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2015 AAS Film Expo

Film Descriptions:
Film titles in each section are listed in order of presentation. Please note in the following the film title and director/producer information, we list the year of release, country featured, and duration.

China & Inner Asia

Playing with Fire: Women Actors of Afghanistan
Directed by Anneta Papathanassiou.
2014. Afghanistan. 58 minutes.
Saturday, June 25, 2016, 9:00am

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.

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.
Saturday, June 25, 2016, 10:05am

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.

Mearsheimer vs. Nye on the Rise of China
Directed by Bill Callahan.
2015. China / USA. 19 minutes.
Saturday, June 25, 2016, 12:10pm

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.
Saturday, June 25, 2016, 12:40pm

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. 64 minutes.
Sunday, June 26, 2016, 5:10pm

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

Fall Seven Times, Get up Eight: The Japanese War Brides
Directed by Lucy Craft, Karen Kasmauski, and Karen Tolbert.
2015. Japan / USA. 26 minutes.
Saturday, June 25, 2016, 2:20pm

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.

Film Website:
Distributed in Japan by United People
Distributed in North America by Third World Newsreel.

Okinawa: The Afterburn
Directed by John Junkerman. Produced by Tetsujiro Yamagami.
2015. Okinawa, Japan. 120 minutes.
Saturday, June 25, 2016, 2:55pm

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.

Honor & Sacrifice
Directed by Lucy Ostrander and Don Sellers.
2013.  Japan / USA. 28 minutes.
Sunday, June 26, 2016, 10:05am

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.

Cocktail Party
Directed by Regge Life. Produced by Sayuri Nakata-Alsman.
2015. Okinawa, Japan. 110 minutes.
Sunday, June 26, 2016, 11:55am

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.
Sunday, June 26, 2016, 3:40pm

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.
Sunday, June 26, 2016, 9:00am

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.
Sunday, June 26, 2016, 10:45am

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.

Film Website:
Distributed in North America by Third World Newsreel.

Saan ang espiritu ng mga Vietnamese?
(Where is the Spirit of the Vietnamese People?
Directed by Evyn Lê Espiritu.
2015. Philippines. 16 minutes.
Sunday, June 26, 2016, 3:15pm

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

Memory As Resistance: Grandma Kong Defending Her Village
Directed by Victor Chin and Chan Seong Foong.
2015. Malaysia. 20 minutes.
Sunday, June 26, 2016, 4:35pm

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.


South Asia

Directed by Cathy Stevulak. Produced by Cathy Stevulak and Leonard Hill.
2015. Bangladesh. 30 minutes.
Saturday, June 25, 2016, 11:30am

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.
Sunday, June 26, 2016, 2:05pm

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.
















Last updated May 19, 2016
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