Pacific Arts Movement’s 10th Spring Showcase to Feature the “Freshest Asian Cinema” in a Celebration of Asian Identity

In a 15-film collection, Pacific Art Movement’s 10th San Diego Asian Film Festival (SDAFF) Spring Showcase will celebrate Asian, Asian American, and Pacific Islander identity while highlighting stories from communities whose experiences are often unrecognized. In light of current events, the festival will honor the lives of Asian elders by sharing their candid stories of love and pain, happiness and sadness, history and culture in order to remind viewers that there was a time when we were just like them. The festival will take place virtually from April 23 through May 2 — the beginning of Asian Pacific American Heritage Month — and will include a variety of live and pre-recorded Q&A’s from filmmakers.

The 10th SDAFF Spring Showcase strives to uplift Asian voices especially during this time of crisis. The film line-up this year reflects on the current events that have been impacting the Asian and Pacific Islander community. The opening night film The Way We Keep Dancing presents the often under-recognized activists of Asia, a film that tips its hat to the impact of Asian activists in present social movements. Anti-Asian hate crimes have been on the rise and the film serves as a means of recognition for today’s generation of justice-seekers and their predecessors. Included in the festival’s programming this year are two special presentations: “Songs Our Elders Taught Me”— a three film collection commemorating the stories of Asian elders and “Sovereign Cinema”— a tribute to the political documentary collective of Na Maka O Ka ‘Aina focused on anti-colonial histories. The films in the showcase are a bridge to build empathy and serve as a testament to the beauty, depth, and diversity of the Asian Pacific Islander experience.

The Way We Keep Dancing

“This is a pivotal year for the San Diego Asian Film Festival’s Spring Showcase and for our community as a whole,” remarks Kent Lee, Executive Director. “During this time, we are reminded that it is critical to highlight Asian, Asian American, and Pacific Islander voices and stories in order to help inspire greater compassion and understanding in our world.”

“As the Asian American community grapples with grief and fear, let there also be warmth in our homes. This year’s Spring Showcase beams directly into our TVs and computers, bringing comedy and tears, suspense and triumph.” says Brian Hu, Artistic Director, “Recent events have shown what happens when Americans see Asian elders are anonymous and helpless streetwalkers. The series “Songs Our Elders Taught Me” remind us of their secret worlds — their desires, their romances, their histories — that go untranslated by a society that’s chosen to see them as less-than human.”

Program Highlights:

The Way We Keep Dancing | Opening Film, April 23

The Kowloon Industrial District is home to many of Hong Kong’s artists, including rapper Heyo, YouTuber Ah Leung, rising star Hana and Dave the dancer. However, the government is preparing the area for gentrification. The group from The Way We Dance are invited to participate in a publicity stunt to transform the district into a “Dance Street”. Meanwhile, Heyo’s master Afuc is planning a revolution.

Songs Our Elders Taught Me | Special Presentation, April 25

One of this year’s SDAFF Spring Showcase special series is Songs Our Elders Taught Me, a presentation of 3 films that commemorate and humanize Asian elders in our community. This program is a nod to Chloe Zhao’s film, Songs My Brothers Taught Me and presents the stories of elderly Asian-Americans from their perspective. The films that will be a part of this program are The Wash, Cosmopolitan, and And Thereafter, the former two of which have never before been released on DVD.

Sovereign Cinema: The Political Documentary of Nā Maka o ka ‘Āina | Special Presentation, Live Panel May 1

In partnership with Sovereign Cinema, this year’s SDAFF Spring Showcase will present The Political Documentary of Nā Maka o ka ‘Āina, three films by Puhipau and Joan Lander: Act of War —  The Overthrow of the Hawaiian Nation, The Tribunal, and Mauna Kea —  Temple under Siege. This special presentation will highlight the voices and stories of Pacific Islanders within the Asian community and spotlight the diversity of their experiences. The panel includes filmmaker Joan Lander of Nā Maka O Ka ‘Āina and Leanne Ferrer from Pacific Islanders in Communication

Try Harder | Closing Film, Live Q&A May 2

In a universe where cool kids are nerds, the orchestra is world class and being Asian American is the norm, seniors at Lowell High School compete for the top prize: admission to the college of their dreams. Live Q&A includes Director Debbie Lum and one of the students featured in the film.

Visit the festival website for details of the full line-up.