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Film Descriptions:

AAS Films China & Inner Asia

Down: Indie Rock in the PRC
Written, produced and directed by Andrew Field & Jud Willmont. 2012. 52 minutes.
1:00 PM -- Thursday, March 21, 2013

Through performances by some of China's top indie rock bands and interviews with band members, rock club managers, concert organizers and record producers, Down: Indie Rock in the PRC highlights the music and the struggles that indie rock musicians are undergoing as they challenge the dominant values of mainstream Chinese society.

Distributed by Willmountain Films and Field Note Productions.

Howling Into Harmony
A film by Joshua Frank.  2012.  44 minutes.
7:30 PM -- Thursday, March 21, 2013
Q&A in person with Jeannette Hereniko.

Howling into Harmony offers a portrait of young Chinese rock musicians in Beijing and provides a glimpse into the lives of a generation awakened by Western cultural forces, despite the conservatism of their parents’ generation and their government.

Distributed by Filmakers Library

Restoring the Light
Directed by Carol Liu.  2011.  55 minutes.
8:30 AM -- Friday, March 22, 2013

Restoring the Light follows ophthalmologist Dr. Zhang Xubin who operates a non-profit mobile eye clinic for underprivileged patients in the isolated rural community of Ningxia, one of China’s poorest regions, as well as two families benefiting from the doctor’s humanist mission.

Distributed by Cinema Guild

To The Light: The Dark Days of China's Coal Miners
A Film by Yuanchen Liu.  2012.  69 minutes.
9:35 AM -- Friday, March 22, 2013
Q&A in person with Jeannette Hereniko.

The award winning film To The Light delves into the hopes and struggles of the mining families of Sichuan, in western China and sheds light on the perils faced by Chinese miners as they unearth the ore that fuels China’s booming economy.

Distributed by Filmakers Library

Directed by Dan Smyer Yu and Pema Tashi.  2011.  35 minutes.
8:30 PM -- Friday, March 22, 2013
Q&A in person with Dan Smyer Yu and Pema Tashi. 

Through the narratives of a father and a son, two tantric yogis of two generations, this film illustrates both the transcendental and inter-sentient dimensions of Tibetian sacred sites and of their ecological significance.  It documents a ritualized relationship of people and the place of their dwelling and natural surroundings.

Distributed by the filmmaker.
For film inquiries, please contact the Dan Smyer Yu at

Old Dog
A film by Pema Tseden. 2012. 88 minutes.
9:15 PM -- Friday, March 22, 2013
Online Q&A with Karin Chien.

Pema Tseden is the leading filmmaker of a newly emerging Tibetan cinema and the first director in China to film his movies entirely in the Tibetan language. His third feature OLD DOG is both a humorous and tragic allegory and a sober depiction of life among the impoverished rural Tibetan community.  The Tibetan nomad mastiff is an exotic prize dog in China, fetching as much as millions of dollars from wealthy Chinese. When a young man notices several thefts of mastiffs from Tibetan farm families, he decides to sell his family's dog before it is stolen and sold on the black market. When the father seeks to buy the dog back, it leads to a series of tragicomic events that threaten to tear the family apart, while showing the erosion of Tibetan culture under the pressures of contemporary society.

Distributed by Icarus Films.   


Tan Mian Hua
Directed by Laura Kissel.  2011.  15 minutes.
9:50 AM -- Saturday, March 23, 2013
Q&A in person with Laura Kissel.

The Zhu family on Chongming Island in the Shanghai District have produced handmade cotton quilts since the Great Leap Forward. In this short video they share their thoughts about quilt production as they demonstrate the traditional process of tan mian hua 弹棉花.

Distributed by filmmaker. Contact: lkissel[at]

The Revolutionary
A film by Irv Drasnin, Lucy Ostrander, and Don Sellers. 2012. 92 minutes
1:00 PM -- Saturday, March 23, 2013
Q&A in person with Sid Rittenberg and Lucy Ostrander.

During China’s Cultural Revolution, one of the most tragic and least understood political upheavals of the 20th century, Mao Zedong’s call to “make revolution” was answered by tens of millions of Chinese… and one American.  The Revolutionary is a feature-length documentary film about the Maoist era and Sidney Rittenberg, an American who assumed an unprecedented role for a foreigner in Chinese politics.

Distributed by Stourwater Pictures.

The Warriors of Qiugang
Directed by Ruby Yang. Produced by Thomas Lennon. 2010. 39 minutes.
8:15 PM -- Saturday, March 23, 2013

A 2011 Academy Award Nominee for Best Documentary (Short Subject), The Warriors of Qiugang brings to light the increasing involvement of ordinary Chinese citizens with environmental causes and the beginnings of an environmental movement, by focusing on a community in a small village in Anhui province whose environment had been devastated by a local chemical company.

Distributed by Cinema Guild

AAS South Asia

Invoking Justice
A film by Deepa Dhanraj.  2012.  85 minutes.
11:35 AM -- Friday, March 22, 2013

In Southern India, family disputes are settled by Jamaats—all male bodies which apply Islamic Sharia law to cases without allowing women to be present, even to defend themselves. Recognizing this fundamental inequity, a group of women in 2004 established a women’s Jamaat.  In Invoking Justice, award-winning filmmaker Deepa Dhanraj follows several cases, shining a light on how the women’s Jamaat has acquired power through both communal education and the leaders’ persistent, tenacious and compassionate investigation of the crimes.

Distributed by Women Make Movies

Afghan Chronicles
Directed by Dominic Morissette.  2007.  52 minutes.
10:35 AM -- Saturday, March 23, 2013
Online Q&A with Dominic Morissette

In Kabul, Killid Media is a real phenomenon where women play a vital part.  We follow as the small press group distributes its magazines around the city, and get an inside view of the reconstruction of Afghanistan.  This new press carries a message freed from the constraints of tradition.  Yet despite the emergence of democracy, achievements are still fragile.

Distributed by National Film Board of Canada.


Valley of Saints
Written and directed by Musa Syeed.  Produced by Nicholas Bruckman.  2012. 
82 minutes.
9:05 PM -- Saturday, March 23, 2013

Widely considered to be the crown jewel of Kashmir, Dal Lake is a sprawling aquatic community where erupting political violence often distracts from the natural beauty. Gulzar, a young, working-class boatman, plans to skip town with his best friend in search of a better life, but a weeklong military curfew derails their departure. Forced to wait it out, Gulzar takes a job assisting a pretty scientist named Asifa. As they navigate the floating landscape, collecting water samples for an environmental study, an unlikely relationship blossoms between the two. When Asifa's research reveals harmful pollutants, Gulzar realizes that the ecology of the lake and an entire way of life face an alarming threat, and everything in his own life begins to take on a new hue.

Distributed by The Film Collaborative.
For booking inquires contact:

AAS Films Korea

Planet of Snail
A film by Seungjun Yi.  2012.  87 minutes.
2:00 PM -- Thursday, March 21, 2013

Winner of the prestigious Best Documentary prize at the International Film Festival Amsterdam, Planet of Snail is a mesmerizing documentary about an accomplished young Korean poet who can no longer hear or see and his relationship to the world around him.

Distributed by Cinema Guild


Unfortunate Brothers: Korea's Reunification Dilemma
Directed by Dodge Billingsley. Edited by Scott Thornton. 2013. 45 minutes.
4:05 PM -- Friday, March 22, 2013
Q&A in person with Dodge Billingsley, Scott Thornton, and Mark Peterson

What are the roadblocks to Korean reunification, and perhaps more importantly, what are the implications of reunification? Through expert interviews and first person accounts Unfortunate Brothers follows a North Korean defector's journey to adjust to his new life in South Korea and bring hope to his brothers in North Korea while tackling these important questions.

Distributed by Combat Films

Memory of Forgotten War
Directed and produced by Deann Borshay Liem and Ramsay Liem.
2013.  38 minutes.
3:00 PM -- Saturday, March 23, 2013
Q&A in person with Ramsay Liem.

Unknown or forgotten by most Americans, the Korean War divided a people with several millenniums of shared history.  Memory of Forgotten War conveys the human costs of military conflict through deeply personal accounts of four Korean American survivors whose experiences and memories embrace the full circle of the war: its outbreak and the day-to-day struggle for survival, separation from family members across the DMZ, the aftermath of a devastated Korean peninsula, and immigration to the United States.  Each person reunites with relatives in North Korea conveying beyond words the meaning of four decades of family loss.

Distributed by MuFilms.

2013 AAS Films Japan

Sado Tempest
Directed by John Williams.  2013.  94 minutes.
8:25 PM -- Thursday, March 21, 2013
Q&A in person with John Williams.

Sado Tempest is a near future rock adaptation of The Tempest set entirely on Sado Island.  The film features the landscape and culture (Noh, Taiko, Exile) of this fascinating Japanese Island in an accessible, entertaining style.  This is the third film by Japan-based Welsh director (Firefly Dreams, Starfish Hotel). The film is currently on release in Japan. 

Distributed by 100 Meter Films
For purchasing inquiries, contact Andrew Kirkham
of Silk Purse Enterprises:

A Japanese Funeral
Directed by Karen Nakamura.  2010.  13 minutes.
10:55 AM -- Friday, March 22, 2013
Q&A in person with Karen Nakamura.
A young man dies unexpectedly at the age of 39. Over the next three days, we witness Japanese funeral rites with a twist - the man and his family are Christian.

Distributed by Karen Nakamura

Tokyo Waka
Directed, produced by John Haptas and Kristine Samuelson. 2012. 54 minutes.
1:10 PM -- Friday, March 22, 2013
Q&A in person with Kristine Samuelson

Tokyo Waka explores complex and compelling patterns in the life of a world city.  Using Tokyo’s huge and surprising population of crows as its frame, this documentary essay uses the uneasy relationship between humans and wildlife as a means to comment upon culture and the relentless tenacity of nature.

Distributed by Bullfrog Films

Water Children
A film by Aliona van der Horst.  2011.  75 minutes.
8:30 AM -- Saturday, March 23, 2013

In this acclaimed, hauntingly beautiful film, director Aliona van der Horst follows the unconventional Japanese-Dutch pianist Tomoko Mukaiyama as she explores the miracle of fertility and the cycle of life—sometimes joyful, sometimes tragic. When Mukaiyama recognized that her childbearing years were ending, she created a multimedia art project on the subject in a village in Japan, constructing what she calls a cathedral, out of 12,000 white silk dresses. While Mukaiyama’s own mesmerizing music provides a haunting backdrop to the film, her installation elicits confessions from its normally reticent Japanese visitors, many of whom have never seen art before—and in moving scenes they open up about previously taboo subjects.

Distributed by Women Make Movies

Karayuki-San, The Making of a Prostitute
A film by Shohei Imamura.  1975.  70 minutes.
11:40 AM -- Saturday, March 23, 2013

A film about another kind of "unreturned soldier" than Shohei Imamura has profiled elsewhere, Karayuki-San finds the filmmaker traveling to Malaysia to interview Kikuyo Zendo, one of the countless Japanese women who were kidnapped or otherwise sold into sexual slavery in order to service the Japanese military in Southeast Asia.  74 years old at the time of filming, she offers a frank and harrowing testimony into her horrific wartime experiences, and the factors that have led her to choose exile over repatriation.

Distributed by Icarus Films.

Pictures from a Hiroshima Schoolyard
Directed by Bryan Reichhardt.  Produced by Shizumi Manale.  2013.  85 minutes.
3:50 PM -- Saturday, March 23, 2013

Pictures drawn by Hiroshima school children, living in the aftermath of the atomic bomb, are discovered deep inside a church in Washington DC.  A gift of thanks for supplies donated in 1947, these beautiful, surprisingly happy pictures are restored in 2009 and taken back to Hiroshima for a special exhibit attended by the surviving artists who drew them.  This is a film about hope in the face of horror, the power of reconciliation and the unwavering optimism of children.

For more information on this film, please contact director Bryan Reichhardt.

2013 AAS Films SE Asia

Water Puppetry in Vietnam: An Ancient Tradition in a Modern World
Produced by Sam Pack. 2012. 32 minutes.
3:40 PM -- Thursday, March 21, 2013

Water puppetry in Vietnam has recently gained worldwide fame for its lively and unique reflection of agrarian life.  As water puppetry has gained popularity among tourists, modern practitioners have altered key components in order to appeal to Western audiences.  This film seeks to examine the interplay and the production of culture in the performance of Vietnamese water puppetry.

Distributed by Berkeley Media

Produced and Directed by Jim de Seve & Kian Tjong.  2012.  65 minutes.
4:20 PM -- Thursday, March 21, 2013
Q&A in person with Kian Tjong & Jim de Seve

In a peculiar travelogue, two filmmakers dive into an ancient rite of manhood in Islamic Java – the tender and raucous sport of the singing doves.  ManDove follows the magical perkutut birds casting spells on men, taking them away from their wives, and pitting them against each other to prove their masculinity.

Distributed by 1049 Films

Ngaben: Emotion and Restraint in a Balinese Heart
Directed by Dr. Robert Lemelson.
Produced by Dr. Robert Lemelson & Alessandra Pasquino. 2012. 16 minutes.
10:55 AM -- Friday, March 22, 2013
In Person Q&A with Dr. Robert Lemelson

Ngaben: Emotion and Restraint in a Balinese Heart takes an impressionistic look at the Balinese cremation ceremony, or ngaben, from the perspective of a mourning son, Nyoman Asub, and reveals the intimacy, sadness, and tenderness at the core of this funerary ritual and the feeling and force that underlie an exquisite cultural tradition.

Distributed by Documentary Educational Resources

Khmer Dancers: A Bassac Story
Directed, produced by Phally Chroy.  2010.  35 minutes.
2:15 PM -- Friday, March 22, 2013
Q&A in person with Phally Chroy.

Khmer Dancers: A Bassac Story is a documentary about a Khmer dance group out of the slums of Cambodia and the pending forces of development and modernity affecting notions of their dance and livelihood.

Distributed by filmmaker.


A Perfect Soldier
Directed by John Severson.  2011.  56 minutes.
3:00 PM -- Friday, March 22, 2013
Online Q&A with Richard Fitoussi

Groomed to be an instrument of war as a child by the Khmer Rouge regime, Aki Ra works to combat the violence in which he once took part by removing what he can of the six million landmines that still mar Cambodia’s countryside.

Distributed by Cinema Guild

Lang Kambáy Duláy from Weavers' Stories from Island Southeast Asia
Produced by the Fowler Museum at UCLA. 2012. 10 minutes.
9:50 AM -- Saturday, March 23, 2013
Q&A in person with Cherubim Quizon.

Lang Kambáy Duláy is one of eight short films in Weavers’ Stories from Island Southeast Asia, a collection where weavers and batik artists speak for themselves in videos recorded in Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, and East Timor. What motivates them to create new patterns? How do they adjust to changing social and economic situations? A panoply of human emotions and experience—determination, longing, dream inspiration, theft, war, and more—emerge from the stories of these remarkable women.

All eight short films are available on DVD included in the book Weavers' Stories from Island Southeast Asia, distributed by University of Washington Press. They can also be accessed at

Tales of the Waria
Directed by Kathy Huang.  2011.  56 minutes.
5:25 PM -- Saturday, March 23, 2013
Online Q&A with Kathy Huang.

Indonesia is home to the world’s largest Muslim population.  It is also home to a community of transgendered individuals known as warias, biological men who live openly as women.  In this eye-opening PBS documentary, four warias search for romance and intimacy.  Along the way, they encounter unique obstacles that force them to make extraordinary sacrifices to keep the ones they love.

Distributed by Transit Media Communications.










Last updated February 22, 2013
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