VAFF 2019 A YEAR IN REVIEW
2019 was the year of NO LIMITASIANS, where VAFF took to new heights to show that the future of film is truly boundless for Asian diaspora storytelling. Our theme, NO LIMITASIANS, celebrates the achievements of filmmakers and actors of colour in breaking expectations in mainstream cinema. 2019 was the year in which Chinese-Canadian actor Simu Liu was cast as Shang Chi – the first superhero of Asian descent to lead a film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. In Vancouver, VAFF was also pushing boundaries with its annual programming.
Celebrate Asian Heritage Month. Dim Sim After Dark + Film Screening
VAFF 2019 kicked off on May 31st, 2019 with our first ever Dim Sum After Dark, part of Vancouver Asian Heritage Month. Guests packed into a late-night screening of Ang Lee’s racy drama Lust, Caution (2007), paired with an equally delicious selection of dim sum favourites in the decadent surroundings of Pink Pearl Chinese Seafood Restaurant.
Open Call Successes
The spring Open Call for Submissions to our festival, hosted on FilmFreeway, once again brought in more film submissions than ever before.
14th Annual Mighty Asian Moviemaking Marathon
The 14th Annual Mighty Asian Moviemaking Marathon (MAMM14) saw the return of Mayumi Yoshida and Nach Dudsdeemaytha for their second year as MAMM Creative Producers. VAFF’s signature short filmmaking competition began with the second annual VAFF Industry Insight Panel Series “Diversity in Filmmaking Day” (DIF) on June 23 at the Museum of Vancouver. Local industry professionals participated in four discussions about practical and theoretical topics, including a panel with past MAMM alumni now working in the Vancouver film and television industry.
For the second year, the MAMMentorships program was offered for the final 8 short film and 7 ultra-short teams. Participants received a full day of practical hands-on workshops on July 20 and continuing industry mentorship throughout production.
On August 31, 2019, the MAMM14 Gala Screening & Awards Presentation broke all-time attendance records and packed the 668-seat Vancouver Playhouse Theatre with eager short film enthusiasts. The five winning films can be seen again at our festival’s Canadian Shorts program on Sunday November 10.
VAFF Advocacy Campaign Programs
2019 also saw the introduction of two new programs. The Asians in Music Songwriting Competition received scores of entries of local songwriters each competing to make it onto a compilation album to be sent to professional music supervisors placing songs in film and television internationally. The 100 Stories Challenge, continuing in 2020, challenges participants to submit the hidden histories from family and friends as a video pitch, to uncover the untold legacy of Asians in Canada.
VAFF 2019 Brand Ambassadors
Our 2019 Festival again features the best of Asian diaspora cinema from Canada and around the world. We are proud to be supported by our 2019 Brand Ambassadors Ludi Lin (In A New York Minute, 2019, Aquaman, 2018, Power Rangers, 2017, Black Mirror, 2019) and Aliza Vellani (Riverdale, 2018, Little Mosque on the Prairie, 2007-2012), who can be seen in our festival artwork. Join us for four days of films, panels, parties, and live performances.
THE FUTURE, VAFF IS GOING TO VICTORIA!
The Vancouver Asian Film Festival (VAFF) is pleased to announce the expansion of its Diversity in Filmmaking Panel for the upcoming festival year. In the summer of 2020, VAFF will partner with TELUS STORYHIVE to bring its annual VAFF Industry Insight Panel Series “Diversity in Filmmaking Day” (DIF) to Victoria, B.C. to reach out and interact with a growing film community on Vancouver Island. Since 2018, VAFF has explored how people of colour are impacting various aspects of the filmmaking industry by hosting its signature VAFF Industry Insight Panel Series in Vancouver, BC. Since 1995, VAFF has celebrated the diversity and depth of Asian culture and identity in film. The festival looks forward to working with TELUS STORYHIVE to further promote the rise of Asian influence in film and media in the world.
Thank you to all of the audience members, sponsors, community partners, volunteers, team members, industry supporters, media and vendor partners, for being a part of this spectacular year of the Vancouver Asian Film Festival.
If you believe in our mission, we encourage you to contact us to become a sponsor or a donor at firstname.lastname@example.org . Together, we can ensure a–uthentic and diverse stories continue to be told and bring even more stories to screens both big and small.
Vincent Wong is the Creative Director at the Vancouver Asian Film Festival. Vincent has been with VAFF for the past nine festivals and is very proud to be part of this unique family of creative and passionate individuals. In his role with VAFF, he works to increase VAFF’s visibility to new and existing audiences through strong branding, strategic partnerships, promotions, effective communications and events, including participating as a Producer for the Mighty Asian Moviemaking Marathon in 2019. Vincent has worked in the non-profit sector for 18 years, and in the special events field for over 8 years, including roles in producing and planning festivals and concerts at the Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden, and as Manager of Marketing & Sales at Vancouver Opera. Among Vincent’s favourite things about Vancouver are its love of festivals, vibrant social communities, and its cultural diversity, aspects of the city that Vincent works hard to promote both in and out of VAFF.
Photography by Alisha Weng
This article was originally published as part of the VAFF 2019 Festival Program under the title “VAFF 2019 : A Year in Review”.