One of the largest showcases of Asian cinema in North America, the New York Asian Film Festival has announced the lineup for its 16th edition (June 30th-July 13th).
The festival opens with Thai thriller Bad Genius (ฉลาดเกมส์โกง), Nattawut Poonpiriya’s suspense thriller about a genius high school student who has deliver the answers of a US university entrance exam back to Thailand. Star Chutimon Chuengcharoensukying will receive this year’s Rising Star Asia Award.
The closing film is Korean action thriller The Villainess (악녀), which had its world premiere in the midnight screening section of this year’s Cannes Film Festival.
The festival also continues its recent efforts to spotlight Southeast Asian cinema by presenting Mikhail Red’s Birdshot as its centerpiece gala film.
For the first time this year, the festival is introducing a competition section, specifically for films by first- or second-time directors whose films are having their North American premieres at the festival. The seven-film competition lineup includes Bad Genius, Birdshot, Japan’s A Double Life (二重生活), Taiwan’s The Gangster’s Daughter (林北小舞), Vietnam’s splatter thriller Kfc, Korean indie Jane (꿈의 제인) and Hong Kong’s With Prisoners (同囚). The jury will be announced at a later date.
While other festivals are screening Hong Kong International Film Festival’s Creative Visions program to commemorate the 20th anniversary of Hong Kong’s handover to Chinese sovereignty, NYAFF has put together its own Hong Kong panorama, featuring the Young Blood Hong Kong program to highlight young directors. The program includes Mad World (一念無明), Zombiology: Enjoy Yourself Tonight (今晚打喪屍) and This is Not What I Expected (喜歡·你).
Hong Kong’s Tony Leung Ka-fai will also attend the festival as the recipient of this year’s Lifetime Achievement Award. South Korean heartthrob Gang Dong-won will receive the Star Asia Award when he attends the screening of Vanishing Time: A Boy Who Returned (가려진 시간).
Other notable titles in the 57-film lineup includes Leste Chen’s Battle of Memories (記憶大師), Ann Hui’s Our Time Will Come (明月幾時有), Naoko Ogigami’s Close-Knit (彼らが本気で編むときは、), three of Nikkatsu’s Roman Porno reboot films (Aroused by Gymnopedies ジムノペディに乱れる, Dawn of the Felines 牝猫たち and Wet Woman in the Wind 風に濡れた女), Lee Joo-young’s A Single Rider (싱글라이더) and Giddens’ Mon Mon Mon Monsters (報告老師！怪怪怪怪物).