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New York Asian Film Festival 2015 Review
June 26th July 11th, 2015
The festival was attended by 18 international filmmakers and celebrity guests traveling from Hong Kong, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, and the US, headlined by this years NYAFF award recipients: Hong Kongs legendary director Ringo Lam (Lifetime Achievement Award), Hong Kong superstar Aaron Kwok (Star Asia Award), and Japanese actor Shota Sometani (Screen International Rising Star Award). AsiaFinest was on hand for most of the film screenings that featured a guest stars. We took hundreds of pictures and videos at the NYAFF 2015, so be sure to check them out. Below is a quick summary of the events that we covered during the NYAFF 2015.
NYAFF Opening Day: June 26th 2015
The opening day started off with HKETO Press Conference featuring Aaron Kwok and Ringo Lam in New York. NYAFFs Opening Night presentation was the North American Premiere of Philip Yungs Port of Call. The film centers on the brutal murder of a 16-year-old Hunan girl who moves to Hong Kong with her family and falls into prostitution. Winding through time and grounded by Christopher Doyles gauzy cinematography, the film follows both the story of the young girls descent into sex work and the grizzled detective (Aaron Kwok) who obsessively works to solve the murder. Kwok is astonishing here in a career-best performance, with all the tics and haggard body language of a man beaten down by the violence that threatens to drown him at every turn.
The opening night kicked off with an awesome percussion drum performance by the all female musician group Cobu. Cobu combines elements of the Japanese traditional Taiko drumming with rhythmic tap dancing. Cobu Pictures || Cobu Drum Video
Aaron Kwok attended the screening and was presented with Star Asia Award before the Port of Call movie screening. Aaron was very thankful for the Star Asia Award and spoke about his new movie Port of Call. Aaron Kwok came back the following day at the 2nd screening of Port of Call and stayed for a Q&A with the audience after the movie. We highly recommend that you watch our Q&A videos of Aaron Kwok. It quite entertaining and humorous.
AsiaFinest.com attended as many screening as we could fit in our schedule. We covered most of the films that had a special guest attending. Be sure to check out the pictures and Q&A videos that we covered from each film screening listed below.
RINGO LAM, 1987 | CAST: CHOW YUN-FAT, DANNY LEE, SUEN YUET, ROY CHEUNG
HONG KONG | CANTONESE WITH ENGLISH SUBTITLES | FORMAT: 35mm | 100 MINUTES
Ringo Lams classic heist-gone-bad flick is the movie that made Chow Yun-fat (playing an undercover cop) a star and provided Quentin Tarantino with the basis for Reservoir Dogs. The film features heartbreak to spare for the little people trying to eke out a living at the end of a gun. Director Ringo Lam attended the screening and was presented with the Lifetime Achievement Award. The City of Fire movie was show in it's original film. The original film was so old that part of the film burned in the projector midway through the City of Fire screening. A true classic film.
FUNUKE, SHOW SOME LOVE YOU LOSERS!
DAIHACHI YOSHIDA, 2007 | CAST: ERIKA SATO, MASATOSHI NAGASE, HIROMI NAGASAKU
JAPAN | JAPANESE WITH ENGLISH SUBTITLES | FORMAT: 35MM | 112 MINUTES
Seduction, persecution, prostitution, suicide, and more greet the Wago familys three siblings who return home for their parents funeral after theyre killed while trying to save a kitten. Yoshidas twisted, smart, and deftly handled first film is as black as a comedy can get, yet wrapped in a lighthearted exterior.
Director Daihachi Yoshida attended the screening and did a question and answer with audience members.
KABUKICHO LOVE HOTEL
RYUICHI HIROKI, 2014 | CAST: SHOTA SOMETANI, ATSUKO MAEDA, LEE EUN-WOO, ROY (SON IL-KWON)
JAPAN | JAPANESE AND KOREAN WITH ENGLISH SUBTITLES | FORMAT: DCP | 136 MINUTES
Taking place over 24 hours in a Tokyo love hotel, this steamy and poignant character-driven ensemble drama from director Ryuichi Hiroki (Vibrator) looks at ordinary people as they experience life-changing events.
Director Ryuichi Hiroki and star Shota Sometani attended the screening. Shota Sometani was presented with the Screen International Rising Star Award and did a question and answer with audience members after the movie.
SION SONO, 2014 | CAST: RYOHEI SUZUKI, DAIS YOUNG, NANA SEINO, SHUNSUKE DAITO, TAKUYA ISHIDA, YUI ICHIKAWA, MIKA KANO, SHOTA SOMETANI, SHOKO NAKAGAWA, RYUTA SATO
JAPAN | JAPANESE WITH ENGLISH SUBTITLES | FORMAT: DCP | 116 MINUTES Told almost entirely in hip-hop, Sion Sonos berserk rap musical about warring gangs in Tokyo is full of tanks, B-boy battles, and so many baroque visual flourishes that the entire movie feels like Versailles stabbing you in both eyes. Screen International Rising Award winner Star Shota Sometani attended the screening but only introduced the film.
TWO THUMBS UP
LAU HO-LEUNG, 2015 | CAST: FRANCIS NG, SIMON YAM, PATRICK TAM, MARK CHENG
HONG KONG | CANTONESE WITH ENGLISH SUBTITLES | FORMAT: DCP | 102 MINUTES
Old-school Hong Kong action-comedy at its finest, Two Thumbs Up stars Simon Yam and Francis Ng as ex-cons who disguise themselves as policemen to pull a heist. But it turns out they kind of like being cops...
Director Lau Ho-leung attended the screening and did a question and answer with audience members. The audience loved his M&M socks that he was wearing which he brought while he was here in New York City.
THE LAST REEL
KULIKAR SOTHO, 2014 | CAST: MA RYNET, ROUS MONY, DY SAVETH, HUN SOPHY
CAMBODIA | KHMER WITH ENGLISH SUBTITLES | FORMAT: DCP | 106 MINUTES
This gorgeous and engaging drama about a rebellious Cambodian girl determined to shoot the missing ending of a 40-year-old movie starring her mother is a meditation on Cambodias past and present, and the power of art. The director was scheduled to appear for this filming but unfortunately didn't get to make it.
ITS ALREADY TOMORROW IN HONG KONG
EMILY TING, 2014 | CAST: JAMIE CHUNG, BRYAN GREENBERG, RICHARD NG
HONG KONG/USA | ENGLISH | FORMAT: DCP | 78 MINUTES
This compelling walk-and-talk romance à la Richard Linklater, centered on two Hong Kong expats who randomly cross paths one night, is as much about the attraction between the leads as it is about the love of Hong Kong.
Director Emily Ting and actors Jamie Chung and Bryan Greenberg attended the screening and did a question and answer with audience members.
BOO JI-YOUNG, 2014 | CAST: YUM JUNG-AH, MOON JUNG-HEE, KIM YOUNG-AE, KIM KANG-WOO, HWANG JEONG-MIN, CHUN WOO-HEE
SOUTH KOREA | KOREAN WITH ENGLISH SUBTITLES | FORMAT: DCP | 103 MINUTES
In this pro-union flick, the 99% rise up after a bunch of female employees at a chain retail giant (think Wal-Mart) get laid off via text message. When they decide to go on strike, management calls in the thugs...
Director Boo Ji-young and producer Shim Jae-myung attended the screening and did a question and answer with audience members.
NAMEWEE, 2015 | CAST: NIRAB HOSSAIN, SAIFUL APEK, NAMEWEE, ATIKAH SUHAIME
MALAYSIA | MALAY, ENGLISH, MANDARIN, AND HOKKIEN WITH ENGLISH SUBTITLES |
FORMAT: DCP | 91 MINUTES
From the director of festival fave foodie flick Nasi Lemak 2.0 comes this wild and crazy Western full of musical numbers and humor so slaphappy itll leave your head spinning. It was banned in Malaysia for being too political, so were proud to screen it.
Director/actor/singer Namewee attended the screening and did a question and answer with audience members. Namewee introduced the movie and even took a selfie with the audience. He stayed around after the Banglasia screening to take pictures with his fans.
CLOSING NIGHT FILM
COIN LOCKER GIRL
NORTH AMERICAN PREMIERE
HAN JUN-HEE, 2015 | CAST: KIM HYE-SOO, KIM KO-EUN
SOUTH KOREA | KOREAN WITH ENGLISH SUBTITLES | 110 MINUTES
Straight outta Cannes comes this high velocity mash-up of Mommie Dearest and Goodfellas, Veteran Korean diva, Kim Hye-Soo (The Thieves) brings high caliber thesping to her star turn as the most toxic mommy on earth. Back in 1996, a corrupt cop in her employ found Il Young (Kim Ko-Eun, recipient of Rising Star Award at NYAFF 2013) abandoned in a coin locker, and he brought her to the criminal queen bee played by Kim Hye-Soo. Discovering that the foundling has a talent for mayhem, mom raises her up and trains her to go after the people who owe her money and snap their fingers like breadsticks. But, one day, her kid meets a guy shed rather not mutilate, and so she defies her adoptive moms orders. Hell hath no fury like a mother scorned, and soon theyre tearing the city apart as they work out their mother-daughter issues with fists, guns, and knives.
Director Han Jun-hee attended the screening and did a question and answer with audience members.
NYAFF was located conveniently at Film Society of Lincoln Centers Walter Reade Theate, as well as SVA Theatres Beatrice and Silas Theatres this year. The event ran smoothly, and NYAFF even had a prize drawing at most of the screening! We had a great time covering the event. We loved the diversity in the film selection at the New York Asian Film Festival 2015. There was something for everyone. We definitely highly recommend everyone try to attend next year film festival if they could. If you can't attend, be sure to watch the films that was selected for the film festival. A lot of the films are relatively unknown outside of their countries, so this gives the film a lot of exposure. It would be a shame if people missed out on some of these classic films.
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