ADRIAN NARAYAN WRITES –In November, Asia Media International staff attended the third annual Asian World Film Festival (AWFF) in Culver City, California a.k.a. “the heart of screenland.”
After watching films and panels throughout the seven-day festival, it’s safe to say that the AWFF left no doors unopened when it came to the inclusivity of films featured.
Given the breadth of growing film producers, actors, directors, and studios throughout Asia, it’s undeniable that choosing just a handful of films from the world’s largest and most non-monolithic “continent” takes quite a challenging feat.
Luckily, the AWFF brought its A-game to the table and did not shy away from platforming incredible films that made it to Hollywood’s backyard. With a wide array of cultures and regional settings that covered genres from horror to drama and adventure to documentaries, the AWFF brought powerful stories of Asia to the frontlines.
While the clear lack of Asian representation in Hollywood is a persistent issue, that didn’t discourage Sadyk Sher-Niyaz (founder of AWFF) and Georges N. Chamchoum (director) from featuring films from across Asia. I mean, literally the entire breadth of Asia. Whether it be Russia, India, Japan or Kyrgyzstan, directors and actors from all twenty corners of the region gathered to form a collective community. The level of camaraderie within the cinematic community toward the films sheds light on the powerful narratives surrounding different cultures, languages, and personal stories.
Although there were only two Asian actors nominated at this year’s Golden Globes, there is no doubt that future film festivals will have to confront Asia’s growing cinematic talent.
Diversity, recognition, and respect for Asia’s non-monolithic communities are a few reasons why the AWFF will continue to serve as a successful showcase for modern Asian Cinema. It is this triumph of Asia’s growing presence, as a global entertainment platform, that Hollywood can learn to take a hint or two of their own.