This upcoming weekend, Vancouver Asian Film Festival (VAFF) will be celebrating its 20th annual celebration of Asian diaspora and diversity in film. From November 3 to 6, Asian films both made in North America and in Asia will be shown at Cineplex Odeon International Village Cinemas downtown.
Vancouver Bits & Bites will be reviewing some of the movies at this year’s festival for our first time. In celebration of its 20th year showcasing films made and starring North American Asian actors and filmmakers, the theme of this year’s festival is “Homecoming”. Covering how filmmakers and actors get from there to here, here are some of this year’s festival must-sees we are looking forward to watching:
- Pali Road – Opening Night: November 3 @ 7:00PM
Home is where the heart is—but what if your heart loses its way? PALI ROAD (“Pali” literally means “cliff” in Hawaiian) from Jonathan Lim is a mesmerizingly chilling journey off the precipice of the human psyche, and a search for true love between two worlds. Lily, a young doctor, wakes up from a car accident—to discover she is now married to her boyfriend’s affluent rival, Dr. Mitch Kane; has a six-year-old-son; and an established life she doesn’t remember. Everyone around her, including her parents, deny that her boyfriend, Neal, ever existed, sending Lily on an increasingly desperate search for what her heart knows to be the truth. Shot entirely in Hawaii, Pali Road stars Chinese superstar Michelle Chen; Jackson Rathbone (Twilight); Sung Kang (Fast Five); and Henry Ian Cusick (The 100, Lost). Winner of the Special Jury Awards for cinematography and for lead actress Michelle Chen, and a Lifetime Achievement Award for Sung Kang, at the Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival 2016.
- Mixed Match – Documentary Feature – November 4 @ 7:30PM MIXED MATCH is an inspirational, evocative feature-length documentary by multi award winning BC filmmaker Jeff Chiba Stearns from the perspective of youth who are forced to discover their identities through their deadly illnesses, and how their mixed backgrounds threaten their chances at survival. This live action and animated film is the dramatic journey of the main characters’ struggles to survive against the incredible odds of finding mixed ethnicity bone marrow and cord blood donors for their life threatening blood diseases, such as leukemia—highlighting how and why ethnicity and ancestry still matter today, just perhaps not in the ways we think they do. A Best Canadian Feature Award nominee.
- The Bleeding Edge – November 5 @ 7:00PMBC-filmed, Leo Award-winning THE BLEEDING EDGE comes from Leon Lee, the Peabody Award-winning director of Human Harvest (2014). His hard-hitting thriller, based on real-life events, pulls no punches when it comes to handling its subject matter—the global black market for human organs. Set in early 2000s China, where Western technology companies were paid large sums to develop a high-profile project dubbed “The Golden Shield Project” aimed to restrict Internet access and monitor the activities of Chinese citizens, a young Western tech executive suffers from heart failure on the job. He receives a heart transplant from an unknown donor, but when conscience drives him to discover the horrific truth behind his operation, he risks his life to help save the next victims and find personal redemption. Filmed with local talent and crew, this 2016 Gabriel Award and 2016 Leo Award-winning film stars Anastasia Lin, the current Miss World Canada, who was prevented from competing in China because of her outspoken political views. A Best Canadian Feature Award nominee.
- Tyrus – Brushstrokes in Hollywood – November 5 @ 4:30PMThis artistic documentary focuses on the portrait of an artist as a young man, and beyond—TYRUS is the portrayal of 105-year old Guangzhou-born, L.A.-based visual artist Tyrus Wong, documenting how his unique style, melding Chinese calligraphic and landscape influences with contemporary Western art, helped establish the signature visual styles for the Disney animated film Bambi(1942) and other early Hollywood studio movies. The film makes meticulous use of Wong’s exquisite art, archival footage, illuminating interviews, animation by renowned animator James Baxter (Kung Fu Panda, The Lion King, Beauty and the Beast), and commentary from Wong himself, to render the breakthtaking scope of his work—encompassing a personal and professional journey navigating racial bigotry through 20th century America.
If you haven’t had a chance to take a look at what this year’s VAFF has to offer, visit http://vaff.org for festival schedule, descriptions, and to purchase tickets.
We are looking forward to reviewing our experience at #VAFF20 – stay tuned!