STRENGTH IN FOLLOWING THE HEART



Signature Move | 2017 | Houston Premiere

Directed by Jennifer Reeder
Written by Fawzia Mirza, Lisa Donato
82 min

Thu May 31 | 6:30 PM | Asia Society Texas Center

SIGNATURE MOVE is a comedic and heartfelt look at modern families and the complexities of love in its many forms. Zaynab (Fawzia Mirza) is a Pakistani, Muslim lawyer living in Chicago who begins a new romance with Alma (Sari Sanchez), a confident Mexican-American woman. Alma's mother is a former professional Luchadora, which Zaynab finds fascinating, as she has recently taken up lucha-style wrestling with a former pro wrestler. Zaynab tries to keep her secrets from her mother, who knows more than she lets on.

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STRENGTH THROUGH ATHLETICS


NGUYENing | The Lee Nguyen Story | 2017 | Texas Premiere

Directed by Alfonso Bui
22 min

Fri Jun 1 | 6:30 PM

A teenage soccer phenom skyrockets to stardom like no one before him, becoming the first ethnic Vietnamese player to represent the United States. Then, in an unprecedented move, he leaves for Asia, his star fading into obscurity.

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I Can I Will I Did | 2017 | Houston Premiere

Directed by Nadine Truong
113 min

Fri Jun 1 | 6:50 PM

Depressed foster youth Ben is bullied and as a result gets into a car accident. His recovery process is slow, until he meets Adrienne, a wheelchair bound fellow patient at the hospital who breathes hope into his life and introduces to him her grandfather, Taekwondo Grand Master Kang. Kang not only teaches him how to walk and get back up on his feet, but also how to take charge of his own life and ultimately to face his inner demons.

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STRENGTH IN OUR ASPIRATIONS


Worth | 2017 | Texas Premiere

Directed by Vokee Lee
15 min

Sat Jun 2 | 12 PM

Based on a true story in 1982, Pao, a teenage Hmong refugee boy struggles to adapt to the American lifestyle as he faces racism and bullying in high school, in search of his own self-identity.

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Dalya's Other Country | 2017 | Texas Premiere

Directed by Julia Meltzer
79 min

Sat Jun 2 | 12:15 PM

In 2012 Dalya and her mother Rudayna fled Aleppo for Los Angeles as war took over. Months before, Rudayna learns a secret that destroys her marriage, leaving her single at midlife. Arriving in LA, Dalya enrolls as the only Muslim at Holy Family Catholic High School. Can mother and daughter remake themselves while holding on to their Islamic traditions?

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The Reason to Live | 2017 | Houston Premiere

Directed by Rachel Boyoung Kim
11 min

Sat Jun 2 | 2:20 PM

An optimistic, busking musician tells his story about how music has transformed his life from his troubled past and why he can't give up playing music.

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Distance | 2016 | Texas Premiere

Directed by Craig Nisperos
12 min

Sat Jun 2 | 2:30 PM

A modern day immigration story that focuses on a man's struggle with being away from his family, his home.

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Tailored to Fit | 2017 | Houston Premiere

Directed by Xin Li
22 min

Sat Jun 2 | 2:40 PM

As the emblem of national couture, Qipao, the Chinese traditional dress, has a controversial and turbulent history in the last 100 years, from being a symbol of female liberation, to bourgeois decadence in the Mao’s era. Xin Li sets out on a journey to discover what this dress means, to herself, and also to the different generations of Chinese American women living in California.

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Sanzu No Kawa: The River of Three Crossings | 2017 | Texas Premiere

Directed by Cyrus Tabar
8 min

Sat Jun 2 | 3 PM

After a shooting at school takes his sister's life, Kento, a young Japanese-American boy, is trapped between his memories, grief, and the reality he faces at home.

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Other | 2017 | Houston Premiere

Directed by Peter Trinh
13 min

Sat Jun 2 | 3:10 PM

It has always been a challenge for Asians and Asian-Americans to be at the forefront of race and social issues. Whether it's the model minority myth, perpetual foreigner stereotype, or the lack of presence in media and politics, Asians have been made to feel "othered". However, racism against Asians still exist, stereotypes continue, and we still are fighting to break through the "bamboo ceiling". This short documentary looks at these issues through interviews with voices from the Asian community.

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Phởmily Feud | 2016 | Texas Premiere

Directed by Martin Tran and Ellison Shieh
3 min

Sat Jun 2 | 3:20 PM

Though well into adulthood, this sister and brother pair can't stop competing at childish games. Big sis is used to winning, but this time little bro is determined to take her throne. Bringing their ago old grudge into a phở restaurant, what could go wrong? 

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Visage | 2017 | Texas Premiere

Directed by Blake Hodges and Jackson Tobiska
10 min

Sat Jun 2 | 3:50 PM

This is a short film with a science fiction edge that addresses the topic of limited minority representation in Hollywood films.

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Drawn Together | 2017 | Texas Premiere

Directed by Harleen Singh
52 min

Sat Jun 2 | 4 PM

Drawn Together: Comics, Diversity and Stereotypes looks at the pervasive culture of racist stereotyping in U.S. society through the lens of comics and their dynamic creators.

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Monday | 2017

Directed by Dinh Thai
18 min

Sat Jun 2 | 5:50 PM

First place winner of HBO's inaugural APA Visionaries contest. "What can I get to you?" That's the question driving a conflicted young hustler who sells everything and anything to make money. As he code-switches through various cliques, he's forced to confront racism as well as the immorality of his occupation.

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The Jangmadang Generation | 2017

Directed by Sokeel Park, Chad Vickery
52 min

Sat Jun 2 | 6 PM

North Korea's Millennial Generation is shaking things up in the hermit kingdom. They grew up relying on themselves, not the regime, and they have a different mindset from the previous generation. Featuring hidden camera footage from inside North Korea, coupled with the firsthand experiences of eight North Korean defectors, this film is about resilience, creativity, and quiet rebellion even in the most difficult of circumstances. 

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The Pits | 2017

Directed by Shetu Modi
6 min

Sat Jun 2 | 7:30 PM

At 13, Dhruvi is appalled to learn the Indian food she eats every day makes her armpits smell funny. Her struggle with pungent food and bold spices resurfaces years later, when she's drawn to a fellow South Asian student in university. 

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Wexford Plaza | 2016

Directed by Joyce Wong
80 min

Sat Jun 2 | 7:50 PM

A slice-of-life dark comedy about a lonely female security guard (Betty) who works at a dilapidated strip mall. Isolated and friendless, a glimmer of hope appears when a charming bartender shows Betty kindness, leading to an unexpected sexual encounter. Although Betty and her deadbeat paramour are well meaning in their intentions, their behavior ends up causing both of their lives to unravel. Wexford Plaza is about two losers who are earnestly trying to improve their condition, but ultimately become deluded by their dreams.


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STRENGTH FROM OUR PAST


And Then They Came For Us | 2017 | Houston Premiere

Directed by Abby Ginzberg, Ken Schneider
50 min

Sun Jun 3 | 12 PM

Seventy-six years after Executive Order 9066 paved the way for a profound violation of constitutional rights -the forced incarceration of 120,000 Japanese Americans-And Then They Came for Us, brings history into the present. The award-winning 50-minute documentary, retells this challenging chapter of the U.S.'s past through the perspective of Japanese American activists speaking out against the Muslim registry and travel ban. Produced by Peabody-winning filmmakers, Abby Ginzberg and Ken Schneider, the film features newly rediscovered photographs of Dorothea Lange.

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Weavers of Imagination | 2017 | Houston Premiere

Directed by Sadegh Jafari
20 min

Sun Jun 3 | 1:35 PM

Story of some unsighted people who weave carpets by using Brail. Weaving carpets requires precision and sight and it is difficult even for the sighted people. The unsighted people think if there was a place where the sighted people did not bother them, they would have a better life. 

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Dinner with Stranger | 2018 | Houston Premiere

Directed by Linhan Zhang
15 min

Sun Jun 3 | 1:55 PM

Next in line to take over the family business, a young man finds himself falling in love and having to choose between her and his traditions.

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Getting Lao'd | 2017 | Texas Premiere

Directed by Steve Arounsack
40 min

Sun Jun 3 | 2:10 PM

After 25 years of silence, the private Lao music and film industries are reawakening. Filmed over 10 years, the documentary follows a new generation of young pioneers as they reimagine Lao media in a communist country. The film features many of the country's most prominent musicians and filmmakers, and is perhaps the most comprehensive examination of the media landscape in Laos.

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Shame | 2018 | Texas Premiere

Directed by Anusha Bose
24 min

Sun Jun 3 | 2:45 PM

"These people walk the same corridors as us and forget where they come from, who they are.." It is with this harsh reminder that Sumer Seth, a guest at a posh hotel fires housekeeping staff- Fanny Lobo when she's caught trying on his girl friend's lingerie. 

SHAME is a dark comedy that walks the thin line that separates the two worlds; the haves from the have-nots; the affluent from the service providers; the indulgent from the repressed. And it is when Fanny slips and crosses the forbidden line in a moment of temptation that she confronts both the wrath of her employers and the demon within.

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The Chinese Exclusion Act | 2018

Directed by Ric Burns & Li-Shin Yu
130 min

Sun Jun 3 | 2 PM

Examine the origin, history and impact of the 1882 law that made it illegal for Chinese workers to come to America and for Chinese nationals already in the U.S. to become U.S. citizens as the first anti-immigration law based on race. The first in a long line of acts targeting the Chinese and subsequent Asian ethnicities for exclusion, it remained in force for more than 60 years and was used as a bargaining chip allowing for the early end of the Reconstruction period and institutionalized racism across communities of color in the U.S. and especially the South through Jim Crow laws.


Year Zero | 2018 | Texas Premiere

Directed by David Siev
14 min

Sun Jun 3 | 3:40 PM

When the Khmer Rouge regime seized Cambodia in 1975, the country plunged into civil war and was ravaged by mass killings, torture, and famine. The Khmer soldiers were cold and ruthless, fully embodying Pol Pot's philosophy towards the common people: "to kill you is no loss, to keep you is no benefit." Faced with hunger and starvation, two brothers risk everything to ensure their survival, even with the odds stacked against them.

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Islander Soldier | 2017 | Texas Premiere

Directed by Nathan Fitch
85 min

Sun Jun 3 | 3:50 PM

The untold story of Micronesian citizens fighting America's wars at staggeringly high rates per capita. Told through the intimate personal odyssey of the Nenas, a family strives for their piece of the "American Dream", and deals with the consequences of military service against the backdrop of a pristine Pacific island on the brink of economic collapse.

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The Apology | 2017 | Texas Premiere

Directed by Tiffany Hsiung
104 min

Sun Jun 3 | 6 PM

The Apology follows the personal journeys of three former "comfort women" who were among the 200,000 girls and young women kidnapped and forced into military sexual slavery by the Imperial Japanese Army during World War II. Some 70 years after their imprisonment in so-called "comfort stations", the three "grandmothers-Grandma Gil in South Korea, Grandma Cao in China, and Grandma Adela in the Philippines-face their twilight years in fading health. After decades of living in silence and shame about their past, they know that time is running out to give a first-hand account of the truth and ensure that this horrific chapter of history is not forgotten.

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STRENGTH THROUGH INTIMACY


Welcome to the World | 2017 | Texas Premiere

Directed by Albert M. Chan
7 min

Mon Jun 4 | 6:30 PM

WELCOME TO THE WORLD is a daring film starring Albert M. Chan (GOTHAM, 30 ROCK, GHOSTS OF GIRLFRIENDS PAST) as a troubled man who records a video message for his pregnant sister. Drawing its power and immediacy from its first-person, confessional style, the film presents, in one continuous 7-minute take, the journey of one man's awakening from isolation back to humanity.

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Please Hold | 2016 | Texas Premiere

Directed by Jerell Rosales
15 min

Mon Jun 4 | 6:35 PM

Fearing he may have HIV after the condom breaks during sex with a stranger, a young gay Asian American unexpectedly befriends the condom company's customer service rep over the phone as he waits for his HIV test results.

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ABU | 2017 | Houston Premiere

Directed by Arshad Khan
80 min

Mon Jun 4 | 7:15 PM

Arshad always knew he was different. Soon after emigrating from Pakistan to Canada with his family, Arshad realized he was gay. Merging clips from Bollywood films, animation, and home movies that capture awkward teen phases as well as significant life revelations, Arshad narrates his own cathartic journey, alongside his entire family's. With charming lyricism and a dash of good humor, director Arshad Khan shares a deeply personal story of self-discovery and familial reconciliation, as he explores the challenges that can threaten the bonds between children and their parents. ABU is an intimately open and dazzling visual memoir about the complex dynamic the filmmaker has with his father, who was at once extremely modern and also rigidly traditional and unaccepting of his son's true self.

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STRENGTH AFTER FREEDOM


American Dreaming | 2017 | Texas Premiere

Directed by Matthew Hashiguchi
10 min

Tue Jun 5 | 6:30 PM

For undocumented immigrants, attending college is not a right, but a privilege that very few receive. In the state of Georgia, undocumented immigrants are barred from attending the top most selected public colleges and universities, and to Raymond Partolan, a 23-year-old undocumented immigrant, this is a modern-day form of segregation that he hopes to overcome. And, even though there are no guarantees of employment or future opportunity for undocumented immigrants, Raymond and many others like him continue to lobby congress, speak publicly and protest for the right to attend college and pursue the American dream.

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Paris, Ni Hao | 2017 | Texas Premiere

Directed by Sharon Deng
40 min

Tue Jun 5 | 7 PM

Paris, Ni Hao is a 40-minute documentary film produced by Sharon Deng. Filmed in French and Chinese with English subtitles, the film reveals the resilience of the Chinese community in Paris. But it also underscores the universal complications of arriving without friends or family or even legal status in a distant and unfamiliar place. Like many of those it follows, the film looks ahead, documenting the rise of a new generation identifying with two cultures, speaking two languages, and coming to terms with their heritage while demanding acceptance and the right to pursue a better life.

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Poisoning Paradise | 2017 | Texas Premiere

Directed by Keely Shaye Brosnan and Teresa Tico
40 min

Tue Jun 5 | 7:45 PM

Journey to the seemingly idyllic world of Native Hawaiians, whose communities are surrounded by experimental test sites for genetically engineered seed corn and pesticides sprayed upwind of their homes, schools, hospitals, and shorelines. Discover what's at stake for Hawaii from local activists, scientific experts and healthcare professionals as they expose the effects of environmental injustice on a local population. Join the international debate about pesticides that is raging around the world, as well as the people's movement to hold corporations and governments accountable for poisoning planet Earth.

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STRENGTH IN EPICUREANISM


American | 2017 | Texas Premiere

Directed by Yu Wei Chang
6 min

Wed Jun 6 | 6:30 PM

A Chinese chef tries to make American food to her daughter's boyfriend.

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Milk | 2017 | US Premiere

Directed by Winnifred Jong
2 min

Wed Jun 6 | 6:35 PM

Vicki buys milk and finds telling her grandmother is the hardest part.

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Fermented | 2017 | Texas Premiere

Directed by Jonathan Cianfrani
68 min

Wed Jun 6 | 6:35 PM

Look deeper, get a little dirty, and go ahead and find the beauty in rot. In the feature-length documentary FERMENTED, author and chef Edward Lee goes on a journey to understand the ancient process of fermentation and how it's used in modern times.

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STRENGTH THROUGH SPOKEN WORD


Language | 2017 | Texas Premiere

Directed by Mortada Gzar
12 min

Thu Jun 7 | 6:30 PM

People know him as "Hakam the blind". He transforms sewing machines into Braille printing machines. A Baghdad resident, Hakam spends his time listening to the voices of his city. When he survives a blast, he invents a special way to communicate with Baghdad.

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Woke | 2017 | Texas Premiere

Directed by Venk Potula
11 min

Thu Jun 7 | 6:40 PM

A man and a woman meet by chance on a hot day in a park in the city of Atlanta. Sunny is a Pakistani-American wannabe rapper in search of some inspiration. Rebecca is an African-American activist on the run from a rent-a-cop. He lends her a helping hand, and soon the two are caught in a furious debate about where art and identity intersect.

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Window Horses | 2016

Directed by Venk Potula
85 min

Thu Jun 7 | 6:50 PM

Rosie Ming, a young Canadian poet, is invited to perform at a Poetry Festival in Shiraz, Iran, but she'd rather be in Paris. She lives at home with her over-protective Chinese grandparents and has never been anywhere by herself. Once in Iran, she finds herself in the company of poets and Persians, all who tell her stories that force her to confront her past; the Iranian father she assumed abandoned her and the nature of Poetry itself. It's about building bridges between cultural and generational divides. It's about being curious. Staying open. And finding your own voice through the magic of poetry.

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