The New York Asian Film Festival returns for its 18th edition with a packed programme of recent hits from East Asia. This year’s festival will open with Bernard Rose’s unconventional jidaigeki Samurai Marathon starring Nana Komatsu who will receive the Screen International Rising Star Asia Award alongside Ryu Jun-yeol who will receive his award at the screening of Park Noo-ri’s Money on July 6. Meanwhile, the Star Asia Lifetime Achievement Award will go to Yuen Woo-Ping whose latest film Master Z: Ip Man Legacy will screen alongside classics Iron Monkey and The Miracle Fighters, and Furie’s Veronica Ngo will be receiving the Daniel A. Craft Award for Excellence in Action Cinema.
The programme in full (bolded titles eligible for official competition):
- The Crossing (Bai Xue, 2018) – a young woman finds herself crossing borders of more than one sort when she embarks on a life of phone smuggling. Review.
- A First Farewell (Wang Lina, 2018) – touching story about a young Uighur boy who finds himself having to learn to say several goodbyes at once.
- If You Are Happy (Chen Xiaoming, 2019) – a devoted father goes to great lengths to acquire a flat in the catchment area of a prestigious school. Actress Fu Miao in attendance (Introduction and Q&A)
- Jinpa (Pema Tseden, 2018) – philosophical Tibetan western in which a truck driver picks up a vengeful drifter.
- Push and Shove (Wu Nan, 2019) – neighbours go to war when one of their dogs attacks the other. Q&A with director Wu Nan.
- The Rib (Wei Zhang, 2018) – a transgender woman struggles to gain the acceptance of her religious father. Review.
- Savage (Cui Siwei, 2018) – a policeman waiting for a transfer comes up against a gang of thieves on top of snowy Mount Baekdu in the directorial debut from The Island screenwriter Cui Siwei.
- Uncle and House (Luo Hanxing, 2019) – comedy following a 100 Yuan note around a small town. Director Luo Hanxing and actors Gao Zhen, He Kaidi, Zhang Ximing, Yang Yanhui, Yang Xiao in attendance (Introduction and Q&A).
- Winter After Winter (Xing Jian, 2019) – an ageing father desperately attempts to preserve his family line during the Japanese occupation of Manchuria.
- White Snake (Amp Wong, Ji Zhao, 2019) – an amnesiac woman develops feelings for the snake catcher who helps her in this animated prequel to the classic legend.
- Wushu Orphan (Huang Huang, 2018) – a teacher takes a job at a remote martial arts academy where only one of his students is interested in academics and it just happens to be the one rubbish at fighting. Q&A with Huang Huang and actor Liu Zhihan
Hong Kong Panorama
- The Attorney (Wong Kwok Fai, 2019) – a hotshot lawyer (Alex Fong) takes a legal aid case to defend a young man accused of murdering the daughter of a prominent tycoon.
- The Fatal Raid (Jacky Lee, 2019) – 20 years after a bloody confrontation, a surviving policewoman Madam Fong leads a new squad across borders to Macao to take on a gang of anarchists.
- G Affairs (Lee Cheuk Pan, 2018) – gritty social drama in which a severed head exposes the unexpected connections between a disparate group of people. Q&A with Lee Cheuk Pan and actress Hanna Chan.
- Iron Monkey (Yuen Woo-ping, 1993) – 1993 classic starring Donnie Yen as Wong Kei-ying. Tribute to Yuen Woo-ping
- Master Z: Ip Man Legacy (Yuen Woo-ping, 2018) – sequel to the Ip Man series in which Cheung Tin Chi (Max Zhang) tries to make a martial arts free life for himself and his son in ’60s HK. Master Yuen Woo-ping will receive the Star Asia Lifetime Achievement Award and will participate in an Introduction and Q&A
- The Miracle Fighters (Yuen Woo-ping, 1982) – zany 1982 classic martial arts. Tribute to Yuen Woo-ping who will also be present for an introduction.
- Missbehavior (Pang Ho-cheung, 2019) – warmhhearted New Year comedy from Pang Ho-Cheung in which bickering friends unite in a quest for emergency breast milk. Review.
- See You Tomorrow (Zhang Jiajia, 2016) – romantic comedy in which a bartender helps people overcome their emotional woes.
- Still Human (Oliver Siu Kuen Chan, 2018) – Anthony Wong stars as a wheelchair user who eventually bonds with his Filipina helper. Review. Actress Crisel Consunji in attendance (Introduction and Q&A).
- …and the secret screening!
- 212 Warrior (Angga Dwimas Sasongko, 2018) – comedic martial arts adventure movie.
- 5 Million Dollar Life (Moon Sungho, 2019) – a young man saved from serious illness by community donations struggles under the pressure of living up to their kindness. Director Moon Sung-ho in attendance (Intro and Q&A)
- Complicity (Kei Chikaura, 2018) – an undocumented man from China embraces his cover identity and takes a job in a soba restaurant but struggles to maintain his sense of self in Chikaura’s sensitive drama. Review.
- Dare to Stop Us (Kazuya Shiraishi, 2018) – drama set in the heyday of Wakamatsu Production. Review.
- The Fable (Kan Eguchi, 2019) – comedy starring Junichi Okada as an assassin ordered to lay low living an “ordinary” life. Director Eguchi Kan in attendance (Introduction & Q&A).
- Fly Me to the Saitama (Hideki Takeuchi, 2019) – absurdist comedy in which the residents of Saitama have become an oppressed minority. Review.
- The Gun (Masaharu Take, 2018) – Masaharu Take adapts Fuminori Nakamura’s nihilistic novel in which a young man’s life changes when he picks up the gun of a fallen yakuza.
- Hard-Core (Nobuhiro Yamashita, 2018) – slacker sci-fi drama in which a frustrated idealist befriends a rusty robot. Review.
- Jam (SABU, 2018) – Sabu returns to his roots with an anarchic tale of three men on the run. Review. Q&A with SABU
- Lying to Mom (Katsumi Nojiri, 2018) – when the hikikomori son of the Suzuki family takes his own life, his mother falls into a coma. No one has the heart to tell her what happened when she wakes up so they pretend he is alive and well and living in Argentina. Review. Q&A with Katsumi Nojiri
- Mr. Long (SABU, 2017) – a Taiwanese hitman is adopted by a Tokyo community who fall in love with his noodles. Review. Q&A with SABU
- Samurai Marathon (Bernard Rose, 2019) – British director Bernard Rose tackles the jidaigeki as a lord forces his retainers to compete in a marathon to prepare for bakumatsu chaos. Q&A with Bernard Rose and Nana Komatsu; Nana Komatsu will receive the Screen International Rising Star Asia Award
- Walk with Me (Ryon Lee, 2019) – a bullied woman asks a weird doll for help and is then concerned when people start dying.
- Ma (Kenneth Lim Dagatan, 2018) – horror film in which a son enters a strange cave to ask for his mother’s resurrection. Director Kenneth Lim Dagatan in attendance (Introduction and Q&A)
- Signal Rock (Chito S. Roño, 2018) – drama in which an island boy tries to help his sister escape an abusive overseas marriage.
- Zombiepura (Jacen Tan, 2018) – a lazy reservist and his uptight CO are the last line of defence during the zombie apocalypse. Director Jacen Tan in attendance (Introduction and Q&A).
- Another Child (Kim Yoon-seok, 2019) – two teenage girls who didn’t like each other very much bond when they decide to put a stop to an affair their parents are having in the directorial debut from actor Kim Yoon-seok. Q&A with Kim Yoon-seok
- Dark Figure of Crime (Kim Tae-gyoon, 2018) – a sociopathic assassin toys with a world weary detective in Kim Tae-gyoon’s twisty thriller. Review.
- Kokdu: A Story of Guardian Angels (Kim Tae-yong, 2018) – immersive co-production blending film and live performance. Composer Bang Jun-seok in attendance (Introduction and Q&A).
- Maggie (Yi Ok-seop, 2018) – a nurse intends to resign after coming to the conclusion she and her boyfriend have been captured in a compromising position in an x-ray but discovers everyone has called in sick. Meanwhile, her boyfriend is busy trying to fill in the mysterious sink holes appearing all over the country. Director Yi Ok-seop and actor Koo Kyo-hwan in attendance (Introduction and Q&A)
- Money (Park Noo-ri, 2018) – Ryu Jun-yeol stars as a rookie stockbroker frustrated by Yoo Ji-tae’s sociopathic rival. Director Park Noo-ri and actor Ryu Jun-yeol in attendance (Introduction and Q&A) Actor Ryu Jun-yeol will receive the Screen International Rising Star Asia Award
- Move the Grave (Jeong Seung-o, 2018) – a dysfunctional family is forced to work together when their father’s grave has to be moved due to construction work.
- The Odd Family: Zombie on Sale (Lee Min-jae, 2019) – a weird family find a zombie and then exploit him when it turns out his bite has healing properties in Lee Min-jae’s delightfully zany comedy. Review.
- A Resistance (Joe Min-ho, 2019) – Ko Ah-sung stars as the hero of the 1919 March 1 Independence Movement who maintains her stoical determination even while imprisoned and facing inhuman treatment.
- Sub-Zero Wind (Kim Yu-ri, 2018) – debut from Kim Yu-ri in which two young girls support each other while dealing with disappointing parents.
- Han Dan (Huang Chao-liang, 2019) – a young man tries to atone for a reckless act through submitting himself to firecracker attacks representing the deity Han Dan. Director Huang Chao-liang in attendance (Introduction and Q&A)
- It’s A Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad Show (Hsieh Nien Tsu, 2019) – farce in which an unscrupulous TV station owner sets out to lower ratings so he can sell to a gangster only to see the subpar team he’s put together become an accidental hit.
- The Scoundrels (Tzu-Hsuan Hung, 2018) – JC Lin stars as a disgraced former basketball player living a life of petty crime who finds himself framed as the notorious Raincoat Robber (Chris Wu). Review.
- Someone in the Clouds (Mitch Lin and Gary Tseng, 2018) – whimsical rom-com about a fortune teller and a cocky student. Directors Mitch Lin and Gary Tseng in attendance (Introduction and Q&A)
- The Pool (Ping Lumpraploeng, 2018) – darkly humorous thriller in which a young couple become trapped in a swimming pool
- Furie (Le Van Kiet, 2019) – a former street tough will stop at nothing when her daughter is abducted by human traffickers. Actress Veronica Ngo in attendance; Veronica Ngo will receive the Daniel A. Craft Award for Excellence in Action Cinema
- Song Lang (Leon Le, 2018) – ’80s set musical drama in which a gangster tries to collect a debt from a Cai-luong opera company. Director Leon Le in attendance (Introduction and Q&A)
The 18th New York Asian Film Festival runs from 28th June to 14th July. Full details for all the films are available via the official website where you can also find screening times and ticketing information. You can also keep up with all the latest festival news via the official Facebook Page and Twitter account.