AAAFF 2015: Festival Recap

Film buffs received an opportunity to watch a plethora of Asian feature films and short films last weekend from Nov. 12-15 at the 8th Austin Asian American Film Festival at the Marchesa Hall and Theater. The selection of films came from various parts of Asia, such as China, Japan, Taiwan, Indonesia, Cambodia, India, Iran, Korea and many other countries.

Gif courtesy of giphy.com

Gif courtesy of giphy.com

Recap by ChinLin Pan

As a press attendee, this was my second year to attend the film fest. I would have never discovered this gem of a festival if I had not seen the flier for it last year at the co-op I lived. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to attend all of the screenings this year due to prior commitments, but I still really enjoyed my time at the Marchesa and loved all the films I saw.

Gif courtesy of giphy.com

Gif courtesy of giphy.com

What makes the Austin Asian American Film Festival stand out?

  • For starters, its location at the Marchesa Hall and Theater is unique. Yes, it’s a small theater, but I loved the intimate setting that provides. There was no chaos or long lines, and everyone gets to mingle around with other film buffs who love foreign films.
  • Secondly, the organizers of this festival set up the ticketing process very well. They put up highly visible signs stating the specific prices so you didn’t have to ask your neighbor in-line “hey, how much is a weekend badge?”
  • Third, there were surveys, but they were just spread out on tables so there was no one was pressuring you to take one.
  • Fourth, this is one of the few film festivals in Austin that devotes its entire theme to foreign films. I love Asian films and this is a festival I plan to continue attending to indulge.

Highlights

  • The fest kicked off last Thursday with hilarious and heartfelt coming-of-age romcom “Seoul Searching” by writer/director Benson Lee. While the filmmakers and cast were not able to attend, the organizers of the fest arranged for Lee and actor Justin Chon to record video messages for the audience. After the screening, there was a Q&A session on Skype with actress Jessika Van. After the Q&A, everyone got to party their butts off at the K-pop themed party.
  • The fest also held Comedy Night on Friday at the Lima Criolla and a closing night party at Nomad, so attendees got to hang out and mingle at some venues besides the theater.
  • Before the screening of “Giovanni’s Island,” the fest held a tribute to Rooster Teeth animator Monty Oum, who unfortunately passed away earlier this year at the age of 33. Oum was an animator for the series “Red vs. Blue” and had also created the first American anime series “RWBY” to be exported to Japan.
  • I also enjoyed the short films “When Mom Visits” and “Autumn Falls,” which won Best Narrative Short from the festival film juries.

Festival Awards

The award winners were announced this afternoon.

  • Documentary Jury Awards: “Night Shift” for Best Documentary Short, “Placebo” for Special Mention, and “The Chinese Mayor” for Best Documentary Feature
  • Narrative Jury Awards: “Autumn Leaves” for Best Narrative Short and “Ruined Heart” for Best Narrative Feature
  • Audience Awards: “Top Spin” for Best Documentary Feature and “Seoul Searching” for Best Narrative Feature

Conclusion

The organizers selected incredibly heart-touching films, making me cry for every single film I saw this year. I can’t wait to attend next year’s fest.

Gif courtesy of giphy.com

Gif courtesy of giphy.com

See the compilation of trailers from this year’s selected films.

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