The 24th Annual Vancouver Asian Film Festival (#VAFFVIRTUAL) Begins October 31 – November 8, 2020, Vancouver hosts the best of Asian Filmmaking from around the World.
The entire festival program and tickets are available online from October 6 till November 8, 2020 at www.vaff.org.
Please email firstname.lastname@example.org to inquire Individual Films’ EPK & Screener links for review and editorial.
Vancouver, BC – October 6, 2020 – The Vancouver Asian Film Festival (VAFF) is pleased to announce the countdown to its much anticipated 24th annual celebration of diversity in film and the Asian diaspora, brought to you virtually (#VAFFVIRTUAL) from October 31 to November 8, 2020 in the comfort of your home, with a few surprises in store. This year’s festival will run for twice as long as past festivals, allowing us to bring you more exciting content than ever before.
This year, with everyone having such a challenging year, VAFF wanted to break the mould and bring some fun to the community by presenting a Halloween Screening on Opening Night, October 31, 2020, live at the Cineplex Odeon International Village, adhering strictly to CoVid-19 protocols of no more than 50 people. This festival will offer the largest program we have ever presented and bonus content exclusive to VAFF, as we take advantage of the flexibility of video-on-demand programming.
VAFF’s programming continues to showcase the breadth and depth of Asian diaspora filmmaking beyond mainstream film festival offerings, with expanded programming that reflects relevant, pressing issues faced by immigrants, women, and marginalized individuals. The VAFF 2020 lineup showcases 18 film programs of industry panels plus 46 feature-length and short films of all genres, in English and/or with English subtitles, from the local and international Asian diaspora. Highlights from the festival with mostly films never before seen in Canada or Vancouver include:
The Opening Film is the North American premiere of the Top Ten Korean box-office hit, “The Closet”, by Kim Kwang-bin, starring big Korean stars Ha Jung-woo (The Handmaiden), and Kim Nam-gil (Pandora), as well as Heo Yul. The horror mystery explores parental issues through the story of a missing child. The Opening Night is a celebration of excellence in Korean cinema and Halloween fun when the audience can compete for best costume in theatre or at home.
All Spotlight Features have not been seen in Canada with most being North American premieres. To help drown out some pandemic woes, we bring two comedic features that explore real universal issues. “Secret Zoo” by Jae-gon Son is an unexpected tale about a young lawyer being suckered into running a zoo that has sold most of its animals, It’s also one of the Top Ten Korean box-office hit in 2020.
“Little Miss Period” by Shunsuke Shinada takes a refreshing yet insightful look at how women deal with their monthly visitor. The leading actress Fumi Nikaido won Japan Academy Award for Best Newcomer in 2013 and has been nominated numerous times for Best Actress in Japan.
Two documentaries are included in the Spotlight Series, namely The Canadian Spotlight, “Ketchup & Soya Sauce” by Zhimin Hu which is a study of five couples whose relationships are shaped by the history of mixed relationships in Canada since the 1930’s, and The Documentary Spotlight, “The Donut King” by Alice Gu about the unlikely rise of Cambodian immigrants building a donut empire in the US.
The Closing Film spotlight screening of “Beyond the Dream” by Kiwi Chow, starring rising stars Terrence Lau and Cecilia Choi which is a thoughtful Hong Kong film about the unlikely relationship between a recovering schizophrenic who yearns for love and a counselor with hidden secrets. The film has landed six nominations at the 39th Hong Kong Film Awards, and has won the Best Actor (Lau Chun Him), Best Actress (Cecilia Choi) and Film of Merit at the 26th Hong Kong Film Critics Society Awards.
The Features Series shed light on identity and self discovery of a range of Asian diaspora, from South Asians Canadians in “White Elephant” by Andrew Chung, Korean diasporic expats in “Gyopo” by Samuel Kiehoon Lee, to a Thai teenager attempting to live abroad in “Where We Belong” by Kongdej Jaturanrasmee.
The Documentary Series feature two American films, one just in time for the US elections, “First Vote” by Yi Chen following a diverse cross section of politically engaged Chinese Americans first-time voters during the 2018 midterm elections and “Curtain Up!” by Hui Tong, Kelly Ng about Asian-American elementary kids breaking stereotypes as they break a leg putting on a national debut production of “Frozen Kids”.
The Shorts Series showcase many award winning works and an unprecedented number of films totalling 35 to create 3 International Shorts Programs and 4 Canadian Shorts Programs which include a special presentation of winners to our 15th Mighty Asian Moviemaking Marathon (MAMM15). Vancouver audiences will see a vast range of International Shorts for the first time with most of them being Canadian or North American premieres, including a Spotlight on South Korea Shorts.
Many Video-on-Demand programs will feature exclusive interviews with filmmakers, while our live scheduling will give audiences a chance to meet filmmakers live in Filmmakers Talk.
We continue our VAFF Industry Panel Series with “how to” panels under VAFF I² in Who Wants to be a Talent to Watch? & Elimin8Hate that challenge us with burning questions on Model Minority Myth on Film and Elevating Underrepresented Voices in Film, Television and Media. In addition to the Best Canadian Director Award sponsored by the Directors Guild of Canada, and Best Canadian Film Award sponsored by Telefilm, we will be awarding Best Canadian Cinematographer awards; as well as the various audience favourite People’s Choice Awards, all to be presented during the festival.
With our lifetime patron, Richard K. Wong generous support, we launch “RICHARD K WONG FILM FUND (RWFF), aimed to support talented Asian Canadian filmmakers and TV producers, to develop, produce, and finish creative projects that raises the profile of Asians in Canada. Our stories are important and we want to give you a chance to tell it. The Film Fund will be available in 2021.
We are proud to bring Vancouver audiences 5 World premieres, 12 North American premieres; 13 Canadian premieres, and an additional 7 films that are Vancouver premieres, and even more excited to announce that close to 60% of all films are directed by women. Organizers anticipate 4,000 audience and industry members over the extended eight days festival.
About the Vancouver Asian Film Festival (VAFF)
The Vancouver Asian Film Festival is the longest running Asian film festival in Canada. Founded by independent filmmaker and writer Barbara K. Lee in 1995 to celebrate diversity in film, the festival has grown to provide an engaging platform for Asian filmmakers to showcase their talents. The VAFF is run by The Vancouver Asian Film Festival Society, a not-for-profit organization comprised of a group of dedicated volunteers. Sponsors and community partners alike also contribute to the success of the organization. Now on its 24th year, the event only expects to grow even bigger. Close to 4,000 people are expected to attend the festival.
Follow the festival as it unfolds at:
Media Relations, VAFF