Film programs include one of the first lesbian Bollywood films (“Ek Ladki Ko Dekha Toh Aisa Laga”), a film with the backdrop of 80’s Saigon and its Vietnamese folk opera (“Song Lang”) and an Indonesian culinary journey through film (“Aruna and her Palate”)

The special series “From The Claws of Darkness: Restoring Philippine Cinema” brings the second golden age of Philippine film to the big screen for audiences to enjoy once again, including “Moral,” “Himala,” and “Batch ‘81”and “Manila In The Claws of Light”

SAN DIEGO, CALIFORNIA – March 26, 2019 – The 9th Annual San Diego Asian Film Festival (SDAFF) Spring Showcase, presented by Pacific Arts Movement (Pac Arts) will be taking place on April 11-18 at the UltraStar Mission Valley. This year, a majority of the showcased films highlight South Asian and Southeast Asian stories.

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There will also be a special collection of milestone Filipino films shown as a part of the program “From The Claws of Darkness: Restoring Philippine Cinema”, which brings the second golden age of Philippine film to the big screen for audiences to enjoy once again, including “Moral,” “Himala,” and “Batch ‘81”and “Manila In The Claws of
Light.”

“With our extensive focus on new films from South and Southeast Asia and our retrospective of classics from the Philippines, we aim for nothing less than transforming the face of Asian cinema here in the United States,” says Pac Arts Artistic Director Brian Hu.

Still from “Himala”


This year’s SDAFF Spring Showcase will also screen four films that shed light on queer Asian stories spanning time and place including “Ek Ladki Ko Dekha Toh Aisa Laga,” “Song Lang,” “Memories of My Body” and “First Night Nerves.”

PROGRAM HIGHLIGHTS
FIRST NIGHT NERVES | Opening Night Film, April 11
An anticipated new play brings together rivals, Yuan Xiuling, returning to acting after a five-year retirement, and He Yuwen, the starlet who supplanted her as the queen of Hong Kong entertainment. Drama unfolds and past secrets are discovered both backstage and onstage in this comedic yet dramatic story by legendary director Stanley Kwan.

MANILA IN THE CLAWS OF LIGHT | Special Series, April 12
This year’s SDAFF Spring Showcase special series is From The Claws of Darkness: Restoring Philippine Cinema, a presentation of the some of the most important works of the second golden age of Philippine cinema and a celebration of the 100 years of the country’s film history. Directed by Lino Brocka, “Manila in the Claws of Light” is the consensus pick as the greatest Filipino film of all time and bakes 1970s romanticism into gritty urban realism to create a sweaty noir masterpiece.

SWING KIDS | April 13 & April 16
Director Kang Hyoung-Chul (“Sunny”), paints a picture of the harsh reality of life in a POW camp set to the sound of persistent tap shoes during the Korean War. Featuring K-pop star Do Kyung-soo (D.O. of EXO) and Broadway star Jared Grimes, “Swing Kids” is a thrilling story of overcoming obstacles of oppression and war through dance.

EK LADKI KO DEKHA TOH AISA LAGA | Closing Night Film, April 18
As the first high-profile Bollywood film centering on a lesbian character, “Ek Ladki Ko Dekha To Aisa Laga” is a gorgeous drama testing the bonds of family with a comedy of misrecognition. Director Shelly Chopra Dhar not only is able to overcome an industry that is so invested in bloodlines, tradition, and marriage, but also reinvents the
Bollywood film genre itself.

Still from “Batch ’81”


COMPLETE SPRING SHOWCASE LINEUP
● ARUNA AND HER PALATE ARUNA & LIDAHNYA (North American Premiere) – Indonesia, 106 mins, directed by Edwin
● BATCH ‘81 ΑΚΩ 81 – Philippines, 108 mins, directed by Mike De Leon
● GO BACK TO CHINA – USA, 96 minutes, directed by Emily Ting
● THE CROSSING 過春天 – China, 99 mins, directed by Bai Xue
● EK LADKI KO DEKHA TOH AISA LAGA – India, 120 mins, directed by Shelley Chopra Dhar
● FIRST NIGHT NERVES 八個女人一台戲 – Hong Kong, 100 mins, directed by Stanley Kwan
● HIMALA – Philippines, 124 mins, directed by Ishmael Bernal
● MANILA IN THE CLAWS OF LIGHT MAYNILA SA MGA KUKO NG LIWANAG – Philippines, 125 mins, directed by Lino Brocka
● MORAL – Philippines, 140 mins, directed by Marilou Diaz-Abaya
● MEMORIES OF MY BODY KUCUMBU TUBUH INDAHKU (North American Premiere) – Indonesia, 105 mins, directed by Garin Nugroho
● MYSTERY KUNG FU THEATER – no details needed
● PHOTOGRAPH – India, 110 mins, directed by Ritesh Batra
● REZA (West Coast Premiere) – Iran, 94 mins, directed by Alireza Motamedi
● SONG LANG (West Coast Premiere) – Vietnam, 100 mins, directed by Leon Le
● SWING KIDS 스윙키즈 – South Korea, 133 mins, directed by Kang Hyoung-Chul
● WAITING FOR SUNSET KUNG PAANO HINHINTAY ANG DAPITHAPON (North American Premiere) – Philippines, 90 mins, directed by Carlo Enciso Catu

Still from “First Night Nerves”

SCHEDULE & TICKET DETAILS
The SDAFF Spring Showcase complete schedule, trailer and tickets are now available at sdaff.org. More information available on the official Facebook event. Join the conversation using the hashtag #SDAFFSpring.

9th Annual San Diego Asian Film Festival (SDAFF) Spring Showcase
April 11-18, 2019
UltraStar Mission Valley
Spring Showcase Lineup and Tickets: sdaff.org

Ticketing Information
Tickets General $12-15 | Student/Senior/Military $10

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Ever since I watched Takeshi Kitano's "Hana-Bi" for the first time (and many times after that) I have been a cinephile. While much can be said about the technical aspects of film, coming from a small town in Germany, I cherish the notion of art showing its audience something which one does normally avoid, neglect or is unable to see for many different reasons. Often the stories told in films have helped me understand, discover and connect to something new which is a concept I would like to convey in the way I talk and write about films. Thus, I try to include some info on the background of each film as well as a short analysis (without spoilers, of course), an approach which should reflect the context of a work of art no matter what genre, director or cast. In the end, I hope to pass on my joy of watching film and talking about it.