After a two-year hiatus, the Dallas Asian Film Festival is back. Beginning this Thursday, July 21 at the Texas Theater, the 21st edition of the festival offers a line-up of 16 Asian-made feature films, as well as 11 short films.
Thomas Schubert will be executive director this year and Paul Theiss as the festival’s main programmer. Special guest programmers Justina Yuriko Walford, who is the director of programming for the Oxford Film Festival and the Billy the Kid Film Festival, and Frank Yan, co-director of programming for CineCin, will lead the festival’s innovations .
The non-profit festival has screened over 400 Asian films in the 15 years since its inception. The organizers are delighted to be able to resume regular programming after the pandemic forced them to miss the last two scheduled events.
“Our board and staff are excited about the prospects of returning to our regular July timeslot,” Schubert said in a statement, “and we’re taking this edition of the film festival to look at what we’re doing under a different angle and a new approach. AFFD has always been a standout event for Dallas moviegoers, showcasing exciting film and cinema at DFW, and this year we also hope to shake up the event aspect of the film festival at our return.
The festival’s former executive director, Cecilia Lai, remains on the festival’s board as legal counsel. Alicia Chang, who also served as executive director in the past, now heads the festival’s advisory board.
Additionally, John Wildman, founder of the online movie publishing MoviesGoneWildcontributes to the marketing of the film festival and makes this four-day event a “festival” in every sense of the word.
“This year, a big effort was made to bring in some of the filmmakers,” says Wildman. “We have Tom Huang, who made deal with dadand we have Christine Chen, who directed Erzuliaand many others.
The festival will open with the Wenxiong Xing-led too cool to kill at 7:30 p.m., Thursday, July 21. The following days, other films will be screened at the Angelika Film Center in Dallas.
“In addition to the filmmakers in the lineup, we’ve also invited all of the prominent female directors based in the Dallas-Fort Worth area to walk this red carpet on Sunday. That’s a big deal to me.” –John Wildman
One of the festival’s most anticipated films is deal with dadwhich will be screened on Saturday, July 23 at 4 p.m. It tells the story of Margaret Chang (Alli Maki), who returns to her hometown with her brothers (Hayden Szeto, Peter S. Kim) to deal with her father’s diagnosis of clinical depression.
“The problem is that they like it better [depressed]says Wildman of the film. “So it’s a question of, ‘Do we try to fix him or do we leave him alone because he’s a little nicer like that? “”
Throughout the four days, the Dallas Asian Film Festival will host red carpet appearances from the filmmakers. On Sunday July 24, the closing day of the festival, the program will be exclusively composed of films written, produced and/or directed by women filmmakers. One of the movies is Erzulia, which tells the story of four women who accidentally summon a water goddess while on a camping retreat in southern Louisiana. Wildman describes the film as a “feminist mermaid thriller”.
“I think the festival has always had great female filmmakers throughout the program,” says Wildman, “But actually making it a point to feature them for an entire day of programming – that’s a big deal. In addition to the filmmakers in the lineup, we also invited all the prominent filmmakers based in the Dallas-Fort Worth area to walk this red carpet on Sunday.That’s a big deal to me.