Asian American International Film Festival to celebrate 45th anniversary this summer


The Asian American International Film Festival (AAIFF) will be celebrating its 45th anniversary next month.

Originally established in 1978 by Asian CineVision, the film festival celebrated its first annual celebration in 1978 at the Henry Street Settlement in New York City’s Lower East Side. The festival has premiered artists Wayne Wang, Mira Nair, Marilou Diaz-Abaya and Ang Lee’s work for the first time in the United States at their festivals. As the organization continues to grow in size they are still committed to their original statement: to represent the diaspora of Asian stories and storytellers. It is proudly known as “The First Home to Asian American Cinema.”

The 45th anniversary will include a lineup of narrative, documentaries and short films from 73 directors, 24 countries and 20 languages. Participants in the festival consist of storytellers, activists and those dedicated to keeping the historical roots of their culture alive. 

Some highlights to look forward to are: the New York premiere of “A Father’ Son,” which is a short film starring Tzi Ma and Ronny Chieng, based on author Henry Chang’s crime novel series featuring NYPD Detective Jack Yu. 

They will also be showing“Dealing With Dad,” a feature-length film starring Ally Maki and Karan Soni family members dealing with the spiraling depression of a loved one. 

The AAIFF will be in charge of the New York Premiere of “Game of Thrones” and “Star Wars” star Jessica Henwick’s directorial debut. Her film “Bus Girl” follows a young woman who aspires to be a chef. Viewers will watch as she navigates the world of high-end cooking.

“I want to continue to broaden expectations of what an Asian can be,” Henwick said. Her shift into directing will give both her and other Asian actors the chance to be seen as more than just a diversity quota that needs to be filled. 

“38 at the Garden,” which was recently acquired by HBO and produced by Oscar winners Travon Free and Samir Hernandez will be shown. The film explores why even 10 years later, “Linsanity” and Jeremy Lin still mean so much to Asian Americans as they navigate an increasingly anti-Asian America.

Award-winning films include “A Night of Knowing Nothing,” which won Best Documentary at Cannes in 2021, and “Code Name: Nagasaki,” a docu-hybrid that was the grand jury prize winner at Slamdance 2021 will also accompany the fictional films.

The hybrid festival will run from Aug 3 – 13. Ticketing starts at $10 for online tickets and $16 for in-person tickets. All tickets and packages can be bought here. It will take place at the Asia Society on 725 Park Ave.