The Asian Film Festival of Dallas (AFFD) presents the 21st edition of the AFFD festival July 21-24. The opening night selection is Wenxiong Xing’s “Too Cool to Kill,” and the closing night selection is Roshan Sethi’s “7 Days.” Spotlight screenings include Park Hoon-Jung’s “The Witch 2: The Other One,” and Shô Miyake’s “Small, Slow but Steady.”
AFFD will screen 16 feature films (12 Narrative, 4 Documentary), and 11 short films as the popular film festival makes a big return to theaters and in-person events after a two-year hiatus. Screenings are held at the Angelika Film Center Dallas (5321 E. Mockingbird Lane, #230), and the Texas Theatre (231 Jefferson Blvd.)
This year’s edition of the festival marks the first with new leadership, including Executive Director Thomas Schubert and Lead Programmer Paul Theiss. New innovations are led by Special Guest Programmers Justina Walford (Programming Director, Oxford Film Festival and the Billy the Kid Film Festival) and Frank Yan (Co-Director of Programming, CineCina). They include a tighter, more condensed festival schedule, and a Saturday evening Red Carpet event for filmmakers and press. A Sunday day-long celebration of female filmmakers, and a reinvigorated outreach to their base audiences throughout the DFW area are also new additions, as the film festival reconnects with physical screenings and events.
AFFD Executive Director
New AFFD Executive Director Thomas Schubert, said, “Our board and staff are excited about the prospects of returning to our regular July timeslot and we are taking advantage of this edition of the film festival to look at what we do through a different lens and a fresh approach. AFFD has always been a signature event for Dallas film lovers, introducing exciting films and cinema to DFW, and this year we hope to shake up the event aspect of the film festival in our return, as well.”
Opening Night at the Texas Theatre on July 21 features Wenxiong Xing’s Chinese action comedy Too Cool to Kill. The Well Go USA release follows an aspiring comedian and actor who receives an invitation from a famous actress to play her leading man. However, the new gig soon lands him directly in the middle of a dangerous conspiracy.
New Lead Programmer Paul Theiss added, “We made no assumptions with our programming this year, prioritizing films and filmmakers that would inspire audiences to come back for that big screen experience. To that end, adding a handful of films from our guest programmers will also add surprises and new perspectives to the schedule.”
As the film festival heads back to its traditional home location at the Angelika Film Center Dallas, Friday and Saturday’s Spotlight screenings present the kind of films that AFFD has built its crowd-pleasing reputation on. Park Hoon-Jung’s The Witch 2: The Other One, another Well Go USA release, is the highly anticipated sequel to the popular Korean sci-fi action thriller The Witch: Subversion. This time, the story focuses on a mysterious girl who is the sole survivor of a bloody raid on the research facility behind the top-secret Witch Program. She and a pair of civilians try to stay one step ahead of assassins tasked with locating and silencing the girl.
AFFD Saturday Spotlight Selection
Saturday’s Spotlight selection is one of CineCina’s Frank Yan’s contributions to this year’s lineup. Shô Miyake’s Japanese drama Small, Slow but Steady is about a hearing-impaired woman whose dreams of becoming a professional boxer are threatened by the closure of her boxing club. The film has been described as a pandemic movie, a sports movie, and a mediation on the power of community—all rolled into one. The film premiered at the Berlin FF.
Sunday’s screenings will highlight and celebrate female filmmakers, culminating in a screening of Roshan Shethi’s Spirit Award nominee 7 Days. Produced by prolific Dallas filmmaker Liz Cardenas, the relationship comedy/drama looks at Ravi and Rita, who find their pre-arranged date, organized by their traditional Indian parents, turning into a never-ending experience together as they are forced to shelter in place due to the pandemic.
The evening concludes with Justina Walford’s contribution to AFFD’s programming: a late-night screening of Christine Chen’s mermaid revenge thriller, Erzulie. In the film, four besties reconnect at a backwater resort, but can’t shake their troubles until they summon a legendary mermaid goddess who is rumored to rule the local waters. After discovering the bloody aftermath from Erzulie “saving” them, not to mention the mermaid herself, the women race to cover their tracks and distance themselves from the creature they summoned.
Tickets to Asian Film Festival Dallas
To purchase badges, tickets and for more information please visit asianfilmdallas.com/. The Asian Film Festival of Dallas (AFFD) is a 501©(3) nonprofit dedicated to celebrating and supporting emerging and established Asian and Asian-American filmmakers and sharing the rich diversity of Asian culture through the medium of cinema. Over the last 20+ years, the festival has provided opportunities for over 400 Asian and Asian-American filmmakers to share their vision, often providing the only venue for their films to be shown in Dallas. The films have also allowed festival goers a chance to experience other lives and cultures without leaving their seats.