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AAS Film Expo 2017

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.

AAS Films China and Inner Asia

Touch Taiwan - Legend that Echoes in the Mountains
Directed and Produced by Taiyuan Puppet Theatre.
2014. Taiwan.  14 minutes.
Thursday, March 16, 2017, 5:30pm
Online Q&A with Robin Ruizendaal.

The Touch Taiwan program was designed to foster greater awareness of native language and culture for children of Taiwanese aborigine tribes. Through shadow theatre program residencies lasting 2 to 4 days, students create and perform a local story in their native language for other children of the tribe and their families. Over a period of three years this program was conducted with over 20 tribes across Taiwan. Screens and lights were donated to every tribe and school and in several cases, this way of cultural arts education has become part of aborigine schools' curriculum.

Distributed by Robin Ruizendaal, Director, Taiyuan Asian Puppet Theatre Museum.
Facebook: Taiyuan Asian Puppet Theatre Museum (English/Chinese)
Facebook: Touch Taiwan (Chinese)


Directed by Pema Tseden.
2016. China (Tibet). 123 minutes.
Thursday, March 16, 2017, 7:30pm

Traveling from rural Tibet to a nearby town to obtain an ID card, sheep-herder Tharlo is smitten by Yangsto along the way. But town dweller Yangtso's ideas of fun are not quite Tharlo's. Basic pastoral imperatives such as protecting his sheep from hungry wolves run against Tharlo's discovery of the contemporary pleasures of smoking, drinking, singing and sex.

Distributed by Icarus Films.

The Silk Road of Pop
Directed by Sameer Farooq. Co-directed by Ursula Engel.
Produced by Stijn Deklerck.
2013. China. 53 minutes.
Friday, March 17, 2017, 11:00am
Online Q&A with Stijn Deklerck.

"The Silk Road of Pop" sketches a unique portrait of the vibrant pop music scene among the Uyghur Muslims in North-West China. Featuring traditional musicians, hip-hop crews, rock stars and dynamic music fans, this documentary taps into the rhythmical zeitgeist of what it means to be young and Uyghur in China, showing how music becomes a liberating element for a minority trying to assert its identity within a repressive environment.

Distributed by Smoke Signal Projects.


Guangzhou Dream Factory
Directed by Christiane Badgley. Produced by Erica Marcus.
2016. Ghana / China. 65 minutes.
Saturday, March 18, 2017, 12:40pm
Online Q&A with Christiane Badgley.

Immigration, globalization, Chinese factories and African dreams... "Guangzhou Dream Factory" weaves stories of Africans chasing alluring, yet elusive 'Made in China' dreams into a compelling critique of our 21st century global economy that offers fresh perspective on China and African development.

Distributed by Raymar Educational Films, Inc.


Directed and produced by Daniel Whelan.
2016. China. 58 minutes.
Saturday, March 18, 2017, 1:55pm
Online Q&A with Daniel Whelan.

The Futian Market of Yiwu in China is where wholesale buyers come from around the world to buy cheap Chinese goods. Covering 4 million square metres, 120,000 suppliers hawk their wares. In "Bulkland" migrant workers, factory owners and night club dancers struggle to carve out a slice of the pie in the city dedicated to bulk sales of cheap junk.

Film Website:
Distributed by Journeyman Pictures.


Paths of the Soul
Directed and produced by Zhang Yang.
2016. China (Tibet). 117 minutes.
Saturday, March 18, 2017, 6:00pm

Filmmaker Zhang Yang blurs the border between documentary and fiction to follow a group of Tibetan villagers who leave their families and homes in the small village of Nyima to make a Buddhist "bowing pilgrimage"- laying their bodies flat on the ground after every few steps - along the 1,200 mile road to Lhasa, the holy capital of Tibet. Though united in their remarkable devotion, each of the travelers embarks on this near impossible journey for very personal reasons. Stunningly photographed over the course of an entire year, with non-professional actors and no script, "Paths of the Soul" is a mesmerizing study of faith.

Distributed by Icarus Films.


People Are The Sky
Directed by Dai Sil Kim-Gibson.
2016. North Korea / USA. 94 minutes.
Thursday, March 16, 2017, 12:30pm
Online Q&A with Dai Sil Kim-Gibson.

Director Dai Sil Kim-Gibson makes a pilgrimage to her place of birth in North Korea for the first time in nearly 70 years to explore if it is still home. Kim-Gibson is the first Korean American filmmaker to be given official permission by the North Korean government to film inside its borders.

Distributed by Women Make Movies.

Tell The Prime Minister
Directed by Eiji Oguma.
2015. Japan. 104 minutes.
Thursday, March 16, 2017, 3:35pm
Online Q&A with Eiji Oguma.

The anti-nuclear movement after the Fukushima nuclear disaster mobilized 200,000 people and succeeded to organize a meeting with the prime minister by utilizing SNS. Interviews with eight individuals and footage uploaded to the internet describe this hidden revolution.

Distributed by UPLINK

This Island is Ours
Directed by Alexander Bukh and Nils Clauss.
2016.  Japan / South Korea. 52 minutes.
Friday, March 17, 2017, 2:55pm
Q&A in-person with Alexander Bukh.

This documetary focuses on Dokdo/Takeshima territorial dispute related activism in Japan and Korea. It provides individual activities in both countries with a platform to talk about themselves, their activism and their views of the other country.

Distributed by Contented.

The Apology
Directed and Produced by Tiffany Hsiung.
2016. South Korea / China / Philippines. 104 minutes.
Friday, March 17, 2017, 3:55pm
Q&A in-person with Tiffany Hsiung.

Follows the personal journeys of three former "comfort women" who were among the 200,000 girls and young women kidnapped and forced into military sexual slavery by the Imperial Japanese Army during World War II. After seventy years of living in silence and shame about their experiences of institutionalized rape and sexual slavery, Grandma Gil in South Korea, Grandma Cao in China, and Grandma Adela in the Philippines give first-hand accounts of the truth. They are seeking an apology and the hope that this horrific chapter of history not be forgotten.

Distributed by Icarus Films.


Living with Memories - pt. 1 The House of Sharing
Directed and Produced by Toshikuni Doi.
2015. South Korea. 72 minutes.
Friday, March 17, 2017, 5:50pm

"Living with Memories" is on the former Korean "comfort women" and their ongoing struggles for justice since the 1991 public testimony of Kin Hak-sun. The film chronicles the everyday life and thoughts of several women survivors since twenty years ago, when the filmmaker began covering the issue in 1994.

Distributed by Toshikuni Doi.


Under the Sun
Directed and Produced by Vitaly Mansky.
2016. North Korea. 110 minutes.
Saturday, March 18, 2017, 9:35am

After years of negotiation the Russian director Vitaly Mansky was invited by the North Korean government to make a film about one girl and her family in the year she prepares to join the Children's Union, on the 'Day of the Shining Star' (Kim Jong-II's birthday). But the government handlers supervising the production did not realize that Mansky kept filming even after they had shouted "Cut."

Distributed by Icarus Films.


So Long Asleep: Waking the Ghosts of War
Directed and Produced by David W. Plath.
2016. Japan / South Korea. 60 minutes.
Saturday, March 18, 2017, 3:05pm
Q&A in-person with David W. Plath.

Cameras follow a team of international volunteers carrying home the remains of young Korean men who died doing forced labor in Imperial Japan during the 1940s Asia-Pacific War. Did we forget our dead?

Distributed by Media Production Group.
Forthcoming DER release (Fall 2017)


Living Through March 11, 2011 -
Words that Remember The Great East Japan Earthquake
Directed and Produced by Kenji Aoike.
2013. Japan. 97 minutes.
Saturday, March 18, 2017, 4:15pm
Q&A in-person with Susumu Sato, Kumiko Sato, Toshihide Mori, and Atsuko Hashimoto, members of Miyagi Earthquake Film Production Committee.

"The Great East Japan Earthquake" on 11 March 2011 battered 14 elementary and junior high schools in Ishinomaki, Miyagi, Japan, leaving 182 children dead or missing. Enduring the unexpected shaking of the Earth and the looming tsunami, how did the people at the school act in the moment? Over 37 people recall "that moment" on March 11 through to the following morning.

Distributed by Miyagi Earthquake Film Production Committee.

This Kind of Love
Directed and Produced by Jeanne Hallacy.
2015. Burma. 43 minutes.
Friday, March 17, 2017, 7:10pm
Online Q&A with Jeanne Hallacy.

"This Kind of Love" follows Burmese human rights and LGBT activist, Aung Myo Min, as he returns after 24 years in exile. Set against Myanmar's historical transition from half a century of brutal military rule, Myo shares his vision for equality for all - from children to transgender person to ethnic nationalities with his countrymen, to be part of his homeland's emergence from the darkness of dictatorship. Myo's story celebrates his belief that community and inclusion are fundamental to creating meaningful political and social change in Burma/Myanmar.

Distributed by DER.

Directed by Duc Nguyen.
2014. Philippines / USA. 57 minutes.
Saturday, March 18, 2017, 11:35am
Online Q&A with Duc Nguyen.

After lingering in a foreign land for 16 years, more than 2000 Vietnamese refugees' dreams of resettlement are renewed when U.S. officials return to Manila to review the cases of these forgotten, displaced people.

Distributed by Right Here In My Pocket.

A Girl in the River: The Price of Forgiveness
Directed by Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy.
2015. Pakistan. 40 minutes.
Friday, March 17, 2017, 8:30am

"A Girl in the River: The Price of Forgiveness" follows the story of Saba, a young Pakistani woman who was shot and left for dead by her father and uncle after marrying Qaiser, a man once promised to her by her family. Told through the lens of a true love story, the film is a scathing examination of the contradictions between modernism and tradition within Pakistani society, as Saba struggles with pressures to "forgive" the relatives who tried to kill her - a pronouncement that would set them free.

Distributed by Films Media Group.

Directed by Rokhsaren Ghaem Maghami.
2015. Iran / Germany / Switzerland. 91 minutes.
Friday, March 17, 2017, 9:20am

"Sonita" tells the inspiring story of Sonita Alizadeh, an 18-year-old Afghan refugee in Iran, who thinks of Michael Jackson and Rihanna as her spiritual parents and dreams of becoming a big-name rapper. Unfortunately, her family has a very different future planned for her: as a bride she's worth $9,000.

Distributed by Women Make Movies.


The Song Collector
Directed by Erik Koto.
2016. India (Ladakh). 54 minutes.
Friday, March 17, 2017, 12:05pm
Online Q&A with Erik Koto.

When Morup Namgyal sparked a movement to preserve his Himalayan culture, he never imagined he would ultimately embrace modernization. Through the lives of three generations of the Namgyal family, "The Song Collector" explores the uneasy relationship between culture and development.

Distributed by Erik Koto.


Drawing the Tiger
Directed and produced by Amy Benson, Scott Squire and Ramyata Limbu.
2016. US / Nepal. 96 minutes.
Friday, March 17, 2017, 1:10pm
Online Q&A with Amy Benson.

Shot over seven years, "Drawing the Tiger" takes a sweeping view of one Nepalese family's daily struggle to survive off of subsistence farming. When their bright daughter receives a scholarship to study in Kathmandu, the family's prospects suddenly improve by leaps and bounds overnight, but will the weight of their expectations crush her?

Distributed by Women Make Movies.


My Own City
Directed by Sameera Jain.
2011. India. 56 minutes.
Saturday, March 18, 2017, 8:30am

The experience of a gendered urban landscape - where the gaze, the voice and the body are at all times under surveillance. What if the multiple surveillances were to be turned upon themselves to observe what is contained in the everyday? The film explores whether there is a sense of ownership, of belonging to the city. Can a woman in the city, as she continuously negotiates the polarities of anxiety and comfort, be free? Somewhere just under the surface of the 'normal' and in the lives of women cab drivers lie signs of reclamation of space and the gaze.

Distributed by Sameera Jain, with Public Service Broadcasting Trust (PSBT).


Directed by Richard Fung.
2016. Canada. 68 minutes.
Thursday, March 16, 2017, 2:15pm
Q&A in-person with Richard Fung.

A fascinating look into the lives and thoughts of seven Queer Pan-Asian Canadians as they look back on "Orientations," a 1984 documentary in which they featured. How have they changed? And how has the world around them evolved and changed?

Distributed by Third World Newsreel.









Last updated February 10, 2017
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