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2015 AAS Film Expo

Film Descriptions:
Please note that following the film title and director/producer information, we list the year of release, country featured, and duration.

China & Inner Asia

Calling and Recalling: The Sentiments of Women's Script

Directed by Yu-i Ko. Produced by Fei-wen Liu and Chia-Kuen Hsieh.
2013.  China.  74 minutes.
Thursday, March 31, 2016, 1:15pm
Q&A in-person with Fei-wen Liu.

This documentary is produced with an urgent sense of salvaging an endangered heritage, nüshu 女書 the world’s only “women’s script” that men cannot read, a script circulated exclusively among women in an agrarian patriarchal community in southern China, namely Jiangyong 江永 County of Hunan Province. Based on fieldwork conducted since 1992, this film explores what nüshu has meant to Jiangyong women socially, cognitively, morally and sentimentally.

Distributed by Turnbox Production Studio Inc.

Playing with Fire: Women Actors of Afghanistan
Directed by Anneta Papathanassiou.
2014. Afghanistan. 58 minutes.
Thursday, March 31, 2016, 2:40pm

Banned under Taliban rule (1994-2001), Afghan theater is experiencing a comeback with many women at the forefront. Filmmaker Anneta Papathanassiou exposes pervasive erosions of Afghan women’s rights. Her timely, eye-opening documentary perfectly captures art’s transformative power and the dangers these courageous women face to do the work they love.

Distributed by Women Make Movies.

Live From UB: Rock & Freedom in the New Mongolia
Directed by Lauren Knapp.
2015. Mongolia. 82 minutes.
Thursday, March 31, 2016, 3:50pm
Online Q&A with Lauren Knapp.

Live from UB shows Mongolia through the eyes of its boldest musicians from the 1970s to today. Rock music was the catalyst for freedom, the vehicle for international curiosity, and now, the medium for Mongolian nationalism. It follows the story of today’s most promising independent band, as they create a new sound for their country and discover what it means to be Mongolian today.

Distributed by Lauren Knapp.

Mearsheimer vs. Nye on the Rise of China
Directed by Bill Callahan.
2015. China / USA. 19 minutes.
Friday, April 1, 2016, 2:40pm
Q&A in-person with Bill Callahan.

After 40 years of bipartisan support for engaging China, debate about PRC is brewing in Washington: has America created a peer competitor that now needs to be contained? This film explores the personal experiences of iconic IR theorists John Mearsheimer (Chicago) and Joseph S. Nye, Jr. (Harvard) to see how their first trips to China framed their strategic understanding of US-China relations.

Distributed by Wildwood Films.

All Eyes and Ears
Directed by Vanessa Hope.
2016. China / USA. 90 minutes.
Friday, April 1, 2016, 3:10pm
Q&A in-person with Vanessa Hope.

A timely exploration into the complex links between the U.S. and China, this documentary evokes the personal and the international with its accent on diplomacy, activism and individual experience. Interspersed with remarks from journalists and experts, All Eyes and Ears interweaves the stories of U.S. Ambassador to China Jon Huntsman, his adopted Chinese daughter, Gracie Mei, and blind legal advocate Chen Guangcheng as they find purpose, identity and resolve amid the two nations’ evolving relationship.  This film adroitly illuminates the delicate, intersecting layers of history, ideology and politics at play behind current diplomatic maneuvers.

Film Website:
Distributed by Outcast Films (Spring 2016)

My Life In China
Directed by Kenneth Eng. Produced by Ehren Parks.
2016. China / USA. 81 minutes.
Saturday, April 2, 2016, 12:35pm
Q&A in-person with Kenneth Eng.

This personal film takes viewers on a journey to rural China where an emotional revelation takes place. A story of migration is passed down from father to son, retracing the precarious steps risked in search for a better life. Was the risk worth it? What if he had never left? What was ultimately achieved by immigrating?

Distributed by My Life In China, LLC.


Northeast Asia

Kyoto - Heart of Japan

Directed by Kon Ichikawa. Produced by Olivetti Arte.
1968/2015. Japan. 37 minutes.
Thursday, March 31, 2016, 12:30pm
Online Q&A with Marty Gross.

This 1968 documentary is a poetic portrait of historic Kyoto by famed Japanese director Kon Ichikawa (1915-2008), and scored by esteemed composer Toru Takemitsu (1930-1996). Digitally remastered by Centro Sperimentale di Cinematografia from the original 35mm film production by Olivetti Arte, viewers get a vintage glimpse of Ryoanji Temple Stone Garden, the Meditation Hall of Tenryuji Temple, a Geisha residence, the Moss Garden of Saihoji Temple, the Katsura Imperial Villa and the Gion Festival.

Distributed by Marty Gross Film Productions, Inc.

Honor & Sacrifice
Directed by Lucy Ostrander and Don Sellers.
2013.  Japan / USA. 28 minutes.
Friday, April 1, 2016, 10:45am
Q&A in-person with Lucy Ostrander, Don Sellers and Nik Matsumoto Grah.

Honor and Sacrifice tells the complex story of a Japanese immigrant family ripped apart by WWII. The Matsumoto family included five sons; two who fought for the Americans and three who fought for the Japanese. The eldest, Hiroshi (Roy), became a hero, fighting against the Japanese with Merrill's Marauders, an American guerrilla unit in Burma. He was born near Los Angeles, educated in Japan, and became a hero when he used his Japanese language skills and military training to save his surrounded, starving battalion deep in the Burmese jungle. At the same time his parents and sisters were living in their family’s ancestral home, Hiroshima. The story is told by Roy's daughter Karen as she discovers her father's work in military intelligence, kept secret for 50 years.

Film Website:
Distributed by Stourwater Pictures.


Fall Seven Times, Get up Eight: The Japanese War Brides
Directed by Lucy Craft, Karen Kasmauski, and Karen Tolbert.
2015. Japan / USA. 26 minutes.
Friday, April 1, 2016, 11:25am
Online Q&A with Karen Tolbert.

Three Japanese war brides trace their tumultuous journey to America as the young wives of US soldiers and civilians. Atsuko, Emiko and Hiroko were among tens of thousands of Japanese women who married American soldiers after World War II. In brutally honest conversations with their respective daughters, they reveal the largely untold story of the Japanese war brides.

Distributed by Third World Newsreel.

Okinawa: The Afterburn
Directed by John Junkerman. Produced by Tetsujiro Yamagami.
2015. Okinawa, Japan. 148 minutes.
Friday, April 1, 2016, 12:00pm
Q&A in-person with John Junkerman.

Winner of Best Documentary from both Kinejun Magazine and Mainichi Film Awards in 2015, Okinawa: The Afterburn is the first documentary to provide a comprehensive picture of the 1945 Battle of Okinawa and the ensuing 70-year occupation of the island by the US military. This ambitious documentary was directed by Japan-based filmmaker John Junkerman, whose previous films include the Oscar-nominated Hellfire: A Journey from Hiroshima.

Distributed in Japan by Siglo, Ltd.
Distributed in North America by First Run Features.


Miryang Arirang - Legend of Miryang 2
Directed by Bae-il PARK.
2015. South Korea. 106 minutes.
Saturday, April 2, 2016, 2:05pm

When farmers and villagers of Miryang realized the devastating impact the construction of 52 765kV-transmission towers used to transfer electricity from a nuclear power plant to city areas will have on their lives, they began to speak out. A three year struggle ensued, ultimately leading to violent encounters between mostly elderly villagers and 3,000 policemen mobilized to forcibly remove protesters from construction sites and to block roads so others couldn't join the demonstrations. This documentary gives voice to those whose democratic rights were ignored, falling victim to powerful corporations with strong government support.

Distributed by CinemaDAL

Cocktail Party
Directed by Regge Life. Produced by Sayuri Nakata-Alsman.
2015. Okinawa, Japan. 110 minutes.
Saturday, April 2, 2016, 4:05pm
Q&A in-person with Regge Life.

When the daughter of a Japanese businessman in Okinawa charges that a US Serviceman assaulted her, the serviceman claims the encounter was entirely consensual. The ensuing military and civil investigations brings to light persistent resentment going back many years on both sides - the human toll of long term military occupation.

Distributed by Lifecycle Productions Inc.


Sunset House: Language as the house of Being
Directed by James Jack.
2013. Japan. 40 minutes.
Saturday, April 2, 2016, 6:05pm
Online Q&A with Dr. James Jack.

This video documents the socially engaged process of making the artwork "Sunset House: Language as the house of Being," which commenced in 2010 on a unique site on Shodo Island in the Setouchi Inland Sea. Created by over two hundred volunteers, residents and visitors in collaboration with artist James Jack, this artwork to be featured in the Setouchi International Art Festival in 2016 embodies local people’s stories, the history of the area and the surrounding ecology.

Distributed by Dr. James Jack.

Southeast Asia

Nuclear Savage: The Islands of Secret Project 4.1
Directed by Adam Horowitz.
2012. Marshall Islands. 60 minutes.
Friday, April 1, 2016, 8:30am
Online Q&A with Adam Horowitz.

Nuclear Savage uncovers one of the most troubling chapters in modern American history: how Marshall Islanders, because they were considered uncivilized, were deliberately used as human guinea pigs to study the effects of nuclear fallout on human beings. The film features survivor testimony, unseen archival footage, and recently declassified U.S. documents.

Film Website:
Distributed by The Video Project.

War for Guam
Directed by Frances Negrón-Muntaner.
2015. Guam. 57 minutes.
Friday, April 1, 2016, 9:35am
Online Q&A with Frances Negrón-Muntaner.

Through rare archival footage, contemporary veritè, creative use of graphics and sound, as well as testimonies of survivors and their descendants, War for Guam reflects on World War II and its enduring legacy in Guam from various points of view. A U.S. territory since 1898, the film tells the extraordinary story of how the Native people of Guam, the Chamorros, remained loyal to the U.S. under a brutal Japanese occupation. After World War II, as Guam was quickly ushered into a market economy revolving around U.S. military contracts and military service, Chamorros increasingly felt like squatters on their own land, and the memory of the war started to change from that of being rescued to that of being reoccupied.

Distributed by Third World Newsreel.

Dams, Drugs & Democracy
A film by Andy Limond & Jack Aung.
2015. Myanmar. 60 minutes.
Friday, April 1, 2016, 4:50pm
Online Q&A with Andrew Limond.

This documentary tells the story of a plan to dam the Irrawaddy River at its source: Myitsone, in Kachin State, northern Myanmar. Over the course of four years, a team of local journalists lived with villagers forcibly displaced by the dam project, followed dam protesters from downstream areas, and interviewed key players: local politicians, insurgent Kachin leaders, independent observers, and those behind the delayed Myitsone Dam project. All this at a time of significant political and societal change in Myanmar... Can a ceasefire transition into a more permanent peace-deal, and will the Myitsone Dam project be restarted following the recent election? What is the future for Kachin State and Myanmar?

Distributed by Andy Limond.

Memory As Resistance: Grandma Kong Defending Her Village
Directed by Victor Chin and Chan Seong Foong.
2015. Malaysia. 20 minutes.
Friday, April 1, 2016, 6:00pm
Online Q&A with Victor Chin and Chan Seong Foong.

A glimpse of the community spirit and culture that forged this over 100 year old village of Kg Hakka that stands defiant despite the pressure of development and land grabbing practice of local government. Grandma Kong is not just recalling a story of her life and her village, she is defending the right to safeguard this historical and cultural landscape for the future.

Distributed by Victor Chin and Chan Seong Foong.

Saan ang espiritu ng mga Vietnamese?
(Where is the Spirit of the Vietnamese People?
Directed by Evyn Lê Espiritu.
2015. Philippines. 16 minutes.
Friday, April 1, 2016, 6:30pm
Q&A in-person with Evyn Lê Espiritu.

This poetic documentary examines the haunting remains of the Philippine First Asylum Center (PFAC) on Palawan Island and the Philippine Refugee Processing Center (PRPC) in Bataan. The filmmaker examines contemporary Filipinos' interactions with a historical museum in Bataan, conducts interviews with former PRPC employees, and explores a Vietnamese-run village called Viet Ville -- intertwining her own history as an Asian American of Vietnamese and Filipino descent.

Distributed by Evyn Lê Espiritu.
Filmmaker vimeo page


South Asia

Directed by Cathy Stevulak. Produced by Cathy Stevulak and Leonard Hill.
2015. Bangladesh. 30 minutes.
Saturday, April 2, 2016, 8:30am
Q&A in-person with Cathy Stevulak and Leonard Hill.

A self-trained and passionate artist, Surayia Rahman is an unconventional Bengali woman who frees herself, other women and families from poverty and social hardships, by guiding hundreds of underprivileged women in Bangladesh to create masterworks of exquisitely hand-embroidered art that has been gifted to dignitaries and admired in collections throughout the world.

Distributed by Kantha Productions LLC.

India's Daughter
Directed by Leslee Udwin.
2015. India. 62 minutes.
Saturday, April 2, 2016, 9:10am

India's Daughter is the powerful story of the 2012, brutal gang rape on a Delhi bus of a 23 year old medical student, who later died from her injuries. In 2012, it made international headlines and ignited protests by women in India and around the world. BAFTA winning filmmaker Leslee Udwin, herself a victim of rape, went to India inspired by the protests against sexual assault. An impassioned plea for change, India's Daughter pays tribute to a remarkable and inspiring young woman and explores the compelling human stories behind the incident and the political ramifications throughout India.

Distributed by Women Make Movies.

Daughters of Mother India
Directed by Vibha Bakshi.
2013. India. 45 minutes.
Saturday, April 2, 2016, 10:20am

This documentary reveals the aftermath of the horrific rape and murder of a 23-year-old medical student in Delhi in December 2012. Indian journalist and filmmaker Vibha Bakshi questions how Indian society is changing after the 2012 events. Although an Anti-Rape Law was passed and radical changes were made within the police force and the judiciary, gender violence still persists. Did anything change?

Distributed by Third World Newsreel.

Miss Tibet: Beauty in Exile
Directed by Norah Shapiro. Produced by Kelly Nathe.
2014. India / USA. 70 minutes.
Saturday, April 2, 2016, 11:15am
Online Q&A with Norah Shapiro

High in the Indian Himalayas, in the epicenter of the exiled Tibetan world, a maverick impresario stages a most un-Tibetan spectacle: a western-style beauty pageant. When a Tibetan-American teenager travels to India to participate in this “pageant with a difference,” she finds herself not just competing for a crown, but confronting the intersection between her cultural identity and her life in the western world.

Educational distribution by filmmaker.
email: norah [at]















Last updated February 19, 2016
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