The International Asian American Film Festival will celebrate its 45th anniversary this summer


The Asian American International Film Festival (AAIFF) will celebrate its 45th anniversary next month.

Originally established in 1978 by Asian CineVision, the film festival held its first annual celebration in 1978 at the Henry Street Settlement on New York’s Lower East Side. The festival premiered the works of artists Wayne Wang, Mira Nair, Marilou Diaz-Abaya and Ang Lee for the first time in the United States at their festivals. As the organization continues to grow in size, it is still committed to its original statement: representing the diaspora of Asian stories and storytellers. It is proudly known as “The First Home of Asian American Cinema”.

The 45th anniversary will feature a lineup of stories, documentaries and short films from 73 directors, 24 countries and 20 languages. Festival participants are storytellers, activists and those dedicated to preserving the historical roots of their culture.

Here are some highlights to look forward to: the New York premiere of “A Father’ Son,” a short film starring Tzi Ma and Ronny Chieng, based on author Henry Chang’s crime novel series featuring the detective of the NYPD Jack Yu.

They will also premiere “Dealing With Dad,” a feature film starring Ally Maki and Karan Soni family members dealing with a loved one’s spiraling depression.

The AAIFF will be responsible for the New York premiere of “Game of Thrones” and the directorial debut of “Star Wars” star Jessica Henwick. Her film “Bus Girl” follows a young woman who aspires to become a chef. Viewers will watch her navigate the world of high-end cooking.

“I want to continue to expand the expectations of what an Asian can be,” Henwick said. Her move into directing will give her and other Asian actors the chance to be seen as more than just a diversity quota that needs to be fulfilled.

“38 at the Garden,” recently acquired by HBO and produced by Oscar winners Travon Free and Samir Hernandez, will premiere. The film explores why even 10 years later, “Linsanity” and Jeremy Lin still mean so much to Asian Americans as they navigate an increasingly anti-Asian America.

Award-winning films include ‘A Night of Knowing Nothing’, which won Best Documentary at Cannes 2021, and ‘Code Name: Nagasaki’, a docu-hybrid which won the Grand Jury Award at Slamdance 2021 will also accompany fiction films.

The hybrid festival will run from August 3-13. Ticketing starts at $10 for online tickets and $16 for in-person tickets. All tickets and packages can be purchased here. It will take place at the Asia Society at 725 Park Ave.

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