OCT 19 - 22, 2017

The Boston Asian American Film Festival (BAAFF) empowers the Asian American community through film by showcasing Asian American experiences and serving as a resource to filmmakers and the Greater Boston Community. Our film selections highlight both historic and contemporary stories in an effort to deepen understanding and appreciation of Asian American experiences. Hosted in Boston, Massachusetts, this festival attracts people from all over the country every year.

Community is built upon the contributions of those who participate. Our 2017 festival theme is Liberty & Justice – a showcase of inspiring stories about self-empowerment, activists, and civic responsibility advocates who find their voice to be a catalyst of change and in turn motivate change within ourselves.

Join the Boston Asian American Film Festival on October 19-22 to enjoy a wide range of short films, feature films, documentaries, and panels while supporting your local Asian American Community! Q&A with filmmakers follow most screenings.

Shorts Program

FRI, OCT 20 @ 7:00PM

Shorts Program: Family Matters

7 shorts, 84 min

Family Matters. And matters of the family are often the most complicated. These short films invite us to look to our past to help paint our future. They examine the ups and downs and trials and tribulations of being authentic to traditional roots while navigating modern day love and relationships. Photographs and memories illuminate our stories. The unexpected turns in our stories define our journey, our awakening and our impact.

According to My Mother by Cathy Yan
Distance by Craig Nisperos
Sameer and the Giant Samosa by Faroukh Virani
It is what it is by Cyrus Yoshi Tabar
I’m here, too by Eunsoo Jeong
For the Love of Mangos by Kayla Wong
NGUYENing - The Lee Nguyen Story by Alfonso Bui

Co-Presented by NetSap, QAPA, Boston Desi Connection and BOSFilipinos

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aka Seoul

FRI, OCT 20 @ 9:30PM

aka Seoul

By Jon Maxwell
76 min | Documentary | Korean-American
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“AKA SEOUL” is a follow up to the documentary series “AKA DAN,” which chronicled the 2013 journey of alternative rapper and Korean adoptee Dan Matthews as he reconnected with his biological family, including a twin brother he never knew about. Three years later, audiences will follow Matthews and four other Korean adoptees from diverse backgrounds as they visit Korea during the summer of 2016 and shed light on other aspects of the adoptee identity.

Co-Presented by Boston Korean Adoptees, QAPA and Wicked Queer

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Beyond Orientalism

SAT, OCT 21 @ 10:30AM


Beyond Orientalism: The Boston Forum

Presented by Boston Asian American Film Festival and New England Foundation for the Arts
Co-Presented by Lyric Stage and SpeakEasy

Beyond Orientalism: The Forum is a national initiative designed to explore the topics of misrepresentation onstage and in the media, diversity and inclusivity in the performing arts as it relates specifically to API (Asian Pacific Islander) issues, and practical action steps to advance racial equity. Beyond Orientalism: The Boston Forum will take place on Saturday, October 21st from 10:30 a.m. at the Paramount Center Bright Family Screening Room. This event will be a launch for the first network of API artists and arts organizations in the Greater Boston area and will feature a performance by Flying Orb Productions from Lowell and guest speakers. Join the free and public forum on October 21st to celebrate the launch! The event will be livestreamed on the HowlRound TV network at howlround.tv.

Tickets for this event are complimentary and do not guarantee access on the day of the event which will be granted on a first come, first served basis. Please plan to arrive early to this event to guarantee your seats.

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Finding Kukan

SAT, OCT 21 @ 1:00PM

Finding Kukan

By Robin Lung
76 min | Documentary | Chinese 

Filmmaker Robin Lung investigates the case of Li Ling-Ai, the un-credited female producer of KUKAN, a landmark color film that revealed the atrocities of World War II China to American audiences. KUKAN has the rare honor of being the first ever American feature documentary to receive an Academy Award® in 1942.

Q&A with Director Robin Lung
Co-Presented by Women in Motion and CHSNE

About the Director

“I started this film project as a way of bringing visibility to an inspirational Asian female, but I grew to realize that the missing faces of Asian women in popular culture only mirror much deeper and disturbing exclusions of their stories from our historical records.

Li Ling-Ai’s story not only highlights the systemic racism and sexism that still exists in Hollywood, it provides an inspirational rallying cry to women and people of color to fight to change the system. In my work, I hope to leave a legacy that will empower other women and people of color to become media makers, and that they, in turn, will create work that corrects the inequities and injustices that still exist in how we record history and tell stories in America.” - ROBIN LUNG

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Shorts Program

SAT, OCT 21 @ 3:15PM

Shorts Program: Life & Liberty: Resilience & Righteousness

6 shorts, 90 min

Rising above expectations. Hurdling over barriers of sterotype. Breaking through the bamboo ceiling. Life & Liberty: Resilience & Righteousness is an inspirational collections of shorts depicting the triumphs over social injustice…racism, xenophobia, misnomers and judgement. Following one’s dreams against all invisible challenges.

Dancing Through Life - The Dorothy Toy Story by Rick Quan
The FBI Blew Up My Ice Skates by Sara Zia Ebrahimi and Lindsey Martlin
The Second Province by Zorinah Juan
Other by Peter Trinh
Welcome to the World by Albert Chan
The Orange Story by Erika Street

Co-Presented by NE JACL, Bos Filipinos and ASPIRE

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Resistance at Tule Lake

SAT, OCT 21 @ 6:30PM

Resistance at Tule Lake

By Konrad Aderer
78 min | Documentary | Japanese-American
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Resistance at Tule Lake tells the long-suppressed story of 12,000 Japanese Americans who dared to resist the U.S. government's program of mass incarceration during World War II. Branded as 'disloyals' and re-imprisoned at Tule Lake Segregation Center, they continued to protest in the face of militarized violence, and thousands renounced their U.S. citizenship. Giving voice to experiences that have been marginalized for over 70 years, this documentary challenges the nationalist, one-sided ideal of wartime 'loyalty.'

Q&A with Director Konrad Aderer
Co-Presented by NEJACL, UMass Boston Cinema Studies Program, National Parks Project and CHSNE

About the Director

Konrad Aderer (Director/Producer) is a Japanese American filmmaker whose documentaries have focused on immigrants affected by detention and deportation. His feature documentary Enemy Alien received a Courage in Media Award from CAIR and Pacific Asian Community Alliance Courage Award. His short Rising Up: The Alams screened internationally and in the U.S. at venues including BAM and MoMA’s Documentary Fortnight. Under his nonprofit multimedia project Life or Liberty (lifeorliberty.org), founded in 2002, his work has been supported by Center for Asian American Media, Open Society Institute, and NYSCA grants. Konrad holds a Master’s in Sociology from Brooklyn College.  

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Blasian Narratives

SAT, OCT 21 @ 9:00PM

Blasian Narratives

By Jivan Atman
51 min | Documentary/Live-Performance
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Blasian Narratives is a multi-media "docu-theatre" project that intimately explores the intersection and identities of mixed race Black & Asian individuals through live performances and film.

Q&A with cast members
Co-Presented by Roxbury International Film Festival, East Meets Words and Happy World Movie Project

About the Director

Jivan Atman is an emerging media-maker and performative director. Jivan strives for innovative new ways of mixing media that accompany transformative experiences. His focus is in emotional literacy and restorative justice through media and live performances as channels. His works prioritize elevating consciousness through introspecting identity, race, gender, class, sexuality and spirituality. He has studied at Smith College, San Francisco Art Institute, Stanford University, and is a graduate of Morehouse College.  

Film preceded by:
Law & Order: White Fragility Unit
By Nicole Tay
Running time: 14 min | Narrative
With racism at an all time high in the US, members of an elite squad known as the White Fragility Special Victims Unit set out to help people of color in the fight against social injustice.

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Chinatown Speaks

SUN, OCT 22 @ 12:30PM

Chinatown Speaks

Videos from the Boston Chinatown Heritage Project
64 min

Chinatown Heritage Project with CSTO

In the summer of 2017, CHSNE and CSTO joined forces to preserve the changing landscape of Chinatown. Working with local filmmakers, historians and mentors, Teen Interns from CSTO’s Teen Program created six short films that tell the story of the people, places, and moments that have made Chinatown the thriving community center that it is. Special thanks to Kenneth Eng, Amanda Huang, Xiao Xiao, and Alan Kwan along with all of our wonderful Teen Interns.

Senior Care by Elizabeth Figueroa, Christina Zheng, Eric Chan
“Art in the Eye of the Community” (Art/Murals) by Wendy Han, Mei Juan Ruan, Jailene Guzman
Library by Yuqing Lin, Favian Liu, Jian Han Wang
Recreation by Richard Zhao, Armani Faustin, Jason Liu
Restaurants by Grace Tsoi, Alex Cheung, Susan Han
Old Quincy School: Kelly Chen, Jordan Wong, Wendy Zhu, Kelly Fong

Chinatown Atlas
The Boston Chinatown Atlas is a collaborative project led by MIT Professor Emeritus Tunney with the input of many community members, organizations, and individuals. The project documents and explores Chinatown’s growth and change through time as told by personal stories, photos, maps, and interactive features. These short videos by Ken Eng further illustrate Chinatown’s eras, and provide another way for the public to access its unique history.

All shorts by Kenneth Eng
1870 - Beginning of Exclusion Era - Shoe Factory
Exclusion Era - Bachelor Society
Laundries - Restaurants
1903 Raids - Tongs
Emergence of Families - Education
WW2 - End of Exclusion - To The Future

Q&A with Kenneth Eng, Amanda Huang, Teen representatives
Co-Presented by National Parks Project and CHSNE

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I Can I Will I Did

SUN, OCT 22 @ 2:30PM

I Can I Will I Did

By Nadine Truong
114 min | Narrative | Korean-American
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Depressed foster youth Ben is bullied and as a result gets into a car accident. His recovery process is slow, until he meets Adrienne, a wheelchair bound fellow patient at the hospital who breathes hope into his life and introduces to him her grandfather, Taekwondo Grand Master Kang. Kang not only teaches him how to walk and get back up on his feet, but also how to take charge of his own life and ultimately to face his inner demons. 

Q&A with Actress Ellie Lee
Co-Presented by IFF and UMass Boston Cinema Studies Program 

About the Director

A German-born Vietnamese filmmaker, Nadine Truong worked in talent representation and production prior to earning her MFA degree in Directing in 2009 from the American Film Institute Conservatory. She received her BA degree in Anthropology from UCLA in 2003 and splits her time between Los Angeles and New York.

Truong's 2017 indie drama I CAN I WILL I DID marks the first time she is in both the writer and director seat for a feature length film. Starring Tony Award nominee Mike Faist as the main protagonist, the film was a finalist for the Grand Jury Award for Excellence in Narrative Feature Filmmaking at the Los Angeles Asian American Film Festival. At Florida’s Sunscreen Film Festival, it received the awards for Best Feature and Best Supporting Actress for Selenis Leyva (Orange is the New Black). In July 2017, the film garnered the Audience Choice Award at the Asian American Film Festival, New York. It is an official selection of the Heartland Film Festival in Indianapolis and the Napa Valley Film Festival later in the fall.  

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SUN, OCT 22 @ 5:30PM


By Justin Chon
93 min | Narrative | Korean-American
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Eli and Daniel are two Korean American brothers who own a struggling shoe store and have an unique and unlikely friendship with a young 11-year-old African American girl, Kamilla. The film is set during the first day of the LA riots forcing them to defend their store while contemplating the future of their own personal dreams and the meaning of family. 

Q&A with James Yi, Producer
Co-Presented by IFF, Northeastern University Asian American Center and Roxbury International Film Festival

About the Director

Over the past several years, there has been a lot of talk about diversity, but that's all it has been, TALK. As an artist, I believe that my true contribution to the issue of diversity is to create films I feel are important to the Asian American narrative. So for the past few years, my mantra has been create, create, create.

2017 is the 25th year anniversary of LA riots. It has been 25 years since the verdict of the Rodney King trial was read and things haven't gotten much better and in some ways, they have gotten worse. My father, Sang Chon, who plays Mr. Kim in the film, experienced the riots first hand. He had a store in Paramount, which was looted on the final day of the riots. I'm certain other films about the riots will be made, but I thought it was absolutely imperative that the Korean experience be told. Often times our struggle and loss during this event is not publicized and overlooked.

I feel it is my duty to honestly tell our story in a unique way and this is my contribution to what we Koreans experienced during those days in April 1992. – Justin Chon  

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