The 5th D.C. Chinese Film Festival-ALULA Film Festival Announces Full Lineup

The 5th D.C. Chinese Film Festival-ALULA Film Festival has announced its full lineup and introducing its new online festival site – ALULA Film Village!

After two rounds of judging a total of 385 submissions, four Narrative features, four documentary features, ten short films, and five experimental films have been selected as finalists for Main Competition at the 5th ALULA Film Festival (formerly known as the D.C. Chinese Film Festival). The twenty-three selected films will be screened online from December 14th to 20th during this year’s online festival. The festival jury will decide and announce winners of the Best Feature Film, Best Documentary Feature, Best Short Film, Best Experimental Film, and other awards. In addition to the Main Competition films, 8 films will be screened as the ALULA Selects to showcase cinematic excellence in each respective production.

Tickets are now on sale at Eventbrite, and the virtue festival site will be live soon!

Main Competition films are as follows:

Among the four Narrative Feature finalists, Striding Into The Wind was part of the Official Selection at the 73rd Cannes International Film Festival and won the Fei Mu Award at the 4th Pingyao International Film Festival. The film tells the story of Kun, a film school student about to graduate, and Tong Tong, who, like all teenagers, is fearless and eager to ride in society. They are led by a second-hand jeep, which forces them to “change lanes” between reality and ideals.

Summer Knight

In Summer Knight, an eight-year-old from a small village in south-west China tries to capture a thief responsible for stealing his grandmother’s bike and encounters moral dilemma for the first time. The film won the Asian Future Best Film Award at the 32nd Tokyo Film Festival.

Wisdom Tooth

Wisdom Tooth tells the story of Gu Xi, who is about to lose her job for being an undocumented resident. While using her connections to obtain official residency papers, Gu Xi also tries to get along with her brother’s new girlfriend.

The city in the film From Tomorrow On, I Will is constantly growing but remains unexplored. Li, a migrant worker in Beijing, works at night and sleeps during the day, whereas his roommate has the opposite schedule. In a shared underground housing, the two men share the same bed but never at the same time.

Selected as finalist for Documentary Feature, the director of Crossing Kasaya spent eight years filming Tibetan poet poet Sodak Lama, documenting the poet’s search for dreams and love and thoughts on life, death, and faith.

Finding Yingying recounts the tragic death of scholar Zhang Yingying using first-hand diary, letters, and interviews and through the lens of the social, cultural, and judicial systems of China and America.

Curtain Up!

Curtain Up! explores the inter-generational relationships and identities of Chinese Americans by showcasing the process of a group of elementary students rehearsing a rendition of Frozen for an upcoming Chinatown musical competition in New York City.

The Lovely Widow and Her Annoying Son uses intimate family video footages to make sense of the protagonist’s complicated relationship with his mother.

In the Short Film category, One Last Gaze superimposes reality on fantasy in a clever twist; Dreamland presents the cruel life story of a child immigrant with a fairytale-like lens; A Young Tough shows a boy using his summer boredom to digest his parents’ violent relationship that is on the verge of collapse; Dream with One Eye Open captures the neglected tenderness in life and shows how an autistic girl uses her eyes to weave dreams with a creative expression; Golden Boy looks, through a daughter’s perspective, at the daily life of her parents who suffer from chronic illnesses but must stay strong for survival; Hope’s Home tells a simple but unpretentious and tear-jerking story of Chinese child adopted by an American family.

The Short Film category also includes four animated films: A Psalm of Life, a song written and rapped by the director, is about the burning feelings of youth; The Enwinding Thread tells the touching story of a girl and her grandmother with an embroidery thread; Dayfly follows a mayfly who has only twenty-four hours to live; and Another World shows a kid who helps the dead to find their family and accept their past.

Breathless Animals

For the first time, the Experimental Film category has no requirement for the length of the film, to encourage the freedom and diversity of artistic creations. Among the five finalists, Breathless Animals is a collage of the director’s mother’s audio dictations, old family photos, and animated images to salvage fragments of memory and history. The film was selected for the Forum section of the 69th Berlinale. The three-screen animation Return to the Peach Blossom Wonderland, which uses various visual forms to depict the life and work of a child, portrays a utopia imagined by people living in a modern concrete jungle. There Were Four of Us and I Promise to Enter the Oversized Hat explore time and space with colorful dreams and poetic prose, respectively, focusing on the inner self and current society. Lastly, To be a Pig is an urban fable about loneliness, desire, and absurdity concealed under crude images.

First Vote

The eight films for ALULA Selects include a broad range of depictions of Chinese life and culture in different countries, from two families going to Canada to build a Chinese farm (My Farmland) to an older Taiwanese director regaining the director’s chair in New York (Dream in Silence) to a new Chinese American immigrant supporting different political camps and voting for the first time in America (First Vote). This year’s festival will continue to focus on gender and identity in two special screenings: Have a Good Night is a private video documentary about filmmaker Yu Hao and his gay partner Hongyu in Chengdu; The Disc, The Taste of Pomegranate, My Mother, My-self & I, and A Sunburnt Summer are short films to be shown collectively that tell the stories of how “we are different” from each film’s respective angle.

All of the Main Competition and ALULA Selects films will be shown at ALULA Film Village from December 14th to 20th. Some filmmakers will also be available for live online interaction with the audience after the screenings.

The 5th DCCFF-ALULA Film Festival is honored to announce this year’s Festival Jury, composed of renowned director and screenwriter Mei Feng, international award-winning producer Vincent Wang, film scholar Harry Kuoshu, fifth-generation U.S.-based director Xiaoyan Wang, and renowned Chinese American filmmaker Simone Ling. The jurors will discuss relevant topics with filmmakers and audience members during the online festival and will have in-depth creative panels with the nominees after the final round of judging.

The entire festival will take place in the ALULA Online Film Village. In partnership with Filmocracy, the ALULA Film Festival has created one-of-a-kind virtual film village where audience can view all Narrative Features at ALULA – Landmark E Street Cinema (named after our long-time partner theater for in-person screenings for all prior film festivals). China Theater is the venue for all Documentary Features. ShortFilms and Experimental Films will be screened at Chungking Mansions. The remaining five locations, The Longmen Inn, Kaiping Watchtowers, The Storied Building of Fujian, Leifeng Pagoda, and Tomorrow’s Club, will respectively serve as welcome center, online activities, ticketing, communications, and customer service. Through the ALULA Online Film Village, the audience can find the missing links to the traditional format of our film festival amidst the ongoing pandemic.

The ALULA Film Festival’s organizing committee would like to thank the jury members who have participated in the first and second rounds of selection, as well as the DongBuZhou International Animation Week, China Independent Animation Film Forum, and Beijing Film Academy.

In less than a month, we will be saying goodbye to 2020, a year filled with unprecedented challenges. Looking back on the days that have passed this year, DCCFF-ALULA has gone through an unprecedented process of self-examination and reconstruction. But finally, we are ready to take off! In our shared love and passion for film, we can meet together again in such a unique way. See you all online on December 14th!

Full details at the festival website.