Above: A scene from Happy Cleaners (Directed by: Julian Kim and Peter S. Lee)
May 22 - June 14, 2020
AIFF ASIAN AMERICANS TUESDAYS and Renee Tajima-Peña Weekend
Asian Americans are the fastest growing racial/ethnic group in the U.S. And their contributions to film are getting greater recognition every year. Two years ago Jon M. Chu’s Crazy Rich Asians, with a nearly all-Asian cast, earned over $35 million within five days of its release. In May of 2020, during Asian Pacific American Heritage Month, PBS will be launching a 5-part documentary television series called Asian Americans, with each part directed by Asian American independent filmmakers. The series producer, Academy Award-nominated director Renee Tajima-Peña, is being honored with the AIFF2020 Rogue Award and will present two films in the festival program: My America...or Honk if You Love Buddha (1997) and No Más Bebés (2015). On Wednesday nights, AIFF2020 will feature new Asian American independent narrative and documentary features.
Above: A scene from Take Out Girl (Directed by: Hisonni Johnson)
Featured Asian American-themed Films:
Q&A’s with filmmakers and guests follow every screening!
Directed by Julian Kim and Peter S. Lee
Screening Tuesday, May 26 for 24 hours
Happy Cleaners is a film about the Korean American Choi Family living and surviving in Flushing, Queens. It observes their day-to-day lives as they navigate through their respective struggles, cultural clashes, and inner angst, all while trying to keep the family dry cleaning business afloat.
Directed by Hisonni Johnson
Screening in Oregon only, Tuesday, June 2 for 24 hours
Take Out Girl is about a desperate 20-year-old Asian American girl economically trapped in a crime-ridden, gang-infested LA neighborhood. Inspired by a true story, the film observes how she parlays food delivery expertise from her family’s Chinese restaurant into a profitable hustle for a local drug lord, as she dreams of moving her family business to start a new life in the burbs. The film’s African American director created the film with Asian American writers, producers, and actors, and a soundtrack comprised entirely of Asian American hip hop artists, including hip hop sensations Raja Kumari and $tupid Young.
Directed by Ursula Liang
Screening in Oregon only, Tuesday, June 9 from 7pm to 11pm
Down a Dark Stairwell is set in motion by a tragic police-involved shooting. Two communities of color navigate fraught perceptions of injustice, inequality, and discrimination in the eyes of the law. When a Chinese American police officer kills an unarmed black man in a darkened stairwell of a New York City housing project, it sets off a firestorm of emotion and fractured calls for justice
Showing in the Short Stories and Docs program:
Directed by Carlo Nasisse, Luka Yuanyuan Yang
Screening for the duration of the festival, included with subscription
This 30-minute film follows Coby Yee, a 92-year-old retired nightclub dancer and icon from San Francisco Chinatown, and Stephen King, an experimental filmmaker 20 years her junior, who have found an unlikely love in each other through matching outfits, dance, and art. As their last dance performance in Las Vegas approaches, Coby and Stephen prepare a final routine.
Showing during Renee Tajima-Peña Rogue Award Weekend:
A rollicking ride across the changing terrain of American culture, this odyssey recaptures the spirit of Jack Kerouac's novel On the Road, Asian American style.
June 7: No Más Bebés
The story of immigrant mothers who sued county doctors, the state, and the U.S. government after they were pushed into sterilizations while giving birth at the Los Angeles County-USC Medical Center during the 1960s and ‘70s.