Pioneering, Independent, Inclusive

The Los Angeles Chinese Film Festival (LACFF) was born in the fall of 2017 with the aim to uncover and promote outstanding Chinese language and Chinese culture-focused film. Three years later LACFF 2019 continues this mission on Oct. 25-27th at the Downtown Independent Theater in Los Angeles. 

With buzz around the entertainment industry it was hard to find Chinese talent, the founders of LACFF room for improvement. They saw films in Hollywood that supposedly centered on China were being written by teams of writers without a single person who had been to the country. A gap clearly existed, and from it emerged LACFF.

Festivals are abundant in LA, but Chinese language and heritage films stand as uniquely important because of the censorship they endure. Mainland China heavily censors content, including media from groups that most need a voice such as the LGBTQ community. Truthfully, many festivals in the U.S. that want to show Chinese content struggle with censorship as well. Festivals are expensive and government grants from China are not too difficult to get, but eventually come with strings. Several of LACFF’s founders had worked on Chinese festivals before and they were very familiar with the strings that came attached with much needed funds from government entities. Because of this, LACFF 2017 ran on a campaign of censor-free films, possible because of decisions to avoid compromising funding. 

Now three years later, LACFF 2019 hits theaters October 25-27th to continue its mission of spotlighting talent in a community whose voice is often left out. Alongside a now traditional LGBTQ night, the festival displays a number of hidden gems and a host of LA and North American premieres, with a lineup of English-friendly films that has something for everyone.

A strong crop of documentaries always makes its way to the festival and this year is no exception. Films such as Director Mijie Li’s Confucian Dream and Director Tracy Dong’s In Character highlight human tendencies to idealize the past and the ways it can both tear us apart and bring us together. Confucian Dream won the Special Jury Prize at Karlovy Vary International Film Festival, and In Character was nominated for Best Documentary at the First Youth Film Festival in Xining. To audiences’ great fortune, both Mijie Li and Tracy Dong will be present for Q&A sessions after their respective screenings. 

For those who prefer more narrative story-telling Director Zhu Xin’s debut feature, Vanishing Days, which was nominated by Berlinale Forum, Busan International Film Festival, and the Hong Kong International Film Festival, will be hitting screens next to Director Zhou Lidong’s debut feature The Fall,  which won the Netpac Award at Warsaw International Film Festival. 

To accompany the features, shorts, narrative, and documentary screenings, the lineup is complemented by an industry panel on October 27th. There, attendees will have the opportunity to hear from industry heavyweights, Aoni Ameziane COO of Film Finances Asia; Steven Paul Chairman of SP Entertainment LLC; Maria Lo Orzel Head of the Asia Task Force for the Producers Guild of America, and Randy Greenberg producer of The Meg on topics ranging from content strategy to the representation of Asians Hollywood.

For more information about LACFF’s services and our new series of ticket passes, please visit our official website here or the Los Angeles Chinese Film Festival Wechat page. 

Or you can buy tickets here.

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My name is Panos Kotzathanasis and I am Greek. Being a fan of Asian cinema and especially of Chinese kung fu and Japanese samurai movies since I was a little kid, I cultivated that love during my adolescence, to extend to the whole of SE Asia. Starting from my own blog in Greek, I then moved on to write for some of the major publications in Greece, and in a number of websites dealing with (Asian) cinema, such as Taste of Cinema, Hancinema, EasternKicks, Chinese Policy Institute, and of course, Asian Movie Pulse. in which I still continue to contribute. In the beginning of 2017, I launched my own website, Asian Film Vault, which I merged in 2018 with Asian Movie Pulse, creating the most complete website about the Asian movie industry, as it deals with almost every country from East and South Asia, and definitely all genres. You can follow me on Facebook and Twitter.