Film programs include a retrospective on Malaysian filmmaker Yasmin Ahmad, a new film from one of the most-recognizable artists in Asia, Sylvia Chang (“Love Education”) and another from veteran Asian Canadian director Mina Shum (“Meditation Park”).

Eight Māori female directors deliver “Waru,” a film in which all eight parts start at 10 a.m., are told in real time, are a single 10-minute take and each feature a Māori female lead.

San Diego, California – March 22, 2018 The 8th Annual San Diego Asian Film Festival (SDAFF) Spring Showcase , presented by Pacific Arts Movement (Pac Arts), today announced its lineup of 15 films from nine countries, including four North American premieres, one west coast premiere and the only third-ever U.S. retrospective on prolific Malaysian filmmaker Yasmin Ahmad.

“Once again, Asian filmmakers took our breath away with wide-ranging works that demonstrate the diversity of experiences and sensibilities on three continents,” says Pac Arts Artistic Director Brian Hu. “But this year more than ever, that variety of perspectives is seen in works directed by women, who helmed a majority of our film lineup. Women don’t just add diversity to a lineup; they are themselves diverse in spirit and worldview.”

This year’s SDAFF Spring Showcase will also premiere two Sundance films, “Kusama – Infinity” and Sundance Special Jury Award-winning “Minding the Gap”.

Program Highlights

Meditation Park | Opening Night Film, April 19

Cheng Pei Pei, Tzi Ma, and Sandra Oh headline a comedy of self-discovery about 60-year-old Maria, whose marriage seems the paragon of happiness until she finds a mysterious piece of women’s underwear in her husband’s pocket. Maria starts sleuthing around for answers, and in the process, learns to value life on her own terms.

Falling for Angels: the Films of Yasmin Ahmad | Special Series, April 22

This year’s SDAFF Spring Showcase special series is Falling For Angels: The Films of Yasmin Ahmad , a presentation of the work of Malaysian filmmaker Yasmin Ahmad—her three final features, last short, and an assortment of commercials—in only the third-ever U.S. retrospective of her work in the timed to the North American premiere of Yasmin-San, a new documentary about the filmmaker’s legacy in Asian cinema.

Ulam: Film and Feast | Special Presentation, April 23

In the spirit of “Ulam: Main Dish” , Pac Arts presents a kamayan-style feast prepared by fifteen of San Diego’s brightest Filipino culinary talents, who will offer their own interpretations of the kamayan “ulam” elaborating on the film’s themes of authenticity, the mutations of taste across cultural lines and Filipino American culture.

Kusama – Infinity (West Coast Premiere) | Closing Night Film, April 26

Yayoi Kusama wasn’t always the biggest artist in the world. Once a budding painter sending fan mail to Georgia O’Keefe, she arrived in New York City in her twenties in search of supporters who could see her as more than just a woman or Japanese. Her journey from obscure outsider, to art scene trouble-maker, to one of the most iconic artists of her generation, is a true inspiration.

Complete Spring Showcase Lineup

  • 1987: When the Day Comes – South Korea, 129 mins, directed by Jang Joon-hwan
  • Kiko Boksingero (North American Premiere) - Philippines, 80 mins, directed by Thop Nazareno
  • Kusama – Infinity (West Coast Premiere) – USA, 78 mins, directed by Heather Lenz
  • Love Education (North American Premiere) – China, 122 mins, directed by Sylvia Chang
  • Meditation Park – Canada, 94 mins, directed by Mina Shum
  • Minding the Gap – USA, 98 mins, directed by Bing Liu
  • Muallaf – Malaysia, 80 mins, directed by Yasmin Ahmad
  • Mukhsin – Malaysia, 95 mins, directed by Yasmin Ahmad
  • Mystery Kung Fu Theater – no details needed
  • Take Me to the Moon (North American Premiere) – Taiwan, 105 min, directed by Hsieh Chun-yi
  • Talentime – Malaysia, 120 mins, directed by Yasmin Ahmad
  • The Third Murder – Japan, 124 min, directed by Hirokazu Kore-eda
  • Ulam: Main Dish – USA, 80 mins, directed by Alexandra Cuerdo
  • Waru – New Zealand, 86 min, directed by Briar Grace-Smith, Casey Kaa, Ainsley Gardiner, Katie Wolfe, Renae Maihi, Chelsea Cohen, Paula Jones, Awanui Simich-Pene
  • Yasmin-San (North American Premiere) – Malaysia/Japan, 70 mins, directed by Edmund Yeo


Filmmaker & Talent Interview Opportunities

The following guests, filmmakers and talent are scheduled to attend the SDAFF:

  • Director Thop Nazareno (Kiko Boksingero), Tagalog/English
  • Director Heather Lenz (Kusama – Infinity), English
  • Director Mina Shum & Actor Tzi Ma (Meditation Park), English
  • Director Bing Liu (Minding the Gap), English
  • Director Alexandra Cuerdo & Producer Rey Cuerdo (Ulam: Main Dish), English


On paper I am an Italian living in London, in reality I was born and bread in a popcorn bucket. I've loved cinema since I was a little child and I’ve always had a passion and interest for Asian (especially Japanese) pop culture, food and traditions, but on the cinema side, my big, first love is Hong Kong Cinema. Then - by a sort of osmosis - I have expanded my love and appreciation to the cinematography of other Asian countries. I like action, heroic bloodshed, wu-xia, Shaw Bros (even if it’s not my specialty), Anime, and also more auteur-ish movies. Anything that is good, really, but I am allergic to rom-com (unless it’s a HK rom-com, possibly featuring Andy Lau in his 20s)"