Around here, we like to call the Amérasia Film Festival the little festival that can, even if it’s not Cannes. From blockbusters to animation, there’s a lot of wonderful Asian cinema on offer over the next couple of weekends…
Amérasia, March 1-4 and 9-11, isn’t even the only, or the biggest, Asian film festival around here. That would be Fantasia, the world-renowned genre film festival. But that’s a summertime thing, and this is only March, so let’s see what the warmer climes of Asia can do to warm us up in our theatre seats during the chill.
This may very well be your only chance of seeing some of the biggest blockbusters from the Pacific Rim: The Chinese Oscar-nominee Aftershock is one, as is Vietnamese director Cuong Ngo’s autobiographical Pearls of the Far East. Another big draw will be The Day He Arrives by Kim Ki-Duk (the visionary Korean director known for the revenge comedy 3-Iron, as well as the transcendent Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter…and Spring). And those are just from the Asian Treasures category.
There is a interesting aspect of the festival this year that focuses on Asian animation – a famous category to be sure, but this festival’s selection is especially family-focused: You can see Yona Yona Penguin, the first full-length feature from Madhouse, an up-and-coming Japanese animation studio, as well as the Indian Roadside Romeo, a quirky retake on the Shakespearean fable.
Of particular interest to Montreal film buffs will be the premiere of The Vanishing Spring Light, a documentary from noted local doc-production house EyeSteelFilm, which also produced two other successful docs set in Asia: Long Train Home and Yung Chung’s now-famous Up the Yangtze, one of the best and most successful documentaries of the last decade.
Finally, another cool thing that’s happening is that local independent filmmaker Christos Sourligas (Elephant Shoes, Happy Slapping) will mentor the festival’s Smartphone Film Challenge, offering young filmmakers a chance to make movies on their Smartphones – for a chance to win $1000. The winners will be screened at a SAT party, and you know you don’t want to miss it. Or, for that matter, the KPOP! dance/fashion/awesome party party.
Amérasia Film Festival, March 1-4 and 9-11, 2012