ALEXIS CRUZ WRITES – Travel through Asia without leaving your movie theater seat. From October 25, 2017 to November 2, 2017, the third annual Asian World Film Festival is on grand display at the Arclight Theater in Culver City, California. The festival is shaping up to be a great exhibit of Asian cinema and a reasonable excuse to spend a whole week at a movie theater. The AWFF features films from powerhouses of Asian cinema, including India, Japan and South Korea, along with promising offerings from smaller countries like Kyrgyzstan, Sri Lanka and Nepal.Some films are official contenders for the Oscars and Golden Globe awards. The Hollywood Foreign Press Association recognizes the showings as the official screenings for its members.
The festival opens with Turkey’s entry, “Ayla, the Daughter of War,” that follows a Turkish soldier who befriends and protects an orphaned Korean girl during the Korean War.
AWFF will present its own awards and has named veteran actress Lisa Lu as the head of the festival’s official jury. The actress appeared in films such as “The Last Emperor” and “The Joy Luck Club.” The event will also host the 25th anniversary of the “The Joy Luck Club” on October 29, followed by a Q&A with cast and crew.
As East Asian politics become tense, AWFF aims to share a bit of North Korean culture not seen before in American theaters. The festival will screen the North Korean film “Salt” on November 1, 2017 at 6 PM. The film was originally released in 1985 and directed by the abducted, South Korean filmmaker Sheen Sang-ok. He was the first filmmaker to work in South Korea, North Korea and later, the United States. “Salt” features a mother and son who become loyal to the Communist Party during the 1930’s. It is a film you won’t want to miss.
Bringing the festivity to a close, a screening of George Takei’s “Allegiance: The Broadway Musical on the Big Screen” will be shown on November 2. The iconic Japanese-American actor and activist appears in his film based on childhood experiences in a Japanese internment camps in the United States during World War II. George Takei will receive the AWFF Lifetime Achievement Award in a ceremony before the screening.
Selected films will be followed by a Q&A with cast and crew and tickets are available at the AWFF website. The festival offers the opportunity to scour a continent’s worth of movies and witness new stories.
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