The Third Wife

CinemAsia Film Festival 2019

Programming for CinemAsia Film Festival 2019 (5-10 March) has been coming along nicely. Not only do we have a bigger and better curated selection, we’ll feature films from more countries than last year, such as India, Vietnam and Malaysia.

You will get a sneak peek of our selection in the coming weeks via our various social media platforms. We’ve seen particularly outstanding performances in the film industries of mainland China and South Korea, both in commerical and arthouse productions. We are really proud of our choices, as they demonstrate how these already strong industries up their own game.

There’s also a new burst of creativity in Southeast Asia, as evidenced by such rhapsodically beautiful, female-centred works as The Third Wife, the 19th century drama by Vietnam-born, NYU-educated director Ash Mayfair. From Indonesia, we are swept off our feet by Robby Ertanto’s Ave Maryam, a lush, heart-tugging romance between a Catholic nun and a priest.

CinemAsia’s founding principles are to give voice to the Asian Diaspora and the Asian LBGTQ experience. Since last year, we have doubled our efforts to champion the diversity of Asian storytelling. Last year, our festival theme was Youth in Asian Cinema. This year, we dig deeper into the concept of diversity, by discovering the experiences of minority children in different Asian countries. Our definition is not restricted to ethnic minority, but covers other marginalized groups such as autistic children, children of happa or multi-racial heritage, just to name a few.

This year, we have also made a big leap with an expanded LGBTQ section, in conjunction with an all-new, all-immersive side programme. With several Asian countries actively pushing for same sex marriage rights, there’s been an outpour of LGBTQ films, especially an exciting increase in lesbian  stories.

One example is Fish Bones, a hip and poetic moodpiece directed by Joanne Mony Park, which explores the complex feelings of a Korean immigrant plunging into a passionate affair with a Hispanic-American. Other LGBTQ films explore subjects as colorful as coming out in old age (Rainbow Sunset) or a love quandrangle between a dead man, his widow, his teenage son and his male lover in the Taiwanese runaway hit Dear Ex, which received 8 nominations at the Golden Horse Awards.

We’re also introducting a new section on culinary cinema, as we know how much CinemAsia’s fans love our food-themed films and our gourmet stalls over the years. We will open this section with the divine Aruna & Her Palate but we promise more food porn from other countries!