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AAS 2014 Film Expo Banner

Film Descriptions:

Film Banner China

China Dreams: The Debate
Directed by Bill Callahan. 2014. 11 minutes.
Saturday, 03/29/14, 2:50pm
Q&A in-person with Bill Callahan

Since Chinese President Xi Jinping made the ‘China Dream’ his official slogan, many people inside and outside the PRC have been asking ‘What is the China Dream?’ Is it for national greatness or for a comfortable life? This 11 minute video’s provocative approach will inspire student discussions of Chinese identity, politics and international relations.

Distributed by Bill Callahan

The Mosuo Sisters
Directed by Marlo Poras and Yu Ying Wu Chou. 2013. 80 minutes.
Friday, 03/28/2014, 12:20 pm

The Mosuo Sisters
follows Juma and Latso, young women from one of the last remaining matriarchal societies, as they are thrust into the worldwide economic downturn and lose their jobs. Determined to keep their family out of poverty, one sister sacrifices her dream and stays home to farm, while the other leaves to try her luck in the city.

Distributed by Women Make Movies

Nowhere to Call Home: A Tibetan in Beijing
Directed by Jocelyn Ford. 2014. 52 minutes.
Saturday, 03/29/14, 3:10pm
(Educators Preview Only, non-educators please inquire at
Q&A in-person with Jocelyn Ford

Nowhere to Call Home provides a rare glimpse into the world of a Tibetan farmer, torn between her traditional way of life and her desire for her son to have a better future in the city. Shot in the slums of Beijing and a remote mountain village, this gripping and nuanced story of a woman determined to beat the odds explores Tibetan migration to Han cities, gender issues and family dynamics in rural Tibet.  The verite-style film captures raw interactions among Tibetans and the Han majority, and ultimately puts a human face on the political strife that fractures China and Tibet.

Distributed by Stories that Matter

Returning Souls
Directed by Tai-Li Hu. 2012.  85 minutes.
Friday, 03/28/2014, 1:50 pm
Q&A in-person with Tai-Li Hu

In this documentary film by Tai-Li Hu of Academia Sinica, Taiwan, a unique case of repatriation unfolds as the villagers of the matrilineal Amis tribe in Taiwan recover the ancestral souls residing in the pillars of their ancestral house, toppled by a typhoon and now on display in a museum.  Bringing back the ancestral souls, begins the difficult reconstruction of a new ancestral house.

Distributed by Documentary Educational Resources

Robert Hart: For China and the World
Produced by Jeremy Routledge & Robert Bickers
2014. China and Ireland. 31 minutes.
Saturday, 03/29/14, 2:10pm
Q&A in-person with Jeremy Routledge & Robert Bickers

Irishman Sir Robert Hart was the inspector general of the Chinese Imperial Maritime Customs from 1863-1908. An employee of the Qing Dynasty rather than the British, he played a crucial role in the modernizing of the country and in the development of coastal infrastructure. Hart had two families, his wife Hester and their three children, but also a Chinese Mistress Ayao, and three more children whom Hart educated in Britain. The film explores the personal and political conflicts that motivated one of the most important foreign figures in Chinese history.

Distributed by Calling the Shots Films Ltd

Storm Under the Sun
Directed by Louisa Wei. 2009. 139 minutes.
Friday, 03/28/14, 7:45 pm
Q&A online with Louisa Wei 

This is the first and only documentary on Mao’s purge of Chinese writers, centering around the 1955 Anti-Hu Feng Campaign, tracing the face of intellectuals persecuted, and giving them a chance to reflect upon the matter years after the imprisonment.

Distributed by Blue Queen Cultural Communication Ltd

Film Banner Northeast Asia

Ainu. Pathways to Memory
Directed by Marcos Centeno
2013. Japan and Spain. 82 minutes.
Saturday, 03/29/2014, 11:55 am
Q&A online with Marcos Centeno

Ainu. Pathways to Memory is a discovery documentary of the Ainu people of Japan. On a trip which took us from Japan to Europe, we found a people erased from history books. The repeated sentence “I am Ainu” expresses a willingness to overcome their marginal circumstances. But the awakening of the Ainu people faces the mercantilist logic of a global world. Unavoidably, doubt comes to mind: what does being Ainu mean today?

Distributed by Marcos Centeno and Almudena Garcia

Bittersweet Joke
Directed by Paik Yeonah
2013. South Korea. 52 minutes.
Saturday, 03/29/2014, 8:30 am
Q&A online with Paik Yeonah

There remains a strong social taboo against single parenthood in South Korea, where single mothers are still referred to as "unwed".  Bittersweet Joke is the first Korean film in which single mothers appear with their faces unobscured, and speak frankly about problems they face in a society that treats them as a problem.

Distributed by Icarus Films

Buddhism After the Tsunami – The Souls of Zen 3/11 Japan Special (Classroom Edition)
Directed by Tim Graf and Jakob Montrasio. Produced by Michael Zimmer.
2012. Japan. 66 minutes.
Saturday, 03/29/2014, 10:40 am
Q&A online with Tim Graf

This documentary film follows Buddhist priests through the aftermath of the earthquake and tsunami that killed nearly 20,000 people in Japan in March 2011. Buddhism After the Tsunami presents perspectives on the important roles Buddhism played in the care of those lost and bereaved in the aftermath of 3/11.

Distributed by M&R Kreativ and Tim Graf

Available at:

Crossing the Line: Human Traffic
From the collection, Korea: Stories from a Still Divided Country

Co-produced by Chosunibo, Quartier Latin Media, Solferino Images, RTBF, NHK in cooperation with Korea Creative Content Agency and The Foundation Broadcast for Culture (Korea)
2013. Korea. 50 minutes.
Saturday, 03/29/2014, 9:40 am

Korea, orphan of the cold War, remains a divided country. The North, still supported by Beijing, is run as a communist regime with Stalinist overtones. The South, heavily supported by Washington, is ruled as a Western style democracy. In this rare collection of documentaries, engaged filmmakers share the experiences of North Korean defectors who have risked their lives and the loved ones they have left behind to escape their country. These films have been made thanks to the courage and determination of a number of thoughtful freedom fighters, supporting those who no longer would live within the framework of a deadlocked society and are intent on “crossing the line.”

Distributed by Film Ideas

Hafu – the Mixed-Race Experience in Japan
Directed by Megumi Nishikura and Lara Perez Takagi
2013. Japan. 87 minutes.
Saturday, 03/29/2014, 5:20 pm
Q&A online with Megumi Nishikura

Hafu – the Mixed-Race Experience in Japan
is a journey of discovery into the complex multicultural experience of mixed-race Japanese in modern day Japan. The film follows the lives of five Hafus – the Japanese term for people who are half Japanese – as they explore what it means to be multiracial and multicultural in a nation that once proudly proclaimed itself to be mono-ethnic. For some of these Hafus, Japan is the only home they know. For others, living in Japan is an entirely new experience. And still others find themselves caught between two different worlds.

Distributed by Megumi Nishikura

He defied the Tide of Time
Directed by Susanne Concha Emmrich. Produced by Bilderall Emmrich KB
2012. Japan, Lithuania, and Russia. 29 minutes.
Saturday, 03/29/2014, 1:30 pm
Q&A online with Susanne Concha Emmrich

In the noise of today’s society the voices of the last witnesses from World War II are drowned. We want to record Japanese and Polish-Jewish witnesses before they will be gone forever. Their memories tell us the incredible story of Chiune Sugihara and his saving of 6000 refugees in the Lithuanian town of Kaunas in summer 1940.

Distributed by Bilderall Emmrich KB

Hidden Scars: The Massacre of Koreans from the Arakawa River to Shitamachi in Tokyo, 1923
Directed by Choongkong Oh
1983/2014. Japan and Korea.  58 minutes.
Friday, 03/28/2014, 11:10 am
Q&A in-person with Jinhee Lee and online with Choongkong Oh

Released in the U.S. for the first time to mark the 90th commemoration year of the Great Kanto Earthquake and the following massacre of Koreans, this 1983 documentary features survivors’ testimonials and the controversies over the commemoration and memories of the tragedy in Japan and South Korea.

Distributed by Choongkong Oh

Sour Strawberries – Japan’s Hidden »Guest Workers«
Directed by Tilman König and Daniel Kremers
2009. Japan. 59 minutes.
Thursday, 03/27/2014, 3:00 pm
Q&A in-person with Daniel Kremers

This film shows different aspects of labor migration to Japan. It features interviews with migrants, two “nikkejin” workers from Peru and Bolivia, and three “trainees” from China, as well as with experts, politicians and activists, such as former Vice-Minister of Justice Tarô Kôno (Liberal Democratic Party) and Ippel Torii, the 2013 US-DOS “Trafficking in Persons Report Hero” from Japan.

Distributed by Cinemabstruso

Film Banner Southeast Asia

The Act of Killing (Director's Cut)
Directed by Joshua Oppenheimer.  Co-directed by Christine Cynn and Anonymous.
Produced by Signe Byrge Sørensen.
2012. Danish / Norwegian / British. 159 minutes.
Thursday, 03/27/2014, 7:30 pm
Q&A online with Joshua Oppenheimer

In a country where killers are celebrated as heroes, the filmmakers challenge unrepentant death-squad leaders to dramatize their role in genocide. The result is a cinematic fever dream into the imaginations of mass murderers and a regime of corruption and impunity.

Produced by Final Cut for Real
Educational Distribution by FilmPlatform

Breaking the Chains
Directed by Erminia Colucci
2014. Indonesia. 65 minutes. (Educators Preview)
Friday, 03/28/2014, 8:30 am
Q&A online with Erminia Colucci

Breaking the Chains
depicts the use of physical restraint and confinement of people with mental illness in Indonesia, an illegal practice known as pasung, and follows the activities that have been initiated by an organization led and run by people with mental health problems to stop this practice.

Distributed by Erminia Colucci

Cambodia: We Will Not be Moved
Directed by ABC Int’l
2012. Cambodia. 28 minutes.
Friday, 03/28/2014, 3:25 pm
Q&A in-person with Kathy Tan of Films Media Group

They’re known as the BK13 – thirteen women who live around what used to be Boeung Kak Lake, near the center of Phnom Penh. The lake has been filled in and most residents have been relocated, their houses flattened – all part of Cambodia’s race to join Asia’s development frenzy. While an estimated half million people have been evicted across the capital city, the BK13 aren’t going anywhere. They’re going to defend their homes with every ounce of energy they can muster. This program follows the BK13 story as well as wider dilemmas of land use facing 21st-century Cambodia, which has yet to find a way out of the anti-ownership chaos created by the Khmer Rouge. Scenes of forced evictions, squalid relocation camps, and Phnom Penh citizens boiling over with outrage clearly illustrate the struggling Southeast Asian country’s deep-rooted challenges.

Distributed by Films Media Group

Red Wedding: Women Under the Khmer Rouge
Directed by Lida Chan and Guillaume Suon
2013. Cambodia. 58 minutes.
Thursday, 03/27/2014, 1:50 pm

The Killing Fields in Cambodia became known to the world but little is known about the women left behind. At 16, Sochan Pen was forced to marry a Khmer Rouge soldier and was beaten and raped before managing to escape. After 30 years, Sochan decides to file a complaint and demands answers from those who carried out the regime’s orders.

Distributed by Women Make Movies

Film Banner South Asia

Bitter Seeds
Directed by Micha X. Peled.
2012. India. 88 minutes.
Saturday, 03/29/2014, 8:30 pm

Bitter Seeds
examines the epidemic of suicides among India’s cotton farmers who are deeply in debt after switching to genetically modified seeds.

Distributed by Bullfrog Films

Digital Dharma: One Man’s Mission to Save a Culture
Directed by Dafna Yachin
2012. India, China, Nepal and United States. 52 minutes.
Saturday, 03/29/2014, 4:15 pm
Q&A in-person with Dafna Yachin

When ancient writings of Sanskrit and Tibetan texts vanish during the 1950’s and 1960’s, the history of a whole society – it’s beliefs, customs and sense of enlightenment – is in danger of disappearing. Enter destiny in the form of an American pacifist E. Gene Smith, a Mormon from Utah, and the unlikely leader of an effort to rescue, preserve and share these early insights of mankind’s consciousness, from the medial to the mystical.

Distributed by Lunchbox Communications

The Lover and the Beloved
Directed by Andy Lawrence.
2011. India 70 minutes.
Thursday, 03/27/2014, 4:10 pm

A documentary feature film about one man’s journey across northern India and his search for enlightenment. Rajive McMullen, a history teacher suffering from a debilitating illness, makes the painful journey into the heart of Tantra, searching for meaning in holy shrines, coming close to death in cremation grounds and enjoying the chaos of Aghori seekers.  This film offers dramatic insight into Tantrik ideas about the life cycle, particularly death, and contributes much to our understanding of how we seek knowledge and how we die. The Lover and the Beloved also represents a realistic attempt to understand both the practice and illusive theory behind Indian Tantrism, and is intended to challenge widespread Western misinterpretations of the system of thought.

Distributed by Documentary Educational Resources.

Directed by Lalita Krishna.
2012. India/Canada. 74 minutes.
Friday, 03/28/2014, 9:45 am
Q&A online with Lalita Krishna

India is undergoing a retail revolution in which the aspiring middle-class is demanding more western goods and service. Modern malls are muscling into the traditional marketplace, pushing India’s economic infrastructure to the limits and threatening to put thousands of bazaar owners and small farmers out of business.  In her latest documentary Mallamall, award winning Producer/Director, Lalita Krishna intimately portrays the challenges facing India’s rising middle Class and the burgeoning retails sector, and looks at the impact of globalism through the lens of a nation trying to balance local consumer demand and foreign interests.

Distributed by Documentary Educational Resources

Saving Face
Directed by Daniel Junge and Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy
2012. Pakistan. 40 minutes.
Thursday, 03/27/2014, 1:00 pm

Saving Face is a harshly realistic view of violence against women in South Asia. This film follows plastic surgeon Dr. Mohammed Jawad as he helps victims of brutal acid attacks in his native Pakistan, and depicts the struggles of two of his patients as they seek to bring their assailants to justice. Saving Face is the winner of the Academy Award for Best Documentary (short subject).

Distributed by Women Make Movies

The Urban World: A Case Study in Slum Relocation
Directed by Warren Bass. Produced by Howard Spodek.
2014. India. 42 minutes.
Friday, 03/28/2014, 4:05 pm
Q&A in-person with Warren Bass, Zilan Munas, and Howard Spodek.

The Urban World is a documentary set in India’s fifth largest city where a major development program is displacing tens of thousands of slum dwellers from the banks for the Sabarmati River. The film looks at the move in human terms by following the experiences of one particular family. The production was funded by grants from Temple University and the World Bank.

Distributed by Munas/Bass Productions












Last updated February 17, 2014
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