the power of belonging at SDAFF2020

Like many of the film festivals of this year (and most events tbh), The 2020 San Diego Asian Film Festival was digital and it was our second official year attending! (Yussssss!) Thank you PacArts! Due to it being a week after the all-digital San Diego International Film Fest and a whole week before the U.S. elections (when time literally stopped in between the three holidays after that, WHEW!) … I wish there was more time to watch more (if not all) of these amazing Asian narratives, but! nonetheless, here are five highlights from the virtual San Diego Asian Film Festival 2020.

The Official SDAFF2020 Shorts Directory

Be/Longing: What does it mean to belong? No, I mean truly belong. From Hawaiian histories, a Korean adoptee’s story of self-discovery, a Korean university student’s own battle with eating disorders, to a Mongolian girl dealing with her parents divorce at an early age, and to two Iranian American sisters grieving their father’s death (among many other powerful stories) – this category was more than just about the feels, it was all about exploring the impact of true belonging.

We Are in a Digital Hell: Black Mirror but a little bit more unhinged. Like a lot more. From digital funerals…….(yeah, that’s a thing apparently), to shiny time machines of the future and to mukbangs gone wrong, this category pushes the boundaries of The Internet…..and Time…and well, Space, really. Here is one of the main highlights: AGARI-FIGHTER (MOUTH AND MOUTH FIGHTER). Note: If you love The Internet and Social Media, then consider watching these shorts with caution.

Human Resources: more like, On The Job: Horror Stories. This category bravely examines the “work climate” and environments our Protagonists face each and every day that border on LOL one minute to OMFG!@#$ in the same scene. Featuring films such as the dark comedy short EXCUSE ME, MISS, MISS, MISS and Eileen Cabiling’s BASURERO.

Queer Shapes: featuring three shorts and one that specifically focuses on WLW and its intersection with family, faith and The Church and all the complications that come with that etc. etc. (would have def. love to have seen this as a longer short for sure)


Feature Films focus:

DEATH OF NINTENDO is a blast from the past for the millennial Filipino kid. Lots of treats and lots of laughs – a coming-of-age movie from a point of view like we haven’t seen before in Western cinema.

A THOUSAND CUTS premiered at Sundance 2020 and made its way around film festivals over the course of the year. It is a powerful must-watch. For more info, check out its PBS page, its IMDb page and its official website. (Viewer discretion is advised).


End note: There were a lot of great films missed this time around! Hope to catch more films next year!

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