The San Francisco International Asian American Film Festival has announced the lineup for its 24th edition, to run March 16 through 26. One-hundred and twenty-six feature-length films, documentaries and shorts from around the world are set to screen in the Bay Area, making this festival North America's largest showcase of movies by and about Asians and Asian Americans.
Eric Byler's "Americanese" will open the festival in San Francisco. Adapted by Byler from the novel "American Knees," by Shawn Wong, the film is about "racial politics -- in and out of the bedroom," according to the festival. In "Americanese," a divorced Chinese American professor starts dating a Vietnamese coworker. His ex-girlfriend, a half-Japanese woman, meanwhile enters into a relationship with a white man.
"Journey from the Fall," written and directed by Ham Tran, will be the closing night film in San Francisco. The film is set in Vietnam after the fall of Saigon. When a man is imprisoned in a Communist re-education camp, his family attempts to escape from Vietnam to the United States by boat.
Tanuj Chopra's "Punching at the Sun," about a South Asian man who is murdered in his family's corner store in Queens, New York, will open the festival in San Jose on March 24. The closing night film in San Jose is "American Fusion," by Frank Lin. The movie is about a Chinese divorcee in the midst of a midlife crisis when she falls for a Mexican American man.
Festival highlights include a spotlight on actor James Shigeta, who appeared as the romantic lead in the film version of "Flower Drum Song." He also starred in Etienne Perier's "Bridge to the Sun" as a Japanese diplomat who returns to his country with his white wife at the start of World War II. Shigeta will participate in a Q&A after a screening of another of his films, Samuel Fuller's "The Crimson Kimono."
The festival will host special presentations of Deepa Mehta's "Water," the final film in her elemental trilogy, about an 8-year-old sent to a home for penitent widows after her husband dies; Ritu Sarin and Tenzing Sonam's "Dreaming Lhasa," about Tibetan exiles living in India, and Tizuka Yamasaki's "Gaijin 2: Love Me As I Am," about Japanese immigrants in Brazil. "Deaming Lhasa" and "Gaijin 2" will be making their U.S. premieres.
The festival will also pay tribute to director Kayo Hatta and actor Pat Morita, both of whom died last year, with screenings of Hatta's "Picture Bride" and "The Karate Kid, Part II."
For a complete lineup of films, panel discussions and special events, visit the festival Web site.