Preview: Austin Asian American Film Festival 2017

The schedule for this year includes groundbreaking documentaries and uniquely-voiced narrative features.

Darrel Gamotin in WEXFORD PLAZA.

December is almost upon us, which means the Austin Asian American Film Festival draws nigh! Based out of their new venue at the AFS Cinema, this year’s festival is set for December 7–10. While there is no new work from Koreeda on the schedule (see my review of After the Storm from last year’s fest), the programming includes a variety of feature films, shorts, and documentaries. The full schedule can be found here, but these are a few works worth highlighting:

Opening the festival on Thursday, Dec. 7 is new documentary The Chinese Exclusion Act. From filmmakers Ric Burns and Li-Shin Yu, this 2.5+ hour work goes deep into the history of the racist legislation and the impact it made on immigration. The 6:45pm screening is free & open to the public, with priority seating for pass & badgeholders. It will eventually play on PBS as part of the American Experience programming. [more info/tickets]


Canadian filmmaker Joyce Wong’s Wexford Plaza plays Friday, Dec. 8, at 6:30pm. The awkward comedy centers around lonely strip-mall security worker Betty (Reed Asselstein) and cute bartender Danny (Darrel Gamotin). Wexford Plaza has been making the festival rounds and racking up awards. Its AAAFF screening will include narrative short, Millie, from director Jeesu Kim. [more info/tickets]

Saturday night, Dec. 9, there is a special screening of the award winning 1987 documentary, Who Killed Vincent Chin? This seminal work looks into the 1982 murder in Detroit, the trial of Chin’s killer, and the civil rights movement it sparked within the Asian American community. One of the filmmakers, Christine Choy, will be in attendance for a Q&A afterwards. [more info/tickets]


The closing film on Sunday, Dec. 10, will be Argentinian drama The Future Perfect. This work from Nele Wohlatz, being co-presented at the fest through Cine Las Americas, introduces the viewer to young Xiaobin (Xiaobin Zhang). Xiaobin works in a market and signs up for lessons to improve her Spanish skills. Given that the title of the film refers to a verb tense, you can tell that language will be integral to this narrative. Short Mandarin Diamond will play before the feature. [more info/tickets]

The 2017 Austin Asian American Film Festival runs Thursday, Dec. 7-Sun, Dec. 10 at AFS Cinema. Badges and passes can be purchased on their website.

Previous post Shout! Factory Ventures INTO THE NIGHT
Next post The Dream is Still Alive with the DREAMGIRLS Extended Blu-Ray