Asia House Film Festival 2016 Preview

   There are few things more exciting to this writer than the immersive experience a film festival provides: the ability to take one’s self around the world, into new places and times, to discover new tales and ways of telling them, represent some of the most satisfying and stimulating experiences imaginable. For the intellectually curious and for those seeking cerebral adventures, I can offer no higher recommendation.

   Throughout the years of attending, and working at, an array of festivals I have fallen in love with a number of hitherto unbeknownst-to-me directors as diverse as Yoshitarō Nomura and Yu Ha. The thrill of discovery never diminishes and, as such, I was delighted to read the line-up for this year’s Asia House Film Festival.

   Taking place between February 22nd and March 5th, the 8th annual Asia House Film Festival features a total of 19 movies under the umbrella theme of ‘Breaking Boundaries’. Rather excitingly, the line-up also crosses numerous borders – whilst Japan, China and South Korea are regularly well-represented at Asian film festivals, the inclusion of cinema stemming from often overlooked nations such as Kazakhstan, Afghanistan and, particularly, Myanmar is a bold creative choice. This appears to be a line-up for real cinephiles looking to expand their horizons exponentially.


   Featuring five European and six UK premieres, the festival is set to open at the Ham Yard Hotel in Soho with Kazakhstan’s official submission for the Best Foreign Language Film at the 2016 Academy Awards – Stranger (Zhat). The film’s director Yermek Tursunov and producer Kanat Torebay will host a post-screening Q&A session to discuss their 1930s set feature focusing on one man’s quest for freedom. His latest feature, the hitman thriller Little Brother (Kenzhe), is also screening (at Regent Street Cinema, February 25th) and gives audiences a second opportunity to quiz the film-maker about his work.

   Amongst the other numerous highlights of Asia House Film Festival 2016 are a brace of South Korean movies: Seoul Searching (Regent Street Cinema, February 27th) is a 1980s set exploration of Korean identity set against the back-drop of a summer camp, whilst documentary State of Play focuses on the competitive and huge money industry of competitive eSports within the nation. The wildly eclectic line-up also includes, amongst others, the rotoscopic anime feature The Case of Hana and Alice by Shinji Iwai, and China’s Factory Boss – a look behind the industrialised phenomena of ‘Made In China’ goods presented from perspectives of workers and from the executive suite too.

   To view the full line-up from this year’s festival please click here.

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