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2014 San Diego Asian Film Festival


2014 San Diego Asian Film Festival – Consistently Engaging and Inspiring

Article by Ania Robert

Visitors to this year’s San Diego Asian Film Festival (from November 6th – November 15th) had a chance to enjoy a program of more than 140 films from 21 countries. This time the festival also increased the number of venues. While the main venue stayed the same as during previous years – at the Ultrastar Cinemas Mission Valley – Hazard Center, there were eight more absolutely terrific venues, such as Sherwood Auditorium at the Museum of Contemporary Art, La Jolla and USD Shiley Theatre.

The festival, organized by Pacific Art Movement is meant to educate, inspire, entertain, break stereotypes, provoke thought, and demonstrate a different reality. With these goals in mind, all the films (some of which are rather daring and sharp) were divided into several categories: Asian American Panorama, Asia Pop!, Masters (recently released works by world’s best directors), Discoveries (stories by Asia’s most innovative and thought-provoking filmmakers), Remembering Queer Korea (a retrospective of queer images in Korean cinema).

One of the best, consistently engaging films of this festival was the absolutely hilarious documentary “Meet the Patels”. This real life romantic comedy follows the American-born man of Indian descent in his attempt to find a wife in the old-fashioned way – with the help of his parents. While the movie makes you laugh almost non-stop at the absurdity of the situation, “Meet the Patels” raises a number of significant questions. How do you find a partner for the lifetime as bicultural as you are? What to do when your family insists on the arranged marriage for you – the concept that worked for centuries, but you are in love with someone who does not have an upbringing rich with Indian culture and consequently will never have the same understanding and admiration of your peoples’ traditions? How do you make two drastically different cultures co-exist not just in the same country, but under the same roof? The recipient of several awards (2014 Los Angeles Film Festival Audience Award, 2014 Traverse City Film Festival Official Selection, etc.), this unforgettable documentary addresses these issues with humor, unique animation, purposeful rough technical quality, and emotional music.

While the Festival is primarily devoted to Asian Cinematography, an important part of this year’s program was so-called MOVEfest – a showcase of live hip-hop and contemporary dance. With famous dancers on stage (for example, Galen Hooks who worked with Janet Jackson, Britney Spears, Usher and many others), the pieces highlighted the topics like social changes, unequal love, human trafficking, political conflicts, and so on. Through the body language and music, the choreographers gave the audience their views on these issues pursuing the goals of the Festival – to educate, inspire, and provoke thought.

Vanguard Culture

Vanguard Culture is an online media entity designed for culturally savvy, socially conscious individuals. We provide original interviews and reviews of the people, places, and events that make up San Diego’s thriving arts and culture community, as well as curated snapshots of the week’s best, most inspiring and unique cultural and culinary events. We believe in making a difference in the world, supporting San Diego’s vibrant visual and performing arts community and bringing awareness to important social and community causes.

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