Asian Film Festival 2021 Announces Opening Film, Additional Titles and Variety Lifetime Achievement Award Recipient

The New York Asian Film Foundation and Film at Lincoln Center are delighted to unveil further highlights of the 2021 New York Asian Film Festival (NYAFF), including the Opening film, lifetime award honorees, the competition line-up, the inaugural Asian American Focus and additional films. The Festival will screen over 60 films, both virtually and in person, to audiences in New York and across the country from August 6 – 22, 2021.

Escape from Mogadishu

NYAFF’s 20th edition will kick off at Film at Lincoln Center on August 6 with the in-person international premiere of Ryoo Seung-wan’s tense action thriller Escape from Mogadishu, starring Kim Yoon-seok and Zo In-sung. The film is dramatically constructed based on real events that took place in 1991 at the onset of the Somali Civil War, and depicts the perilous escape attempted by North and South Korean embassy workers who were stranded during the conflict.

Keep Rolling

Legendary filmmaker Ann Hui will be the recipient of the Variety Lifetime Achievement Award. One of the most critically acclaimed Hong Kong New Wave filmmakers for four decades, Hui has created work of great sensitivity, focusing on themes of cultural displacement, family conflict, and female perspectives. In her honor, NYAFF will be showcasing her early masterwork, The Story of Woo Viet, starring Chow Yun-fat and marking the film’s 40th anniversary, as well as Man Lim Chung’s insightful, delightful portrait of the inimitable Hui, Keep Rolling.


NYAFF also unveiled the six wildly diverse and singular titles nominated for this year’s Uncaged Award for Best Feature Film Competition, which shines a spotlight on first- or second-time directors, celebrating their passion, their vision, and their willingness to take risks. The films are: Anima (Cao Jinling, China), City of Lost Things (Yee Chih-yen, Taiwan), Hand Rolled Cigarette (Chan Kin Long, Hong Kong), Joint (Oudai Kojima, Japan), Ten Months (Namkoong Sun, South Korea) and Tiong Bahru Social Club (Tan Bee Thiam, Singapore).

The winner of the Uncaged Award will be selected by a competition jury comprised of prominent personalities from the film business that bridge Asia and America: Michael Rosenberg (president, Film Movement), Evan Jackon Leong (director of Linsanity and Snakehead) and Janice Chua (VP, International Development and Production at Imagine Entertainment & Television).

Following an unprecedented year in which COVID-19 and increased violence against the Asian community in the United States presented enormous challenges, NYAFF is more committed than ever to increasing exposure of Asian representation on screen. The festival is proud to launch a brand-new Asian American Focus, a selection of superlative films made in the US that will kick off in person with Aimee Long’s torn-from-the-headlines thriller A Shot Through the Wall. Members of the filmmaking team will be present.

The Asian American Focus will also feature Iman K. Zawahry’s Americanish and Evan Jackson Leong’s Snakehead, with appearances by members of the films’ cast and crew. The selection also includes two new short film showcases of five films each, which will be screened in person and virtually on Eventive.

Coffin Homes

Other festival highlights include the world premiere of the manga-inflected marital comedy Sensei, Would You Sit Beside Me? starring Tasuku Emoto and Haru Kuroki; and the international premieres of Stanley Tong’s celebration of classic kung-fu, Rising Shaolin: The Protector, with megastar Wang Baoqiang; Lee Woo-jung’s powerful coming-of-age debut, Snowball, starring Bang Min-a from K-Pop girl group Girl’s Day; and Min Kyu-dong’s haunting exploration of AI sentience, The Prayer. And finally, making its North American premiere, Fruit Chan’s Coffin Homes tickles the funny bone and tingles the spine, as soaring real estate prices force people in Hong Kong to share their homes with the dead.

For NYAFF’s 20th edition poster, the festival has drawn from Ko Chen-nien’s The Silent Forest, an image almost tailor-made to represent how we’re feeling as we cautiously emerge from the Covid-19 pandemic: slightly dazed, but laser focused and ecstatic to be back in person at FLC and SVA with this year’s most unforgettable Asian films.

NYAFF’s 2021 line-up will include two Japanese world premieres, six international premieres, 29 North American premieres, eight U.S. premieres, and nine New York premieres, showcasing the most exciting action, comedy, drama, thriller, romance, horror, and art-house films from Japan, Hong Kong, China, South Korea, Philippines, Malaysia, Taiwan, Thailand, Kazakhstan, Singapore, and for the first time, Myanmar and the US.

NYAFF 2021 Venues/Virtual Platform

Virtual platform:

Film at Lincoln Center (FLC) Virtual Cinema

In-person venues:

Film at Lincoln Center (FLC), August 6 – 8, 2021

Walter Reade Theater, 165 West 65th Street

SVA Theatre: August 9 – 22, 2021

333 West 23rd Street

NYAFF Ticket Pricing and Info

Tickets for the 20th New York Asian Film Festival go on sale Friday, July 23 at noon. Virtual programs are $12 each with a discounted FLC All-Access Pass available for $150 for access to over 30 virtual titles. Tickets for in-person programming are $15 for General Public and $12 for students, seniors (62+), and persons with disabilities. A discounted six-film FLC All-Access Pass for in-person programming is also available for $60. FLC members can purchase discounted tickets at $9.60 for all virtual titles and $10 for in-person tickets.

For additional information and full line-up, please visit Film at Lincoln Center, New York Asian Film Festival, and follow on social media @filmlinc and @nyaff.

Additionally, SVA will feature 25+ films for in-person screenings with All-Access Pass pricing to be announced at the New York Asian Film Festival website.