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AAS Film Expo 2018

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

The Chinese Lives of Uli Sigg
Directed by Michael Schindhelm. Produced by Marcel Hoehn.
2017. China. 93 minutes.
Online Q&A with Michael Schindhelm.
Thursday, March 22, 2018, 12:30pm 


The Chinese Lives of Uli Sigg is a history of China's recent opening to the West, and of the West's embrace of Chinese contemporary art, through the eyes of Sigg and the artists he championed. Artists including Ai Weiwei, Cao Chong'en, Gang Lijun, Feng Mengbo, Shao Fan, Wang Guangyi, Zeng Fanzhi and Cao Fei are interviewed along with curators, diplomats, architects and business colleagues in this colorful documentary survey of contemporary Chinese art.

Distributed by Icarus Films.


Art In Smog
Directed by Lydia Chen.
2018. China. 75 minutes.
In-person Q&A with Lydia Chen.
Thursday, March 22, 2018, 2:10pm

Vivid art merges with intimate interviews to evoke the human pursuit of meaning. This film illustrates the rise of China over 25 years as experienced by international artists Su Xinping and Xia Xiaowan, painter and antiques expert Mushi, fearless curator Cui Cancan, and painter Chen Hui. The pursuit of art takes them from quiet lives in the 1990s to the extremes of the 2000s, as documented in footage shot in 1991 and 2016.

Distributed by filmmaker.

Vanished Archives
Directed by Connie Lo Yan-wai.
2017. Hong Kong. 119 minutes.
Online Q&A with Connie Lo Yan-wai.
Thursday, March 22, 2018, 7:30pm

Documentary film director Connie Lo Yan-wai spent four years interviewing participants of the 1967 Hong Kong riots, from the children of the leftist leaders of the time, to members of the "bomb squads", union leaders and patriotic students. Others who share their personal experiences include former police officers, a senior government information director, journalists and a number of witnesses and victims. Lo sifted through piles of old newspapers, government documents and declassified British government records in order to produce the documentary, Vanished Archives.

Distributed by Golden Scene Company Limited.

Above The Drowning Sea
Directed by Rene Balcer and Nicola Zavaglia.
2017. China. 92 minutes.
In-person Q&A with Rene Balcer and Carolyn Hsu-Balcer.
Friday, March 23, 2018, 12:35pm

On the eve of WWII, tens of thousands of Jewish refugees are trapped in Nazi-controlled Vienna. This film recounts the courageous intervention of Ho Feng Shan, the Chinese Consul in Vienna who defied his own government and braved the Gestapo to issue visas to the refugees. It is the epic story of their escape to Shanghai, as told by Jewish refugees and the Chinese who helped them survive.

Distributed by filmmaker.


Finding KUKAN
Directed by Robin Lung.
2017. China and United States. 75 minutes.
Online Q&A with Robin Lung
Friday, March 23, 2018, 2:20pm

KUKAN, a landmark color film that revealed the atrocities of World War II China to audiences around the world, was the first ever American feature documentary to receive an Academy Award in 1942. After World War II, the film became lost and no copy of it could be found. When filmmaker Robin Lung discovers a badly damaged film print of the "lost" KUKAN, she pieces together the inspirational tale of the two renegades behind the making of it -- Chinese American playwright Li Ling-Ai and cameraman Rey Scott

Distributed by New Day Films.


Tang Prize – Confucius of the West
A film by The Tang Prize Foundation
2017. United States and Taiwan-R.O.C.. 46 minutes.
Saturday, March 24, 2018, 8:30am

William Theodore de Bary received the 2016 Tang Prize in Sinology for establishing the field of Neo-Confucianism in the West. In his remarkable academic career spanning over seven decades, he has written and edited over thirty books with many making grounding contributions that provide both enlightening insight and honest critique to Confucianism.

Distributed by The Tang Prize Foundation


Tashi and the Monk
Directed by Andrew Hinton and Johnny Burke
2014. China. 40 minutes.
Saturday, March 24, 2018, 10:15am

On a remote mountaintop of the Himalayas sits Jhamtse Gatsal, a special school and home for 85 abandoned and neglected children. Founded by former Buddhist monk Lobsang Phunstok, who trained under the guidance of the Dalai Lama, this unique community gives boys and girls the chance to escape extreme poverty and grow up in an environment where they are free to be themselves and dream about their future. Tashi and the Monk won the 2016 Emmy Award for Outstanding Short Documentary and has won 26 festival prizes including the International Documentary Association's Best Short and Pare Lorentz Awards.

Distributed by Collective Eye Films

Home of My Heart
Directed by Can To.
2016. Hong Kong. 40 minutes.
In-person Q&A with Can To.
Saturday, March 24, 2018, 5:35pm

One great-great-great-great-great-granddaughter's path to finding her roots and why her ancestors sacrificed so much for her family. A people's story and home in danger of being destroyed forever.

Distributed by Canto Works.
Contact: cantoworks [at]


North Korea: Beyond the DMZ
Directed by J.T. Takagi and Hye-Jung Park.
2003. North Korea. 60 minutes.
Online Q&A with J.T. Takagi.
Friday, March 23, 2018, 8:30am

This documentary follows a young Korean American woman to see her relatives, and through unique footage of life in the D.P.R.K. and interviews with ordinary people and scholars, opens a window into this nation and its people. Though released in 2003, the living conditions in the D.P.R.K. and its relationship with the U.S. has barely changed, keeping the film relevant today.

Distributed by Third World Newsreel.
Educational Video-On-Demand Streaming

Blue Butterfly Effect
Directed by Emmanuel Moonchil Park.
2017. South Korea. 94 minutes.
Online Q&A with Emmanuel Moonchil Park.
Friday, March 23, 2018, 9:40am

In 2016, a small farming town in South Korea, Seongju, staged fierce protests against the deployment of a US missile defense system, THAAD. The film focuses on the young mothers who were central to this struggle. In the face of escalating military tension, these women have called for peace and negotiations within the region.

Distributed by filmmaker.
Contact: jazzurup [at]

Human Error
Directed by Yoh Kawano.
2017. Japan. 56 minutes.
Online Q&A with Yoh Kawano.
Friday, March 23, 2018, 11:25am


This film follows a group of people whose lives have forever been disrupted by a nuclear disaster: a nuclear power plant executive, a priest, a travel inn owner, a farmer, the mayor of a local town, and an 86 year old evacuee. As villages inside the evacuation zone prepare for its reopening, successful resurrection depends on the return of their citizens and the perception that spaces are once again safe for everyday human life.

Distributed by filmmaker.
Contact: yohman [at]

A Normal Life: Chronicle of a Sumo Wrestler
Directed by Jill Coulon.
2017. Japan. 55 minutes.
Friday, March 23, 2018, 6:45pm

At the age of 18, Takuya is driven by his father and his sponsors to leave his hometown in Hokkaido, Japan and join a troupe of sumo wrestlers in Tokyo. There, he will share everything with the ten other athletes: day-to-day life, training, social life, and sumo wrestling tournaments. This film follows Takuya as he adjusts to his new life away from home as a teenage sumo wrestler.

Distributed by Icarus Films.
Online Streaming:


The Buddha Mummies of North Japan
Directed by Satoshi Watanabe. Produced by Shayne A. P. Dahl.
2017. Japan. 21 minutes.
Saturday, March 24, 2018, 11:35am

In select temples in northeastern Japan, the robed bodies of mummified monks are venerated as living Buddhas. This short documentary presents interviews with monks who care for the "Buddha Mummies" and patrons who worship them as living gods while revealing a key redressing ceremony in the 12-year ritual cycle.

Distributed by filmmaker.
Contact: shayne.dahl [at]


Mrs. B., A North Korean Woman
Directed by Jéro Yun.
2017. South Korea and China. 71 minutes.
Saturday, March 24, 2018, 1:35pm

In 2003, Mrs. B. left her husband and two sons behind in North Korea and was sold into marriage. A decade later, she's running a robust trafficking business from a small farm in northern China. This film is a closely observed verite portrait of a world-weary woman who finds herself between countries, worlds, and families. The result is a powerful look at the mundane realities of life for both trafficker and trafficked, overturning cliched notions about a mysterious trade.

Distributed by Icarus Films.

Paper Lanterns
A film by Barry Frechette, Max Esposito and Peter Grilli.
2016. Japan and United States. 60 minutes.
In-person Q&A with Peter Grilli and Barry Frechette.
Saturday, March 24, 2018, 2:55pm

This film tells the story of the 12 American POWs killed in the bombing of Hiroshima. The story is told through the eyes of Shigeaki Mori, a hibukusha himself, who spent 40 years researching and telling the story of these victims of the bomb.

Distributed by filmmakers.


Forgive - Don't Forget
Directed by Brad Bennett, Austin Journey, Jonah Guelzo and Paul Ufema. 2016. Japan and United States. 71 minutes.
Online Q&A with Jonah Guelzo.
Saturday, March 24, 2018, 4:10pm

During Japan's surrender at the end of World War II, numerous swords were confiscated by American Officers. To better understand the past and build a bridge between cultures in the present, a filmmaker attempts to return one of these surrendered swords to its original owner.

Distributed by Gravitas Ventures.
Film Website:
For Educational Purchase contact: fdfmovie [at]

Comrade Kim goes Flying
A film by Kim Kwang Hun, Nicholas Bonner, and Anja Daeleamans.
2012. DPRK (North Korea). 78 minutes.
Online Q&A with Nicholas Bonner.
Saturday, March 24, 2018, 6:25pm

Comrade Kim Yong Mi is a North Korean coal miner. Her dream of becoming a trapeze artist is crushed by the arrogant trapeze star Pak Jang Phil who believes miners belong underground and not in the air. Comrade Kim goes Flying is North Korea's first "girl power" movie and the story of a girl reaching for her own dream and carving out her own future. The film was the first North Korean film to be shown to a South Korean public audience at the Busan International Film Festival and marks the change of film direction in North Korea to films made for entertainment purposes only.

Distributed by Another Dimension of an Idea, Belgium.

Democracy Road
Directed by Turid Rogne.
2017. Myanmar. 60 minutes.
Online Q&A with Turid Rogne.
Thursday, March 22, 2018, 3:35pm

After more than 20 years in exile in Norway, the Burmese journalists of DVB are returning to their homeland to establish their independent news station there. Editor-in-chief Aye Chan Naing and reporter Than Win Htut have dreamt about this for years, but their struggle for freedom and democracy is not over yet.

Distributed by Icarus Films.


Out Run
Directed by S. Leo Chiang and Johnny Symons.
2016. Philippines. 57 minutes.
Online Q&A with Johnny Symons.
Thursday, March 22, 2018, 4:45pm.

Mobilizing working-class transgender hairdressers and beauty queens, the dynamic leaders of the world's only LGBT political party wage a historic quest to elect a trans woman to the Philippine Congress. Culminating on election day, Out Run provides a unique look into the challenges LGBT people face as they transition into the mainstream and fight for dignity, legitimacy, and acceptance across the globe

Distributed by New Day Films.


The Man Who Built Cambodia
Directed by Christopher Rompré.
Produced by Haig Balian and Christopher Rompré.
2015. Cambodia. 37 minutes.
Online Q&A with Christopher Rompré.
Saturday, March 24, 2018, 9:25am

This film explores the life of Vann Molyvann, an architect whose work came to represent a new identity for a country emerging from independence, and whose incredible story encompasses Cambodia's turbulent journey as a modern nation. In Cambodia's post-independence period, Molyvann had been at the center of a renaissance, developing a distinctive architectural style, New Khmer Architecture. Returning in the 1990s, Molyvann is marginalized from public life and many of his works are destroyed or neglected.

Distributed by filmmaker.
Contact: haig [at] or chris [at]

Directed by Jeanne Hallacy. Produced by Myo Win.
2017. Burma. 20 minutes.
Online Q&A with Jeanne Hallacy.
Saturday, March 24, 2018, 11:05am

Sittwe is about two teenagers separated by conflict and segregation in Burma's Rakhine state, Phyu Phyu Than, a Rohingya girl and Aung San Myint, a Buddhist boy. Filmed over two years, the teenagers share their ideas about each other's communities and the hope of reconciliation. Sittwe was awarded Best Short Film at its premiere at the Freedom Film Festival 2017 in Malaysia.

Distributed by Kanopy.


For the Love of a Man
Directed by Rinku Kalsy. Produced by Joyojeet Pal.
2015. India. 82 minutes.
Online Q&A with Joyojeet Pal.
Friday, March 23, 2018, 3:45pm

For the Love of a Man follows fans of South Indian film 'superstar' Rajinikanth, many of who are known for their acts of extreme fandom ranging from wild celebrations at theaters to organized social or political work in the name of the star. This film explores the political, economic, and religious origins of fan culture in India.

Distributed by Anecdote Films

Women at the Water's Edge:
Lives of Women in Climate Changed Sundarbans

Researched, Narrated & Produced by Kuntala Lahiri-Dutt.
Directed by Ronodeb Paul.
2017. India. 23 minutes.
Online Q&A with Kuntala Lahiri-Dutt.
Friday, March 23, 2018, 5:20pm

Professor Kuntala Lahiri-Dutt takes viewers to the Sundarbans, where climate change is fundamentally transforming the everyday lives of women living in remote chars, or river islands. The film shows how (and why) women in these villages are more adversely affected by these changes, and how women rise up to the challenges in order to survive.

Distributed by filmmaker.
Available on YouTube:


Sent Away Boys
Directed by Harjant Gill.
2016. India. 40 minutes.
Online Q&A with Harjant Gill.
Friday, March 23, 2018, 5:55pm

What happens to families in the absence of sons? What happens to land in the absence of farmers? What happens to communities in the absence of men? Sent Away Boys weaves together testaments of individual ambitions and family biographies from Punjab, India to chronicle the gradual transformation of agrarian landscape and patriarchal traditions through ongoing transnational migration.

Distributed by Tilotama Productions.


A film by Nadav Harel and Arik Moran.
2018. India. 40 minutes.
Online Q&A with Nadav Harel and Arik Moran.
Saturday, March 24, 2018, 12:05pm

Chidra follows Ram Nath, a peasant from the Indian Himalaya, as he performs an archaic ritual duty of a sacrificial scapegoat to the god Shiva. Transformed into a god in his own right, Ram Nath pierces Karma (chidra), cleansing society's sins through his death and resurrection.

Distributed by filmmaker.


The Last Bhopa: Epic of Pabu Rathore
A film by Praveen Singh Rathore and Cindy Gould.
2013. India. 18 minutes.
In-person Q&A with Praveen Singh Rathore and Cindy Gould.
Saturday, March 24, 2018, 1:00pm

Bhopa are hereditary caste musicians / spiritual healers who live in the Thar Desert region of India. This documentary film focuses on the legacy of this age-old folk tradition and its diminishing role in an evolving culture.

Distributed by filmmakers.












Last updated March 5, 2018
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