2022: THE (VIRTUAL) ASIAN PACIFIC FILMMAKERS EXPERIENCE

Truong Phu and Chu Diep Anh appear in MAIKA by Ham Tran, an official selection of the Kids section at the 2022 Sundance Film Festival. (Photo: Minh Cong Trang/Courtesy of Sundance Institute)

So here we are, once again: Year Two of a global pandemic. Year Two of some form of social isolation. Year Two of masking up. Year Two of legislating a presidential election that (for one candidate) doesn’t want to seem to end. But in this prolonged period of uncertainty, one thing is certain: Asian American, Pacific Islander, and Asian international filmmakers have stories to tell. And by bringing their works to the 2022 Sundance and Slamdance Film Festivals —the unofficial start of the annual film festival season — our communities’ artists clearly announce their arrival to the APA Cinematic Universe. So what if that meeting ground is, once again, a virtual one? Audiences, like our filmmakers, just roll with the punches and, with consideration for each other’s health and well-being, are primed to crash the party with new and exciting works that challenge the status quo and illuminate our experiences, visions, and voices.

Since 2002, the organizers of the Asian Pacific Filmmakers Experience have made it their mission to ensure that Asian and Pacific Islander cinema artists are seen by their peers, by the larger Park City and Salt Lake City movie-going community, and by those who experience Sundance and Slamdance vicariously, on whatever device they can access the work. Having executed a pivot to an online platform for its seventeenth edition in 2021, it now seems like “old hat” to hold our 18th edition from all points on the globe, to all of you from the comforts of your living room couch. We say, we’re making the best of a difficult situation — and in the process, inviting a much larger community than what we could possibly accommodate in a physical space.

Thanks to Sundance’s presentation of select shorts filmmakers in its special “Anniversary Shorts” showcase, the Asian Pacific Filmmakers Experience is able to revisit past honorees as Destin Daniel Cretin (SHORT TERM 12), Kangmin Kim (DEER FLOWER), Roseanne Liang (DO NO HARM), Reema Sengupta (COUNTERFEIT KUNKOO), Siqi Song (SISTER), Taika Waititi (TWO CARS, ONE NIGHT), and Hu Wei (BUTTER LAMP). Many of these artists have gone on to bigger and better things (ever hear of THOR: RANGAROK or perhaps SHANG SHI AND THE LEGEND OF THE TEN RINGS, anyone?), but the vitality of the Asian Pacific Islander cinematic movement can best be observed through our short films. We are the richer for revisiting those early successes.

We’re also excited to welcome past honorees who arrive with new and exciting works. For instance, Ham Tran (#APAPark City 2006), whose JOURNEY FROM THE FALL announced to Park City the arrival of the vaunted Viet Kieu wave of cinematic artists, returns with his latest, MAIKA; while Ramin Bahrani (MAN PUSH CART, Park City 2005) brings his latest feature narrative 2ND CHANCE to Sundance. Not to be outdone, Park City vets So Yong Kim and Shalini Kantayya bring their latest to the party — for So Yong, BLOOD, which she produced for long-time partner Bradley Rust Gray; and for Shalini, TIKTOK BOOM. Kogonada, the Korean Tennesseean whose 2017 COLUMBUS wowed Park City audiences, returns with AFTER YANG, which made its debut last year at the Cannes Film Festival. Multi-hyphenate documentary filmmaker Bao Nguyen (BE WATER, 2000) returns as a producer for Ham Tran’s MAIKA, and New York-based producer and editing guru Jean Tsien is part of the team bringing the much-talked-about FREE CHOL SOO LEE to Sundance.

Speaking of FREE CHOL SOO LEE, co-directors Julie Ha and Eugene Yi lead the charge of a new generation of long-form documentary and non-fiction auteurs to (virtual) Park City. Among this stellar class of new filmmakers are Martika Ramirez Escobar (LEONOR WILL NEVER DIE), Snow Hnin Ei Hlaing (MIDWIVES), Shaunak Sen (ALL THAT BREATHES), and Alika Tengan (EVERY DAY IN KAIMUKI). And nested in this class is a genuine Academy Award®-winning director (Rayka Zehtabchi, whose latest, LONG LINE OF LADIES, co-directed with Shaandiin Tome will make its World Premiere at Sundance).

The Asian Pacific Filmmakers Experience is pleased to observe the presence of works by Pacific Islander and South Asian makers in the new-media focused New Frontiers section. Works not to be missed include ATUA by the team of Tanu Gago and Jermaine Dean, ON THE MORNING YOU WAKE (TO THE END OF THE WORLD) by Dr. Jamaica Heolimeleikalani Osorio, CHILD OF EMPIRE by Sparsh Ahuja and Erfan Saadati, and THE STATE OF GLOBAL PEACE by Daanish Masood Alavi. Additionally, we encourage one and all NOT to miss DIAGNOSIA by Mengtai Zhang and Lemon Guo.


Sana Akram’s LITTLE PAKISTAN – FUTURE HISTORIES is one of the intriguing new works to be featured at the 2022 (virtual) Slamdance Film Festival (Photo: courtesy the filmmaker)

Even though COVID-19 has compelled organizers of the Slamdance Film Festival to delay the start of its event to January 27, there is no shortage of exciting works by Asian Pacific filmmakers within its line-up. Among those works are the highly anticipated Park City premieres of Abed Abest’s KILLING THE EUNUCH KHAN, producers Andrew Nadkarni and Jason Wang’s ACTUAL PEOPLE, Bang Seung Hyeon’s GOODAFTERNOON SWEETDREAM, Ethan Eng’s THERAPY DOGS, Danny Lee and Noah Lee’s NEW JACK, and producers Fan He and Andrew K. Li’s WE ARE LIVING THINGS. Among the intriguing short subjects that anchor this year’s Slamdance are Muhammad Heri Fadli’s JAMAL, Shiyu Hu’s TSUGUMI, Hirotoshi Iwasaki’s ON TIME OFF TIME, Sohee Kim’s TERRAIN BEHIND THE EYES, Akane Murata’s OPEN ONE’S MOUTH, Azadeh Navai’s GLADIOLUS, Tee Jaehyung Park’s WINTER INSECT, SUMMER FLOWER, Rajee Samarasinghe’s SHOW ME OTHER PLACES, Lily Ahree Siegel’s THE SPACE BETWEEN YOU & ME, and Kenichi Ugana’s VISITORS, among others. A new feature this year is Slamdance’s DIG (Digital, Interactive, and Gaming) section, highlighted by Sana Akram’s LITTLE PAKISTAN – FUTURE HISTORIES, Milad Tangshir’s HYDROCOSMOS, Dalena Tran’s INCOMPLETE, and Wei Wuang, Yufei Cheng, and Juan Hu’s PATCH.

Click here for a complete list of Park City 2022 artists

For details on #APAParkCity 2022, RSVP here

%d bloggers like this: