The 38th annual Asian American International Film Festival brings eighteen new features to New York City between today, Thursday, July 24 and Saturday, August 1, reflecting the diversity of Asian and Asian American filmmaking. Among the eight new nonfiction features presented are the event’s opening night film, Ruby Yang’s MY VOICE, MY LIFE, about a musical staged by under-privileged Hong Kong students. Other documentary entries include:
From China, Haibin Du’s A YOUNG PATRIOT (pictured), a portrait of the gradual ideological development of a young Chinese man over several years; Adler Yang’s IF THERE IS A REASON TO STUDY, which follows the teenage Taiwanese filmmaker as he documents the experience of alternative schooling on his fellow students; Lauren Knapp’s LIVE FROM UB, which offers a look at Mongolian identity through an independent rock band; Derek Shimoda’s JUNE BRIDE: REDEMPTION OF A YAKUZA, about former Japanese gangsters turned pastors; and DOC NYC 2014 alumnus MISS TIBET: BEAUTY IN EXILE, Norah Shapiro’s exploration of a controversial cultural and beauty pageant for Tibetans in exile.
Also represented at the festival is the work of noted Asian American filmmaker Arthur Dong, the subject of a retrospective tribute, which also includes the NYC debut of his latest film, the Cambodian-focused THE KILLING FIELDS OF DR HAING S NGOR (pictured), on the Hollywood actor and Khmer Rouge survivor; and Grace Lee’s OFF THE MENU: ASIAN AMERICA, a travelogue that explores Asian American identity through food.