The Asian American International Film Festival (AAIFF) will celebrate its 45th anniversary with a new series of independent films from Asia, the Asian Diaspora and the Pacific Islands.
The hybrid festival runs August 3-13 in New York City, with a full lineup reflecting the historic roots of AAIFF and Asian CineVision with community activists and storytellers. This year, the festival offers a selection of documentaries and short films from 73 directors, 24 countries and in 20 languages.
Several films evoke the Korean and American-Korean experience, in particular Free Chol Soo Lee which will be the opening night film of the festival. Directed by Julie Ha and Eugene Yi, the documentary tells the story of a Korean immigrant, Chol Soo Lee, whose arrest sparked an unprecedented social justice movement.
The festival also offers Crossingsa documentary that follows a group of international women peacemakers, who embark on a risky journey through the demilitarized zone between North and South Korea, calling for an end to the 70-year war that continues to divide the Korean peninsula and its people.
Two other Korean films on the festival program are Selecteda documentary centered on the five Korean Americans who ran for Congress in 2020, and Dawna film about a trauma therapist, who is forced to come to terms with her family’s darkest past after returning to her childhood farm.
The first AAIFF festival opened in 1978 at the Henry Street Settlement in New York. Since then, the AAIFF has screened films from around the world, providing American premieres from acclaimed directors such as Wayne Wang, Mira Nair, Marilou Diaz-Abaya and Ang Lee. In addition to organizing the festival, Asian CineVision (ACV) produces and exhibits films and video programs about the experience and culture of Asian and Asian American communities. ACV also provides advice and technical assistance to artists, cultural and media organizations.
The complete program is available on the festival website.