Austin, Asian, and American
Austin Asian American Film Festival calls action on the 15th annual event this weekend
In the wake of the award season dominance of Everything Everywhere All At Once, Asian filmmaking is big news. Austin got to premier the game changing film at South by Southwest in 2022, and now it's time to see what other Asian American film genius is coming out of this city.
Existing far beyond the current vogue, the Austin Asian American Film Festival (AAAFF) is already in its 15th year. Its scope covers films by Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander (AANHPI) creatives, both supporting stories from the diaspora and lowering barriers for people in the community to find success in filmmaking.
AAAFF kicks off today, June 21, and closes Sunday, June 25. It all happens at the AFS Cinema, which is run by the Austin Film Society. This partner organization works in public television, film screenings, career programs, and more to provide similar opportunities to a variety of community groups.
A red carpet on June 23 will introduce Austin to filmmaker and documentarian PJ Raval (Kapwa Texas); film director, New Yorker video producer, and former AAAFF media director Christopher Hwisu (Missile); film director and head of filmmaker success for Seed&Spark Meghan Ross (Here to Make Friends); Austin-based actress and improv comic Yola Lu; and director Chloe Abrahams (The Taste of Mango) with her mother, the subject of the film, among others.
Starring Jerry As Himself serves as the opening night film, bending the expectations of genre and prompting questions about what constitutes a true story — in this case, one about a retiree who is recruited as a Chinese spy. Closing night goes to Arnold Is a Model Student อานนเป็นนักเรียนตัวอย่าง อานนเป็นนักเรียนตัวอย่าง, a serious story told with a comedic overlay, inspired by Thailand's "Bad Student" movement that calls into question how competitive and rigid schools can be.
The 26 total selections are political, intimate, true, fictional, short, and overall a diverse cross section of AANHPI experience — whether the story seems unique to the community or represents something shared among most people. There are also a few events for networking or just enjoying a night out, like the opening night party and a "Wine Down" event at the Violet Crown Wine Bar.
A full schedule, individual ticket links, and badge sales ($140, or $88 for students) are all available at aaafilmfest.org.