Our Guide To The 2012 SF Asian American Film Festival

This year’s Asian American Film Festival begins Thursday, March 8th and ends on the 18th.  I managed to see 11 of the films so far and plan on seeing a few more during the festival.  Obviously, films are a subjective medium, but if you’re looking for my take on the 11 festival films that I’ve already seen and the ones I’m excited for seeing, please follow the jump

A Lot Like YouAn introspective documentary on family’s roots… a movie that serves a higher purpose than film festival exposure, that of family documentation for future generations

Abu, Son of Adam The main draw for me to this film is that it’s India’s entry into the Best Foreign Language Film for the 84th Academy Awards. It also has my name in the title.  Go me!

Baby FactoryA critique on important Philippine issues such as poverty and overpopulation are told through a blend of fiction and nonfiction in an authentic overworked and underpaid maternity ward.

The CrumblesI walked away from this movie with a sense of 20-something nostalgia, and a nagging thirst for some refreshing Lagunitas bottled beer.

Front LineWar, huh, yeah. What is it good for? Absolutely nothing. Uh-huh”  And that pretty much sums up this extraordinarily average Korean war movie

Give Up TomorrowIf you can only get to see one full length doc at this year’s festival, see this one. In documenting an wrongfully accused man and the corrupt Philippine judicial system director Michael Collins also cleverly touches on the ugliness of the media, and the sensationalism and defamatory way they cover a story.

I Am A Ghost “H.P. Mendoza does a fine job of delivering scares, tension, and mystery in his character study of Emily, a ghost unable to pass through to the other side.

In The FamilyChoc-full of flaws, Patrick Wang‘s In The Family offers absolutely nothing new to the stack of already existing custody battle dramas.

Mr. Cao Goes To WashingtonThe movie is at its best and most interesting when it touches on topics of race and partisan politics and at its most pandering when trying to formulate suspense from election campaign drama via forced editing

Night Market Hero Want to see what a blockbuster hit looks like from Taiwan?  I do.  Supposedly this film outdoes its Hong Kong influenced Stephen Chow films in terms of off the wall action.

Ninja KidsThink of this as a carbon copy gone terribly bad version of just about every Harry Potter movie.

No Look PassThe movie never rises above the made-for-television documentary humdrum and winds up coming across as a special hour-and-a-half long episode of MTV’s True Life: I’m a closeted Lesbian Burmese-American living in Germany

Prison Dancer: The Interactive Web Musical A fictional account of a real viral youtube video from a Philippine Rehabilitation Center where a slew of inmates began performing choreographed dances.  Having already utterly enjoyed such dance films as Pina and Girl Walk/All Day I’m looking forward to seeing another dance movie.

Surrogate Valentine 2: Daylight Savings I am super psyched for this one, especially having seen part 1 last year, and being that it was one of my favorite movies of the festival.  “I was the next to be in line, to be your surrogate valentine“.  I still have that song stuck in my head.

Tsunami And The Cherry BlossomA fine example of the effectiveness a short film can have when executed properly.  Using the devastating Tsunami that crashed on Japan’s coast on March 11, 2011, this film captures mother nature at her most cruelest and most nurturing.

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Categories: Asian American Film Festival

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