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Mama Boy directed by Arvin Chen
Mama Boy directed by Arvin Chen

New York Asian Film Festival (NYAFF) unveiled more films, award honorees and guests for the fully in-theater 20th anniversary edition.

The Centerpiece Film is Kim Han-min’s period action-war epic Hansan: Rising Dragon, the second in a trilogy focusing on the historic adventures of legendary Joseon Admiral Yi Sun-Shin. Based on the real-life Battle of Hansan Island naval engagement, it also stars Byun Yo-han and Ahn Sung-ki. Hansan: Rising Dragon is a follow-up to the 2014 film The Admiral: Roaring Currents, the most-watched and highest-grossing film in Korean cinema history, and will be released later this year by Well Go USA.

The festival will close with the time-travel sci-fi epic Alienoid, from blockbuster Korean director Choi Dong-hoon, who will introduce the North American premiere of his latest production. The first part of a two-part film, it opens during the Goryeo Dynasty (918–1392), when Taoists attempt to seize a legendary divine sword that controls a portal to the future. The fantasy features Ryu Jun-yeol (NYAFF 2019 Screen International Rising Star Asia awardee), Kim Tae-ri (The Handmaiden), and So Ji-sub (also at NYAFF 2022 with Confession), and will be released later this year by Well Go USA.

NYAFF unveiled the seven titles nominated for this year’s Uncaged Award for Best Feature Film Competition, which shines a spotlight on feature filmmakers whose singular cinematic visions should be internationally heralded, celebrating their passion, imagination, and willingness to take risks. The films are #LookAtMe (Ken Kwek, Singapore), a brilliantly energetic romp about social media celebrity, cancel culture, and the erosion of human rights; Angry Son (Kasho Iizuka, Japan), an intensely moving tale of otherness and oppression; Imaginur (Nik Amir Mustapha, Malaysia), a stunning, dream-like work about memory and life itself that ingeniously depicts one of today’s most pressing problems; One and Four (Jigme Trinley, China), an ultra-tense comedy-thriller about double-crosses, mistaken identities, and poaching, set in a remote, snow-covered Tibetan forest; Perhaps Love (Cho Eun-ji, South Korea), an ebullient screwball dramedy about a washed-up novelist who is reinvigorated by a collaboration with his gay student; Reclaim (CJ Wang, Taiwan), a beautifully nuanced character study about late-life female empowerment through self-actualization; and The Sales Girl (Janchivdorj Sengedorj, Mongolia), a joyfully quirky coming-of-age tale fueled by a splendidly original script, utterly unique characters, and unexpected encounters.

Hong Kong cultural icon Josie Ho will headline NYAFF 2022 with her latest project as producer of the inspiring musical documentary Finding Bliss: Fire and Ice—The Director’s Cut, in which she travels with musicians and students from Hong Kong to Iceland for a transcendent collaboration. As a tribute to the acting superstar, the festival will also screen two of her earlier key films: Pang Ho-cheung’s real-estate horror masterpiece Dream Home and Derek Kwok and Henri Wong’s sports comedy Full Strike.

NYAFF’s 2022 Screen International Star Asia Lifetime Achievement Award will go to legendary J-Horror maestro Takashi Shimizu, known for films including The Grudge franchise and Ox-Head Village, which he will also present at NYAFF in its North American premiere.

The Screen International Star Asia Award will be bestowed on celebrated Japanese actor Hiroshi Abe, starring in Eiji Uchida’s new dramedy, Offbeat Cops, world premiering at NYAFF 2022, in which he plays a gruff, loose-cannon detective who’s shunted off to the local police band as a drummer.

NYAFF also announced a second honoree for its 2022 Screen International Rising Star Asia Award: South Korea’s Kim Hye-yoon (Snowdrop, Sky Castle), the titular rebellious hellion of Park Ri-woong’s The Girl on a Bulldozer. As previously announced, Urassaya “Yaya” Sperbund will also be honored with the Screen International Rising Star Asia Award, for her leading role in the NYAFF 2022 Opening Film Fast & Feel Love.

NYAFF’s 2022 Daniel A. Craft Award for Excellence in Action Cinema will go to South Korean actor and newly minted action-genre star Jang Hyuk, for his dazzling stunt work, emotional depth, and undeniable charisma in two electrifying films by director Choi Jae-hun, The Killer and The Swordsman (2020). Korea is truly center stage this year with star Ryu Seung-ryong also receiving the inaugural Best from the East Award, a distinction to honor a singularly outstanding performance in a film (Perhaps Love).

There will also be a Takashi Shimizu Masterclass: Planting the Seeds of Horror in Global Soil, with our Screen International Lifetime Achievement Award honoree, in which he’ll discuss horror-film elements that emanate from Japanese culture but also appeal to global audiences, as well as the role of horror cinema in public discourse. In the Asian American Filmmaker Forum: Masterclass with Dennis Liu, the creator of the Netflix series Raising Dion will share invaluable insights into the creative process, from production to distribution, gleaned during his two-plus decades of experience in the industry. The Asian American Filmmaker Forum: Panel Talk will feature an illuminating conversation with key Asian American film industry professionals Dennis Liu (creator, Raising Dion), Brian Yang (producer, Dealing with Dad, Snakehead), and Doris Yeung (director, producer, founder of CinemAsia Film Festival) as they discuss navigating the film industry as independent creators and Asian Americans.

The New York Asian Film Festival is co-presented by the New York Asian Film Foundation and Film at Lincoln Center in association with Asia Society and takes place from July 15–28, 2022 at FLC’s Walter Reade Theater (165 West 65th Street), and on July 23 and July 28–31 at Asia Society (725 Park Avenue).

FULL LINEUP

OPENING FILM
Fast & Feel Love | dir. Nawapol Thamrongrattanarit, Thailand 2022 | International Premiere

CENTERPIECE FILM
Hansan: Rising Dragon | dir. Kim Han-min, South Korea 2022 | North American Premiere

CLOSING FILM
Alienoid | dir. Choi Dong-hoon, South Korea 2022 | North American Premiere

CROWD PLEASERS
Films that captivate, comfort, and cheer
– Mama Boy | dir. Arvin Chen, Taiwan 2022 | North American Premiere
– Mama’s Affair | dir. Kearen Pang, Hong Kong 2022 | New York Premiere
– My Best Friend’s Breakfast | dir. Du Zheng Zhe, Taiwan 2022 | North American Premiere
– Offbeat Cops | dir. Eiji Uchida, Japan 2022 | World Premiere
– Stellar: A Magical Ride | dir. Kwon Soo-kyung, South Korea 2022 | International Premiere
– Table for Six | dir. Sunny Chan, Hong Kong 2022 | North American Premiere
– We Are Family | dir. Benny Lau, Hong Kong 2022 | World Premiere

GENRE MASTERS
Innovative new work that tweaks and twists genre conventions
– Confession | dir. Yoon Jong-seok, South Korea 2022 | North American Premiere
– Lesson in Murder | dir. Kazuya Shiraishi, Japan 2022 | North American Premiere
– Ox-Head Village | dir. Takashi Shimizu, Japan 2022 | North American Premiere
– Preman: Silent Fury | dir. Randolph Zaini, Indonesia 2021 | New York Premiere
– Shin Ultraman | dir. Shinji Higuchi, Japan 2022 | U.S. Premiere
– The Funeral | dir. Dan-Guei Shen, Taiwan 2022 | International Premiere
– The Killer | dir. Choi Jae-hun, South Korea 2022 | Special Screening
– The Swordsman | dir. Choi Jae-hun, South Korea 2020 | Special Screening

NEXT/NOW
Highlighting emerging voices and promising works by up-and-coming directors
– Chilli Laugh Story | dir. Coba Cheng, Hong Kong 2022 | International Premiere
– Fire on the Plain | dir. Zhang Ji, China 2021 | New York Premiere, A CineCina Selection
– I Haven’t Done Anything | dir. Park Sang-min, South Korea 2022 | World Premiere
– Legendary in Action! | dir. Justin Cheung, Li Ho, Hong Kong 2022 | North American Premiere
– Virgin Blue | dir. Niu Xiaoyu, China 2021 | New York Premiere, A CineCina Selection

BEYOND BORDERS
Films that tell stories about characters confronting different cultures
– Before Next Spring | dir. Li Gen, China 2021 | North American Premiere, A CineCina Selection
– Far Far Away | dir. Amos Why, Hong Kong 2021 | North American Premiere
– Finding Bliss: Fire and Ice—The Director’s Cut | dir. Kim Chan, Dee Lam, Hong Kong 2022 | North American Premiere

FRONTLINES
Films grounded in the lives of those in marginalized communities, with narratives that examine pressing issues
– Arisaka | dir. Mikhail Red, Philippines 2021 | New York Premiere
– Broken Commandment | dir. Kazuo Maeda, Japan 2022 | International Premiere
– The Girl on a Bulldozer | dir. Park Ri-woong, South Korea 2022 | North American Festival Premiere

STANDOUTS
Exceptional films, regardless of premiere status
– Big Night! | dir. Jun Robles Lana, Philippines 2021 | New York Premiere
– Hot Blooded | dir. Cheon Myeong-kwan, South Korea 2022 | U.S. Premiere
– I Am More | dir. Lee Il-ha, South Korea, 2021 | North American Premiere
– Manchurian Tiger | dir. Geng Jun, China 2021 | U.S. Premiere, A CineCina Selection
– Next Door | dir. Yeom Ji-ho, South Korea 2022 | U.S. Premiere

VANGUARDS
Original films that break away from formalistic and/or narrative conventions
– Grown-ups | dir. Takuya Kato, Japan 2022 | International Premiere
– Intimate Stranger | dir. Mayu Nakamura, Japan 2021 | North American Premiere
– Life for Sale | dir Tom Teng, Taiwan 2021 | International premiere
– Nothing Serious | dir. Jeong Ga-young, South Korea 2022 | New York Premiere
– Ribbon | dir. Non, Japan 2022 | East Coast Premiere
– Ripples of Life | dir. Wei Shujun, China 2021 | New York Premiere, A CineCina Selection
– Terrorizers | dir. Ho Wi Ding, Taiwan 2021 | New York Premiere

UNCAGED AWARD FOR BEST FEATURE FILM COMPETITION
– #LookAtMe | dir. Ken Kwek, Singapore 2022 | World Premiere
– Angry Son | dir. Kasho Iizuka, Japan 2022 | North American Premiere
– Imaginur | dir. Nik Amir Mustapha, Malaysia 2022 | World Premiere
– One and Four | dir. Jigme Trinley, China 2021 | North American Premiere
– Perhaps Love | dir. Cho Eun-ji, South Korea 2021 | North American Premiere
– Reclaim | dir. CJ Wang, Taiwan 2022 | International Premiere
– The Sales Girl | dir. Janchivdorj Sengedorj, Mongolia 2021 | North American Premiere
– Fast & Feel Love | dir. Nawapol Thamrongrattanarit, Thailand 2022 | International Premiere

25th Anniversary program HKETO, CLASSIC MARATHON (presented with the support of the Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office in New York)
– Happy Together | dir. Wong Kar Wai, Hong Hong 1997 | Outdoors at Hearst Plaza
– Kung Fu Hustle | dir. Stephen Chow, Hong Kong 2004
– Overheard | dir. Alan Mak, Felix Chong, China/Hong Kong/Singapore 2009
– Running on Karma | dir. Johnnie To, Wai Ka-Fai, Hong Kong 2003
– The Eye | dir. Pang brothers, Hong Kong/Singapore 2002

Josie Ho Tribute (presented with the support of the Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office in New York)
– Dream Home | dir. Pang Ho-cheung, Hong Kong 2010
– Full Strike | dir. Derek Kwok, Henri Wong, Hong Kong 2015

ASIAN AMERICAN FOCUS
– Dealing with Dad | dir. Tom Huang, USA 2022 | East Coast Premiere

BRIGHT FUTURES: THE NARRATIVE SHORTS SHOWCASE
Superlative short works by emerging filmmakers
– Ateh | dir. Kristie Ko, Hong Kong 2021 | North American Premiere
– Black Goat | dir. Tang Yi, USA/Nepal 2019 | New York Premiere
– Double Happiness | dir. Scarlett Li, China/USA 2021 | New York Premiere
– Honekami (A Bite of Bone) | dir. Honami Yano, Japan 2021
– Natsuko | dir. Shuna Iijima, Japan 2020
– S.Q.A.G. (Short Quiet Asian Girl) | dir. Benedict Chiu, USA 2022 | World Premiere
– Tank Fairy | dir. Erich Rettstadt, Taiwan/USA 2021 | New York Premiere
– The Sea Between Us | dir. Yuga J Vardhan, Singapore 2021
– Visitors | dir. Kenichi Ugana, Japan 2021
– Wax and Wane | dir. Beidi Wang, USA 2022 | New York Premiere

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