The Taipei Cultural Center in New York is excited to be partnering up with the annual 42th Asian American International Film Festival (AAIFF) to celebrate the recent achievements in Taiwanese and Taiwanese American cinema. This year’s festival highlights a compelling lineup that you can’t miss: a special 25th Anniversary 35mm presentation of acclaimed artist Shu Lea Cheang’s seminal debut feature Fresh Kill, Ho Wi-Ding’s TIFF prizewinner Cities of Last Things, alongside Valerie Soe’s provocative documentary Love Boat: Taiwan.
Shu Lea Cheang is a multimedia artist who has been active in experimental video and net art since the early 1980s. As a net art pioneer, Cheang’s Brandon (1998-1999) was the first web art commissioned and collected by the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York. She is also the first female artist to represent Taiwan in a solo exhibition at the 2019 Venice Biennale. In her feature debut Fresh Kill she created the term “Cybernoia” to tell a story involving corporate conspiracies, pollution and community activism. In conjunction with this ultra-rare screening since its Berlinale premiere in 1994, a career-spanning conversation event with Cheang will also take place on July 27 at Asia Society in New York.
Valerie Soe’s Love Boat: Taiwan, a documentary about Taiwan’s Overseas Compatriot Youth Formosa Study Tour, traces Chinese diaspora and Taiwanese identities by exploring the history and popularity of this summer camp that has become a legend among diasporic Taiwanese while whose famous alumni include US Congresswoman Judy Chu, buzzfeed’s Justin Tan, and singer Wang Lee-hom. As a Love Boat alumna, Soe will talk about the making of this documentary and share her thoughts on Love Boat at the N.Y. premiere on July 31.
Ho Wi-Ding is a Malaysian-born, Taiwan-based filmmaker who was awarded 2018 TIFF’s Platform Prize for Cities of Last Things, the first Chinese-language film honoree of this award. This arresting tale follows the life of a man at three extraordinary nights, told in reverse-chronological order. Having just been streaming on Netflix, this film will be shown on the big screen in New York for the first time on Aug 2.
This year’s AAIFF will also feature five shorts by filmmakers of Taiwanese descent. Titles include Roxy Shih’s THE VISIT; Serena Kuo’s END OF SUMMER; Eugene Suen’s MASTERS OF DIVINITY; Athena Han’s BUNNY MAN; and Clifford Miu’s AH GONG during the festival’s run.
As the first and longest running Asian film festival in the U.S., the AAIFF is dedicated to showing films by or about Asians and Asian Americans. The 42nd annual festival will take place from July 25 to August 3 mostly at Asia Society (725 Park Avenue) and Regal Essex (129 Delancey Street). For full lineup and schedule please visit asiancinevision.org/AAIFF/
Screening Schedule and Film Description:
Fresh Kill (25th Anniversary 35mm Presentation)
Shu Lea Cheang / 1994 / 80 min / feature
Friday, July 26, 8:30 pm at Asia Society
Described by the director as “Eco-Cyber-Noia,” FRESH KILL centers around a non-nuclear family anchored by mothers Claire (Erin McMurtry,) Shareen (Sarita Choudhury) and their daughter Honey (Nelini Stamp.) A wild ride involving corporate conspiracies, pollution and community activism, Shu Lea Cheang’s debut is a must see.
A Conversation with Shu Lea Cheang
Saturday, July 27, 1:00 pm at Asia Society
Taiwanese artist and filmmaker Shu Lea Cheang will be sitting down with us for a special conversation. Exploring her expansive career, her life in New York City, and her work now; this is an once-in-a-lifetime event.
Love Boat: Taiwan
Valerie Soe / 2018 / 84 min / documentary
Wednesday, July 31, 6:00 pm at Regal Essex Theater#3 (*Filmmaker in person)
LOVE BOAT: TAIWAN looks at the Taiwan Love Boat, where college-aged Taiwanese Americans get closer to their history, their culture and each other.
Cities of Last Things
Ho Wi-Ding / 2018 / 107 min / feature
Friday, August 2, 8:15 pm at Regal Essex Theater#3
CITIES OF LAST THINGS pinpoints three extraordinary nights in the life of a common man, as told with reverse chronology. In the near future, a winter night, Zhang Dong Ling (60s), fueled by the anger he has repressed over the years, takes revenge on a high-ranking officer who has made his life a torment one particular night thirty years ago. In present, a summer night, Zhang Dong Ling a young cop accidentally witnesses his wife having sex with his senior police officer. After a confrontation he chose to repress his anger to keep his family together for the sake of their baby daughter. In the past, a spring night, Lady Wang is ambushed by police. She is handcuffed on the bench at the police station beside a handcuffed 18-year-old Zhang Dong Ling. Through a casual chat, they both realize they share a much larger past then they ever imagined.
The Visit / (Otherly Worlds Genre Shorts Program)
Roxy Shih / Taiwan, USA/ 15 mins
July 28, 2:30pm at Asia Society
A pregnant woman and her husband visit her lonely, aging grandmother in the rural mountains of Taiwan only to witness the older woman's mysterious disappearance.
End of Summer / (Made In NY Shorts Program)
Serena Kuo/ USA/ 14 min 39 sec
July 28, 4:35pm at Asia Society
A teenager's college move-in day takes an unexpected turn when her father is struck by a heart attack in the middle of the desert.
Masters of Divinity / (Laugh Through It Shorts Program)
Eugene Suen/ USA/ 20 mins
August 1, 8:00pm at Regal Essex Theater#3
An ex-seminarian and now-struggling filmmaker begins to panic after his wife tells him that God wants her to quit her job.
Bunny Man / (Off the Beaten Path Shorts Program)
Athena Han / Canada / 7 mins 51 sec
August 2, 6:00pm at Regal Essex theater#3
Over a meal at a Chinese restaurant, four Taiwanese friends discussion over their similarities and differences as a Taiwanese-Canadians grows heated when a mysterious Bunny mascot enters.
Ah Gong / (Generations Shorts Program)
Clifford Miu / Taiwan /13 min 43 sec
August 3, 12:30pm at Asia Society
Eleven year old Chris arrives at the hospital only to realize that his mother and uncles have decided to pull the plug on his beloved grandfather.