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Boston Asian American Film Festival (Virtual)

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Dates:Wednesday, October 20, 2021 - Sunday, October 24, 2021
Hours:Varies by screening
Cost:Free see below

ArtsEmerson is excited to announce the schedule for The Boston Asian American Film Festival (BAAFF), a co-production of Asian American Resource Workshop and ArtsEmerson.

The festival will take place October 20-24, 2021 via ArtsEmerson’s virtual platform. BAAFF empowers Asian Americans through film by showcasing Asian American experiences and serving as a resource to filmmakers and the Greater Boston Community.

This year, BAAFF will present ten feature length films that include both live and recorded filmmaker Q&A’s as well as five moving shorts programs.

The features program opens with Lisa Mao’s A Tale of Three Chinatowns, an exclusive one night only screening with a live Q&A, and also includes centerpiece narrative Waikiki, Christopher Kahunahana’s eagerly awaited feature debut and closes with the documentary feature Who is Lun*na Menoh?, which follows the life and work of the extraordinary Japanese artist, and is directed by Jeff Mizushima.

Friday, October 22 BAAFF will also be hosting Filipino Friday, a day where all three Filipino films from this year’s festival-- Wherever We May Be, The Girl Who Left Home, and Lumpia with a Vengeance-- can be viewed for a special price of $24.

The five shorts programs include Altered Realities, a look at futuristic worlds ahead of us, Queer & Here, a BAAFF staple examining self-expression and identity beyond orientation, Matutine: Reawaken, taking a look into matutine spaces, the moments before first light, Cathemeral: Reorient, a look into Cathemeral films which explore the irregular cadences that are the heartbeat of society,and Vespertine: Revitalize, our thoughts right before bed, our nighttime musings.

Tickets range from $10-$12 for each feature length film or shorts program. Tickets may be reserved 24/7 at

Phone orders and group sales are available by calling the ArtsEmerson Box Office at 617-824-8400 (open Tue-Sat from 12:00PM ET - 6:00PM ET). The Paramount Center Box Office (559 Washington Street, Boston) is open for walk-up service Thu-Sat from 12:00PM ET - 6:00 PM ET


A Tale of Three Chinatowns
Directed by Lisa Mao and Produced by Penny Lee
$12 | 90 Minutes
WED, OCT 20 @ 7:30 PM ET –
SUN, OCT 24 @ 10:00 PM ET
LIVE Q&A with filmmakers OCT 20 @ 9:15PM ET
Exclusive one night only screening
A TALE OF THREE CHINATOWNS explores the survival of urban ethnic neighborhoods. Specifically examining Chinatowns in three American cities, the film looks at the forces altering each community and the challenges that go with them. The film profiles Chinatowns in Washington, D.C., Chicago, and Boston and features the voices of residents, community activists, developers, government officials, and others who have a connection to this ubiquitous neighborhood. Through these perspectives, the film presents the present day pressing topic of urban development and gentrification through the eyes of those on the frontlines.
Chicago’s Chinatown is a story of growth where the Asian-American population has increased and its borders have expanded. In contrast, Washington, D.C.’s Chinatown has dwindled to an estimated population of 300 residents of Chinese descent. The Chinatown neighborhood in Boston finds itself somewhere in between these two extremes as various groups fight for the land on which it sits.

Directed by Christopher Kahunahana
$12 | 77 Minutes | Ages 13+ (Mature Content/Violence)
THU, OCT 21 @ 7:00 PM ET –
SUN, OCT 24 @ 10:00 PM ET
Q&A with filmmaker to follow.
When a Native Hawaiian hula dancer escaping her abusive boyfriend crashes her beat-up van into a mysterious homeless man, she finds herself flung into a surrealistic journey of self-exploration and enlightenment. Director Christopher Kahunahana’s eagerly awaited feature debut breaks down the enduring, stereotypical image of paradise we have of Waikiki to reveal a vulnerable and authentic portrait of indignity. Leaving behind the touristic image of paradise and island culture, WAIKĪKĪ tackles the often-unspeakable generational trauma of postcolonial cultures through a mixing of genre conventions, experimental storytelling, and perspectives.
Q&A with filmmaker to follow.
“In his feature debut, director Christopher Kahunahana unravels a hauntingly beautiful film that depicts the complicated and intertwined sides of paradise, both darkness and light…” – Variety Magazine, Chris Lee, November 29, 2020

Asian American - Eyz'd: An Immigrant Comedy Special (preceded by Crouching Comic)
Directed by Felipe Figueroa
$10 | 80 Minutes | 13+ (Mature Content/Self-Harm)
THU, OCT 21 @ 9:30 PM ET –
SUN, OCT 24 @ 10:00 PM ET
Set in pre-pandemic Los Angeles 2020, three Asian American immigrants comics come together for a one – night comedy special. Ana Tuazon Parsons (Adam Ruins Everything, Dexter) Nicky Endres (The Dropout, One Day at a Time), and Aidan Park (Tosh.0, Laugh Factory) all came to the US as immigrants: Ana (Pinoy) smuggled from the Philippines as human treasure, Nicky (Korean, transgender) adopted by a White Family and sent here with w/ Korean cookbook, and Aidan (Korean, queer) learned English by watching Sister Act. They share their stories and struggles with identity, sexuality and survival in modern day America.
Q&A with filmmakers to follow.

Crouching Comic
Directed by Alberta Poon | 11 minutes
A surreal act unfolds as an Asian-American comedian battles her insecurities manifesting across her apartment before an open mic.

Wherever We May Be
Directors: Adrian Ellis Alarilla, Jed Yabut, Joseph Unsay, Kenneth Cardenas, Pat R., Pauline M., Zoé Ciela Guenne
$10 | 79 Minutes | All Ages
English & Tagalog with English subtitles
FRI, OCT 22 @ 5:30 PM ET –
SUN, OCT 24 @ 10:00 PM ET
Through a traveling video camera that circumnavigates the globe, a group of friends share their migration stories as they search for themselves and their place in the world wherever they may be.
Q&A with filmmaker to follow.

The Girl Who Left Home
Directed by Mallorie Ortega
$10 | 100 Minutes | All Ages
FRI, OCT 22 @ 7:30 PM ET –
SUN, OCT 24 @ 10:00 PM ET
After finally landing her breakthrough role in Los Angeles, Christine (Haven Everly) receives news that her father suddenly passed away. She immediately makes her way home to Maryland to face the bitter past she left behind. After becoming close to her family and friends once more, Christine must choose to either stay home and keep the family business alive, or go back to LA to continue her own dream.
Q&A with filmmaker to follow.

Lumpia with a Vengeance
Directed by Patricio Ginelsa
$10 | 109 Minutes | 13+ (Strong Language/Mature Humor)
FRI, OCT 22 @ 9:45 PM ET –
SUN, OCT 24 @ 10:00 PM ET
The LUMPIA-armed avenger reappears in Fogtown and teams up with high school student Rachel to prevent a crime syndicate from selling drugs masked as food in this crowdfunded action comedy.
FREE Digital Lumpia with a Vengeance Comic book with ticket purchase
Q&A with filmmaker to follow.

A Letter to A'ma
Directed by Hui-Ling CHEN
$10 | 105 Minutes
In Chinese & Japanese with English subtitles
SAT, OCT 23 @ 3:00 PM ET –
SUN, OCT 24 @ 10:00 PM ET
An art teacher returns to her childhood home to mourn the passing of her grandmother. As she pieces together the fragmented memories of her youth she finds herself coming face-to-face with the problematic issue of her country’s fractured history.
Through an artistic duty that this teacher gives to students, a performance art process that has lasted for more than 10 years, a representational portrait of the island’s collective memory begins to emerge; and in so doing, these young artists have initiated a process by which Taiwan, an island forgotten by the world and in the midst of forgetting itself, can now remember itself and construct a new postcolonial identity through art.
Q&A with filmmaker to follow.

Sky Blossom
Directed by Richard Lui
$10 | 87 Minutes | 13+ (Brief physical violence)
Closed Captioning
SAT, OCT 23 @ 6:00 PM ET –
SUN, OCT 24 @ 10:00 PM ET
LIVE Q&A with filmmaker OCT 23 @ 7:45PM ET
When viewers say they cried, they say it was because of the uplifting hope of the courage and beauty the students share with us. As young as eleven years old, they are taking care of parents and grandparents who are battling sickness. We call them Care Heroes. And there are five million of them in America.
Q&A to follow.

Directed by Iman Zawahry
$10 | 91 Minutes | All Ages
SAT, OCT 23 @ 9:00 PM ET –
SUN, OCT 24 @ 10:00 PM ET
In Jackson Heights, Queens two sisters and their fresh off the boat cousin try all the conventional ways to earn the love and respect of the matriarch of their family only to learn that life works out in the most unconventional ways.
Q&A with filmmaker to follow.

Who is Lun*na Menoh?
Directed by Jeff Mizushima
$12 | 81 Minutes | All Ages
SUN, OCT 24 @ 5:00 PM ET - 10:00 PM ET
Who Is Lun*na Menoh follows the life and work of the extraordinary Japanese artist. From her early career in Japan to the underground music scene in Los Angeles, from fashion show runways featuring her sculptural designs to art galleries showing her fantastical work, Lun*na’s edgy, witty and beautiful creations are explored.
Q&A with filmmakers to follow.


$10 | 100 Minutes
THU, OCT 21 @ 12:00 AM ET –
SUN, OCT 31 @ 10:00 PM ET
Just in time for Halloween, Altered Realities takes a look both outward and inward, at futuristic worlds ahead of us… and at what happens when the simmering tensions we’ve left behind boil over. From spooky ghost bride flick Koreatown Ghost Story to noir Manzanar love story The Loyal Betrayal, sink your teeth into a delicious dose of darkness with a side of intrigue.

The Discovery
Directed by Jill Von Dae
Sci-fi | 15 minutes
One day, on a mission, a peculiar piece of Captain Halser’s past catapults him into a chase for truth, leading him to find the true nature of his mission – one that puts him not on any other planet at all, but rather close to home.

The Loyal Betrayal
Directed by Tom Huang
Noir | 15 minutes | 13+ (Sexual situations, violence)
A man is caught in a web of love, murder and betrayal in this film noir set in the Manzanar Internment Camp during World War II.

Directed by Will Kim
Animation | 4 minutes | 13+ (Strong graphics, violence)
Unfit is about our desire to hide from the unfit society until we realize hiding and escaping make us even more furious, rejected, lonely, and unfit.

Money Cat
Directed by Connor Kurth and Thomas Ireton
Horror | 15 minutes
When a financially-strapped couple encounters a mysterious Money Cat, one of them touts it as a good luck charm while the other remains a skeptic. They’re both surprised when good fortune seemingly befalls them, but everything comes with a price.

The Mark
Directed by Devin E. Haqq
Horror | 15 minutes | 13+ (Psychological horror)
In English and Japanese with English subtitles
A young single mother struggles against ominous forces, whom she believes are bent on taking her infant daughter.

Directed by Cavan Campbell
Horror | 15 minutes | 13+ (Psychological horror)
Who is going to defend Sriyani when she is hypnotized by a caller on her phone tonight? RECEIVER is a chamber horror film about toxic masculinity, isolation, and the commodification of empathy.

Koreatown Ghost Story
Directed by Minsun Park & Teddy Tenenbaum
Horror | 15 minutes | 13+ (Violence, graphic images, psychological horror)
In this supernatural horror tale based on a Korean ritual starring Margaret Cho and Lyrica Okano, a woman entertains a macabre marriage offer that would let her pursue her dreams, for better or for much much worse.

$10 | 91 Minutes
THU, OCT 21 @ 12:00 AM ET –
SUN, OCT 31 @ 10:00 PM ET
A staple every BAAFF season, Queer and Here is self-expression and identity beyond orientation. Demonstrated through dance in God’s Daughter Dances and Wo, and impacted by the pandemic in The Leaf and Dear Chaemin, our queer selves are indivisible from our experiences in totality.

Directed by Robin Wang
Comedy | 6 minutes | 13+ (Partial nudity)
Following a graduation celebration, four Chinese must navigate their relationships’ future as dictated by the circumstances of life and their families.

A Fire that Never Dies
Directed by Chheangkea Ieng
Drama | 7 minutes
A young man becomes infatuated with his upstairs neighbor after believing that his late mother has sent him.

The Leaf
Directed by William J. Zang
Documentary | 4 minutes
In English and Chinese with English subtitles
COVID-19 changed and destroyed everything in daily life, including filmmaking. THE LEAF is a personal, poetic, documentary film about a filmmaker’s experience as both a filmmaker and a gay immigrant during this pandemic.

Dear Chaemin
Directed by Cyan Bae
Documentary | 17 minutes | 13+ (Trans/Queer phobia)
In Korean with English subtitles
The autofictional film juxtaposes the Korean and Dutch contexts of contact tracing, biopolitics, and crowd control practices, each of which intensifies the stigmatization and violence against queer communities and people of Asian descent.

Directed by Jiemin Yang
Documentary | 11 minutes
A short dance film exploring the internal struggle of a queer Chinese American immigrant dance artist living in New York City.

God’s Daughter Dances
Directed by Sungbin BYUN
Drama | 25 minutes | 13+ (Mature content)
In Korean with English subtitles
A transgender female dancer, Shin-mi, gets a call from the Military Manpower Administration, to attend for the Military Service Examination.

A Place to Call Home
Directed by Stephanie Tran
Documentary | 8 minutes

Noor & Layla
Directed by Fawzia Mirza
Drama | 13 minutes | 13+ (Sexual situations, partial nudity)
Noor and Layla are breaking up. It’s the end of the road for these two Muslim women…or is it just the beginning? Five life-changing moments in their relationship are marked by the Muslim call to prayer.

$10 | 138 Minutes
THU, OCT 21 @ 12:00 AM ET –
SUN, OCT 31 @ 10:00 PM ET
Matutine spaces, the moments before first light, are times just for us. In the morning calm, we find space to contemplate our intrinsic selves. Whether it’s reflecting on the convergence of personal passion and family legacy in Bloodline or engaging in a surrealist animated examination in WHERE ARE YOU REALLY FROM?, we start our days at the core of who we are.

Jenni Rudolph – Water & Oil
Directed by Brandon E. Lee
Music Video | 4 minutes
Music video showcasing 4 years of learning (and un-learning), a few angsty lyric fragments transformed into a song that’s become the soundtrack to Jenni Rudolph’s journey with identity.

Directed by Steven Lee
Animated | 5 minutes
A visual, surrealist exploration on the absurdity and inconclusive nature of living in a double culture, personally from a Taiwanese American lens.

Directed by Erica Eng
Drama | 17 minutes | 13+ (Mild language and violence)
Growing up in Oakland’s hip-hop culture, Eng struggles with her Chinese American identity. As her sophomore year of high school comes to an end, Eng tries to find a sense of belonging within the two worlds that don’t accept her.

Directed by King Yaw Soon
Animated | 5 minutes
In this colorful and moving animated documentary, a woman takes us through her emotional process after a racist encounter at the airport, offering an honest look at fear and connection in an era marked by uncertainty.

No Place Like Kasama
Directed by Kerri Pang
Documentary | 37 minutes
A real-time look into the journey of chefs Genie Kwon and Tim Flores throughout 2020, after they leave fine dining to pursue their undying dream of opening a Filipino neighborhood spot – all while COVID-19 decimates the hospitality industry.

When Making Sujebi
Directed by Sungbin BYUN
Documentary | 4 minutes
In Chinese with English subtitles
A young woman, while making Sujebi (Korean hand-pulled noodles) in her kitchen, reflects on both the cultural and immediate implications cooking has in her own life, particularly as it relates to her identity as a Korean-American woman and the daughter of immigrants.

Directed by James Q. Chan, Santhosh Daniel
Documentary | 26 minutes
A multi-generational exploration by Vietnamese-American chef Tu David Phu of his genesis as a chef–as seen through his parents’ memories of the Vietnam War and Khmer Rouge–and how US culture often disregards certain seminal life experiences as “scrap.”

$10 | 128 Minutes
THU, OCT 21 @ 12:00 AM ET –
SUN, OCT 31 @ 10:00 PM ET
When it feels like the whole world is in flux and nothing is certain, we can start to reorient ourselves by accepting the cathemeral aspect of our lives. Constantly evolving, we find ourselves changing expectations of love in Romantics or confronting longstanding trauma head-on in Red House. These Cathemeral films explore the irregular cadences that are the heartbeat of society and our day to day now.

Have You Eaten?
Directed by Lina Li
Documentary | 6 minutes
In Chinese with English subtitles
Filmmaker Lina Li and her mother engage in an intimate conversation about immigration to Canada, misunderstandings, barriers to communicating, love and the taste of home.

Red Junior and the Wolf
Directed by Winnie Wu
Animated | 4 minutes
In a fairytale world, Red Riding Hood’s granddaughter is best friends with Wolfie, a young wolf. Granny Red doesn’t like wolves because of her past experience, but Wolfie is nothing like the infamous Big Bad Wolf.

An Essential Delivery
Directed by Shane P. Liao
Drama | 15 minutes | 13+ (Violence, language, racism)
When a down on her luck young woman is laid off due to COVID-19, she takes a food delivery job to pay rent, exposing her to the challenges and unexpected blessings of life.

Directed by Jamie Lam
Comedy | 8 minutes
In English and Chinese
After a date with her boyfriend makes Olivia question whether or not her immigrant parents have ever shown each other any affection, she goes on a quest to make them do so—despite their utter lack of cooperation.

Anything For You
Directed by Matt Ferrucci
Comedy | 12 minutes | 13+ (Language)
“It wouldn’t be cheating, it would be experimenting.” Richard desperately wants to have an affair and needs his best friend George to help him. What starts out as a lunch date between friends soon escalates to a test of their friendship.

Directed by Allan Zhang Tran
Drama | 9 minutes | 13+ (Strong language, suggestive trauma)
An estranged couple recollects—or do they relive?—their traumatic final moments together.

Directed by Ben Kim, Lillian Kollross
Drama | 9 minutes | 13+ (Domestic violence)
In Korean with English subtitles
Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves (Matthew 7:15)

A Cure for All Things
Directed by Katherine Chou
Drama/Sci-fi | 7 minutes
In English and Chinese with English subtitles
Jiawei finds a mysterious vial amongst her late mother’s things, transforming her into their ancestors and descendants.

Red House
Directed by Gerard Elmore
Drama | 20 minutes | 13+ (Strong language)
Only the ghosts from Scotty’s past can make him confront his terror, and push through toward redemption and self-forgiveness.

$10 | 157 Minutes
THU, OCT 21 @ 12:00 AM ET –
SUN, OCT 31 @ 10:00 PM ET
Our nighttime musings, vespertine dilemmas, and thoughts right before bed are our most sacred and intimate moments to overhaul everything we know. We reminisce about what is left unsaid to our families In the Shadow of the Pines or interrogate historical injustices in Reparations. Vespertine reclaims and redefines what we know and what we want for ourselves.

Vanishing Seattle Films: Chinatown-International District – Bush Garden
Directed by Ellison Shieh, Christopher Woon-Chen, Martin Tran
Documentary | 13 minutes
Japanese restaurant. Birthplace of American karaoke. Gathering place for community advocates. This is the story of the iconic Bush Garden, yet another possible victim of gentrification and displacement.

Phoenix Bakery: Sweets for the Sweet
Directed by Janet Chen
Documentary | 15 minutes
As Los Angeles Chinatown’s Phoenix Bakery celebrates its 80th anniversary, three multicultural generations of the Chan family explore their legacy and contemplate the bakery’s future in the community.

Directed by Jon Osaki
Drama | 30 minutes | 13+ (Graphic images of slavery)
Black and Asian Americans explore the four-century struggle to seek repair and atonement for slavery in the United States – the inequities that persists, and the critical role that solidarity between communities has in acknowledging and addressing systemic racism in America.

Between Two Worlds
Directed by Jax Weiner
Documentary | 8 minutes | 13+ (Domestic violence sub-theme)
Amateur dancers from the South Asian diaspora team up to form Junoon Performing Arts, a dance company that addresses social issues including terrorism, homophobia and domestic violence.

Directed by Kayeb Lee
Drama | 15 minutes | 13+ (Strong Language)
In English and Lao with English subtitles
A combat veteran faces his traumas while attempting to reconcile the relationship with his father, a former child soldier of the Vietnam War, through therapy and family.

Directed by Betsy Tsai
Documentary | 14 minutes
In English and Chinese with English subtitles
A brief glimpse into how an immigrant family remains comfortably estranged and elusive of its history. The “why” might have gotten lost along the way.

An Uninterrupted View of the Sea
Directed by Mika Yatsuhashi
Experimental | 15 minutes
A Japanese American filmmaker tells the story of her family’s struggle to prove their American identities during World War II and the impact of her American identity today.

In the Shadow of the Pines
Directed by Anne Koizumi
Animated | 8 minutes | 13+ (Death themes)
In English and Japanese with English subtitles
Drawing on childhood memories, the filmmaker explores her difficult relationship with her Japanese immigrant dad, who was also the janitor at her elementary school. The film explores the idea of shame and how it can shape and define us while also concealing who we can truly become.

COST↑ top

Tickets range from $10-$12 for each feature length film or shorts program. Tickets may be reserved 24/7 at




ArtsEmerson Box Office
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