This year’s San Diego Asian Film Festival (SDAFF) will present more than 140 films in 18 languages. The 10-day festival runs Nov. 3–12 at several venues around San Diego, including Mission Valley.
Pacific Arts Movement, presenter of the annual SDAFF, has selected films and programs touching on themes of injustice interwoven in immigration, family, art, sexuality and even the music industry. The SDAFF is known for attracting casts, crews, directors and viewers alike who enjoy Asian and Asian-American thrillers, comedies, documentaries, dramas, horror films and more.
The SDAFF will be at six venues including the film festival’s home base of the UltraStar Mission Valley at Hazard Center; opening and closing night films at the Museum of Contemporary Art (MCASD) in La Jolla; special programs at UCSD’s Calit2 and the Museum of Photographic Arts; its gala and awards ceremony at Westin Gaslamp Quarter; and its final day at the historic La Paloma Theatre in Encinitas.
Highlights include the following events:
Opening night film: “The Tiger Hunter”
Nov. 3, 7 p.m., MCASD
It’s 1979 and Sami arrives in the U.S. with a leisure suit, a new job and a suitcase full of expectations. He loses two of those three within hours of touching down, so it’ll take grit, ingenuity and some hilarious friends to get back on his feet and, if the stars align, impress his sweetheart back in India.
Director Lena Khan is scheduled to attend
Centerpiece film: World premiere of “A.K.A. Seoul”
Nov. 6, 5:30 p.m., UltraStar
Five Korean adoptees raised all around the world arrive in Seoul, where their complex identities — professional, sexual, cultural — emerge out of their interactions with the culture and terrain of the city. “A.KA. Seoul” rewrites the adoption narrative beyond the tearful reunions and towards bold new ones of self-determination and self-expression.
Director Dan Matthews is scheduled to attend.
“Randall Park in Shorts”
Nov. 6, 3 p.m., UltraStar
Before he was Louis Huang on “Fresh off the Boat” or Kim Jong-un in “The Interview,” Randall Park was the undisputed king of comedy. Join him on a walk down memory lane lined with conjoined twins, crime-fighting babies and sir-fried cocaine.
Randall Park is scheduled to appear.
Nov. 5, 2:45 p.m., UltraStar
Four Asian-American rappers seek to carve their place on the music map, only to find that self-doubt and a reluctant industry often get in the way of their passion for spitting fiery lyrics, weaving catchy beats and flaunting a bold new fact for hip-hop.
Rappers Awkwafina, Dumbfounded, Rekstizzy and Lyricks are scheduled to appear.
Gala Awards Night and Afterparty
Nov. 5, 7 p.m., Westin Gaslamp Quarter
More than 600 celebrities, community and business leaders will attend as the community leaders and celebrity presenters announce film award winners. Proceeds will benefit Pac-Arts’ Reel Voices, a documentary filmmaking program for high school students in the San Diego area and other year-round programs.
Closing night film: “Mifune: The Last Samurai”
Nov. 11, 7 p.m., MCASD
Actor, legend and longtime Akira Kurosawa collaborator Toshiro Mifune is perhaps Japanese cinema’s best-known international star. Oscar-winning director Steven Okazaki pays tribute to Mifune’s craft and legacy in this documentary, as much a portrait of an artist as it is a history of one of Japan’s major contributions to world cinema: the samurai film.
Oscar winner and director Steven Okazaki is scheduled to attend.
Tickets will be available online and can also be purchased on-site at specific screenings one hour before show time. For all screenings at Ultrastar, tickets can be purchased at the box office (members $9 or $12) starting Oct. 28. Student, military, senior and group discounts are available at the door.
Opening, centerpiece and closing-night tickets are $15 for general, $12 for members. Limited All-Fest passes are available for $250. For ticketing info, full film details and schedule, please visit festival.sdaff.org on or after Oct. 10; or call 619-400-5911.
For more information about Pacific Arts Movement, visit pacarts.org.