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.
BAAFF is celebrating 10 years of Connecting Through Film--a decade of bringing community members together, interested in uplifting diverse Asian American and Pacific Islander experiences through film and video. While the festival was established to create a platform to connect producers of Asian American films and audiences interested in AAPI content, the festival now also provides a valuable community space for individuals and organizations to also connect with one another around the important work and themes occurring in the Greater Boston area. The festival is here for you - to see and be seen, to hear and be heard - as individuals exploring the joys and challenges of a collective community.
Join the Boston Asian American Film Festival on October 18-28 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.
FRI, OCT 19 @ 6:00PM
ULAM: A Main DishAlexandra Cuerdo, Director
1 hour 20 minutes
ULAM: A Main Dish trailer
“Could it be that Filipino food, the underdog of Asian cuisines, is having its moment at last?” — THE NEW YORK TIMES
ULAM: A Main Dish stages this new culinary movement as not only a remarkable achievement for American restaurateurs, but also as a validation of Filipino culture. The film confronts issues inherent in representing both Filipino and American identity, and challenges from both the Filipino community and the world at large. Ultimately, ULAM is a celebration — and confirmation — that Filipino food, and Filipinos, are here to stay.
DIRECTOR’S STATEMENT — ALEXANDRA CUERDO
“Ulam” means main dish in tagalog, the national language of the Philippines. And this film truly strives to examine the “main dish” — not only by highlighting the hallmarks of modern Filipino cuisine, but also by telling the stories of those that create it.
FRI, OCT 19 @ 9:00PM
Shorts Program: Queer & Here7 shorts, 80 min
Whether it’s privately coming out to your family or publicly sharing your story on stage, Queer & Here celebrates the diversity of the LGBT community and provides a snapshot into the intricacies of their varied experiences.
Salamagan Elisa Oh, Director
Hoai (Ongoing/Memory) Quyen Nguyen Le, Director
Coming Out Wasn't Funny Channeit Som, Director
Like Mother, Like Daughter Kady Le, Director
Tomato and Eggs Nicole Tay, Director
KHOL (Open) Faroukh Virani, Director
Decoding Dark Matter Crystal Waterton, Director
SAT, OCT 20 @ 12:00PM
Shorts Program: This is Me7 shorts, 77 min
Finding your voice can be tough. This is Me is a collection of short films that showcase some of the hardships that come with trying to find your place in the world, and the experiences that ultimately shape us -- for better or for worse.
Sunny Sam Chung, Director
Woke Venk Potula, Director
Keepsake Megan Lau, Director
Joseon's Bride Eleanor Cho, Director
June Huay-Bing Law, Director
Discomfort Zone Phong Le, Director
Pagg Nardeep Khurmi, Director
SAT, OCT 20 @ 3:00PM
Mixed MatchJeff Chiba Stearns, Director
1 hour 36 minutes
Mixed Match trailer
Mixed Match is an important human story told from the perspective of mixed race blood cancer patients who are forced to reflect on their multiracial identities and complex genetics as they struggle with a seemingly impossible search to find bone marrow donors, all while exploring what role race plays in medicine. With the multiracial community becoming one of the fastest growing demographics in North America, being mixed race is no longer just about an identity, it can be a matter of life and death.
Jeff Chiba Stearns is an Emmy® nominated and Webby award winning animation and documentary filmmaker. Jeff’s work has broadcast around the world, screened in hundreds of international film festivals and garnered over 30 awards. Mixed Match is Jeff’s second feature length documentary.
Marrow Drive/Registry will be available
SAT, OCT 20 @ 6:00PM
Shorts Program: Facing Challenges7 shorts, 80 min
It’s often the challenges that we face that define who we are and what we stand for, whether those challenges come in the form of language barriers or gender inequality; fighting for better gun control or fighting to live out our dreams. This collection of short films features stories of individuals as they navigate their own personal struggles.
Mother Tongue Kristina Wong, Director
The Musician Under New YorkJoy Le Li, Director
Phomily Feund Martin Tran, Director
Nothing on US: Pinays Rising Evelyn Obamos, Director
Milk Winnifred Jong, Director
Dancing Shoes Benedict Chiu, Director
Come & Take It Safety Orange, Director
SAT, OCT 20 @ 9:00PM
Bitter MelonH.P. Mendoza, Director
1 hour 36 minutes
Bitter Melon Trailer
When a Filipino-American family reunites for a Christmas party, the holiday takes a dark turn when they conspire to murder the abusive bully of the family.
H. P. Mendoza is an American film director, screenwriter, actor, producer and musician. He is best known for his micro-budget work as screenwriter, composer and lyricist on Colma: The Musical (2006), as well as his follow-up musical and directorial debut, Fruit Fly (2010).
SUN, OCT 21 @ 12:00PM
Shorts Program: Boston Shorts7 shorts, 91 min
From a daredevil stuntman to a little girl who just loves Christmas, everyone has a story to tell. This set of short films highlights the broad spectrum of voices and talents that local filmmakers from Boston have to offer.
Egg Tart Kage Yami, Director
The Flip Side Val Wang, Director
The Most Interesting Man in Show Business James Lee, Director
The Last Corn Dog Dinner Janelle Kung, Director
Christmas Forward Teja Arboleda and Michael Tow, Director
RE (Orient) Katytarika Bartel, Director
MAP for Health: 25 Years of Asian Pride Albert Chan, Director
SUN, OCT 21 @ 3:00PM
Go for BrokeAlexander Bocchieri, Director
1 hour 44 minutes
Go for Broke Trailer
Set in the tumultuous year after the attack on Pearl Harbor, this true story follows a group of University of Hawaii ROTC students as they fight discrimination by forming the Varsity Victory Volunteers (VVV). The brave actions of these young Japanese Americans (along with the perseverance of the original 100th Infantry Battalion draftees) from Hawaii, led to the formation of the all-Japanese fighting unit - the 442nd - the most decorated combat unit in American military history.
SUN, OCT 21 @ 6:00PM
DeportedSahra Nguyen, Director
“Deported” follows Philadelphia-based advocacy group 1Love Movement and its sister organization, 1Love Cambodia, over the course of five months as they head to Phnom Penh, Cambodia, to meet with a task force made up of representatives of the Cambodian government. The goal: halt deportations and renegotiate the 2002 repatriation agreement that opened the pathway for the U.S. to deport Cambodian refugees back to Cambodia.
Sahra V. Nguyen is an award-winning filmmaker, director, writer, and entrepreneur passionate about increasing diversity in media and amplifying stories from the Southeast Asian American community. She has created two documentary series for NBC Asian America: "Self-Starters," which profiles five Asian-American trailblazers around the country, and "Deported," which follows the grassroots fight to end deportation and revise the Repatriation Agreement between the United States and Cambodia.
Immigration policy is an ever changing landscape. Join us for a discussion following the film from people in the field.
FRI, OCT 26 @ 6:00PM
Nailed ItAdele Pham, Director
Nailed It Trailer
“Nailed It” chronicles the genesis and legacy of the 40 year Vietnamese nail salon and its influence on an $8 billion-dollar American industry. For mixed-race Vietnamese filmmaker Adele Pham it’s personal, as she confronts her cultural conflicts and discovers her place within the community, by peeling back the layers of this niche trade seen by everyone but known to few.
Adele Free Pham is a mixed race Vietnamese American documentary filmmaker with experience in all aspects of documentary production, including cinematography, editing, and direction. Her first documentary “Parallel Adele” about mixed Asian identity screened at CAAM way back in 2009. While producing “Nailed It” Adele has been coordinating community screenings for “The Throwaways” a feature documentary she produced about the impact of mass incarceration and police brutality on black males in America told through the narrative of Director Ira Eugene McKinley.
FRI, OCT 26 @ 9:00PM
Shorts Program: Altered Realities6 shorts, 80 min
Robots and zombies and Filipino shape shifting spirits, oh my! These short films provide a brief escape from the more mundane aspects of our day to day realities by exploring new worlds, new perspectives, and limitless possibilities.
Raksha Jhanvi Motla, Director
Strawberries Will Save the World Yoko Okumura, Director
Runner Yung Jae-Chen, Director
Whale Fall Yiyuan Yuan, Director
Aswang Next Door Bernard Badion, Director
The Masseuse Tan Ce Ding, Director
SAT, OCT 27 @ 3:00PM
An American Story: Norman Mineta and His LegacyDianne Fukami, Director
An American Story: Norman Mineta and His Legacy Trailer
An American Story: Norman Mineta and His Legacy is a film about injustice, redemption, and a burning desire for all people to be treated equally.
A son of immigrants and forced into a U.S. World War II concentration camp as a child, Norman Mineta became the first Asian American mayor of a major city (San Jose, California); leading to a distinguished 20-year career in Congress; the first Asian American Cabinet member, serving two U.S. Presidents, a Democrat and Republican.
He never forgot his roots or the shame and humiliation he and his family felt during WWII, leading the way for an apology from the U.S. government and redress for Japanese Americans. On September 11, 2001, his leadership as U.S. Secretary of Transportation, would ensure that what happened to Japanese Americans during WWII did not happen to any other group based on ethnicity or religion.
About Dianne Fukami DIRECTOR/CO-PRODUCER Fukami has produced, directed, and written more than a half-dozen documentaries on the Asian-American experience (mostly on Japanese-American history) which were broadcast on PBS stations throughout the U.S. Separate Lives, Broken Dreams, about the Chinese Exclusion Act, was nominated for a national Emmy Award; Starting Over: Japanese Americans After the War has received scholarly citations for its first-person anecdotes. Her most recent documentary, Stories From Tohoku, was showcased at CAAMFest in 2014 (formerly the San Francisco Asian International Film Festival) and screened at film festivals in New York and Los Angeles.
SAT, OCT 27 @ 6:00PM
Fiction & Other Realities1 hour 25 minutes
Fiction & Other Realities Trailer
While on world tour, Bobby, an insecure NYC singer-songwriter ditches his roadie duties to explore a land where everyone looks like him, Korea. He befriends Ina, a Korean busker who is facing her own set of personal struggles. They seem to find success as they lean on each other.
SUN, OCT 28 @ 12:00PM
The Ito SistersAntonia Grace Glenn, Director
1 hour 20 minutes
The Ito Sisters Trailer
The Ito Sisters is a documentary film capturing the rarely told stories of the earliest Japanese immigrants to the United States and their American-born children. In particular, the film focuses on the experiences of Issei (or immigrant) and Nisei (or first generation born in the US) women, whose voices have largely been excluded from American history.
ANTONIA GRACE GLENN is an actor, writer, producer, filmmaker and scholar. Her first documentary film, The Ito Sisters, explores her family’s history as Japanese American farm laborers struggling to eke out a living in the midst of a powerful anti-Japanese movement in the early 20th century.
SUN, OCT 28 @ 4:00PM
For IzzyAlex Chu, Director
1 hour 25 minutes
For Izzy Trailer
Dede, a photojournalist and recovering addict, moves in next door to Laura, a young woman with autism. As the pair form an unlikely friendship, Dede assembles a documentary, using animation and found footage to tell a story of getting sober, of family and friendship, and of love and forgiveness.
Alex Chu's prior film projects have screened at more than 30 festivals worldwide. FOR IZZY is his second feature film as writer-director.