The 2012 San Diego Asian Film Festival (SDAFF) runs November 1-9, 2012 at the Mission Valley UltraStar Cinemas (7510 Hazard Center Drive, San Diego, CA 92108). As one of the largest film exhibitions of its kind in North America with more than 150 films from 20 countries this year’s Festival features exclusive North American and West coast premieres, screening locations throughout San Diego County, a lifetime tribute to FIVE FINGERS OF DEATH director Chung Chang-wha, and a Gala Awards Dinner.
- Opening Night film on Thursday, November 1 at the North Park Birch Theatre with the award-winning documentary DON’T STOP BELIEVIN’: EVERYMAN’S JOURNEY, about all-American rock band Journey’s search for a new lead singer, and their controversial but utterly spectacular find: a formerly homeless cover-band frontman named Arnel Pineda of the Philippines. Director Ramona Diaz is scheduled to attend.
- Centerpiece film on Sunday, November 4 at UltraStar Mission Valley with the powerful narrative film, EDEN, starring Jamie Chung (Hangover 2, Sucker Punch) and Beau Bridges (The Descendants, Brothers & Sisters). EDEN is based on the true story of Chong Kim, a Korean American who was kidnapped into an international sex trafficking ring. Chung, Kim, and director Megan Griffiths are scheduled to attend.
- Closing Night film on Sunday, November 9 at UltraStar Mission Valley with the West Coast Premiere of Japanese romantic comedy LOVE STRIKES!. With its nervy Edgar Wright dazzle, LOVE STRIKES! is a romantic comedy for the neurotics, the romantics, and the new media junkies. It’s for the men who want to see the most insecure versions of themselves score, and for the women who think it’s cute when nerdy guys squirm.
San Diego Asian Film Festival expands its screening locations reaching North County and Uptown and slowly becoming a city -and county-wide film festival. For the first time since 2001, five different locations will serve as host to Festival films including an Opening Night at North Park Birch Theater, Taiwanese Film Showcase at University of California San Diego, Cinepolis Del Mar, and Museum of Photographic Arts. The central theater location will be located at UltraStar Cinemas Mission Valley at Hazard Center.
SDAFF pays tribute to Director Chung Chang-Wha with a Lifetime Achievement award. In 1972, Warner Bros. sought a film to capitalize on America’s excitement for TV’s Green Hornet and Kung Fu. Enter Chung Chang-wha, a 19-year veteran in the Korean film industry turning out spectacular melodramas, swordsplay films, and costume pictures. The result was FIVE FINGERS OF DEATH which, under Warners’ watch, became an international sensation that remained on the North American box office charts for nearly three months. For a foreign production in a xenophobic market, the film was an unprecedented success that precipitated a two-year kung fu craze. Today, it continues to be emulated in films like Kill Bill and The Man with the Iron Fists. Director Chung brought a jolt of energy to Hong Kong (and beyond) with his craft and his cosmopolitan smarts. For his art, for his passion, and for his imprint on world cinema, the San Diego Asian Film Festival is proud to award Chung Chang-wha its Lifetime Achievement Award.
Gala Awards Dinner on Saturday, November 3, at Town & Country Hotel in Mission Valley (500 Hotel Circle North, San Diego, CA), presented by Wells Fargo. An estimated 700 community and business leaders, and celebrities including George Takei, will attend as the Festival announces its top films, plus a live auction with business class tickets on Japan Airlines, and special performances from ALLEGIANCE THE MUSICAL, Culture Shock, and Goh Nakamura. Proceeds benefit REEL VOICES for at-risk youth, and other year-round programs. Scheduled to emcee: comedian Randall Park.
As always, the San Diego Asian Film Festival premieres many of Asia’s hottest films. Notable North American Premieres include NUCLEAR NATION (Berlin Film Festival, Hong Kong International Film Festival), ARCHITECTURE 101 (one of the biggest Korean hits of the year), and CHA CHA FOR TWINS (Best Narrative Film, Taipei Film Festival). Major West Coast Premieres include the latest from the world’s top directors: Apichatpong Weerasethakul’s MEKONG HOTEL, Sion Sono’s THE LAND OF HOPE, Kim Jee-woon’s DOOMSDAY BOOK, and Yoshihiro Nakamura’s CHIPS. SDAFF is also proud to host the West Coast Premieres of some of the most talked-about discoveries on the international festival circuit: APPARITION (Philippines), SLEEPLESS NIGHT (South Korea), HENGE (Japan), LATE SUMMER (USA), MEMORIES LOOK AT ME (China).
You can get tickets to the 2012 San Diego Asian Film Festival here.
2012 San Diego Asian Film Festival Trailer