Unlike its LA counterpart, there are few posers at the San Diego Asian Film Festival.
Throughout the years, SDAFF has established itself as the film fest with heart and true commitment to the community. Lee Ann Kim, former star news anchor, has committed full time to the executive directorship of Pacific Arts Movement which presents the festival.
A people person, Kim has always been in touch with the community. That differs from others who like to sashay from above and have burned bridges in turn.
No, Kim is not afraid of getting her hands dirty and being an advocate. Whether it be the displacement of Asian Pacific Americans in theater or the nurturing of Asian Pacific Islander talent, Kim’s passion in amplifying the API voice is ever evident.
Kim founded the film festival in 2000. It has grown exponentially, named by USA Today as one of the ten reasons to visit San Diego.
For the 14th annual fest, 140 films from 15 countries over 10 days will be presented.
Opening the festival is the huge Chinese hit, Finding Mr. Right. In attendance will be Xue Xiaolu, the director of the romantic comedy about a pregnant Chinese rich girl who comes to Seattle to have a baby.
The centerpiece is the documentary, When I Walk by Jason DaSilva. The filmmaker, also scheduled to attend, turns the lens on himself and his experiences of the early stages of MS.
Local heroes Ted Fu, Wesley Chan, and Philip Wang, better known as Wong Fu Productions, will be feted on their 10th anniversary. A panel and presentation along with a party will take place at their alma mater, UCSD.
And if you missed American Revolutionary: The Evolution of Grace Lee Boggs, it will have a screening at SDAFF. The now-98 year old’s indefatigable spirit and outspokenness have made her a force in civil rights.
SDAFF’s commitment to introducing new Asian and Asian Pacific American talent is evident. Programming includes a section of Asian American filmmakers as well as a showcase of discoveries from Asia.
There are also sections focusing on world class directors as well as a late-night series.
Some of the films having their North American debuts are Hong Kong breakdancing hit The Way We Dance, award-winning Filipino romance If Only, and Homesick from Japan.
And the panel, Separated at Birth, focuses on two young filmmakers, Daniel Matthews and Samantha Futerman who found their twins with the assistance of New Media.
The San Diego Asian Film Festival runs November 7-16, 2013 at various venues throughout the County and at the Digiplex Mission Valley.